What’s LARPing, you ask? LARP stands for “Live Action Role Playing,” and Tobias is on the cutting edge, metaphorically speaking.
Tobias and I got together recently in person and online to chat about his contributions to and participation in the fantasy genre.
Is it okay if I refer to you as a professional LARPer?
Absolutely! I do a lot of travel for LARP and put a lot of work and effort into it. I am head of marketing / new player coordinator for Dystopia Rising: WA, as well.
How did you get into it?
I got into Live Action Roleplaying at Seattle’s first steampunk convention (rest its soul) Steamcon 1, I believe six or seven years ago. I was brought into a steampunk LARP called Rise of Aester. I, being into theatre, was very excited to be handed a role and run with it. The community I found there was incredibly inclusive, welcoming, and friendly, so I stuck with them and kept playing!
You’ve told me in the past that you have various “kits.” Can you list them again and tell us what they’re for?
I do a lot of costuming based on genre, and not characters. And I make my costumes rugged. Though while most of them are my work, I don’t do it all. (See: sewing.) But because of their multifaceted use beyond just costuming, I refer to them as kits. They’re used for anything from walking around conventions and events, to LARPing out in the woods for three or four days straight.
I have a several steampunk kits, a post-apocalyptic kit, several variations on pirates, formal Victorian, and probably several in my closet that I’m just currently forgetting about.
Have you ever been injured whilst LARPing and/or what was the worst injury you’ve seen?
I personally have never suffered any major injuries, but it can be a physical sport. And as such, everyone runs some risk of injury. I have seen several concussions occur, because running around in the woods at night can be hazardous. But overall, I haven’t seen many injuries whilst LARPing.
You mentioned there will be a Dystopia Rising gathering this spring that might include as many as six or seven hundred people. How can folks learn more?
Dystopia Rising’s flagship game in New Jersey will be holding Downfall, an event where people from DR games across the nation rendezvous to play an extended 4 day game in which they work to survive the zombie apocalypse! I’ll be trying to make it!
You recently appeared on GSN (Game Show Network). What can you tell us about that project and do you anticipate being involved going forward?
Yes, I appeared on Steampunk’d on GSN. (It airs Wednesdays 10/9c) It was a very interesting experience in which I got to meet amazing artists and incredibly talented individuals while working alongside them to Steampunk a room in a competitive environment. I don’t know what the network has in mind for any future participation, though! They keep the cards close to their chest.
You go to a lot of conventions. Some of that is on your own dime, but others are sponsored, no? About what percentage is sponsored?
I have only recently begun being sponsored or hired to work at conventions, actually! I just worked Gencon and PAX as a booth representative, otherwise known as a booth babe, booth bro, board game beefcake, or hall hunk.
For Gencon, I worked for a steampunk airship board game called Incredible Expeditions, and that was a wonderful experience. For PAX Prime, I worked representing a violent parody platformer PC game dubbed Apocalypse Cow!
So really, most of my conventions are either through connections or my own dime. I will be a featured guest at Steamposium in Seattle though! I hope to see you there!
I also will have a very big announcement about another convention I will be guesting at soon, so keep your eyes on my social media!
What kind of deal/sponsorship, etc., will it take for you to reach full-time employment in this field, and is that something you’re aiming for?
I genuinely have no idea what it would take to reach full time employment. I love to go to these events, meet people, talk about what I do, or what I’m passionate about. It doesn’t feel like work for me to promote something I enjoy. Would I like to make a living in the field of LARP / Nerd Stuff / Art? Hell yeah.
Besides yourself (wink wink), who are the really big names in your industry?
I don’t have a very defined industry, but in the world of Steampunk you have people like Kato and Thomas Willeford. When it comes to LARP, with Dystopia Rising specifically, you can look at Eschaton Media’s CEO Ashley Zdeb, and their content creator Michael Pucci. Otherwise, what is my industry?!
What are your favorite board games?
I actually don’t play too many board games or table top games, but I do thoroughly enjoy them when I get the chance. I am of course biased about Incredible Expeditions, as I’m in it. Though I’ve also been known to partake in Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and the like, as I am an avid role-player.
I sometimes feel as if we’re in a golden age of cable television with Game of Thrones, Vikings (my favorite), Penny Dreadful, Walking Dead, The Strain and others. Do you watch any of these and do you have favorites?
I definitely don’t watch TV much, as I’m often busy with a project or putting on an event, but I occasionally get the urge to binge watch entire seasons of shows if I’m interested. I’m clearly a pretty big fan of The Walking Dead, though my zombie-oriented background might suggest that I’m biased. I also thought that Star Wars: The Clone Wars series was actually amazingly well done.
Do you have groupies?
I wouldn’t say I have, like, people with my face on their shirt. (Though that would be hilarious to have that Captain Hammer-style. Cosplay idea, guys.) But I definitely have people who follow what I’m doing, which has been kind of weird and awesome. Having people walk up to me at conventions and stuff who I don’t know is pretty cool, mainly because it opens the door to meet new and awesome people who share the same interests as I do!
Where do you see yourself in, say, ten years?
I have no clue. Life is full of amazing opportunities, and it’s all about what I have the ability to seize. Doors are opening often these days, and I am an extremely lucky and fortunate individual to have the support of family, friends, and fans. Hopefully I’ll be doing a lot of work at events and conventions!!!
So, we met at the Great Horror Campout, Seattle edition. What was that whole experience like for you and how do you see that company developing?
The Great Horror Campout was awesome! Stay up all night in a really badass costume bein’ spooky? That’s my jam! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to act in such a unique environment, and this crazy doctor character in the area next to mine was pretty cool, too. --Oh wait, that was you.
As for that company developing, I actually don’t know a ton about their projects beyond what they did here. I assume they’ll make it back up this way someday, but from what I understand they’re primarily based out of LA and are therefore going to hold most of their events in the Southern California region. It was fun working with them, though.
Finally, awesome weapon or magic power?
Magic is almost always superior to physical weapons. Though I always have a terribly hard time having to pick just one power. While I’m a big fan of the usual invisibility, I’m just saying I’d save a lot of money on travel if I could teleport...
For more on Tobias McCurry, follow him on Twitter @TobiasMcCurry