Well, I went LARPing this weekend.
It was the second game of Lilla Lugnet (The Small Calm), set in a steampunk version of the 1890s, at the health resort Lilla Lugnet in the woods outside Norrköping, Sweden. My character was Gustaf Strömberg, a waiter at Lilla Lugnet.
A lot of awesome things happened at this LARP. But if I described all of them in detail it would turn this post into an (even more) epic TL;DR, so I will concentrate on the most important things and leave out all the bullet-repellant-gloves, union struggles, lake monsters, poker tournaments, ghostbusters, lecherous doctors, talent shows, fake noblewomen, Cthulhu-cult-fighting adventurers...
Gustaf was born and raised in Norrköping, the oldest child in a rather wealthy wholeseller family. He was expected to take over the family business, marry, have children, and so on, but was not interested at all in that kind of life. Gustaf had discovered himself to be homeschooled, and at sixteen he got a job as a dishwasher on the Norrköping - Gothenburg airship line. He continued to work on various passenger airship lines, soon advancing to waiter, and got to see quite a lot of the world. The year before he started working at Lilla Lugnet he was on the America airships between Gothenburg and New York. At 21 he was getting tired of the stressed airship work, and by chance saw that Lilla Lugnet were looking for waiters. He applied, and got the job.
The LARP took place during a weekend in August, when Gustaf had worked there since May. There were many interesting guests visiting, among them the famous British earl sir Vincent, a woman with a penchant for dressing in men's clothes, complete with moustache and beard (though occasionally she wore a dress, and no facial hair). Sir Vincent had visited Lilla Lugnet the year before as well, and liked it a lot.
One of Gustaf's coworkers at Lilla Lugnet was the health pedagogue miss Larsson, a nice but insecure and moralistic woman. Her main responsibility was to lead the wellwater-drinking ceremony three times a day. The guests gathered, and walked in a circle in time with calm music, while sipping the healthy water. The rest of the personnel always found this hilarious.
The guests spent most of their time conversing, bathing, and playing crocket, while Gustaf and the rest of the personnel worked hard with cooking, cleaning, serving and washing dishes, as was the natural order of things. The personnel found plenty of time to gossip, though. Gustaf learned that miss Larsson had gotten to know sir Vincent the year before, and they were good friends. Then one evening sir Vincent and miss Larsson danced on the bar floor. Most saw it as just another whim of the eccentric sir Vincent, but Gustaf thought it might be more than that.
The next day, he brought it up with miss Larsson, and she told him that she and sir Vincent had been corresponding since last year. She even let him read the letters from sir Vincent. They were perfectly innocent, mostly accounts of sir Vincent's various travels and adventures around the world.
But later, Gustaf was sitting next to miss Larsson as she wrote a letter to sir Vincent. He happened to glance at it, and saw the words "I cannot stop thinking about you". Then he knew what she really felt about sir Vincent.
The personnel had over the days half jokingly discussed who should fall in love with who. Some people thought Gustaf should pick one of the cleaning maids to court. He was reluctant, but that only made the others more insistent. As evening came this day, miss Larsson asked Gustaf if he had made his decision yet. He told her to please give up on that, he would never become interested in the cleaning maids.
"Would you ever become interested in any other woman working here then?"
"Would you ever become interested in one of the women visiting?"
"Would you ever become interested in sir Vincent?"
"No... not even sir Vincent."
"Then would you ever become interested in... someone else here?"
Gustaf felt he could confide his orientation to miss Larsson, since he knew about hers.
Later in the evening, Gustaf and some of the other personnel were hanging around with the farmhands, trying some of their "special brew". Incredibly strong stuff. Miss Larsson came by and asked what they were drinking, and they got her to down an entire glass of it. She became very inebriated. Someone had the bright idea that she should lead a wellwater-drinking ceremony, only with the farmhands' special instead of wellwater. So all the personnel walked, ran or stumbled in a circle to some not-very-calm music while drinking the brew. Miss Larsson was becoming increasingly unsteady, and she was led to the bar. The absinthe was sadly sold out, but some fine liquor became the finale for her. And then sir Vincent came into the bar.
Miss Larsson accidentally stumbled into her, accidentally lost her balance and fell into her arms, and kissed her. In front of everyone. Sir Vincent was very embarrassed, and left briskly. Miss Larsson was in tears.
But later, sir Vincent came back, and had a long private conversation with miss Larsson. When miss Larsson returned from it, she was happier than Gustaf had ever seen her. She told him in private that sir Vincent had offered her to have an affair. But she was unsure of what to answer. Gustaf told her that an opportunity like this only came once in a lifetime. He advised her to say yes.
And the next day, miss Larsson told him that she had accepted sir Vincent's offer. And everyone was very happy.
My post-LARP analysis of this concluded that Gustaf understood that if things had gone differently for him, he might have ended up like miss Larsson - insecure, unsatisfied, and repressed. And when he saw miss Larsson finally get together with the one she loved, he felt very happy for her. Also, he hoped that one day he might find someone to love that much. Gustaf had been in relationships before, but they had been short and not as emotional as miss Larsson's love for sir Vincent. Gustaf and, naturally, myself, were overcome with such intense feelings of joy when miss Larsson and sir Vincent came back from their private talk, and miss Larsson shone like a sun.
When you really get into a character at a LARP, you not only enter the consciousness of that person. You also create a subconscious for the character, and you might not always know what's going on in there.