Spirits were high this past weekend at Parc Mont-Royal, where the McGill Redmasters claimed victory at the Provincial Varsity Live Action Roleplay Championship (the PLARP). In a riveting final battle against reigning LARP champions the Concordia Orcs, Redmaster co-captain Dave Stipinski and his high elven broadsword, Deathslayer, dealt the winning blow to the last of the Orc forces.
“We’re really just thrilled to be here,” said an exhilarated Stipinski at the trophy ceremony, which was unfortunately cut short by scheduled park maintenance. “It’s an honour to compete against the Orcs, and league heavyweights like Frollo Boulderspine and Khan the Nightbringer.”
It’s been a long journey for Stipinsk—or the “Roddick Assassin,” as he is known around the league—and his teammates. Although familiar to many students as an endearing if odd staple of Tam Tams, competitive LARPing has received far less public attention. The Redmasters were only given varsity status this Fall, after co-captain Erica Cowell placed a curse of eternal damnation upon McGill Athletics and Recreation.
“Throw demonic runes into the mix, and suddenly the admin’s not so keen to play hardball,” Cowell, level 12 druid and potions major, joked.
Per the stipulations of the curse, funds were reallocated from the McGill Quidditch team, and the Redmasters made their debut into the varsity community.
The team faced an uphill road to the championship, however. Scheduling field time at Molson Stadium between Redmen and Martlets practices proved difficult – training sessions are held primarily in Stipinski’s basement. The team also struggled to gain adequate storage space for its equipment in the McGill Sports Complex.
“Standard issue lockers just aren’t built for full-body 12th century armor and chainmail,” Cowell explained. “And a decent longsword? Forget it.”
Logistical difficulties were only the beginning. Disaster struck halfway through the regular season, when star player Harry Presley was suspended after pummeling a 10-year-old recreational LARPer with his fire mace. The victim, now recovered, reportedly “thought they were just playing a game” when he unknowingly wandered into a cutthroat team practice at Parc Mont-Royal. Presley allegedly mistook the minor for a particularly well-costumed dwarf, but was nonetheless suspended from the league for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The players have also struggled with marginalization in the McGill sports community.
“It’s not always obvious, you know, but it’s the little things,” Stipinski said somberly while sharpening his broadsword. “We didn’t get a table at the Varsity Gala, our gameshave pretty low turnout, professors still won’t accept battles as reason for assignment extensions. People don’t take us seriously as athletes. But I think our win today is really going to change the conversation.”
When reached for comment, McGill varsity football quarterback Charlie Laval wasn’t familiar with LARP as a sport, but did know Stipinski personally as “that dude that was always playing Settlers of Catan in residence”. Laval didn’t address Stipinski’s recommendation of traditional goblin battle strategy to improve the Redmen Football team’s performance.
Up next, the underdog team hopes to continue their winning streak at the National LARP Championships in Kingston, Ontario this May. With increased funding, they’re also looking to get matching letterman chainmail.
*This article is a work of satire and a part of our joke issue*