Part one in a series of pieces on the larp Legion

So a little while ago I participated in a thing called Legion. I want to share more about this. Since it will be happening again and the experience relies on secrets I can’t simply tell you the full story publicly. I can however write a series of somewhat wanky, discursive blog posts.

What is Legion?

Legion is a larp which basically means make believe for adults. Like you used to play games as a child…but somewhat more intense and uncomfortable. It’s been run six times for Czech players and I participated in the first English language run for international players.

Legion focuses on the experiences of the Czechoslovak Legion in Siberia. Some brief history. The Czechoslovak Legion was a volunteer force initially formed under the Russian Imperial army during world war one. They fought in order to aid the formation of a free and independent (from Austro-Hungary) Czechoslovakia. After the war they found themselves in the middle of the Russian civil war fighting to get home via Vladivostok.

So I basically spent a couple of days running around pretending to be a soldier. The game proper took place from ~2pm on Friday to around midnight on Saturday without breaks. It was held in the Czech Republic as a stand-in for Siberia December 1918.

What did I do during Legion?

I walked around 25km total through snow covered fields. Plus the occasional running and scrambling through woods.

Wore period clothing. The temperature got down to -20 at some points and my canteen froze solid at one point. Carried a rifle. Slept very little in a room crammed full of people.

Discussed politics, hopes and fears. Shouted orders at people.

Shot at least one Bolshevik.

Got shot at a few times but miraculously avoided being injured. Watched comrades suffer and die.

Had a beautiful but completely messed up, tragic and doomed romance.

Made a big final decision which I’m still completely torn up about.

It was overall an interesting and powerful experience. Also completely bonkers.

Photo credit: Rolling/Hana Maturová

In this series:

Fiction, Spirituality and the Commitment to Believe

Character as Habit and the Challenge of Personal Change

On Play and the Nature of War

The Power of Love (and Larp)