Role-playing group steps back in time

rboone@theolympian.comDecember 31, 2012 

While the Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams were competing on the gridiron Sunday, a clash of a different sort was taking place at Wonderwood Park in Lacey.

But this gathering didn’t involve helmets and shoulder pads.

Instead, the members of Greenwood Keep, the name of a fantasy, live-action role-playing group, had padded swords, shields and homemade tunics, plus creative names and backgrounds for the characters they portray.

About 15 members gathered Sunday at the park. Some of them prepared for battle, while others took the chance to socialize with other members.

Greenwood Keep offers a little of both, said organizer Stacey Plassman, 44, of Olympia.

Her two sons are part of the group, giving them a chance to “take out some aggression” on the battlefield but also to get outdoors, have some fun and make friends.

Greenwood Keep is part of a larger, nonprofit live-action role-playing organization called AMTGARD, which got its start in Texas in the early 1980s. AMTGARD and role-playing groups such as Greenwood Keep since have spread throughout the country and internationally.

It is free to join, Plassman said, although there are some out-of-pocket expenses required to make the swords or clothes.

Greenwood Keep is not just about doing battle, and no one is required to fight, she said. There’s also the arts and crafts aspect about the group — making and sewing the various equipment and clothes that they use and wear. The world of Greenwood Keep takes place pre-1600, before the Renaissance.

Jesse Simpson, 30, of Olympia said he has been live-action role-playing since he was in high school. He plays “Fizh,” an absent-minded, happy-go-lucky, traveling bard, he said.

Logan Plassman, 24, who goes by the name “Plazz,” is a druid who watches the forest, he said. His younger brother Peter Harold, 16, also known as “Arrahon,” is a kleptomaniac mercenary who is not entirely human and has elfin features.

Stacey Plassman said her two sons got involved in role-playing before she did, then she later became an organizer. She goes by the name of “Sam.”

“It’s something we can do together,” she said.

Interested in joining Greenwood Keep? The group meets noon to 5 p.m. Sundays at Wonderwood Park. For more information, go to www.nwamtgard.com.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone

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