Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Most Dangerous LARP

This article on the most powerful group of prison gangs in South Africa is utterly engrossing.
And so the three camps were formed, each with their self-made philosophies of banditry and their collectively assigned roles. The 26s were to accumulate wealth, which was to be distributed among all three camps, and acquired through cunning and trickery, never through violence.
The 28s, in turn, were to fight on behalf of all three camps for better conditions for inmates. They would also be permitted to have sex, in their own ritualised manner, among themselves. They were never to touch a 26.

As for the 27s, they were the guarantor of gang law; they were to keep the peace between the three camps. They would learn and retain the laws of all three gangs, as well as the laws of the relationships between gangs. And they would right wrongs by exacting revenge: when blood was spilled, they would spill blood in turn.
The shared mythology, invisible uniforms, and detailed roles each group and subgroup within the gangs play are amazingly complex and complete. They even have their equivalent of boffers: Knives carefully wrapped to allow only a wounding length of blade to enter the body. I couldn't help but think that D&D would be a naturally popular and more enjoyable pastime.
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