ASHBY -- Picture this.
You're walking down a trail in the woods with friends. It's a dark night, you're going somewhere spooky and your lamp -- well, it doesn't work so well.
"And then something comes out of the bushes and you don't know if it's friend or foe," said Eric Love, founder of Harvard-based LARP Adventure Program. "All of a sudden that adrenaline hits you."
The scenario isn't quite as nightmarish as it may appear. It's one of many events that could happen while LARPing, or Live Action Roleplaying.
The pastime, which combines improvisational theater, storytelling and often fantasy elements is coming to Camp Middlesex in Ashby on Feb. 10 and 11 through LARP Adventure Program.
Over the weekend, a storyline inspired by "Game of Thrones" and "Princess Mononoke" will unfold transforming the campground into the fictional land of Despoina, "an island with heavy winters and scattered resources," according to producer Ben Bisogno, a 22-year-old college student from New York.
"There is a situation at hand and everyone comes together for one reason or other to deal with it," said Bisogno. "This event is set in an Iceland-like environment with Inuit people and migrants and refugees that have come over recently. And ... there's a disruption."
Love and Bisogno describe LARPing as a hobby, but also as a tool for artistic expression and learning -- albeit the type of tool that necessitates instructions for what to do if one is "made uncomfortable by, for example, becoming possessed by the spirit of a pine tree, or is accused of publicly making off with one's goat.
"It's like being a kid playing pretend, but all of your adult needs and adult emotions and intellectual scaffolding is met with something that is complex," Love said.
The Ashby event is open to people 18 and up -- or 16 and up for players with more scripted roles -- but many of the events Love organizes through his LARPing business are for children.
"It creates a multiple intelligence, multi-disciplinary platform for people to just have fun, go on adventures with their friends, develop emotional intelligences (and) discover aspects of their persona." said Love, a Harvard resident.
Love -- now 40 with a masters in education -- said he has been creating these type of scenarios since the early 1990s, but started LARP Adventure Program in 2000, eventually incorporating it as a business.
Love, Bisogno and others participate in creating educational programing using the LARPing format for students in the Arlington, Belmont and Winchester area.
Whether throwing fireballs or comforting an old woman, Bisogno said the magic is there for adults too.
"When you are interacting with other people there is not one storyteller. There's an element of chance in it that makes the story feel more real," he said. "That makes it magical too."
The Ashby event will likely be small, about 20 people, but organizers say they are interested in welcoming interested area residents.
Registration for the event is $60 in advanced at larpadventureprogram.com. Registration at the event in $80 and not guaranteed.
Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @DobbinsSentinel