SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months

Live action role play STALKER event to be held at abandoned Holt school in Okaloosa County

Brian Hughes
Special to the Daily News

HOLT — A horde of mutants will invade Holt the weekend of Jan. 22-24. But fear not: armed and trained STALKERs are planning to converge on the North Okaloosa County community and prevent them from escaping The Zone.

That might not mean much to the average resident, but for fans of “STALKER," a series of first-person shooter survival video games, and of military simulations — known as “milsim” in the vernacular — and live-action role play (LARP), the event will be an exciting opportunity to completely immerse themselves into the game. (STALKER stands for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers.)

More:Businessman dreams of enhanced north-south route to Holt

“We’re providing a live-action video game,” said Dako Morfey, co-founder of Chernobyl MILSIM, the event’s New Orleans-based producer. “For the entire weekend, you don’t just play the game. You live it.”

A STALKER keeps a wary eye out for mutants and other factions during a recent military simulation — milsim — hosted by Chernobyl MILSIM. The organization’s next simulation and live-action role play will be in the now-closed Holt School.

The now-abandoned Holt School is the setting for “The Meadow,” an original scenario based on the STALKER game world. The reputedly haunted, now privately owned, building on U.S. Highway 90 will become The Zone.

Inspired by the real-life Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the center of which is the site of the April 1986 nuclear power plant disaster, The Zone is the heart of the video game series.

Live-action role play

“The game is considered a milsim, but we consider it more of a live action role play with guns and explosives,” said Morfey, who’s known in his milsim universe as Father Dako, leader of the faction known as Monolith. (The Chicago native once considered entering the Episcopal priesthood before becoming a law enforcement officer.)

For the Jan. 22-24 live-action role play, a backstory on the registration site explains that “the neutral Monolith (a fanatical religious cult violent to all but their own) have been driven out of Darkscape by the STALKERs and have set up in the old factory offices in The Meadow.”

Jeff Lecouris, an organizer with Chernobyl MILSIM, takes a breather to smoke his ornate Eastern European pipe during one of the organization’s recent military simulations.

Due to yet another Chernobyl radiation escape, “there are few safe areas anymore and exposure to the contaminated zones causes instant zombification.” Participants are part of an investigation expedition into The Zone, where they will spend the entire weekend in costume and persona.

“We invite anyone to join the team venturing into the old factory and help them figure out what to do with these Monolith deserters,” Father Dako said. “Players will experience a totally unique opportunity to live the video game in real time.”

Organizers promise “conflict between factions, robberies (and) betrayal.” Players will have access only to rations available in the video game. They’ll make camp and take turns guarding it from potential threats day and night.

“They must beware booby traps, mutants, and even their KIA (killed in action) comrades turning into gun-wielding zombies,” Father Dako said. Plus, he added, organizers have some other surprises up their camouflaged sleeves.

Ukraine in the 2010s

With the action set in the Ukraine in the early 2010s, participants bring their own Ukrainian, Russian or Soviet-bloc uniforms, purchased from online military surplus stores and eBay. Chernobyl MILSIM’s website, chernobyl-milsim.webs.com, describes the various factions’ uniforms and equipment and provides links to online sources to buy them.

Father Dako and his staff strictly check weapons and ammunition at registration. While previous Chernobyl MILSIM events allowed Airsoft weapons, only blanks are permitted at “The Meadow.”

“We want this to be an exciting, challenging event,” he said, “but also a safe one.”

STALKERs Dottie Dellamorte and Dako Morfey, clad in Ukrainian military uniforms, pause during a recent military simulation.

Weapons, uniform kit and other equipment are available for rent, and blank ammo can be purchased at registration.

Having spent an August weekend in his certified re-enactment guise of a German parachutist during Crestview’s World War II Victory Commemoration, the affable military historian said returning to the area was an easy decision.

“Everybody was so great to us in August,” Mr. Morfey said. “We had a great time and are glad to be coming back, but this time in a different uniform and scenario.”

WANT TO GO?

What: “The Meadow,” a military simulation live-action role playing experience set in early 2010s Chernobyl, Ukraine, based on the STALKER video games; presented by Chernobyl MILSIM

When: 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 through 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24.

Where: Holt School, 563 U.S. Hwy. 90, Holt

Cost: $100 per person includes provisions. Tickets, limited to assure participants’ safety, are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/chernobyl-milsim-the-meadow-tickets-131729270795

Guidelines: Participants must wear uniforms and kit as described on the organizers’ website and are encouraged to bring further provisions as described in the STALKER video games.

Details: chernobyl-milsim.webs.com