Getting started in LARP
17 Oct 2019
Ever wondered what LARP (Live Action Roleplay) is and how you could get involved? Guest author and seasoned LARPER, Toph, shares advice on getting started in this wonderful world of carefully crafted costumes, characterisations and live action game constructs...
Live Roleplay takes on many forms, from murder mystery dinner parties to full scale battles out in the woods and fields. In its simplest form, it is a form of escapism and collaborative storytelling that allows a person to take a break from the everyday for a moment and be the protagonist of their own narrative, or as others have put it 'cross country pantomime with swords'.
There are games running up and down the country, many originating from university societies and there isn't a scout camp in the UK that hasn't fielded an enquiry from a plucky band of nerds looking to hire the place out for a weekend full of adventure and/or horror. As a hobby it is at once ridiculous and wonderful. The roleplaying community is one of the most welcoming out there, we all understand the importance of accepting who we are, even while pretending to be somebody else.
If 'Clothes make the man' then costume can certainly make the character. When putting together a costume for a larp character the look is very important. What sets Live Roleplay apart from similar games is that what you see is what you get and that means making an effort to tell your story at a glance, making sure your character has the right aesthetic, the right silhouette when you strike a suitably heroic pose. That means finding accessories that speak to you, that speak of the story you want to tell. You need something that sparks your imagination and in turn lets you communicate it to others.
Think of the oldest cliche in the book - picking up your dead father's sword to go and avenge him. You won't get very far on your quest using a sword that doesn't look and feel right for you. So, take your time, browse carefully and make sure whatever you buy meets the safety standards of whatever event you intend to take part in. Take your first step on your next great adventure and enjoy the simultaneous thrill of feeling like a great hero and a massive dork in a single moment. Embrace this wonderful pastime and I hope to see you in the field one day 🙂
Getting started: If you're interested in finding out more about getting into live roleplay then the internet will be the best place to start. A lot of games fall tend to have a quasi-medieval fantasy feel and this is where most people get their start. If that sort of thing appeals then Profound Decisions, Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust are some of the largest organisers in Britain running events with hundreds of attendees. If you prefer something smaller scale then many universities have roleplaying societies if not local larps of their own. In my experience they are happy to have new players or point you in the right direction. Roleplay is an incredibly broad church and the limits are literally your imagination. You can find a game for any genre any setting all you have to do is get online and ask around.