By Mason Sirois Assistant Video Game Design Instructor / Former LARP Specialist
5 Tips for Getting involved in LARP
- Google “LARP’s near me.
This will check LARP databases that link to multiple individual websites. Here you will find locations and times for LARP meetups. To read about a few of these groups, you can check them out at either www.larphack.com/larplist or www.larping.org/larps
2. Not all LARP leagues you find will be right for you
LARP rules and themes will vary from group to group. You may have to “shop around” and try a few systems out before you find one that best suits you.
3. Come prepared
Like trying anything new, it is important to read the rules before jumping right in. You can prepare yourself by reading the group’s rule book or reaching out to the person in charge. Also most LARPs will have extra materials for beginners to use. Keep in mind certain days might be better for joining than others.
4. Buying/Making your own costumes and boffers (foam swords)
Again every LARP has it’s own rules, so be sure to take this into account when creating anything. Most veterans at your LARP would be happy to help and might even give you construction guidelines for you to follow.
5. Starting your own LARP group
Once you get some experience under your belt, starting your own LARP is definitely a possibility. After searching through ideas on the theme of your LARP I strongly suggest basing your safety rules on one already established. It can be very easy to leave things out so it’s better to be safe than sorry. The best part about designing your own LARP is it can be ANYTHING YOU WANT! Maybe all the LARPs near you are fantasy and you want Steampunk, or maybe the LARP you like best allows head shots and you don’t feel comfortable with that, or you and some friends just want to write your own story line.
5 Benefits of LARP
- Exercise – The majority of LARPs have foam weapons that are used to play and act out different scenarios. Using these boffers, takes practice to use well, often the participant will have to run around for most if not all of the activity. LARP is very physical and if done regularly is a great way to stay in shape.
- Practicing Diplomacy – Not all problems in LARP can or should be solved with a sword fight. Most places encourage diplomatic and creative approaches to solving problems. Many of the situations that arise are analogous to problems we encounter in everyday life.
- Team Building Skills and Social Exposure – There are very few instances where you will be alone in LARP. The majority of the time you will be with your group /team/clan/kingdom. For this reason it is crucial to learn how to work well with others. Once you have a system worked out you and your friends can overcome anything.
- Promotes Creativity – The longer you participate in LARP the more perspectives you will encounter, ie) costume design, problem solving, and sword technique. I never considered myself a crafty or artistic person, but after practicing I can now make 3 foam swords in about an hour. Making costumes is one of the most creative parts too, but be careful not to make them too hot, heavy, or fragile.
- Learning New Perspectives – The “RP” in LARP (Live-Action-Role-Playing), can be more or less in focus of the system as a whole. Regardless, there is so much to learn. It takes a lot of practice and overall skill to stay in character. LARP is also “Live”, so anything can happen at anytime. Since we can’t plan for every possible outcome, it is here we learn flexible thinking. Creative problem solving is definitely a skill that LARP focuses on most.
ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF LARP IS THE PEOPLE YOU MEET AND THE FRIENDS YOU CAN MAKE