Green Door Labs happily welcomes a guest post from Devin Caldwell, freelance writer and LARPing enthusiast, on how to enjoy and make the most out of your LARPing experience.
A Beginners Guide to LARPing
LARPing stands for "live action roleplaying." It involves getting a group of people together to roleplay characters that act out stories and scenarios while often having battles.
People with a passing familiarity with LARPing may think of a Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy scenario. While traditional fantasy is the most popular form of LARPing, many different styles of roleplay are also popular. Steampunk, vampires, scenarios based on book series, sci-fi, etcetera are all different forms of LARPing.
If you're newly interested in LARPing you may be wondering how you find people to group with and how you can prepare for your first get together.
How Do I Find and Join my first LARP?
To find a LARP in your area, you can go online and search for "LARP" along with the name of the area you live in. You can also check out some of the groups at LARP.com to get a feel for what a LARP group is like. The map search tool at LARPing.org is also a great resource for finding various groups in your area of the country.
What if I can't Find Any LARP Groups in My Area?
If you can't find any established LARPs in your area, you can start your own. Create a web page to advertise your intentions and seek out local people that may be interested in LARPing. Game clubs and groups or stores dedicated to gaming are good places to advertise for potential candidates.
How do I Prepare for my First LARP?
Undertaking a new experience of this magnitude can be an intimidating proposition. While you should at least do some research and work before you attend your first LARPing session, it's by no means required that you be an expert before your first get together. Try to show up early and get to know some of the other LARPers before it begins. Bring something to help break the ice and get to know others; if like to vape you can bring a new e cigarette starter kit to share with someone, if you like music bring a portable speaker to play some music beforehand to get you and others excited for the event. Come prepared with something to help you get to know other before the event begins.
Create a Character
The most important step in preparing for a LARP is creating your character. Invent the details of their appearance, personality and history in a way that will be the most interesting and enjoyable for you to roleplay. Start doing your homework and save the images and ideas to your computer to access later. You can also post your character online to get other people's input and engage the community.
Create a thorough back story for your character that's detailed, but simple enough for you to remember. One of the best ways to create a character you're comfortable with is to incorporate the things you enjoy doing into their behavior. Don't create a persona that is required to do things you don't like having to do.
Even so, don't be afraid to create a character that has a different personality than you. Take yourself out of your comfort zone to become a confident hero character. You can even explore a character that isn't so sure of himself/herself and has a tendency to create awkward situations wherever they go. This can be a great way to make your roleplay an interesting and personally fulfilling experience.
Make Your First LARP Outfit
When first starting out, a simple costume is ideal. Find clothing around the house to create your outfit and stay away from jeans or clothes with graphics on them. As you gain more experience with LARPing, you can spend more time and money on creating more elaborate outfits.
As for the weapon, you can borrow one from another LARPer when you start out or spend some money to create one on your own. Do your research online to find out how to make your weapons of choice. A good place to get an idea of what's available would be The LARP Store.
Remember that through all the rules and requirements, in the end, the most important thing is that you have fun and make new friends. One of the most significant reasons to roleplay is to get a break from the difficulties of reality and be someone else for a time. When we put ourselves in the head of a character while LARPing, we can create experiences that we wouldn't otherwise have. Ultimately, we may find that it has helped us to understand ourselves better.