LARP (Live Action Role Playing) is quickly becoming a popular, widespread hobby for medieval and fantasy enthusiasts or just gamers in general. LARPing is for anyone who is a fan of role playing games, but wants to take them beyond their keyboard or dice. It is a fantastic real-world experience that will allow you to actually become your character, rather than simply controlling it. With many nationwide and local LARP communities across the country, there is bound to be one near you. If it is something that you make the decision to try out, there are a few things to know which will make your experience even more enjoyable.
The material of your armor is more important than you realize. There are many different types of armor to choose from when creating your character: Basic cloth garb, leather, chain mail, ring mail and plate are just a few of the many options.
On paper, plate sounds like a fantastic choice due to the added protection it provides. However, wearing heavier armor is constructive and immobilizing. It does slow you down and takes getting used to. This will impact your performance out of the battle field, so fighting a faster, more agile opponent can quickly become very frustrating. For your first time LARPing, it is recommended that you try out a lighter armor while you are still learning the basics of combat. Once you become a better fighter, then you can step up your grade of armor, if you so wish.
Just like armor, the material or style of your weapon makes a very big difference for the exact same reasons. When you are learning the basics of combat, a large two-handed mace is much harder to wield than a short sword due to the weight and length of the weapon. Because of this, a smaller, faster weapon is recommended either with a shield in your offhand, or dual wielding two smaller weapons. This will make you much more effective out on the battlefield.
The material of the weapon is just as important as the weapon type itself. Most LARP weapons are created in solid foam, or have a core made of either PVC or wood with foam around them. There are many different types of foams which can be used to make LARP weapons (sometimes referred to as Buffers). The two most common are round foam and flat foam. It is recommended that a new player uses flat foam for their first time LARPing. Even though round foam is stronger and more resistant to impact, flat foam is much lighter and allows for greater control. For the exact same reasons mentioned above, flat foam will make your experience more enjoyable by being easier to wield.
Finally, you will want to make sure you bring the right pack of accessories with you. LARP accessories take the form of two roles: “In game” and “out of game”. In game accessories are items that your character uses to aid them in their adventures. Examples include a few pouches (you don’t want to kill a goblin who drops a few copper pieces and have nowhere to put them), a belt to hold those pouches, a spell book to put spell scrolls in (this is generally a small blank book).
As for out of game items, these are items that you use as a player. Examples include a pen and notebook (there is plenty to keep track of in a LARP such as health or spell pools), snacks and drink (most larger LARPs offer meals throughout the course of a weekend, but you will want something to keep you going in between them) or if you smoke or vape, try to bring along an E cigarette starter kit. You don’t want to have an explosion in your pouch during combat because there was a lighter in a pouch. Most LARPs have designated smoking areas.
The last out of game item(s) that you will need are required makeup and racial accessories (if applicable). Certain races require specific items in order to be played at LARPs (Elves have pointy ears, Orcs have black skin with pointed ears, Dwarves require a beard to name a few). You don’t want to miss out on playing your favorite race because you don’t have the required items to do so.
While taking all of these into consideration will make your LARP experience a more enjoyable one, there is one last tip which trumps all of the above: Learn the rulebook. Some LARP’s can get pretty detailed when it comes to spell effects, or combat attacks. The last thing you want to do is stop a large brawl simply to ask someone what their attack did to you. So before stepping into a LARP, make sure that you study that rulebook. Your character’s life just may depend on it.