by Devin Caldwell

How to Play a Truly Evil Villain in a LARP

If it weren’t for the villains, why would we need a hero? Batman is great–he can fly around, has tons of money, and gets to play with a ridiculous amount of toys. Would we still care about him if he wasn’t battling the Joker, Bane, or The Riddler? Villains are necessary for a complete LARP. They’re also incredibly fun to play. While some may find the role of villain to be natural, others may have difficulty getting into character. For those of you in the latter, here’s “How to Play a Truly Evil Villain in a LARP.” 

Be Confident

First and foremost, a villain must be confident. That confidence can manifest itself in numerous ways. Perhaps the villain has the confidence that they can impersonate another PC (player character) and infiltrate an enemy stronghold. Maybe the villain laughs when faced with danger. The seeds of doubt should be found nowhere in your character’s personality. A villain is sure of himself–a touch of narcissism with a willingness to take out anyone that stands in their way.

Have Quirks

Effective LARP player characters often create ticks or quirks that add dimension to their characters. Altering your voice, changing behaviors, dying your hair, or even creating physical impairments. This is where you get to decide your motivations–choose what makes you a villain. There’s a reason behind the madness, discover what that may be.

The Wild Card

Great villains are unpredictable–both in their thought process and actions. It doesn’t mean they should act without abandon. Even the Joker in The Dark Knight had a set of rules or parameters that he lived by. Understanding your character means having a set of parameters that you follow. Thinking ahead to be ready for any situation is the ideal way to be a wild card. It allows you to sense the situation and react accordingly. By throwing other player characters for a loop, you will extend the game.

Never Stand Down

It always happens–a cocky “hero” player character thinks they’re untouchable and challenges the villain. Roleplay fail is common in these types of situation. The “hero” wants to show how strong they are and refuse to roleplay with the villain. Forgetting the story aspect of the RP, these players are simply in it for the glory. Have a plan for these types of situations–think out scenarios, rehearse a response or retaliation. Don’t forget that LARP is supposed to be fun and equitable for everyone.

Introduce Your Own Personality

The best actors introduce a little piece of themselves into the character they’re playing. This adds added gravitas and weight to their roles. It feels authentic and emotional when actions affect them. Introducing your own personality into your LARP player character is a great way to ease into the selected villain role. For example, LARPers with a fondness for vaping have incorporated modified e cigarette drip tips and cartridges as magical devices–often doing tricks with the vapors for added effect. A villain can truly play around with their own personality. What are some personal hobbies that can be modified to fit your next LARP character?
The villain role in a LARP is difficult to fill. When done correctly it extends a roleplay to new levels. When done wrong it can tank the event for everyone. These tips for How to Play a Truly Evil Villain in a LARP should help with your next episode. Playing the villain is like gaining your freedom. Creating the character that everyone loves to hate is a blast and should be experienced.

About Devin Caldwell
“I’m a native of Los Angeles, a freelance writer and LARPing enthusiast. I’ve been writing my whole life and love to share with the world what I am passionate about. When I’m not behind the desk writing I can be found either preparing for my next LARPing match or taking a hike in the foothills.”


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