How to Larp in a Small Town
Today’s post comes from Jenna(@SapphireShard) who blogs over at http://www.skybear.co.uk about all kinds of stuff. Some of her hobbies include illustrating, television and of course larping. Make sure to follow her on Twitter and share your ideas of how to larp in a small town.
I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who, like me, live nowhere near a well established LARP or have no desire to join a big group even if there is one nearby. It can seem a bit daunting to try and set up your own, but have no fear! With a couple of friends and some crudely painted ‘magic sticks’ by your side, there’s nothing you can’t do.
First, gather your army (or squad/team/family/comrades/hoard). You probably already know which of your friends won’t think you are bat-shit-crazy when you go up to them and suggest running around the woods for a day dressed as various creatures or magical beings. I’d ask those guys. To some people the idea of LARPing doesn’t seem like a brilliant way to spend your time, and won’t change their minds no matter how much you bug them about it (I know, crazy, right?) so you might not want to bother there. When it comes to communication, making a Facebook Group is a great way of keeping your LARPing comrades in the loop about what events you may be planning, and is also a nice and easy way to invite new people to your team.
So here is a bit of friendly advice from someone with experience trying to put these things together. These are my top-five tips for small-town LARPing:
- Just get your arse outside and do it. It doesn’t matter how many of you there are, just throw yourselves into it. There were only the two of us on the most successful – and in-character – LARP i’ve been a part of. Staying in character is always the biggest issue for our group, if there are a few of you and you are a bit unsure it can be very hard to do, but just try your best and everyone will be improving in leaps and bounds soon enough. Due to some pretty bad planning the last time our group organised a meet-up we ended up with only three people attending. It also hailed a lot. But even with bad weather and a not-so-great turn out you can still have one hell of a laugh!
- Know your world. Before you get dressed up and out in the woods you need to know where you are and who you are going to be. Making up characters on the day can lead to a lot of faffing around when what you really want to do is just get stuck right in. You can always change later if you aren’t comfortable with who you have created, but before you get out there pick someone and stick with them. Preferably get a bit of backstory for your Universe sorted out too, but that’s much easier to make up on the go.
- You are a team. Or a team and some bad guys – but bad guys have Bro’s too. So, as a team you should be getting your butt’s somewhere near to each other regularly to train and fight bad guys. Once you have got one LARP in the bag, make sure to organise regular ones after. Every month, every couple of months, or perhaps even weekly if you are really keen! If you can’t manage a full LARP perhaps organise a training day with role-play themed games. ‘Theater tag‘ is a pretty good game and can help practice playing different characters, or perhaps get together for an Archery/stage fighting workshop.
- Don’t make things difficult for yourselves. If you can’t keep up an Australian accent all day, then don’t give your character an Australian accent. If you find it impossible to act like the boss, or the bad guy, don’t do it. To start with you need to just get comfortable, then you can work up to the more outlandish characters and voices. There will potentially be people in your group that are very happy to start off playing the extremely camp, Russian, devil-clown that you have decided will be your villain, but if you aren’t quite ready to throw yourself that deep into character, don’t do it yet.
- Play safe. Feel free to ignore everything else i have said here, but please be sensible and safe. At the very least remember to bring phones, water, plasters and bug/sting spray. Depending on where you are in the world you are, and what your local wildlife is like, some places may be safer than others. Just make sure you aren’t going to get stranded in the middle of the woods with no way of calling for help. Also, don’t go LARPing in random people’s land unless you have their permission, there’s lots of brilliant public woodland to use without pissing off strangers. When it comes to weapons don’t go anywhere near real ones, plastic and foam may not look as great but you aren’t going to be in any danger of accidental dismemberment, stabbing, arrest or royally freaking out the general public. Use your common sense!
Finally, a bonus tip: Capes are really not a good idea if you plan on running around wooded areas. Our group have no experience other than what we have done by ourselves, and that’s all been made up as we have been going along! Each group will approach things differently, just make sure you play safe and have a good time!
For more pictures, videos and character profiles for our LARPing group – The Materian Alliance – you can visit our very-occasionally-updated tumblr.