How To Start a Larp: Start Larping!

how to start larping
You don’t have to look awesome, you just have to start.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Ivan of fame. Lately the popularity of larp has been absolutely exploding. People from all around the US (where we’re based) and the world are becoming more and more interested in getting involved in larp. But not a lot of people know how to start larping. Ivan has done a good job of writing a really motivating set of posts(this is the first of many) that will get you ready to start larping or teach you how to start a larp of your own. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and get them answered.

If you can get to one of the big, established larps, go there. By yourself or with a group. Contact the organizers if you have any questions. Start LARPing.

If you’re thinking about fantasy LARP (which is certainly the most popular), you can have basic clothing and a boffer weapon ready for the cost of around €10 ($15), or 75 kn. For the cheapest and most basic clothing available, you can buy cheap, white fleece blankets at Jysk (Editor’s Note Croation Bed, Bath and Beyond. Think Walmart, Kmart or your local hobby shop or thrift store). Fleece is not historically accurate, but can pass for wool from afar, and you can make two tabards from that piece without any sewing skills (fleece does not fray, so you don’t need to hem it). You can make basic boffer weapons (Google it for handy guides) from fiberglass/bamboo/pvc core and some foam and cover (and/or tape). That’s all very basic, but it works and it’s fun. Start LARPing.

Of course, you can also spend tens of thousands of dollars on historically accurate armor, clothing, camping gear etc. And you can do pretty much everything in between. Start LARPing.

However, maybe you’re from a small town or the area where there are no LARPs and can’t get to the big, estabilished LARPs due to price. Or maybe you have no desire to do so for other reasons. Either way, you can start a LARP. It’s easier than you think. Just do it. Start a LARP.

There are several LARP rulesets around, and plenty of them are free to use (though dropping a note is nice), or you can do it the nordic way and simply roleplay everything. You don’t need prior experience – it can inspire you and give you knowledge and ideas, but it can also set you in your ways and give you an expectations of how LARP should look like, even though it’s not the only possible way. Avoid being a bad copy, be original. Spread the hobby. Start a LARP.

You only need a couple of friends, no matter where you live. And a minimal amoutn of props. A forest, a park, a backyard or a basement – you can larp in any of those, and more. Your way will probably be the right way. If there are other LARPers nearby, they will most likely be interested in visiting you. There’s a lot to learn, but remember – be original. Spread and expand the hobby and the community, don’t cannibalize or divide it. Be nice to your fellow LARPers. Start a LARP.

If you’re inspired by photos and videos of other, bigger events, don’t worry. Good looks and high number of attendants are usually a goal, but not a requirement. You can do it with what you have now, just prepare an event. Start a LARP.

There’s no real reason not to. And if you comment below, I’ll be happy to help you with any advice I can give. Expand, be creative and imaginative, and let your voice be heard. And if you’re already LARPing, spread the word. Spread the LARP revolution. Help other local groups or LARPs get started. Make it happen.

Photo courtesy of Bifford on Flickr.

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9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Korey Adkins September 19, 2013 Subscriber

    I am fairly glad I ran across this article. I have been wanting to make a medium sized LARP for quite some time.The thought would enter my mind, but, I always told myself that if I ever did start one, it would amount to nothing. This article gave me a sliver of hope, as I have a few friends who would be willing to participate. They’d only have to spread the word.Perhaps now, the only hindrance on my goal is my current location: Sourhwestern Virginia. I know of a few fields, owned my older acquaintances and friends, that would be perfect for me to use; however, I fear the playing field would be too dull. Any ideas on good starter props I could purchase to maybe spruce up the field? I’m going for a medieval theme of sorts.

    • Kyle November 3, 2013 Subscriber

      I know that feeling of wanting to start up a larp, but fearing it won’t work. I’m actually in the process of writing up a story/game system for a one shot Zombie Larp down in Texas, and have no idea if it will ever go past just being on paper. As for your fears of your field not being good enough, go with what you have, and let your imagination do the rest. I have been to larps where it literally was just a little forest area, a small stream, and an open field, but the Staff and NPCs, along with the players made it one of the best Larps i’ve ever been to. Imagination is the key to any Larping experience, and using that is the key to a good Larp. The best thing isn’t worrying to much about the play area, and focus more on making your NPCs and yourself look like what you want them to. Halloween stores and Party City are a Larper’s dream store if you’re looking for a great game. I’ve lost count of how many bottles of face paint i’ve gone through in my time Larping, but something as simple as an all black face with black clothes head to toe is a shadow enemy. a few brown smudges on your face turns you into a pauper, or a farmer just after a long day’s work. even three red lines running across your cheek changes you from that guy over there, to that battle hardened soldier with scars to prove it. just have a tent out of the way of the main game, off to the side, (preferably out of view of the main game area) for NPCs to go and change, or even just relax and catch their breath, and let the other people playing bring their own tents and props to help them fall into character. just a few ideas for you.

  2. leviteakettle February 23, 2014 Subscriber

    how do you start larping for kids? my son tries but he cant do any big larps.

    • Thomas Miller February 23, 2014 Subscriber

      I think a good place to start for children is LARP Camps. There are quite a few in the US and even more in Europe.
      Email for a bit more information.

  3. Robert Blanchard 2 March 23, 2014 Subscriber

    I’m a beginner and having a little problem finding were to start and how to. i tried to use the internet but I’m a little bit lost in the proses.

  4. Ambera13 May 13, 2016 Subscriber

    My boyfriend and I want to start, but we need help. Any tips or anything will help!! Thanks

  5. Autumn Thayer January 27, 2019 Subscriber

    There are no Larps in my area and I am unsure how to start one. I have never tried Larping before.

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