LARP Tales | Rachel's Story

Today’s post comes from Rachel at She shares her story of getting started in various kinds of Live Action Role Playing.

Thera: one of Rachel's characters

Roleplaying: getting started

I cannot really point to a specific event and say, “That’s when I started LARPing,” but I probably started around high school. Roleplaying has always been an interest of mine – even when I didn’t have anyone to play with in junior high, I still read the old Lone Wolf game novels by Joe Dever.

In high school, a few friends and me got into backyard wrestling. No, seriously! We would devise characters with elaborate histories and costumes and work out scripts for ‘matches’. Looking back on it, what we did was really just a freeform style of LARPing. Our storylines could get very convoluted, and we had great fun playing them out.

First L.A.R.P.

One of the members of our informal group was into World of Darkness Masquerade LARPs, and brought me and another friend along to one of her games. Point by point, my experience is a fantastic example of ‘How Not To Treat The Newbs.’ We had only a sketchy description of the mechanics. Despite having played the tabletop game before, I still didn’t understand what half the things on my sheet meant or why my character was even there. I had no idea what the city’s social/political structure was like, or even who the Prince was. We checked in with the Storyteller, and then almost immediately, the friend who had invited us abandoned me and my fellow new LARPer to go do her own thing. The only advice we were given was ‘Avoid that guy, he’s bad news.’ But the only person who would talk to us was ‘that guy.’ We couldn’t even get the Storyteller to pay attention to us or answer our questions.

Needless to say, I went home from that particular game not feeling especially welcome, and didn’t attend another game for awhile. To describe me as disappointed would be an understatement – I had always thought LARP would be something I would enjoy, and I was quite disheartened by my bad experience.

Hooked on Larping

A few years later, however, while in college, I was invited to attend another LARP, another Masquerade game. Based on my previous experience, I was a bit wary. This time, though, the friends who brought me made sure to let me know what was going on, taught me the mechanics and helped me design a character I would enjoy playing. The event was a blast. I had a great time, and from then on, I was hooked.

After a few years of World of Darkness LARPing under my belt, I got invited to yet another LARP, my first fantasy boffer game. The game was run by a friend of mine and was called Dying Kingdoms. I started off by NPCing a mentally unstable dream magician and had quite a lot of fun with her. When the next game came round, I made a slightly ditzy half-elf nature magician (“She was raised by trees”). As irony would have it, my third game with this PC, I wandered off into the woods with the wrong NPC and came back… a vampire.

Since then, I have played an even wider variety of characters, as both PCs and NPCs. And I keep coming back for more. I love this game. I have made lifelong friends through LARP, and I am always looking forward to the next game. I even started a website designed to help everyone understand how to become a better larper.

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