3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Larping

larp jewelery
Meaningful jewelry can enhance the realism of your character.

Now that I’ve been LARPing for more than half a decade, I think back on the first game I attended. I remember how I felt and what the game staff did that helped and hindered my experience as a new LARPer. Even if the staff and players at a game are completely welcoming, there were a few things I wish I’d been aware of prior to attending a LARP.

1) Level of Costuming – Prior to LARPing, I had gone to renaissance faires and performed in plays. However, I didn’t realize the importance of the detail in a character’s costuming. A post-apocalyptic LARP character could get lost in a crowd–but what if her costume is all grimy except for a pristine, shiny locket containing a photograph of a lost family member? Initially, I thought just having a ‘good’ or fancy costume was enough, but those with simpler costumes are often equal or more skilled at role playing based partially upon their costuming details.

2) Bringing Friends – LARP is a social activity. I knew one person on staff at a game (my then-boyfriend, now-husband) when I started attending LARPs. While I found it pretty easy to make friends in and out of game, I would have been less intimidated had I brought along another friend who was new to LARPing. I had more fun at my second event because I brought two of my friends from college along, and one of them was extremely social.

3) Background Research is Helpful – I see a lot of posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter that go something like this: “I want to LARP! It looks so fun, but I’m afraid people will make fun of me and I don’t know anyone at the game!” A bit more knowledge about LARPing can assuage those fears. With the caveat that no two LARPs are the same, I’d recommend:
• Books: “LARP: The Battle for Verona” by Justin Calderone (fiction) and “Leaving Mundania” by Lizzie Stark (nonfiction)
• Videos: Game trailers on YouTube – Seventh Kingdom IGE, ConQuest of Mythodea 2012
• Online Resources: LARP Alliance, LARP Examiner, various LARP groups on Facebook, the LARP tag in Tumblr, and this website
• Other RPGs (role playing games): LARP is a unique experience, but if the thought of a rules system intimidates you, try playing a low-level character in a MMO like World of Warcraft (free trial) or a tabletop game like “Dungeons & Dragons”

What do you wish you’d known when you first started LARPing? Leave a comment!

About the Author: Tara M. Clapper is a full-time freelance writer living in the Philadelphia area. A geek culture maven, she enjoys LARPing at Seventh Kingdom IGE based in New Jersey. Tara writes for multiple print and online outlets, including multiple Yahoo! Properties and Sweet on Geek.
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1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. ChrisG January 31, 2013 Subscriber

    Things I wish I knew before my first event…..
    1) That it is so addictive and that I would end up attending 3-4 events per year for 12 years in a row.
    2) As I attended the Lorien Trust system, it is all camping in fields – I wish I had thought to buy a tent I could stand up in – instead of struggling like crazy to put on armour kneeling down!
    3) Wear shoes with good grip – when it gets slippery and you unintentionally over-extend yourself, a pulled Cyatic nerve is NOOOOOO joke!
    4) If you have the choice to buy/have a cloak or an additional weapon at your first event, GET A CLOAK! you can always borrow another weapon, but at 1:30am it tends to be freezing when you stop moving to talk to someone or investigate what has happened to your friends (like they are all lying dead (in character) outside the guild tents….lol – seriously though, warm IC clothing is great and if you are too hot you can take a cloak off, or even better, share it with someone you met who has gone for the two weapons, no cloak option.

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