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