Taking Your Hits in a LARP

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Posted March 10, 2017 by Jideobi Siphen in Tabletop

There’s one thing about LARPing that we all feel that in some way we have to address whenever the topic comes up. That being the physicality of LARPing. Some LARPs out there are pure role-playing, some are purely combat based, and there are some out there like mine which try to strike a balance between the two. Well you also have some that do combat, but light touch rather than full-contact. The question that always comes up here is if the fighting could be considered real.Of course the answer to this will be yes, you hit people the same as you would if you were using nerf weapons and it can hurt. The main difference being that LARP weapons are made to be safer.

But what brought this topic to mind for me is when my LARP game blew up in the same argument which tends to come up quite consistently. The first part of the argument involved players taking their hits. We go by a hit point system in LARPing, you take a certain number of hits to your limbs and then you die. The number of hits you take is dependent upon if you are wearing armor, magic armor, a shield or none of the above. There are some players out there who really get into the fighting aspect of LARPing. Which isn’t a problem, yet it can be when you are someone who doesn’t know how to lose a fight. You may run into a player who ignores shots that should probably kill them. They may not take it, call it a tap, or tell you it hit an illegal zone. Not always the case though it does happen and tensions can rise because of this. The problem here is that it is encouraged that most players call their own hits as this should always come first. Second, if there is someone you’re fighting who doesn’t take their hits, you can simply and the fight to turn your attention to someone else. Third, tell an elder who will be able to spot that player to see if that kind of behavior continues.

If this is ever you who is supposedly ignoring hits, the best thing to do is take a death if you’re not sure how many hits you are taking. There is never shame in a loss. I actively keep my Steelskin spell on which allows me to ignore two strikes before I take any actual hits, yet at times I will even drop before then just because. Without perma-death you have that chance to always jump back into the fray to try again. If these things don’t register to you then it might be a good time to find armor when being targeted as a rhino-hider means people hold back less when swinging so that you feel their hits.

The other argument tends to be about those who practice unsafe fighting. This could mean anything from striking wildly, hitting people with the intention of harming them, or too often hitting in illegal areas. I wouldn’t say this is very often, though all the same it does happen and it only takes the wrong person for a conflict to arise. These things don’t phase me, so an arrow to the face(which happens quite often for me), or a strike below the belt aren’t things I react to. Others might, so it is best that every player is treated as if someone who is not open to the idea of having to step off the field due to a headache or hurt balls.

At the end of the day, never let anyone tell you that you can’t get hurt at a LARP. Plenty of people do get hurt and can. The movies are so wrong when it comes to the way LARPers fight. There is nothing whimsical about it when these nerds can easily be ex-military too because the unit I fight in has a number of those. That is why even those like my game hold ‘newbie speeches’ at the start of every event for players who are five events and below. You have to catch those habits before they start. This is for the sake of fighting safe and fighting smart because everyone knows what they’re doing before they step onto the field of battle.


About the Author

Jideobi Siphen