This being the first LARP post I’ve done for We The Nerdy, it only feels right that before I get into this subject I should explain just what LARPing is. To put it simply, LARP is Live Action Role Play. This means that all the cool stuff you do and imagine yourself doing playing games like D&D? You get up out of your chair to do in actuality.
No, that doesn’t mean running around in cardboard or throwing foil at people screaming “Lightning Bolt!”. We are talking about actually going out there with weapons and garb that you either put the time to make yourself or buy to be the character in your own story or adventure. To some LARP is a sport because they love the combat (that you really do have to practice if you want to beat anyone). To others it is a cool hobby because they get to stretch their legs role playing, creating, and simply having fun in whatever they choose to do. Not everyone is out there to just escape reality, that is the basic assumption until you’ve seen it yourself or experienced it.
That out-of-the-way, the topic I wanted to get into is what it means to make the game your own. For my LARP game the internal structure is centered around countries. A group of players under the same banner who worship the same deity, and their actions tend to affect the group as a whole. Not to mention that with the country you choose to join, there is of course the color scheme that comes with your choice of garb. This is mainly because the game is a war game at the core. So when it comes to standing out as an individual, that doesn’t always come easy unless you are that good of a nomad player. To advance, a lot of the time it matters who you’re grouped with and how many you have on your side. Which leaves little room for you to spread your legs to be different. I think the only reason I ever made it to where I am in the game is because I told myself damn the idea that I had to be defined by my alliance. My country is militaristic and now the most approachable, though I ended up being one of those who was able to break the mold and get away with working personal agendas in the background.
It took some time for my LARP, but we finally decided to tackle the problem of our lack of story and role play. Finding this balance has always been difficult when some of the loudest voices tend to be those who love to simply swing swords. But we found a way through a year-long storyline that gave people the opportunity to have their actions mean something in the grand scheme. For instance my country decided to try something new. We went from Drow to our Iblith Corp Goblins who simply look for chaos and make a mockery of the realm. It has been the most fun I could ever ask for when the story demands that you either fight for the light or dark, yet we created a third-party involvement that couldn’t care about either side and just wanted to start something. All the player were set for this storyline and yet here we were forcing everyone’s hand to deal with the fact that we were going to be trouble for anyone who decided we had to fight for them.
Some will always wonder about where they fit LARPing or their relevancy among the crowd, but that is all really in your head. If you want to stand out, if you want to have fun, then you simply have to do it for yourself. Initiate conversations with other player characters, start trouble with other player characters, lend yourself as a needed hand in war actions as a mercenary, or just shake things up in a way that benefits you.
At the end of the day no LARP is tailor-made for any one person. Whether your are a new or veteran player, what grabs you initially and keeps you coming back for more is what you do as an individual to make every interaction or fight/confrontation worth it. As of about two or three days ago this would be my third year LARPing and I can’t say I see an end to that any time too soon because of the effort I put into making each event and/or campout adventure memorable for myself.