Why I Love L.A.R.P.
NOUN: a type of role-playing game in which participants physically act out scenarios, typically using costumes and props. LARP as an acronym for: Live Action Role Play.
As you may have gathered from my videos, I'm always looking to introduce new and interesting things into my life and in the summer of 2017, I discovered something called LARP.
The short version is that you get to dress up and play the role of a fictitious character that you create yourself. It's great fun, it's immersive, is socially excellent even for a social-reclusive like me, and it can be hilarious at times. Escapism at its finest.
There are many different LARP systems with all kinds of themes, ranging from medieval, western, steampunk, post-apocalyptic to name just a few. They are organised events that happen in all kinds of venues, from just a few people in somebody's living room, to fully immersive and fully authentic events happening at locations with thousands of people attending. The events can last for a few hours, a few days, a week, or even longer.
Why I Love LARP
I’m a pretty imaginative guy, I love stories. The idea of visiting a real-life fantasy world and becoming a part of it, is an extremely attractive idea to me, so when I discovered LARP, quite accidentally, it got my full and undivided attention.
I remember many years ago attending The Lincoln Christmas market. I was visiting a friend in Lincoln, and they suggested we went and had a look around it. Lincoln itself is a very beautiful and deeply historic town, with lots of cobblestone streets, it has a castle and an amazing cathedral within a stone's-throw of each other. The whole place is oozing with charm and character.
Imagine turning up there on a dark, mild December evening and seeing the whole town lit up with the most amazing atmospheric lighting, giving everything a cozy, almost chocolate-box feel.
Now add to that the market itself. Lining each side of these cobblestone streets were market stalls selling all kinds of wares including lots of delicious food and drink. On top of that, all the market vendors and a good portion of the attendees were dressed in authentic medieval-style costumes.
The atmosphere was incredible! So immersive! I lost all track of time as I wandered around the market and ancient castle for what must have been hours, just absorbing it all. I even treated myself to a spiced red wine and a hog roast with apple sauce that had been cooked on an open spit.
It was magical beyond words, not just the wine and hog roast, but everything! The level of immersion I experienced that evening felt so magical, like I had been transported back in time to a medieval world.
That was back in the late 1990's. Since then, I had never felt anything even close to the immersion and magic I felt at the Lincoln Christmas market, that is until I attended my first LARP event in the autumn of 2017.
I joined up with a system called 'Empire', run by a company called Profound Decisions. I went there on my own and was really hoping that it might at least measure-up to my Lincoln experience. I was not disappointed! My trip to Anvil, the name of the tented town that sprang up that early autumn weekend, was just an amazing place to behold.
Not only was the sense of immersion into another world there, it was compounded by every person being dressed in appropriate costume, which made it feel even more authentic and realistic, especially at night with lots of attention paid to authentic in-character lighting.
Despite attending my first LARP event on my own, everyone I met there was very friendly, happy to chat and talk, and I met a really nice bunch of folks who later adopted me into their house and have been helping show me the ropes ever since, for which I am very grateful.
Empire is a vastly complicated system, those who know it well converse in what seems like a foreign language to me, but I hope I will start to grasp more of the story, lore and culture as I attend more events and gain more experience there.
As I write this text right now, I am preparing for my second visit to Anvil in a couple of weeks time. For now, I will leave this article here, but as my knowledge and experience increases, I am hoping I'll be able to add to it with a little more authority in my words.
I will conclude this article for now by saying, that if the magical sense of going back in time or being immersed into a fantasy world appeals to you in any way, then do take a moment to look into LARP and perhaps even give it a try. I spoke to many people there whose lives had been changed for the better after discovering LARP.