Live-action roleplaying looks like heaven to someone who may have fantasized about living another, fantastic life for a weekend, or tends to daydream about who they’d be in the worlds like those of Harry Potter, The Lords of the Rings, or Star Wars. But, to a geek who has only ever just daydreamed, and never actually participated; their inaugural LARP event may be intimidating to prepare for.
It’s scary to step into such a thing for the first time, but what truly makes the LARP experience so incredible are the people that make up the community, and fortunately many participants are supportive and generous enough to share their wisdom. Case in point, the charismatic and ever-so-wise Cheyenne Rain of LARP House, who agreed to answer some questions regarding how to prepare for and what to expect from your first LARP event.
Costuming on a Budget
Once you’ve decided on a character, or one has been assigned to you, it’s important to dig deep and understand who that character truly is. A superb way to do so, and to portray that character to other players at the game, is to construct the proper costume. But, at what cost? Rain tells us not to worry, and that there truly are costume tricks at every budget. “A lot of LARPers shop for their costuming pieces at thrift stores,” she said. “You’d be surprised what you can find there.”
Rain also shared with us a clever trick for newbies attending Renaissance or Middle Age era LARPs, “Tabards are a great alternative to a large costume investment. They’re literally just a sheet of fabric with a hole for your head, held to your body with a belt.”
Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into the Fire
A huge component of LARPing is interacting with the other characters, either as a team or individually, something difficult for some people to do on the spot. “For your first character, try make a character who is close to your real personality, but more outgoing than you really are,” Rain suggested. “That is exactly what I did, and it was scary at first, but everyone was incredibly welcoming.”
This subject brings to the forefront another positive aspect of the adventuring community, inclusion. Everyone is at the event to have a good time, and if the game makers and players all work together, there shouldn’t be anyone left out. You get what you give, in life and in LARP, whether walking the halls of your office building or trudging through the forest with your team of grimlocks or elves.
The Do’s and Dont’s You Need to Know
Though you are entering another world with your fellow participants, that doesn’t mean that you simply become each other’s playthings. You’re still separate people telling different stories, and listening and understanding what the other players do and don’t want is crucial to creating a safe place to play. Cheyenne Rain gave us some great advice on a subject that comes up fairly often, and should be taken seriously. “You always need to ask permission, out of character, before you actually physically touch someone,” she said. “And if they say no, no big deal! In that case, instead of actually, say, shaking a person, you would say ‘Forsooth, I shake you.'”
“Forsooth is a word we use that basically means ‘pretend as if'”, Rain added. Definitely a phrase to add to our LARP dictionary.
Another action to keep in mind is working outside of the team too often. Rain explained,”If you’re always going off trying to do your own thing, you might as well be playing a video game at home.”
Getting into and Breaking out of Character
In LARPing, your character is your key to adventure. What you say, where you go, what you do, everything comes back to who you are to the story. How can you be sure that you’re using the aspects of your character to their full capacity?
It’s in the details.
“If you have trouble getting into character, give your character a physical tick that you don’t have in real life,” Rain advised. “Changing the way you behave physically when you’re in-character will train your brain to go into that mindset when you start doing the tick.”
Rain also gave us perhaps one of the most impressive tips on character development out there, have a hobby or action to perform during slower moments in the game. “Maybe you’re a magical researcher and want to catalogue everyone’s abilities and heritage for reference. Maybe you’re possessed by a ghost who takes over whenever your will is weak, or bored,” she said. “Something to spice things up a little.”
And, breaking character? Rain says best to clear steer in most situations, “If you find that someone else is breaking character and just talking about their muggle life, it can be as simple as saying, ‘Let’s keep it in-character, guys.'”
But, do not fear, newbies, asking questions about the game is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged. “If you have questions or concerns, you should always bring those up. LARPers will not judge a new person for needing clarification,” Rain clarified. “Just put your fist over your head to indicate that you are out-of-character, and ask away.”
Do you have LARP questions we didn’t answer? Ask away in the comments below, or check out other informative videos from LARP House on their Facebook page. Have more LARP tips for me? Let’s talk on Twitter @bekahbabble!
Featured Image Credit: LARPs