We often discuss LARP drop, or the feelings of sadness and loneliness you might experience following an event when you’re alone for the first time in a while. But there’s also LARP hype, which happens on the early end of LARP planning.
We mostly associate LARP hype with excitement and positivity, but the rush of LARP hype, your interactions with other players and their expectations, and the time crunch at the end can produce some valid feelings of anxiety.
If you’re new to LARPing, here’s a look at what you might expect. If you’ve LARPed before, enjoy the gifs and know you’re not alone.
1. Sign Up Social Hype
Whether you’ve signed up for a new blockbuster LARP or the same monthly campaign game you’ve attended for years, hype begins when you click the RSVP and payment buttons. It only escalates once you share your attendance in your game group or on your Facebook wall. LARP attendance is usually a substantial commitment of time and funds, and it can represent the majority of your entertainment budget.
What better way to experience entertainment than with your friends?
2. Character Adoration
The anticipation of that character sheet only adds to the hype. It’s definitely one of the most intense points of hype between the sign-up and the LARP itself. If it’s a new character, there’s some anxiety about what you might get…
…as well as hopes about the potentials for costuming if you get cast in the group or faction of your choice.
Peculiar Crossroads Productions, creators of Armistice Arcane, sent out short character blurbs (complete with faction affiliation) prior to the full sheets to allow players adequate time for costuming preparations. It was enough to start prep, but it also fueled the hype.
For campaign LARPers, this can mean updating your character materials and selecting new skills. Now’s the time to think about what you’ll do and how you’ll accomplish it.
3. Perfect Planning and Character Connections
Once the LARP is closer to approaching and you have your new character (or your character upgrades), it comes time to plan for the event with your players. While some of the best moments of your story may happen by chance, now is the time to define and refine character relationships and potential interactions. It’s also an ideal time to begin conversations about consent, especially concerning intense interactions like fighting, arguing, or romance.
Of all the things that hype me up the most about any LARP event, it’s the process of connecting with other players and developing intense character relationships (especially the antagonistic ones).
4. Purchases and Creation
For many LARPers, the creative phase of character preparation is the most rewarding. During this time, you can purchase, customize or create the many elements that make your character unique.
While everyone is familiar with the need to acquire or make the right costuming and props, the details go far beyond that. Many LARPers memorize rules, learn songs or poems, make playlists, and practice accents in preparation for taking on their character’s role. The process of creating and assembling props and costume pieces can feel like you’re putting a bit of yourself into the character, and that only enhances the hype.
It’s also genuinely exciting to finish a project, and LARPs naturally allow you to break tasks down into smaller ones (the process of “chunking”).
5. Packing and Panic
Have you ever stayed up to complete a project the night before the LARP? Have you ever worried you’ve forgotten something – or worse, have you actually forgotten important items? Welcome to the ‘packing and panic’ stage of LARP hype. Here, sleep deprivation contributes to general excitement and a feeling of dread, thanks to the natural deadlines LARP events create.
Is it possible to be nervous and excited at the same time?
Absolutely, and that’s yet another stage of the preparation and hype.
6. Straight Up Anxiety
If you’re used to spending a lot of time alone, the adjustment to being in a large crowd all weekend can also create some anxiety. LARPs present a lot of opportunity for expectations and disappointment, and it’s only natural to internalize some of that.
You know how it feels as a kid on the night before your birthday or a major holiday? That’s kind of how LARPing is for adults. I never slept the night before Christmas. When you need to fly, drive, or just generally be awake the following day, failure to sleep is not optimal, and in some cases, not safe. At this point, I just embrace the fact that it’s going to happen and plan accordingly.
This is the stage of LARP hype you can find yourself running on even through the first day of a multi-day event – but don’t forget to take care of your body.
You can also try some standard tips for falling asleep when you’re excited.
What stages of LARP hype do you find yourself feeling the most? Let us know how you cope with the pre-game excitement in the comments.