So you’ve made the decision that you want to try larping. Maybe you saw people practicing at a nearby field, saw a movie or tv show that brought it to your attention, or you have friends that larp. In any case, choosing the right larp for you, and a unit to join within that larp, can be difficult.
To begin with, you need to decide what kind of larp you want to participate in. There are some easy questions you should ask yourself before you jump into the first game you find:
Time: How much time do you have to devote to larping? Some games are only 4-6 times a year, while others meet once a month or every other weekend. Try to find a game that fits best with your schedule.
Period Accuracy: Do you want to play a Barbarian Troll, or would you rather a period Knight? Figure out what degree of immersion you are comfortable with and able to afford. Some games require a lot of time and effort even for a beginner’s kit, while others are much more lax about how period something is.
Combat: How hard do you want to get hit? Know what kind of combat you are okay with. Games like Dagorhiir or Belegarth tend to work on a ‘sufficent force’ rule. Other games, however, may be a lighter touch or lightest touch combat system such as some Ampgard chapters, Nero, and Avalon.
Expense: How much money do you have to devote? Larping is as expensive a hobby as you make it. At the very least you need to be able to afford to build up and then maintain a working kit, along with travel costs and membership dues.
After you’ve answered these questions, your next move should be to visit your intended larp. Make contact with other players through online message boards or social media, and make sure you know the basics before ever getting onto the field. If you have no experience with making larp weapons, try inquiring about loaners from veteran players. If you’re feeling creative, check out a few of our tutorials (find out how to make a simple boffer sword here). If you’re already committed to joining a larp, think about buying a latex weapon.
Try out the game. I mean this in every way possible. Introduce yourself and talk to other players; talk to everyone to get a feel for the game. Spend time out on the field learning the rules and getting into whatever scenario or plot is being offered. Try out different weapon combinations and start learning the rules of the game.
If you premiere at a larp that you really enjoy, you may soon start asking yourself which unit or group you should join. Much like choosing a game in and of itself, choosing a unit within the structure of that game is also wildly important.
The people in this group will become your comrades in arms, your brother or sisters, the people who you trust to guard your back while infiltrating enemy camps. If you get really entrenched in the game you play, you will end up at country meetings and be wildly interested in who holds which positions. You are, in essence, choosing a group of friends.
So, with that in mind, keep a few pointers in mind:
Do you like these guys? Are the members of this unit people you want to hang out with? Are they people you get along with, and are cool with standing on a shield line with? While this might seem sort of silly, it definitely matters.
Does their mythology matter to you? If you’re joining a country of Orcs, or a unit that obsessively hunts down giants, you should probably make sure that your backstory fits in well. Likewise, making sure that the type of character you want to rp as will mesh well with this country.
Does their fighting style work with yours? Again this might seem a bit strange, but making sure that your unit fights in a certain way can definitely matter. If it’s a unit that uses primarily flanking players, than being a tank in plate may not work well.
Keep in mind these are all subjective; they’re things I’ve found over the years. Use your best judgement when choosing which larp or unit you want to join. The things you join a larp for may not necessarily be the same things that you stay for.
What are things you think a player should look for when choosing a larp? What do you consider when choosing an in-game group, unit, or house? Join the discussion below!