February 2018

Author Archives Tara M. Clapper

About Tara M. Clapper

Tara M. Clapper is a professional LARP designer, editor, and writer from Philadelphia, PA, USA. She’s also the founder and publisher of The Geek Initiative, an online community celebrating women in geek culture. Tara created the feminist LARP “She’s Got a Gun” and runs various immersive digital LARPs in her CHARIOT LARP system.

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.

Image: https://gph.is/1lfXF3c


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?


Are you not entertained?

Image: https://gph.is/146ahJd


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…



Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/prhumXOHcR5tK/giphy.gif


…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.


Making some LARP crafts

Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/1463o17ejELYqs/giphy.gif

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.

packing for larp

Image: https://media.giphy.com/media/l0HlGTJmgaz2nVdHW/giphy.gif


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.

7. Sleeplessness

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.

Dec 22, 2017

Have you ever considered getting a booth or display space for your larp at a convention? After all, it’s a great place to meet local gamers who might be interested in attending your game. It can be an opportunity to work with other larpers in your game to present a positive impression of your game in particular and larp as a hobby in general. However, attending a convention isn’t without challenges for larpers. After you find one that permits larps, there are several pros and cons to consider:


Pro: Vendor Pass – When you attend a convention as a vendor, you usually get a vendor pass. While this might not mean much at a large con, at small or mid-size cons this comes with extra perks, like after-party invites or hanging out with some of the well-known guests. Take advantage of this. Networking with the right person can really pay off. If just one person says something positive about your game to her 700 fellow geeks on Facebook and she brings two of her friends to your game every month for the next three years at $40/game, it represents $4,320 for your game in admission costs.

Con: Not cost-effective – Many larps find that vending at conventions isn’t necessarily cost-effective. Depending on the convention you go to, your booth can cost $25-$5,000 – yes, some of the larger shows do charge that much. The investment of your booth, vending space, transportation, and other expenses can be a gamble. However, if you attract just one player who returns to your monthly game consistently, it may pay off in the long run.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPro: Exposure – Your larp will get some exposure by being at the convention. You’ll meet other gamers, vendors, guests, and members of the press, all of whom can generate buzz about your game. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to do a live demo at the event. Always offer this when you sign up to vend at an event.

Con: Another obligation – If you are one of the people in charge of running a larp, you know how easy it is to experience burnout. Adding another weekend event to your calendar can add to that problem. You can make some more money by selling physical items or tickets to your game at the event, but you must allocate time and resources to manage the finances in the convention environment.

Pro: Out-of-game bonding – Heading to a convention can be a major bonding experience for your group, especially if you share transportation and lodgings. This camaraderie encourages your staff to work together more effectively and can promote player retention. This is a great way to break up the cliques that usually exist in larps and allows new and old players to form friendships out-of-game.

Additionally, meeting others at conventions gives you the opportunity to hear what people are saying about the games and larping in general. It also gives you the opportunity to correct any misconceptions people have about your game or about larping overall. If it’s in the game’s budget, vending at a convention is definitely worth a try.

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May 21, 2013
larp jewelery

Meaningful jewelry can enhance the realism of your character.

Now that I’ve been LARPing for more than half a decade, I think back on the first game I attended. I remember how I felt and what the game staff did that helped and hindered my experience as a new LARPer. Even if the staff and players at a game are completely welcoming, there were a few things I wish I’d been aware of prior to attending a LARP.

1) Level of Costuming – Prior to LARPing, I had gone to renaissance faires and performed in plays. However, I didn’t realize the importance of the detail in a character’s costuming. A post-apocalyptic LARP character could get lost in a crowd–but what if her costume is all grimy except for a pristine, shiny locket containing a photograph of a lost family member? Initially, I thought just having a ‘good’ or fancy costume was enough, but those with simpler costumes are often equal or more skilled at role playing based partially upon their costuming details.

2) Bringing Friends – LARP is a social activity. I knew one person on staff at a game (my then-boyfriend, now-husband) when I started attending LARPs. While I found it pretty easy to make friends in and out of game, I would have been less intimidated had I brought along another friend who was new to LARPing. I had more fun at my second event because I brought two of my friends from college along, and one of them was extremely social.

3) Background Research is Helpful – I see a lot of posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter that go something like this: “I want to LARP! It looks so fun, but I’m afraid people will make fun of me and I don’t know anyone at the game!” A bit more knowledge about LARPing can assuage those fears. With the caveat that no two LARPs are the same, I’d recommend:
• Books: “LARP: The Battle for Verona” by Justin Calderone (fiction) and “Leaving Mundania” by Lizzie Stark (nonfiction)
• Videos: Game trailers on YouTube – Seventh Kingdom IGE, ConQuest of Mythodea 2012
• Online Resources: LARP Alliance, LARP Examiner, various LARP groups on Facebook, the LARP tag in Tumblr, and this website
• Other RPGs (role playing games): LARP is a unique experience, but if the thought of a rules system intimidates you, try playing a low-level character in a MMO like World of Warcraft (free trial) or a tabletop game like “Dungeons & Dragons”

What do you wish you’d known when you first started LARPing? Leave a comment!

About the Author: Tara M. Clapper is a full-time freelance writer living in the Philadelphia area. A geek culture maven, she enjoys LARPing at Seventh Kingdom IGE based in New Jersey. Tara writes for multiple print and online outlets, including multiple Yahoo! Properties and Sweet on Geek.
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Nov 28, 2012

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