Fiona Dann loves to LARP. But it can be intimidating to get into. Here, Fiona shares her experiences and some of her top tips for having a fun, LARP filled weekend.

This will be my third year LARPing, and I think I’m less prepared than ever. Four days until my season kicks off, and then the next five months will be a roller-coaster of role playing, costumes, and working out how much stuff I can fit in my little Yaris. Already two bell tents take up my back seat, and I haven’t a clue if I’m going to be able to fit in more.

Who would have thought a hobby that consists of dressing up like elves and dwarves could take so much effort?

Believe me, you have no idea.

People laugh at LARPers. We appear on TV in our kit, hitting each other with foam weapons, yelling nonsense words at each other. I’m sure it looks childish. We’re a novelty to the muggles in the outside world who don’t understand. So join me this year as I attend my favourite system, and see what the television screen doesn’t show you.

The Social

LARP-Life-post-1-img-1 The week has barely begun and I already have an inbox full of messages. From guild leaders, player organisers, different factions. My other half who refs the system is hiding messages from me as he discusses plot with the head ref. People are clearly not sharing information on the forums that they’ve received in the winter months, as rumour after rumour gets left by the ref crew. I find myself going through a giant file on my computer, checking each information document encase they need updating, and reminding myself of anything I might have forgotten in the long winter break between events.

LARP is more than hitting people with swords. T.V shows you the action, but it doesn’t show you the story that makes up the core of LARPs. It’s called Live Action Role Playing for a reason. You role play, the game is a massive story, and your job is to move the plot in that story. Fighting monsters is just a side note at the end of the day.

I’m unfortunate in that the head ref of my system likes to pile plot onto me. I’m good with stories, seeing the lines which you have to follow. Instructing people who to do, and giving them the solutions. So needless to say, I probably do a lot more prep plot wise before event than your average player.

The Gear

LARP-Life-post-1-img-2 But on top of trying to organise the four different factions I control in time for the event. I also need to pack. I work, I have a wedding to organise, I am a busy person. When oh when do I have time to pack? Monday, I pulled out my clothes and wigs. I’m playing an NPC this year so extra clothes and extra wigs. Find my elf ears, and the little nick knacks like jewellery that my character wears. Tuesday I’ll be finding the extras, coinage that has been placed elsewhere, my ‘in character’ books which contain my notes. Then of course the camping equipment. Plates, cutlery, toothbrush, shampoo, etc.

I’ve probably forgotten a few things, like weapons. I have no idea how I’m getting my 7ft staff into my car yet, but you get the idea. I’m not sure where I’m going to get the time, working till Wednesday, wedding stuff on Thursday. Up to the camp site Thursday evening, set up until 7pm Friday when it all kicks off. Somewhere we need to fit in packing two cars, giving a lift to a friend and all her stuff, as well as a job interview.

Making it fit!

LARP-Life-post-1-img-3-packing So we’ll just end up packing the cars two days early before the event just so we have time for everything else. And of course we still might forget the weapons, as you can’t leave LARP weapons in cars, because they can get damaged by the heat and the cold if left exposed. It’s a good thing we’re just going to another county, and not halfway across the country, or the preparation would be even more manic.

I’m probably making it sound a lot worse than it is. It gets easier as the season goes on, as you leave things in your car. Chain mail, spare shirts for monstering, sleeping bags and air mattresses often end up sitting in the boot for a good half a year. The tent never leaves once it’s in until September where it’ll go back into storage. It does make you feel a bit like a travelling Nomad, and you often get asked questions by strangers about the contents of your car. Especially if you’ve left armour lying on show.

To pack for LARP:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping gear (sleeping bag, air bed, blankets, ect.)
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Clothes (Old clothes, home made/store bought kit.)
  • Accessories (Jewellery, gloves, wigs, ears, belts, pouches.)
  • Weapons
  • Tankard
  • Pen and paper (spell books and note books!)

Got any LARP tips to share? Anything you want to know? Let us know in the comments.