WHAT IS LARPING?
The endeavor you are about to dig into is an interactive activity known as “Live Action Role Playing” or “LARPing.” If we’re honest, its make-believe and dress-up with rules for a mature setting. LARPs attempt to provide the participants an experience that is outside of what they normally have in their day to day life. There are many different kinds of LARPs in the world, with varying levels of complexity, setting and activity including: minimal contact, high fantasy, steam-punk, gothic, high adventure, high contact, etc... In the case of Shards of Massagon, we are a medium-contact, high-fantasy Adventure LARP with a persistent world with elements of horror and steampunk mixed in. What this means is that the game will attempt to provide the participants with an immersive fantasy setting in which they quest in party groups and while doing so they will use physical representations of violent combat in a safe manner – by use of padded physical representations of weapons. At the end of the day, the player’s actions are “persistent” and matter from event to event. In the end, the goal is to enhance the excitement while giving some feel of realism and immersion to the activity so you can lose yourself in the game. We find it to be a very healthy exercise, both physical and mental.
WHY DO PEOPLE LARP?
This question has been debated long and hard by many people. In short it is our belief that people desire to LARP to escape their normal lives. Not necessarily because their normal lives are bad in some way, but so that they can express themselves in a way they normally couldn't, put themselves into situations they wouldn’t dare to be in a real-life setting, and test themselves to achieve things they can’t. The office worker can become the weekend chivalrous knight! Or the librarian can become her favorite fantasy beast to stalk the woods at night. However nearly everyone who LARP’s ends up taking something away with them, experience and enrichment. We have seen people really truly discover who they are in their real lives by being pressured, tested and forced to face responsibility in their fake ones.
But in the end, when the last stat is called, the last dragon is slain and that glorious end-of-event shower is had: It’s to have fun.
So. How can you have fun at a LARP? Good question. People who play Live Action Role Play games tend to follow patterns for enjoyment or fulfillment, and like any pattern data sets immerge. Through study, Richard Bartle in his publication “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who Suit MUDs” has created a categorization system that is fairly accurate to apply to LARPing.
Killers are individuals who find enjoyment by overcoming other actors in the world, they wish to Act on other Players. You will find these people to tend to gravitate specifically towards combat, fighting and in general beating-things-with-foam. Don’t let the name fool you though, killers are also healers and party support characters are also “killers” through different means. In short, they desire to “Act” on other “players.”
Socializers unlike killers are not there to overcome other actors in the world, but there to interact with them. They want to hear their story and learn from it and grow, and eventually have their own story to tell. Socializers tend to avoid direct combat and would much rather manipulate events, and inspire the other actors to greater heights in their own battles, and hear the tales after.
Achievers however find enjoyment through acting on the world or the environment of the game. In this case they desire to see the fact that killing the final boss changed the world, in some way. They seek items, glory, honor and achievements to fulfill their itch.
Explorers on the other hand desire to delve into the world itself and learn from it. They don’t necessarily care about changing things, but have a desire to explore and experience everything the environment can offer. Often times they become invaluable in the roleplay genre of LARPing due to having critical obscure information.
In the end LARPing is about having fun, and the point here is that – everyone makes their fun in a different way. Some people go in for different things, and it makes them no better or worse so long as they don’t stop others from having their fun too.
And at the end of the day, getting something out of it and helping you find out more about yourself while getting some exercise and time in the woods? That ain't a bad weekend gig.
Still feeling nervous?
Don’t. Everyone has LARPed at one point or another whether they realize it or not. Either as a kid playing cops and robbers, or sorting out a complicated deal for work where you need to anticipate how each side of the communication may react, to the fancy Murder mystery dinners: everyone LARPs. In our case, we just take it a bit farther, and put some rules to it. To this end, age and occupation are not prohibitions to the game.
We have players aged 18 to 50, all with varying levels of health and ability. While yes it is a highly physically active enterprise, the game can accommodate people of all ages (over 18). What matters is a willingness to play, and a desire to live through thrills and experiences you cannot acquire safely in your everyday life. For those with health concerns, Shards of Massagon LARP is a great way to get in shape, however, it is a contact game. We can attempt to make allowances within reason, to meet certain disability needs, however we can't make any guarantees.
Oh, and your first event is free. That always helps.