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There are those out there that believe that LARPing is a fad or a gathering for people who don't fit into society. I say come and try it, and you will understand why LARPing is here to stay. I've been in the business for close to 30 years, and I have seen steady growth in the Roleplay industry.
Over the last ten years, LARPing has been growing at a phenomenal rate. LARPing is fast becoming the popular outdoor event amongst geeks, jocks, and thrill-seekers. It is an event that a parent can bring their child or teenager to and enjoy memorable moments together that cannot be found outside such unique games.
LARPing is similar to Cosplay in many ways but far different in others. The main difference is that LARP characters evolve, grow, and experience a theatrical interactive side that isn't found in Cosplay. Although there is some crossover, LARPers tend to focus on their one main character. A cosplayer, on the other hand, will seek to create new characters at every event based on the current trend in the comic book and anime industry. But we all share the same goal, playing a fictional character.
LARPing started with a following of medieval enthusiasts who needed more than just the traditional gatherings. Larping began as a game of combat that was open to anyone. This game came with set rules for foam weapon construction, safety measures, and hit points for body contact. This inclusive nature was an instant hit and spread wide and far. In North America, it was not accepted as a recreational practice by outsiders, but soon it grew to be a place where friends can meet and have fun. With the advent of medieval fantasy films such as Conan the Barbarian and the Lord of the Rings, LARPing grew. LARPing used the imagination of these fantasy worlds and developed a huge range of realms in which players could immerse themselves. The richness of the lore in those stories is what keep players coming for more. In some ways, you can say that all LARPs are interconnected, bonded by fiction and adventure.
The essence of LARP culture resides in the gaming community and the fertile imagination of Gary Gygax, a pioneer, and icon in the tabletop gaming community. Almost every LARP incorporated a part of the D&D world into its game. They all develop different game styles, but the fantasy world of D&D is always a significant source of inspiration in the rules as well as the adventures.
There is no sign that LARPing is slowing down. Costuming, armor, and weapons used to nearly out of reach and usually too rare or expensive for the average player. Live-action roleplaying is now more accessible to all, and the same goes for the number of LARP organizations. Every now and then you will see or hear of a new LARP starting up. Gathering new players in areas where there were none before.
There is seldom no age or discrimination in LARPing. I have seen it all, from 6 – 72 years old, in a wheelchair, from a geek to a bureaucrat. Some use LARPing to escape the real world and others to be part of a tremendous thrill-filled interactive experience. Some just go to relax and be with friends or lovers and share tales of adventures. Some go to play another race or sex, and some who want to act out the role of an ugly beast who craves war and destruction. Either way, all are welcome in the kingdom or LARPing.
To resign oneself to the game is not only easy, but it is necessary to have fun. Just imagine that an event is like a dream, where you are the main character live out that moment on that battlefield. Your actions determine the outcome and everything you do influences the game in some way. It's not hard, and I bet you will have a blast doing it.
With the advent of video games and the internet, visions of far off worlds fantasy make creating a unique character easy. Big budget movies allow us to immerse ourselves into specific types of characters that we can build off of to become our own unique individual. Use the LARP's preset game world to complete your vision, by diving into the lore of characters, races, creatures, and families that surround that world. Let yourself connect with the world of possibilities that LARPing provides.
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