LARP, or Live Action Role-Playing, is a hobby that I’ve been ridiculously enthusiastic about for seven years now, starting from my first ever adventure when I joined a university society dedicated to the craft. Nowadays I play in two regular local systems (one dark fantasy, one steampunk) and co-ref for a third (Vampires In Public). I’m currently helping to ref a large weekend event run by Black Swan Horror, a team who usually run twice a year (and I’ve had amazing fun in their events). During term, LARP takes up a fairly substantial part of my time.
It’s hard to explain why I love it in a way that isn’t just me gushing. Roleplaying in general is a passion of mine, both in tabletop settings and also online (I am a WoW player, for my sins). I love it as a storytelling device, creating characters and narratives – I love the way it makes you as much a part of the story as the storyteller. I find it an incredibly powerful tool for empathy, allowing you to explore ideas outside your own experience – or even inside them but from different perspectives. Then there’s just the good old-fashioned fun that comes of pretending to be a wizard and throwing fireballs, or having a really intense combat with someone. LARP is fun. It allows you to return to the freedom of childhood, to dive into your imagination and let go, to really lose yourself in an immersive experience.
It looks a bit ridiculous from the outside, admittedly, but it is still one of the most engaging hobbies I have ever participated in, and I’d recommend everyone tries it at least once.