Saturday, 10 October 2015


Life Action Role Play

There are many different types of role play. Dungeons and Dragons is probably the most well known tabletop role play game in the world. And there are off course the online role play games, they can be written or played as videogames. And there are probably many more options that I can’t think of right now.

The difference between all those and L.A.R.P. is that you become the character, enter the world the story is written in and act like your character is suppose to act in your opinion. A good description would be “improvised acting”.

The storyline isn’t set in stone, it’s a guideline for the organization, also known as the game masters, to give the players something to respond to. Other than that it’s pretty much up to the players. For example, there is no way to predict how a character is going to respond, or even ignore, the problem presented to him/her.  There have been tons of situation where the game masters thought they presented a pretty clear situation and instead of solving the problem the players actions made it ten times worse. And that’s alright. You are allowed to mess things up, you are allowed to do your own thing even if it goes against what they expected you to do. A good game master will just adapt to the new situation and continue the story.

There are certain rules to the game which are necessary.

Before you start with your character you’ll have to build your character sheet. These are not unlike many videogames where you have to place points in stats and abilities. Based on this sheet you have certain skills you can use, magic is just one of the many options.

And there are the basic safety rules you most follow. The weapons may not be real but when you use them wrong you can do harm. Which obviously isn’t the goal in any of these events. Different countries have different rules but within the Netherlands all the organizations seem to be on the same page.

Most importantly there is the “Man Down” rule. Because there are some pretty darn good actors out there it is sometimes hard to tell when someone is playing hurt or has some real life injury as a result of an accident. “Man Down” means that everything within the game stops immediately after the call has been made and the medical team on sight gets all the time and space to examine the injured person and take appropriate measures. Most “Man Down” situations are light injuries but unfortunately there are the worst case scenarios. Someone we know went into cardiac arrest during one of the bigger events in the Netherlands. Because of the medical teams direct actions he has survived and lives to tell the tale. 

I have been larping since 2006 and my husband started in 2005. We’ve met on one of the events when he and a friend joined our player group of Night elf characters on an event called Far Kingdoms. We must be the only parents who can honestly tell their child they’ve met in a Kingdom Far Far Away…

Mostly I’ve played the role of the mage elves with healing powers. Depending on the event I would change my background story and elf race (Night elf / High elf / Wood elf / Dark elf).

When my daughter was 6 months old my husband and I went to a larp event while Grannie was babysitting our little voodoodoll. We were 10 minutes from home and we left instructions to call us for anything, anything at all. Unfortunately my mother got a light cerebral infarction that weekend.  Everything turned out fine, she recovered fully and there was no harm done to the baby. She understood something was wrong when it happened and called in help.

It did mean that my husband and I were scared shitless and had nightmares of all the possible things that could have gone wrong. At first we both quit larp, later he went to two events a year while I stayed home with our daughter. Time flew by and 5 years later I still hadn’t been to any event myself.

We did have a small "larpschool" where my husband would train other larpers, or those who are completely new to the hobby, to fight with the different type of weapons within the guidelines of the savety rules.

Around the time my daughter was born my best friend came up with the idea for a group of voodoo people. I think the original inspiration came from the Prodigy song.

From that point on I’ve been increasingly doing research on the voodoo and hoodoo culture in order to write characters and backgrounds. During that research I may have fallen in love with the culture and at least one visit to New Orleans has been added to my bucket-list.

May 2015 was our first event. The voodoo people made their entrance on Ravenskeep, a highly leading and popular event. The voodoo people, as we wrote them, are very different from your average larp character and we had no idea whether people would be able to appreciate our group or if it would be a complete and utter disappointment. You never know what may or may not happen with your character but in this case the stakes were higher than ever. With all the years of research, all the years of not being a part of the hobby, the anticipation was killing me.

It turned out to be my best event ever. I had so much fun playing my character, Maman Brigitte, and it was so different from anything I played before that for once I hope we’ll all survive until the end of times. Usually one can only hope for an epic ending but in this case I don’t want it to end it at all. As a group we’ve shaken the city, made tons of friends, made people question us, made people want to be with us. It was awesome.

In September 2015 we had our second event with the group, with one additional member, Ghede Nibo. He was played by one of the younger people who used to come to our training sessions. He started training when he was almost 12 years old and by now he has done plenty of events on his own and with friends. Now that he’s almost 18 he was able to join us at Ravenskeep as my protégé. Ravenskeep is a 18+ event and because of that minors are only allowed as someones protégé. He did amazing! And ones again I had an great weekend with wonderfull friends and we are already making new plans for May 2016!


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