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Live Action Role Playing Groups
Narrator: This is LARPing. You may have heard of it from movies like Knights of Badassdom or Role Models. But what exactly is LARPing and why are people so obsessed with it?
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Chelsea Russell. LARP is short for L-A-R-P. It works for live role playing. Some people call it Live Action Role Playing or turn it into a verb LARPing.
Narrator: Chelsea Russell has been LARPing for the past seven years. It runs once a month. He is part of a group of LARPers in New Jersey called Aurum.
Russell: LARP is basically an interactive role-playing experience like Dungeons and Dragons or a video game that comes to real life.
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Narrator: LARPing basically involves finding a character, giving them a background, creating costumes and props for them, and then acting out the story.
Russell: We are now in the Delta Stage of the Antioch Continent. Do you identify their name, identity, you know, do they have family members? What are their goals in life?
Narrator: The basic plot is pre-written and the players use it as a launching pad for the rest of the improvisation.
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Narrator: Aurum is an LARP themed steampunk fantasy. Some other LARPs may have post-apocalyptic, zombie, and vampire themes. In addition to participating as a player, Chelsea also writes some stories and works on staff.
This LARP was held at a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey, which was closed for the season, so all cabins and buildings were free to use.
One of the organizers, Robin, arrived early to prepare the food and decorations. Soon the pre-registered players appeared in their cars.
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Russell: When players enter, they are out of the game, out of character. You know, setting up their things, and if it’s Saturday, they set up their bed.
Narrator: Weekend LARPs usually run from Friday night to midnight on Saturday. Their registration costs $40 to $50 per person, which does not include travel or meals other than breakfast.
About 10 people participated in this event. When they sign up, they get their character sheet with their current stats, along with some cards that show the weapons and ingredients used to craft items.
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One of the things people can do in the game is called timed messages. It must be a small animal, often in the form of a dog, that can carry messages for humans.
Narrator: Several people take turns playing, called NPCs. Think of them as temps who work for writers and organizers.
Russell: This is a term called NPC, Non-Player Character. They send out an NPC saying: “I am an orc and I will burn down your farm!” And players react however they choose to react to their characters.
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My hero’s name is Mol. He has a real name, but he no longer remembers it. He is a magician. Therefore, he is one of those people who tries to cling to the death spell of this world.
Narrator: Calvin brought a variety of items, including wreaths, fake plants, stuffed animals, and lots of fake weapons. Aurum is a type of LARP called Combat Boffer LARP.
Russell: Just a PVC pipe covered with foam and insulating tape and made to look like a sword or an ax or a hammer or what have you.
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We use Nerf guns in this game, but I specially painted it to fit the theme a little better. Like copper and silver.
Narrator: If you touch one of the arrows, it will knock out your character.
So it’s basically like you’re just shooting someone with a Nerf gun for fun, except now in the game it means a little more than just hitting a Nerf gun. They just shot him. I just got shot.
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After the orc attack, everyone evacuated the area. Well, let’s get ready to rock! Starts at 15. Thanks Kelvin!
Narrator: Chelsea played NPC and Marshall on Friday night. Marshals wear white caps or hats to distinguish them from the players.
Russell: I’m out of the game. I’m not in the mood. I have nothing to do with them. They can ask you questions about game mechanics. Can I use this skill or how does this thing work?
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Marshals will have notes on these boards for the various matches they hold.
Russell: Tonight I will be playing one of the dead souls left in the abandoned city. My main goal is just to be as scary and terrifying as possible.
The few days after Halloween, when all the costumes are sold out, we LARPers jokingly call it Christmas. So you can go to the stores and get all your dress needs at cheap prices.
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Transport. The main plot of the weekend sees the heroes trying to rebuild a town called Stagepoint Delta, which was taken over by orcs a few months ago and is now inhabited by various creatures, including ghosts.
Russell. Raccoons. Raccoons are also a creature you can encounter, and they have special skills that are spelled out.
Narrator: They also faced other problems. Like the puzzle they had to solve to get into the building.
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Narrator: But that doesn’t mean you have to go home. You can log in as a new character. Or if you’re just hurt, you can heal too.
Russell: Someone can come up and say: “I do first aid” and then you can stand up and you can play his role… it hurts, but I’m alive.
Transport. The game continued until three in the morning. After patrolling the perimeter to ensure the ground is safe.
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In the morning, Robin made pancakes and bacon for the players who came to the table in costume and character.
On Saturday, Chelsea became one of the players, while another took on the role of marshal and NPC.
Things got a little scary when gunshots rang out in the woods from nearby hunters.
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Narrator: When I was filming, no one was taking selfies on their phones or posting on Facebook.
Russell: It tends to take people out of the mindset of playing a character, and when you start playing a character, you basically try not to talk about things that relate to the real world. You weren’t talking about “Oh, my car broke down.”
Everyone played for the rest of the day and then it was back to the real world on Sunday.
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Russell: My real job. I’m a supervisor at the cafe and then I come here and play math and ghosts.
Russell: Pretending is fun and many people think it’s childish to dress up and pretend when it’s not. Your fun is creating stories with people. And I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t really understand.
Chevron icon It indicates a section or drop-down menu or sometimes previous/next navigation options. Video Word Video Members of the Gryphons take part in a scrimmage at Riverside Park on Sunday afternoon. Visit for more photos.
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Powerhouse Nemesis Israel Ilagan attacks an opponent during Sunday’s weekly role-playing event at Riverside Park.
The players in Victoria are in the Amtgard “Heavens” group and have about 35 people on their roster, making the Victoria branch the fifth largest branch or kingdom in the United States.
Members of Griffon’s Keep fight in Riverside Park on Sunday afternoon. Visit for more photos. Chase Caufield |: [email protected]
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Russell Perez walks into Riverside Park on a Sunday afternoon, picks up a wooden sword, sometimes two, and joins about 10 to 20 other fencers of varying abilities in an empty lot shaded by tall trees.
In October, Perez joined Amtgard-Griffon’s Keep in Victoria. The group meets every Sunday at the park off Pebble Beach Road around 2 p.m. They are members of Amtgard Live Action Role Play. Amtgard is an international group dedicated to medieval and fantasy combat using weapons, fantasy and original costumes, and imagination, according to their website.
Members of the live-action troupe, the Keep of Amtgard-Griffon, gather every Sunday afternoon for a delicious sword fight in Riverside Park.
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Anyone can jump, pick up a charged sword, and slash at opponents. The group also encourages the audience.
The players from the Victoria region are the “Heavens”.
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