LARP = unique weekend travel experience

So I’m back from my live action roleplaying weekend and I want to tell you something about it in case anyone here is looking for a weekend trip. There are a number of games – I went to an Alliance LARP in Pennsylvania but they have them all over.

So getting to the campsite was fun. I borrowed my parents’ van and 5 guys got in, piled it full of crap, and drove 4 hours. It’s been a long time since I got to go on a road trip with a bunch of guys and just talk.

Then we got to the game. Basically people wore medieval / fantasy costumes and then played their character. My character was an elf so I had prosthetic ears. One of my friends was a dwarf with a big fake beard. Another guy was an orc with green makeup all over.

There was a tournament and the ball. Someone put some pictures of the ball here so you can get an idea of the costuming. No pictures of me in there though.

The ball was basically a party with people mingling, dancing, singing, reciting poetry, etc. Of course it was all medieval themed. I actually wrote a poem for maybe the first time in 15 years (since high school) about a battle between some dwarves and some trolls and read it at the ball. Afterwards everyone cheered and one of the dwarf characters came over and hugged me. It was very cool to feel so appreciated and to have everyone clapping and cheering for me.

Then there was the tournament. 6 teams competed in events such as 3 person combat, single person combat, race, hunt, archery etc.

Combat is done with foam weapons and shields, so you are really trying to hit someone with your sword or avoid the other person’s weapon. When you do get hit the foam doesn’t hurt though. I’m not very good at this part of the game but I really enjoy it. You get to fight for fun and you don’t get hurt. I tried to find a good video on youtube for you, but most LARP combat videos seem far more violent than the Alliance game. You’re never allowed to touch another player during combat (except with the foam weapon of course).

The hunt is a real interesting one where you have to solve puzzles in order to earn points. So one morning my friend and I sat down over breakfast with “Have Ivan Drake gather her toys” which we eventually figured out was an anagram for “Give Trevor a hearty handshake.” When we walked up to the character named Trevor and shook his hand we got the points. Trevor said “Very impressive. That’s been on the hunt list for 2 years and no one has been able to figure it out.” So again, I felt cool because my friend and I figured something out and no one else was able to. That was one out of maybe 20 hunt items so we kept busy and still didn’t finish them all.

All this was fun for me, especially when my friends and I took first place in the tournament because we won the hunt, the race, the 3 person combat, and finished 2nd or 3rd in many of the other events. In the end we had 28 points while the second place team had 23 (you got 5 points for a 1st place, 4 for a second place, etc.).

As far as costs go, the game itself was $60, gas was $75 or so (New York to Pennsylvania and back) but we divided that by 5 so it was $15 each, breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning was $5/day, dinner Saturday was $5, and the snacks and water and stuff I brought was probably another $15-$20. So it’s not as cheap as staying home and watching TV, but it’s not unreasonable for an entire weekend.

Some people prefer to stay in a hotel instead of on the campsite so that would raise the price and extra $60/night or more (but if you share a room with someone you can split that cost of course). Some people go out to dinner Saturday night and most people do on Sunday after the event so that can add to the cost as well.

The campsite has a shower room with private stalls, and places to sleep indoors or set up a tent. Most people stay at the campsite but some people prefer the hotel. The campsite has portapotties – with 3 of them for 75 people Friday night to Sunday afternoon they never got too bad. One thing that was irritating was that during the day flies liked to buzz around our cabin so I couldn’t sleep as late as I wanted to.

So if dressing up in costume sounds cool or if foam weapon fights sound cool, you might consider trying out live action roleplaying.

Filed Under: Vacation experiences

Comments (3)

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  1. JFargo says:

    Will you be doing it again? I haven’t LARPed in years, and am looking for something within a couple hour’s drive of my area.

    Hope you enjoyed it enough to go back. It’s a great time.

  2. Jim says:

    I’m sending you an email with a link – hopefully there’s a larp close enough to where you live. Also, I really like your website.

  3. […] time readers might know of my peculiar LARPing habit. Living in Korea, I missed Live Action RolePlaying, though I did get to hit a few LARP events over […]

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