A New Experience

Article by Bailey Williams

If you had asked me two years ago about what I thought about LARPs, I wouldn’t have an answer for you. All I knew was the pop culture jokes and that Felicia Day exposed the Wincheter boys to the world of Boffer larp. I wouldn’t know that there were different types of larps until I discovered Armistice Arcane.

Photo by Kristin Story

I wasn’t involved with the larping community until I was thrust into it through Armistice Arcane 2019 down in New Orleans. My character was a powerful sorcerer with a lot to learn and I immediately fell in love with her. I found a lot in common with this character, and with my background of acting, I fell easily into the improv of a larp event. I met wonderful people there and made so many amazing memories while using my magic for good.

I also got to travel to New Orleans, a city to which I had been dying to visit, but never had the time or reason. I also had no idea what I was getting myself into. As much as I act, I struggle with improv. I went into the larp with the mindset that I was portraying this character, not actually being this character. I felt as though I was outside of myself, watching the day progress While the first day progressed, I felt like I was watching everything happen to my character, and unfortunately, I ended up taking a passive role the first day because of it. By the end of the day, I was left feeling like I hadn’t done much with my character. I had so much fun — don’t get me wrong — but I definitely felt like I was missing something.

Photo by Kristin Story

On the second day, I changed tactics. Instead of relying on my actor’s mindset, I came at it with a Dungeons and Dragons approach. I summoned my inner Laura Bailey, and strutted into the parlor with a newfound attitude. I am a dungeon master as well as a player in multiple campaigns, and I have the most fun when I’m able to roleplay my characters. I have a wide range from a 40-year-old Dragonborn trying to make enough money for her wife to a 10-year-old pretending to be a halfling in order to have a voice in her adult group.

Photo by Kristin Story

Getting into the mindset of thinking and behaving like these characters allows me to make decisions that more reflect that character. I had such a different, wonderful experience on my second day. I made more connections in-game, played a more active role, and by the third day, actually was able to lead my own ritual and cry on command — something I had been working on for ages! It was as though a switch turned on in my brain, and suddenly the world of our characters became clear and vibrant. I wasn’t watching the larp event, I was experiencing it!

My first day had me thinking that larping, or maybe this tier of character roleplay, was not for me. Whenever we met a person in the elevator who was curious about the event, my friends would explain that we were a part of an interactive theater performance, and I took that to heart the first day. But that’s not really what we’re doing, is it? We’re larpers, live action role players experiencing a world created by other live action role players.

I would not have thought that I’d be sitting here, shopping for an Edwardian dress. However, there was no way that I could have had the amazing fun I had without the experienced larpers also there guiding me along. I had no idea what I was getting my self into but I’m so glad I took the dive.

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