What I Learned at my First LARP

Over this past weekend, I made my way up to Culpeper, Virginia to don a tunic, pick up a sword and charge into battle at Weekend Warrior, a Cinematic Experiential Entertainment Event put together by the crew of Fell and Fair, The Forge Studios, and the likes of Ron Newcomb, Zan Campbell, Samantha Swords and Skip Lipman.

Now, before you throw in the cards and call me a geek, nerd, or whatever, I already know. I admit it. I’m weird. Whatever.

Yes, this event was a LARP. What is a LARP, you ask? It is a Live Action Role Playing event. When each of us arrived on site, we put on the persona of characters we create. It is an opportunity to step out of the real world and into a fantasy realm.

For this event, we dove into the world of Adrasil and the Kingdom of Olaran, where we journeyed to discover who poisoned the King and Queen. It was a weekend full of questing, battles, and friendship.

While running around the winery as Aethel of the Lords of the Sea, I (re)discovered some things about myself and learned that sometimes it is better to turn and walk away.

Weekend Warrior Battle

One of the things that happens when you play a character that is not yourself, you do things that you may never expect. You discover the strength you had within you because you are no longer held back by fear or the belief that the person you want to be is not who you are.

I found myself standing between the rush of oncoming forces and my fellow warriors. I was positioned as a warder on the flanks of our line, shielding the archers. In my head I always pictured myself a fighter, but it wasn’t until I was fighting for someone else that I found the strength of the warrior.

I came to realize that I can be fierce. Yes, I can raise my voice to be heard. I can shout with confidence. But I can also be a force to be reckoned with.

Throughout the weekend, situations came up where we, as both individuals and as part of a greater unit, had to make choices. Many times I found myself moving with a purpose; the same purpose I felt years ago when I responded to disasters across the country. I became a physical force at times, shoving through the crowd and swinging a sword at those across the field of battle.

There was time for shouting and yelling throughout the entire weekend. There were even moments of frustration and flashes of anger that were reigned in and controlled.

I also realized, after getting into a shouting match with an NPC (Non Player Character, basically, an extra who is helping run the event), that sometimes it is best to step back, take a breath, and let go of all the frustration. No good will come out of being frustrated and taking it out on someone else, even the person or thing that may be the source of that frustration.

Sea Lord Mtg

I also got the opportunity to meet and share this adventure with some of the most amazing people. In real life, we are IT specialists, dispatchers, retired military, law enforcement, actors, students, and friends. Our paths crossed this weekend and our lives changed for the better because of it.

I got to spend three days hanging out with my brothers and sisters who proudly call themselves Lords of the Sea.

Over the weekend, I learned what it meant to be a warrior. To be a part of a crew who stands together as a family to support one another.

There are plenty of amazing memories that have come out of the adventure. From watching Boar laugh and smile through his Trial of Desperation to living out the adventures alongside the crew of the Leviathan, meeting the Sirens to talking with participants from around the world, I had tons of fun.

Having never done something like this before, I would say that it went as smoothly as it could. Yes, I know that the organizers had to scramble to adjust the story line after we, the players, didn’t quite follow the directed path set before us. But besides a few incidents, like an arrow to the eye or a blow to the inside of the knee while practicing, everything seemed to go really well.

Shout out to the valiant men and women who worked countless hours to put this event into motion!

Until next time…