Before you head off into the land of LARP you need to understand the two basic types of LARP that exist. The first is Boffer LARP and the second is Non-Boffer LARP. Let’s look at these a little bit closer.
Most Boffer LARP’s I have encountered are based in a medieval time frame; usually a fantasy setting that includes some form of magic. There are a group of people that run the game, they decide the plot and play out all of the NPC’s from the wench at the inn to the dragon in the cave. Then there is a group of players, they dress up as their character and attempt to navigate the various plots that are thrown their way. Some events are single day and others are weekend long where you are your character both day and night. Typically there is an over-bridging story arc that carries from one event to another, while smaller stories come and go along the way.
Non-Boffer LARP’s come in a greater variety of setting then do their counterparts; everything from -cavemen to vampires are covered this way. Resolution of skills is usually done via Rochambeau or through other means that do not involve actually swinging a weapon or rolling dice. Usually these events are single day events, and some carry a story arc that covers multiple events. This variety of LARP lends itself well to a convention setting as no weapons are required making it more hotel friendly. Costuming is strongly encouraged to help set the mood and make staying in character easier.
My first encounter with boffer combat was through my college boyfriend playing a home grown LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) Game. We wore period style clothing, and used boffer weapons for combat. Our group played each Sunday at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland, OR. It is actually where I got to know my first husband, who still plays boffer LARPs just different games. In fact my kids have their own boffer weapons as well.
However it seems that all of the strange looks we got at the park were for nothing as boffer has now gone mainstream. NERF has introduced a line of boffer weapons called N-Force. I checked them out online and then in the store the other day and took a good look at the Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe. While the construction is safe enough for most kids to play with, I would still have to say that they are not as well padded as the boffer weapons typically used in a LARP setting. Add this together with the lack of set safety rules that are part of a boffer LARP, and you could end up with a bit of modern-day boffer bruises.
Despite my concerns over the potential safety risks with these weapons, I think that they would be awesome if combined with a bit of boffer combat rules, such as no head or groin shots. It is nice to see that another element of our gamer world has hit the mainstream. It just goes to prove that the geeks shall inherit the earth.
Cruising the web tonight for another great new die to add to my DM collection I hit upon a site I have never been to before, Game Master Dice. This site carries a wide array of dice, from your standard sets to metal and even semi-precious dice. And if that isn’t enough they also carry an array of fuzzy dice, inflatable dice, and glow in the dark dice. I can’t help but think of my LARPing friends at Gamestorm and Orycon when I saw this d3 that glows in the dark. No longer will low light situations prevent you from playing your LARP and the rock-paper-scissor replacement for dice rolls. Heck this might almost be enough to draw me into a game.