“Prepare to die!” I shout at the wife of the freshly slain barbarian chief of village that I and my fellow adventurers have taken over.
I’m waving my polearm—a long staff with a sharp blade at the top, at the wife. The “wife” is actually a man in drag who is wearing a black wig, a fur belt and trying to speak in a womanly voice as he attacks me.
I’m dressed to match with a skirt of riveted leather, long black boots and a fake-metal corset made of foam. I’m splattered in fake blood.
Sounds strange? Welcome to the world of ‘LARPING’, Live Action Roleplaying. In this fantasy world you create your own character, costumes and weapons. It may seem a bit childish, but they are attended by adults who travel hours to get to each event.
I have been LARPING for a few years and as a result have accumulated a wardrobe filled with weapons and costumes for different characters. A top hat with peacock feathers when I was a voodoo priestess, fake wolf skin hat from my time as a barbarian and pointy ears for my archer elf character…I have so much stuff.
I’m playing a barbarian called ‘Kara Úlfhéõnar’. Kara’s family decided that it was time to find a new home, for us this meant conquering and attacking someone else’s village.
Before we get to kill anyone on the day we get an introduction to our adventure. We’re told that along the way to finding a village we have to dissuade our barbarian ‘family’s’ head Hammerin from attacking Minotaur villages. This is not too difficult as Hammerin, when in character, has a normal intelligence of a barbarian. On weekdays, when Hammerin is not trying to burn down villages, he’s a 27-year-old software tester.
We convince him the place he wants to attack is “a village of cows” with no people to fight. Hammerin, who has a shave head and is bare-chested wearing only a kilt, agrees reluctantly. He likes bashing things.
Along the way we encounter a small barbarian child (not really a ‘child’ but just a really short woman who can pull off a very squeaky voice) who complains and asks for our weapons.
“You want weapon?!” I shout “We fight then!” At which point she looks at me strangely and starts talking to someone else.
But while the ‘child’ is being annoyingly squeaky (making all of us want to kill her both in character and in real life) she indirectly tells us that there is a barbarian village nearby, which sounds like the place for us.
Our approach to attacking the village is very much hit and miss, we hit them and they hit us back harder. We attack with our weapons—made of foam—to no avail leading to the ‘death’ of our entire party.
After a few minutes of pretending to die under some shade we ‘resurrect’, and prepare to attack again.
This time we try a different tactic where we each fight the chief individually. Hammerin was up first, shouting “four normal!” (the type and amount of damage) and attacking with his sword while blocking with shield. Our healer, dressed in a white fur robe with a wolf-head hat and is holding a skull he calls ‘Mother’, soon enters the fray. He kills the chief but is called a cheater by the villagers because he used a healing potion on Hammerin.
So instead the village elder decides that the chief’s wife is now the chief. The wife grabs a dual wielding sword and is ready for battle. “Ragnar”, a 26-year-old blast door technician, attacks with his polearm but it is not enough.
Since the men aren’t getting anywhere, I am approached by the chief’s wife, the man dressed in drag, who asks that we decide this between the women. I respond with a grunt of approval and we fight, dealing a 100 points.
The villagers all bow down to me as I let out a victory cry.