The Ultimate Guide to Start LARP in 2023

Winter is over, the temperatures are rising and the nice days are coming, that means only one thing: the LARP season is officially launched! If you've come across this article, it means that you're interested in getting started with LARP but you may not really know where to start!

Don't worry young adventurer, thanks to this complete guide, we will accompany you and give you the necessary advice to prepare you serenely to enter in the world of LARP!

But before jumping head first into the preparations, let's start with some explanations!

1) What is LARP?

LARP is a form of role-playing in which players physically embody a character in a fictional or real-world universe. We don't know exactly when LARP started, but Dagorhir, one of the first LARP groups, appeared in the late 1970s. 

Since then, LARP has continued to evolve with the creation of new genres such as Fantasy, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic and Modern. Many people have joined our community and we hope that you will soon be part of it too!

Are you ready? Then let's start!

Larper dressed as Ciri from The Witcher carrying a Zireael sword
Larper with a leather sword holding with his hand a sword scabbard
Larper holding a wooden bow in the forest
Larper in leather armor with a feet on a rock and holding an axe
Larper holding a crystal ball in his hand

2) Learn more about LARP

2.1) Find the type of LARP that suits you

As we said before, LARP has evolved since its creation. It's obvious that you'll find something to suit you with all the sub-genres out there, but you'll have to search to find the one that suits you. You can search for articles (like this one, you're off to a good start 😉) to learn more about specifics, rules, best practices and more. You can also chat with people on different blogs. They can give you tips, stories and feedback on their previous experiences.

Also, your personality and style will determine the type of LARP you will enjoy. Some people will prefer to be physically active, fight a lot and challenge themselves throughout the event, while others will be more interested in developing a quest with a good story. This is why LARP is so cool and suitable for everyone because it is based on systems that promote inclusion.

Indeed, the systems are very different from each other. There is the resolution system (which is about combat), the character creation system, and the character ability system that impact the way you will play. Some LARP games favor combat (this includes contact with blows that are more or less strong depending on the rules), others have a more peaceful approach (combat can be bypassed in different ways) while others are purely peaceful and want to focus on the story first.

2.2) Combat in LARP

Fighting may seem commonplace to you, but it is only present in two types of LARP: Practical LARP and Boffer. 

2.3) The framing of the fights

Depending on the size of the event in which you will participate, it is very likely that no judge will be there to supervise the different fights and validate their results. We therefore call on the honesty of the players to respect the combat system and to recognize when they have been hit.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of combat systems that MyLarpWorld has encountered:

Hits delivered are light, it is up to the players to declare if they think they have been hit in order for damage to be applied. This system is based on a win-win relationship, with everyone having to cooperate and trust each other.

Keep in mind that what someone likes is not necessarily what you will like, and if you're not sure about getting into a LARP where combat is present, why not attend a few games as a non-playable character to learn about the world of LARP and the systems that make it up?

You now know more about the combat systems present in LARP. If you'd like to learn more, you'll find additional resources at the end of this article!

3) Create your character

Here we are, it's time to create your character! This can be a difficult part if you're not familiar with a creative process but don't worry, we'll walk you through the steps!

3.1) General Question

Here we are, it's time to create your character! This can be a difficult part if you're not familiar with a creative process but don't worry, we'll walk you through the steps!

  • Will my character be human or not?   
  • What is his or her name?
  • What does he or she look like?
  • What is his or her profession?
  • How does he/she act?

This list is not exhaustive, feel free to add your own questions! 

This is a role-playing game! Use your creativity to create someone you are not! This is a great opportunity to challenge yourself and do things you would never do in any other context! But if you're still uncomfortable playing a character that isn't you, it may be wiser to play a character with a personality that's closer to your own. It's up to you 😉

Young magician holding a magic glowing staff
Female warrior holding a sword who rest on her shaulder
A warrior holding a sword with one hand above his head under a yellow sky

3.2) Story

After that, you need to write your character's backstory. This will give it more depth. It helps to give answers to questions such as:

  • What is his background? 
  • Why does he act the way he does?
  • What made him the way he is?
  • What are his beliefs?

Warning: Don't forget that the game master can use your own story against you if it will improve the narrative, it depends on the plot! For example, let's say you saw your parents killed by a gang of thieves... tragic right? Well, actually, that never happened and you are a liar trying to steal your companions... What a crook you are!

3.3) Finding inspiration

We know that it can be complicated to create a character when you start from scratch, even with guidance. In those moments, don't hesitate to look for inspiration in books, movies or series you like! Of course, the idea is not to plagiarize a character from scratch but to draw inspiration from their characteristics, stories or events to build your own character.

3.4) Let your character develop

The direction your character will take during your first events is not yet established and it would not be surprising if you did not even know where to go! Don't panic, with practice you'll get to know your character better, know his place in the story and get material to develop him.

The advice we can give you is not to get stuck with a label at the risk of not being able to get out of it. It's up to you and your character's desired evolution.

4) Find an event

This step could have been the beginning of this guide, but in my opinion, I'm in favor of preparing yourself calmly and then starting to look for an event because this task can be tricky.

Because yes, let's be honest, depending on where you live, it will be easier to find a LARP event in Montreal, London, Washington or another big city than in a small town. Here are a few tips to make it easier for you:

  • Google the LARP events happening in your area  
  • Visit local stores that sell role-playing games
  • Ask on forums and blogs what upcoming LARP events are planned.
  • Organize a LARP event with your friends, which can be a great first experience.

There are also websites or social networks that list LARP events that may be helpful, here are a few:

If the event is not located in your area, you will also have to take into account parameters such as its duration, location, transportation to and from the event, accommodation and camping, food, medication...

4.1) Transportation

For transportation you can first look if public transportation can bring you there, if not you will have to find an alternative solution. You can always opt for carpooling. This can be the perfect opportunity to get to know your future playmates and to build up your confidence before arriving on site!

However, if none of these options are available to you, you will probably have to opt for your own vehicle if you have one! Also, plan for transportation to and from the game area. Participants who want to be immersed and quiet, often move away from busy areas and you have to plan for this as well (believe me, walking two kilometers with several kilos on your back in a terrain that is not necessarily passable is no fun at all)

4.2) Lodging or camping

If your event is a multi-day affair, then lodging is one of the top issues on the list.
Find out if the organizer offers a package that allows you to book accommodation for the duration of your stay.

It is clearly a luxury to be able to take a shower and rest in a soft bed after a grueling day! Camping is also a possibility if the venue allows it! You may need to bring your own equipment unless it is available for rent from the organizer. Try to get a complete list of facilities to prepare yourself and know when to bring for the big day!

Tpw marêr sleeping in a camp

4.3) Food and medication

Here again, everything will depend on the services offered by the organizer! If the event lasts several days, take care to bring food that can be stored properly and that will avoid going bad, food poisoning happens quickly and I don't think you want to experience that kind of thing 🤐

For medication, no need to bring a medicine kit but here are some essentials that will save your life in case of a glitch: (except daily or weekly treatment that you have to take → don't forget them!)

  • Sunscreen: avoid the inconvenience of sunburn and all that goes with it (fever, fatigue, blisters...)  
  • Insecticide: very useful to repel mosquitoes and other bugs of all kinds
  • First aid kit: considering the different activities that will take place (fighting, climbing...), it is better to have the essentials on hand to avoid any problems!
  • Ibuprofen/aspirin: a headache can ruin your day so don't forget to take some with you. But if you don't want to have a headache, don't forget to drink a lot of water during your game, it will save you a lot of trouble!
  • Anti-allergy medication: take it with you if you suffer from allergies (it's crazy how stupid it sounds when I write it down...)

4.4) Hygiene

As for the medicines, the following list will help you avoid any inconvenience:

  • Deodorant: as you may have already realized, performing a physical activity and not taking a shower do not mix! Yes, there may not be a shower at the event and you'll have to make do with this. 
  • Toilet paper: no need to draw you a picture... the conditions of the LARP being different from your daily life, the risk of crisis will be increased... unless you like to live dangerously, I suggest you bring some
  • Practical essentials: take what you need to stay clean (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush...) and thus avoid infections and other worries. Ladies, remember to pack the essentials to manage the time of the month.

In short: don't leave anything to chance! The more you plan ahead, the better the experience will be!

5) Your equipment

For your first event, you will need armor and weapons. LARP can be an expensive hobby depending on how much you invest in it. If you're just starting out, we don't recommend spending a lot of money, but if you're looking for good quality, beginner-friendly gear, we have created a LARP beginner's kit that will be perfect for your first event!

Épée RFB - 75 cm
Épée RFB - 75 cm
Épée RFB - 75 cm
Épée RFB - 75 cm
Épée RFB - 75 cm
Épée RFB - 75 cm

Épée RFB - 75 cm

CA$64.60
Pantalon basique - Discontinué
Pantalon basique - Discontinué
Pantalon basique - Discontinué
Pantalon basique - Discontinué
Pantalon basique - Discontinué
Pantalon basique - Discontinué

Pantalon basique - Discontinué

CA$39.95
Ceinture à anneau classique
Ceinture à anneau classique
Ceinture à anneau classique
Ceinture à anneau classique
Ceinture à anneau classique
Ceinture à anneau classique

Ceinture à anneau classique

CA$18.70
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik
Chemise Rurik

Chemise Rurik

CA$35.70

You can also ask friends to lend you extra armor pieces or weapons if needed. It's very common to lend each other equipment in LARP events so don't feel guilty about asking! You'll probably be very happy to be able to return the favor later on to another newbie who will be in the same situation as you were several years ago :)

Shop the complete collection of our LARP Beginner's kit just here! 

6) Do's and don'ts

Are you on your way to the event and wondering how to make the most of it? Well, there are many ways to enjoy a LARP event, there is no universal list of rules that say what to do and what not to do, so we tried to come up with one which you will find below!

  • Show kindness and sympathy: it may sound silly when you say it like that, but LARP is open to everyone. You will meet very different people and it is essential to respect everyone and be nice to everyone.
  • Have fun: another silly but essential tip! Talk to people, be curious and smile and everything will go smoothly!

7) After the event

That's it, you've reached the end of your first LARP event! Congratulations! You may feel a little lost after all that happened and that's totally normal, no need to worry! You're probably wondering "well, what do I do now?", well here are some tips!

  • Debrief the + and - : knowing what you liked and what you didn't like is very important, it will allow you to target the LARP experiences that you liked!  
  • Keep in touch with the people you met: it's always nice to meet new people, especially when they have the same interests as you, so keep in touch with them!
  • Continue to develop your character: don't wait for your next gathering to develop your character, you might be called on a next meeting sooner than you think!

And that's it, we're at the end of this guide, how to start LARP in 2023!

We hope you or your friends find it useful! Feel free to share it on your social networks and tell us about your experiences in comments!