Arts and Culture

Fun with friends and foamed swords: LARPing in Melbourne

Written by Justin Lim

Every Monday and Friday night at the Western Oval in Parkville, men and women gather in the middle of the field, dressed in mediaeval looking garments and armour. Battle cries are raised and (foamed) swords are drawn as two opposing ranks of people clash. This is Live Action Roleplay or LARP for short.

The group, known as Swordcraft, is a gathering of individuals (Or LARPers) to experience fantastical things: assuming the roles of knights, mercenaries and sorcerers.

“LARPing to me is the opportunity to play as someone else,”Sean Haren, a game marshal who referees and organises Swordcraft activities, said.

“It allows us to do all sorts of things that you wouldn’t be able to do in real life, but it’s all safe, it’s all fun.”

Players adopt personae of characters they had created and act out the actions of the characters in the field. They speak in character and fight each other with foamed weapons to simulate comba. This is different to traditional tabletop roleplaying games where the actions of a character is determined by dice rolls.

For many of the LARPers, their relationships extend beyond their characters.

“You’d think that it’s a lot of people who can’t make friends and stuff,” Sean continued. “But in reality everyone gets along, everyone’s on the same page. Half of my friends, they’re all Swordcrafters. They all do LARPing.”

About the author

Justin Lim