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LARPing on campus: The students behind it

Jillian Flack
Live Action RolePlay Club (LARP) practices on Risman Plaza on September 15, 2023, dressed in decorative costumes and using fake swords in their battle.

The sun beams high over Risman Plaza when the sound of shouting and banging arises. In the middle of the grass circle stands a large group, adorned in decorative costumes and holding fake swords. Some face off in a pretend battle while others stand off to the side, awaiting their turn to challenge one another.

Most students are familiar with the Live Action RolePlay club, LARP Club Ohtari, on campus. The club is frequently seen practicing on campus when the weather is nice, but many do not know who the LARPing club truly is.

Nathaniel Hedington, graduate student and president of the LARP club, said that the current group was formed last spring. Before then, groups of students would practice together on campus less consistently and they were not as organized. Now, the club has more structure.

There are currently 100 students involved with the LARP club, with 30 members LARPing on a regular basis. 

“I enjoy the camaraderie between everybody. It is more athletically demanding than most people would think,” Hedington said. “It is bonding through shared beatings.”

At the moment, the LARPers practice Fridays at noon on the Risman Plaza. Typically, one of these LARP sessions can go for three to four hours.

“I’m happy that I was able to bring it back onto campus and then I’m also kind of excited to hand it off to the next person,” Hedington said.

LARP consists of roleplaying, typically as fictional characters, and acting to their part. Then, the LARPers will fight each other with their own props until the challenge is over.

Some of the LARPers make their own costumes while others use ready-made attire to get their desired look. As for their weapons, some are made professionally and others are made by the LARPers themselves.

For Hedington, he makes some weaponry and said it takes him a few hours to craft. The props are made to mimic real-life weapons, such as swords.

Alum Samm Schinker originally joined the LARP club when they saw them at their first Blastoff. 

“I found a wonderful group of people who were very welcoming and very kind and it’s just sort of become a family; it’s interesting,” Schinker said.

When Schinker fights, they portray a character named Luthlirwe, which means a person of enchanting song. Their name was created for them by other LARPers in their group.

“I’m not gonna lie; it’s really fun learning how to fight. It’s a great exercise, but honestly, just hanging out with other nerds [is my favorite part],” Schinker said. “Just having that sort of camaraderie, and then also being able to say, ‘Hey, we’re best friends; let’s go beat each other up with foam sticks.’”

Schinker hopes to help add new aspects to the group other than fighting. Some members of other LARP groups focus on creating costumes or studying Norse mythology.

“Something in other units that I’ve seen is they have a heavy focus on artistry,” they said.

Even if parts of the club change, the LARPers stand for inclusivity while enjoying the activity they have grown to love, their website stated.

Jillian Flack is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Jillian Flack, Reporter
Jillian is a freshman journalism major with a design minor. She enjoys writing about a wide spectrum of topics, especially current events. Contact her at [email protected]

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