LARPing, Renaissance Faires and SCA are related hobbies that often share the same attendees. They are all represented by a love of costume play, history, fantasy role playing and the medieval genre. Enthusiasts will participate in more than one but are often most passionate about their first, the one where they found their tribe or sense of community. This blog will share the strong connections between LARPing and Renaissance faires.
Like so many others, I started LARPing in my mid twenties after playing tabletop games like D&D. It was in the very early days of LARP in New England. I joined one game, then another. I have staffed a couple of games and played even more. I found a sense of community with my LARP friends that I did not experience in high school or college. I am still close friends with many of the same people I met and played with 35 years ago. I offer these insights not only from my own personal experience but also from friends and family who have kindly shared theirs.
LARPers (Live Action Roles Players) and Rennies ( Renaissance Faires enthusiasts) both say what they love most about their hobbies is the feeling of community. They love returning event after event to see their friends. They describe the feeling of finding their tribe, their home, people like them. They share their artistic selves in all the various shapes and forms that might represent and there is acceptance and welcoming.
Whether it's a Ren festival that is open to the public and as simple as friends picking the best date on the calendars to attend or a LARP that requires membership, an approved character and registration, the LARP and Ren Faire communities share characteristics of forming strong, long-lasting friendships and bonds.
I love fantasy and creating encounters to role play. When I am not LARPing or attending Ren faires, I build haunted houses at Halloween. I have many friends who attend or are vendors at Ren Faires where they dress in costume and participate in LARP-like plots to entertain groups of attendees with quests and mini-modules.
What you can expect at a renaissance fair is a crowd of costumed guests eager to engage vendors, entertainers and other fair goers in role play. Last year in Michigan, our friends participated in a plot to kidnap the queen and the local swordsmith taught a troupe to duel. Role playing in a medieval, sometimes fantasy setting brings delight whether it is part of a defined character in a rules based LARP or a character that you play at a ren faire.
The difference is in the rules and structure. You attend a ren faire for entertainment, food and a marketplace to do some shopping. At a LARP you go to immerse yourself in playing your character for the day or weekend and interacting within the storyline and character skills or rules that you have acquired. Costume roleplay with your friends is what they have the most in common.
Attending Ren fairies and LARPs have another thing in common. They both allow you to take a break or step away from real life by immersing yourself in the medieval world as a fictional character. A Renaissance Faire generally delivers more atmosphere to its attendees than a LARP. They usually have permanent sites, paying vendors, and professional entertainers. The sights, sounds, and smells might require less imagination than a LARP to escape into character but the character role playing is the same.
LARPers need more imagination as the physical surroundings do not have the embellishments of a faire but they often have more opportunity for physical combat. It is the escape from real world stress that is attractive to Rennies and LARPers, especially those who enjoy Medieval LARPs .
This blog shared three important ways that LARPing overlaps with Renaissance Fairies. You learned that the most important draw for most is the sense of community and how attendees love an occasion to roleplay in costume and to escape from real world stresses. The next time you attend a Ren faire, check out the daily LARP activities to enhance your event experience and visit your local LARP organization for upcoming LARP Events in your area.
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