If you see someone dressed in a full medieval outfit next time you visit Cockshutt Park in Brantford, there’s a good chance they belong to a LARP group. LARPing, or Live Action Role Playing, is a form of a role-playing game wherein the players physically act out the roles of their characters. The players pursue goals within the real world while reacting to other players around them. These events generally take place in public parks and forests, as they are the most realistic representation of the desired mood of the game world. While there are various versions, the most common variation incorporates a Tolkien-esque medieval setting with aspects of fantasy and magic. Dagorhir Battle Games incorporate battles into the role-playing. Players can fight each other using foam swords known as ‘boffer weapons’. Even the costumes used are often made by the players themselves, and a great deal of work is put into the planning of these events.
While the concept of LARPing is unknown in many circles, it is an important aspect of life to many players. It should be noted that here in Brantford we have a LARPing Society. The group is known as Bellhollow, and plans activities regularly around the city for those who are interested.
They are part of a non-profit organization called Amtgard which caters to ages 14 and up. Amtgard is free to play, with the option of paying to have a say in which direction the non-profit organization takes in the future. This LARP game is utilized to educate on various topics such as Physics, Math, Old English, History, Geography, Science and many more. There are multiple different chapters in various cities which are all connected to Amtgard. They have several monarchy positions which are occupied by active members of the organization, including Monarch (Public Relations), Regent (Arts and Sciences), Chancellor (Prime Minister), Champion (Weapon Safety and Game Runner), and Guild Master of Reeves (Rules Master). All positions help with safety and there is a strict guideline for safety and gameplay that is followed. The ‘boffer weapons’ that are used must be built following very strict guidelines for safety reasons. The hard work of these individuals ensures that LARPers will have a fun and safe experience.
Bellhollow fields every Sunday, 11am-4pm all year round at 12 Catharine Ave, Brantford Ontario (Knights of Columbus Hall). Their goals are to make sure there’s always a welcoming, safe place for people to be themselves. They hope to inspire the imagination in everyone and encourage an active lifestyle.
For more information on LARPing in Brantford, visit the Bellhollow Facebook page.