The mystical fun of larping across the North West
Can the orks and goblins complete their challenge in defeating the brave warriors in the mythical land?
Rory Simpson, of Chorley, has had many guises and charms. For the last five years he has been a mage in the Viber faction who casts spells with the noble house of Diamecht.
In reality, the father-of-three is a member of Lorien Trust Gameworld and regularly takes part in Larping (Live Action Role Play).
Participants, known as larpers, portray characters in a fictional setting, improvising their speech and movements. They often dress as their character, carrying special equipment.Larps can have any genre, with the most popular being set in pseudo-historical worlds inspired by fantasy literature and role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. These settings typically have magic, fantasy races and focus on adventure or competition between character factions.
Larps can be one-off game sessions or a series of events in the same setting, and can vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand.
Rory has been a keen larper for 20 years as he takes part in organised events across the country, which involve people from across the North West, including Preston, Blackpool, Lancaster and Wigan.
The 39-year-old says: “I used to play dungeons and dragons when I was younger and I dressed up in character.“This is an extension of that.“I am part of the Viber faction in Lorien Trust Gameworld. Every four months we have weekend events at Derby Locko Park. It is a big event where around 2,000 people attend.“We have meetings every now and again to discuss what is going on and we try to organise weapons practice to keep us going during the quite ‘down’ time.“Lorien Trust creates the plot lines. There are a lot of politics going on as there are 10 different factions who have their own plot lines and factions don’t get on which is part of the fun during the big meet ups.“We discuss plots over Facebook and meet up every once in a while in between the events to talk about what to do in the game.“I really enjoy socialising with fellow larpers. It is also a break away from reality as you are someone else for the weekend. I have met a lot of friends from larping, not just from the North West, but across the country.”
There are several types of characters. Mages cast spells; orcs are a fictional humanoid creature that is part of a fantasy race akin to goblins and faes are a type of mythical being or legendary creature.There are also healers, warriors, goblins, vampires and dragons that take on vital roles within the setting.
Rory, who originally hails from Blackpool, adds: “I am on my third character. I had my first character for 12 years and then that one got killed off so I had another for three years.“My current character is Lorenz Diamecht in the Viper Faction, he is a ‘trader’ of sorts. The character before was Fenn Darean, Chieftain of the Clas Celtaii fae of Arcadia. My first character was Starke Cadwallen, member of The Umbra within the Dragon Faction and bodyguard to Grandmaster Armourer Jazz Anture Nariel.“My current character, a mage, has been around for five years, but I am thinking of retiring that character in a couple of years to become an orc.“My characters so far have been serious, so I am looking forward to a more comical one.”
Being classed as a social event, larping is suitable for the whole family as Rory takes his three sons, aged five, 11 and 17.He says: “It’s a nice thing for the family to take part in. Lorien Trust also includes a special children’s plot. They love dressing up and fighting monsters, especially my youngest.”
Rory, who works at James Donaldson Timber, in Brinscall, also makes and sells armour and weapons for larping events through his Facebook page - Clas Celtaii Custom LARP.He adds: “Larping is a really expensive hobby if you buy your own costume. The average sword can cost between Â£80 and 120, a dagger could be Â£50. Armour is ridiculous money - up to Â£600 for leather armour.“So I make my own equipment, including armour, shields and weapons. People have seen what I have made and have asked me to make them something and it has expanded from that. “I go online and look for designs. A shield can take me 14 hours to make, but armour can take up to two weeks depending on its intricacies.”