Role-playing games have been a staple of gaming culture since the 1970s, whether they take the form of tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or video games like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”
Live-action role-playing, or LARPing, is similar to other forms of role-playing, but players act out what they want their in-game character to do. It is also a hobby for Kira Hellmers, sociology freshman, and Tyler Cowart, computer engineering freshman.
Hellmers and Cowart found a group of LARPers called Nexus Larp, a medieval fantasy LARP group based in Biloxi, on the Internet and decided to join.
“They don’t do that at Nexus a lot,” Hellmers said. “People get brought in by other people. We’re still known in the group as the people who found them on the Internet.”
But LARPing is more than just playing a game. Another part of the experience is creating a character and acting like the character. A lot goes into creating a character for the game, including race, class and abilities, but the most-involved part is creating a costume.
“There are regulations depending on your race as to what colors and to what type of clothing you’re supposed to wear,” Hellmers said.
In addition to costumes, weapons must be created.
“Making a weapon is a really simple process,” Cowart said. “It’s PVC with foam wrapped in duct tape.”
Many LARPers say the activity is a way for people to come together and share a common interest. Nexus Larp brings people together from all over the region.
“People generally come from pretty close by,” Cowart said. “People come from Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. There’s a guy that drives from Texas and another that comes from Kentucky.”
A typical weekend for Nexus Larp involves people going on quests around different areas of the campground the group rents.
“There are different quests that you can join or do whatever,” Hellmers said. “It’s kind of like a sandbox RPG game.”