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Posted by Caitlyn Muncy on Sep 8, 2010

We’re all gamers here right?

Within the next month or so, you might start seeing some articles related to LARP or cosplay. This doesn’t mean we’re going to tell you we’re all lords and princesses from some far off land that doesn’t exist, or dress as mudkips, (though we have in the past..)

We’re simply branching out to a few other parts of gaming that are out there. If you have some grudges against anything to do with these subjects, please feel free to tell us why!

Who knows, you may end up having a good argument and have your thoughts in the next article!

This is just a small introduction to what cosplay and LARPing are for those of you who might not have heard of it before.

Cosplay:

Meaning “costume play,” cosplay is worldwide and has quite the reputation. Now I know at least a few of you, if not all think cosplay is pretty awesome.  You’ve got some creative reproductions of your favorite characters, and of course, the hot girls.

Most cosplayers dress as their favorite characters from mangas, bands, video games, comics, and movies; any character that they admire and has a specific look to them, really. Remember going out on Halloween all dressed up as a kid? Yea, you were cosplaying before you even knew what it was. There are professionals out there who are specifically type-casted and do it simply for the money, and then there are those who do it purely for fun. Getting to dress up however you want, without judgment, for an entire weekend-long convention is a blast, let me tell you.

On several occasions, people will drop hundreds if not thousands of dollars into awesome costumes, but that is not to say that there aren’t some amazing homemade ones that were dirt cheap to make. (duct tape, foam and paint can be pretty amazing sometimes)

LARP:

Most people will know it as the nerdy game from the movie “Role Models” and though I can’t say that this type of game play is never like that, I can definitely say it is not always so…comical.

I have played both with a game-based setting, and straightforward boffer weapons. The two most common types of LARPer game play are theater-based, and actual gameplay based. The more theater-based role-playing is almost like watching and/or being in a play that is completely improvised. Each player has a background story and works up what called a “character sheet,” which is a list of stats that they have to draw up. Math is involved, but a calculator on hand makes it easy peasy. The first time you do a character sheet it’s a bit overwhelming, but after that it doesn’t take very long to make one, as you already know how it works.  You can pick who and what you are, and whatever abilities come with the race you pick. I played a style called “Vampire: The Masquerade” which has a certain set of rules. Don’t ask me what they are, as I’m still pretty new to it all myself. :p Once all the characters are established, the event coordinator, called the game master sets up the storyline, and the players must deal with whatever comes their way.

Video games are creative in the sense of visual aspects, sound and gameplay; LARPing is creative as the storyline is not set and already programmed, and there are quite literally millions of ways it can go. The storyline can be based in science fiction, a certain historical period, off of a TV show; it can even be based in a world you’ve created in your head! Each character directly affects the plot in some way and has to deal with whatever other players say, which may change the plans your character had. Theater-based can encompass boffer fighting, but one of the styles I played was strictly theater-based, and relied on the D20 dice to do the action for you. Other styles may require you to actually act out whatever moves your character makes.

For those of you who don’t know, boffer weapons are foam or latex weapons that fit within certain specifications such as height, weight, width, and covering. There is a point system when attacking an opponent, with each different weapon class come a different kind of surface striking area. (Only the end of a spear, the striking edge of a sword…etc.) Most headshots are illegal unless it’s a missile weapon or a Class 5 weapon (a rock; and no, not real rocks).  Most all weapons vary greatly in what they look like; some look like real weapons, others look like giant popsicles.

It really depends on what groups or the individuals your playing with sometimes. If you’ve seen the movie “Role Models” you know how boffer fighting can be: based solely on a story line, and very soft with weapon-to-opponent contact. It does take some skill to play that version, mind you, as you still have to block, strategize) if it’s every man for himself), and know how and when to strike. However! The style that I play is mainly just fighting with weapons that happen to not kill who you hit. Some of the players may have actual characters, but I honestly don’t know of them or their backgrounds. We go to fight for fun and the workout. For those of you who find this to be a laughable topic, keep in mind that this is just like any athlete that practices to play baseball or soccer. Some people race cars, some people play Halo, and some people want to fight with medieval-based weaponry against other people without going to jail for murder.

This is just a very brief summary of what I know of these two subjects. If anyone out there feels I need to expand upon anything, or have something incorrect, please let me know!

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