The following is an account from LARPer Cory Carter. Ideas and mentions listed are their own, and are not reflective of LARPed.com’s own ideals.
My name is Cory Carter and my LARP story begins back somewhere around 2011 in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. My first invite came from a college friend who asked me to hang out in the park and participate in a battle with boffer weapons in an Amtgard practice fight. Curiosity got the best of me so I decided to check it out.
Upon my arrival, I saw a group of folks near picnic tables wearing something that I could only describe at the time as medieval attire that reminded me of a movie with Heath Ledger called A Knight’s Tale. The fights were pretty intense and while the weapons were typically made of a foam or latex material, the people were so into the battles as if they were fighting for the honor of a noble or something. I even got in and tried my hand at some of the fighting, until I got quickly eliminated because I had no technique or skill whatsoever.
After it was all over and I left, my friend invited me back—and I would turn it down constantly because I felt like a total “nerd” running around fighting with fake weapons. I could remember seeing people looking and laughing at us while I was out there and it really made me self-conscious about what I was doing; that it was off-putting and just didn’t want to be part of it.
Around that same year, on YouTube, the famous “Lightning Bolt” guy solidified my disinterest because I thought I would rather have more friends than be that weirdo. The only thing that had me even partially interested in LARP was the movie Role Models (2008), but not enough to go digging for more information to try out.
Fast forward a few years later to 2015: I get another invite from someone else to go check out a post-apocalyptic zombie horror LARP in Florida called Dystopia Rising. My initial thoughts were, “heck no nerd, why do I want to play pretend in the woods??” but I decided to try it out for a few reasons. The biggest reason was at the time I was in the beginning stages of my weight loss journey where I was 504 pounds, and wanted to be more active. I also was at a point in my life where making new friends was important to me because I was getting older and my friends were getting busy with their own families. So I corralled up a few friends and made my way to my first full weekend boffer LARP.
Dystopia Rising was nothing I could have imagined at the time, and changed my outlook on what LARP was altogether. It was in a secluded YMCA campsite, off the beaten path where random onlookers couldn’t laugh at me.
Costuming from the players were amazingly immersive, makeup from the monsters super realistic, and even custom made weapons that really looked like the stop sign or baseball bat that it was portraying. The roleplay was at times almost too real, with people in heated arguments (in character) only to later check in (out of character) with each other and be best pals. After that weekend I was hooked and began going every month to see how the world has changed with all the interactions the players had with the environment and NPCs.
After about a year, I was even privileged enough to be invited on to the Dystopia Rising: Florida team to help as a rules marshal where my duties were to be well-versed in the rulebook; to make calls in the field when questions were asked; to run modules or NPCs out into the field for players to interact with; and also to be available for Character vs Character interactions (aka in-game theft or lethal actions) where I made sure everything was within the rules and the players were all set after the fact.
About another year later, Dystopia Rising went through some rulebook changes and as part made some changes in the team structure, at which point I then became an OPs marshal where my duties changed. Now I was responsible for coordinating the NPCs and preparing them for the modules that had to go out, while keeping track of the notes coming in to check the temperature of the field to make changes as needed of making things more dangerous if players were bored or calm things down if they were all getting steam rolled. This was my favorite time on the team as I love coordinating people around a similar goal and I find that its the one time being a bossy mcbossy pants really fits me.
Fast forward one last time to now, 2019: my experiences in LARP have greatly increased as I have traveled to different states for games. I have participated in different style larps and even gotten to work on teams of other LARPs doing storytelling, coordinating, and other fun activities. I anticipate my future with LARPing will be ever-changing and always have some new and interesting experience to tell.
Thank you for reading my story about how I got my start into the world of LARP.
My name is Cory Carter, and I’ve LARPed.