For today I did an interview. So I can give a different perspective on LARP other than my own.
I am sitting down with Wouter Kistemaker aka The Grumpy Dwarf.
So Wouter what do we need to know about you?
Well, my name is Wouter. I am 20 years old. I’ve been LARPing for almost 5 years. I am a 3th-year Movement Teacher-student at the CIOS in Arnhem. My hobbies aside from LARP are: playing basketball, gaming and weapon building.
I will ask you the question that everyone gets asked who LARPs. What is LARP?
I hate this question. Not because it is a bad one, but it is a difficult one. I find it hard to describe what it really is. In short: it is open air improv drama. It often gets compared to a video game RPG of some sort. While I think that is a good comparison, the problem is that people often think of themselves as the hero of the story.
That is an interesting point. Why do you think that is a problem?
When it gets compared to a game people will see themselves as the main character. In games this is fine. You are often on your own. Strong, athletic, can carry hundreds of weapons and can have a conversation with everyone and outsmart everyone because you are the main character.
Now imagine you are at a LARP for the first time. You have your big thought-out back story, like; your parents are killed, you are the hero of your town etc etc.
And then at the first interaction you have with someone else, you end up with your face in the dirt because you are inexperienced, but you saw yourself as the hero.
Let’s have a more casual question. What is the best experience you have at a LARP.
I have a lot of cool story’s, but what I love the most is that people get to know you or your character. You get to a point that your character has built a reputation and people recognize you. I like that a lot and I think that is pretty realistic.
In my own experience, your taste in what you want to play as changes the longer you play. How is that for you?
In my experience, people start off wanting to play the tough and heroic characters. The same with me. The first time I played I wanted to be smarter than people, be stronger and slay everyone who stood before me. That didn’t really work out.
Now, I like to play the more simple characters. I still like to play fighter-type characters. But I don’t want to fight all the time. Most of the time I don’t even wear my complete armour or my weapons. Also, I like to make my characters a little bit more diverse in their decision making. Not really black or white, good or bad. They all have a bad side and a good side. I like to think that starting as a nobody and striving to something is a good way to have an interesting character.
And about your other characters?
As I said one of my characters is a guard. I really like to play him, I think that is my favorite role to play. The group with who I play is great so that helps a lot.
I play at two other events. One is a dwarf. He is a bit flaky since he is a crown prince. He killed his family in an accident and now he is trying to build up his reputation again. Also, he has little love story with a dwarven woman. The history of him killing and being a prince makes this a bit interesting. Also, having a love story was a first for me and it is pretty hard.
My third character is a Viking I play at Drachenfest. One of the biggest events in the world. I made this character to have fun and not play to serious of a guy. He is a jolly guy, not that smart and not really that heroic. A nice and easy character to play.
But I’m running long, anyways, it was nice talkin’ to you
Cheers to ya