The fight for the realm is ongoing, and you can be a part of it, too!
It's a beautiful summer day and you are at the park with your family. Kids are playing, couples are cuddling, picnics are in full swing, dogs are enjoying some quality time with their owners, all while a medieval knight and wizard fight to control the realm just a few feet away.
Is this a festival, a movie shoot, perhaps a dress rehearsal for 'Shakespeare in the Park'? No, it's live action role-play (aka LARP), and the community of people who participate in this activity is going strong.
LARPing is a form of role-playing where participants physically "become" their characters, dressing the part and acting out elaborate scenarios. This isn't your childhood dress-up games, rather it is a form of expression, an avenue of stress relief, and a way for adults to let that inner child out.
Characters are portrayed in a fictional setting, one that takes place in the real world. So while your local park may be simply a place you walk your dog, for those who LARP, it becomes a battlefield, a zombie apocalypse, a castle, and a journey across time, space, and imagination that takes them away from the humdrum of normal life, if just for a little while. A bit like participating in improvisational theater, there's no script and players improvise speech, movements, and personalities of their characters.
In Denver, there is one group that meets regularly at Denver’s Berkeley Park (I-70 & Tennyson), Denver Amtgard, the Duchy of the Iron Mountains. They meet every Saturday at 1 p.m., and are always looking for new members. The gatherings typically consist of a meetup, a class about weapon making or costuming, then the mission is laid out and the battle for the realm begins.
They also use padded and foam weapons (you'd be surprised what a pool noodle and some duct tape can turn into!) to minimize bodily harm and damage, making things as safe as possible.
This is a very welcoming group of people looking to shed the limits of their day job and have a little fun. You can contact the group and see what events are coming up on their Facebook page.
Courtesy of Denver Amtgard, the Duchy of the Iron Mountains (Facebook)
Amtgard is a global non-profit dedicated to promoting and facilitating medieval and fantasy combat sports and recreation. They have official the 'Amtgard Rules of Play' for classes, leveling, magic, and special abilities. Participation in games allows you to advance in a class, unlock new levels, and get more advanced powers.
There are several other LARPing groups in Colorado, as well as day camps, gatherings, and communities that have formed around the game. Alliance Denver Live Action is another group that manages and facilitates an entire fantasy kingdom in the Denver area with events, classes, and even a camp. Groups have formed all over the state; Darkmoon: Amtgard of Colorado Springs, Fort Collins Amtgard, and Empire of the Iron Mountains (Denver), just to name a few.
We think this sounds like something we just might have to check out, in fact, we can admit we have already looked up a few warrior princess costume ideas, just in case.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Happy LARPing!