LarpWorks ‘Live Action Role Play’ group mythologizes New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS -- One local group dubbed "LarpWorks" created a network of people who love to live action role play.

We met with Christopher and Matthew Chauvin.

These brothers created LarpWorks and helped explain what exactly "larping" is, and why it's a big hobby in New Orleans.

"LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. It means that individuals will come to one of these events and actively play a character of your choice, based on the game rules, and participate in the world, in real time," says Chauvin.

"The community has a need for LARPing because everyone needs an opportunity to express themselves in positive and healthy ways that are unrelated and inconsequential to their regular lives. Specifically, adults, now more than ever, require this sort of outlet," says Chavin.

The brothers and other members of the group worked on creating weapons for the game using everyday materials such as PVC pipe and foam.

They explain how larping is a form of creativity in several ways.

"The game is designed like a book, telling a story, over a period of time. This story is interacted with and altered by the players of the game. The entire story consists of multiple chapters. Every chapter consists of 4 monthly events called 'episodes.' There are two chapters run per year."

Although LarpWorks preps happen in New Orleans, the games are held on the other side of the lake.

"Games are currently held on the North Shore at Fountainbleu State Park. The first 'Book' of the game is about to end in several months, with the first chapter of a new 'Book' starting this September," says Chauvin.

"The game is a real-time, 'light-touch', combat LARP. We use a type of weapon known as a 'boffer'. They are traditionally made of PVC pipe and pipe foam. However, carbon fiber cores of various kinds, as well as molded weapons covered in latex for a more realistic look, are also used. Spells are cast by physically reciting various verbals and throwing a small packet, filled with bird seed, at your intended target. These packets are In Play items known as 'spell trinkets' and can be taken from you, lost, or destroyed. Spell verbals usually call upon In Play powers that grant the caster various abilities," says Chauvin.

"The most common misconception about LARPing is that it is a hobby for unhealthy, unsocialized, nerds - or children. In reality, LARP, especially Mordavia, is a challenging mental, social, and physical experience, for adults. We deal with more adult themes than one might expect. The stories are much more 'Game of Thrones' and much less 'Chronicles of Narnia', so uncomfortable topics will be encountered. Not to understate, the physical aspect of LARPing, it is almost like participating in a fantasy combat sport, so taking good care of oneself is essential to having a good time," says Chauvin.

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