May 21, 2024

Want to get away from it all? Need to take a mental vacation from the daily stressors of school, work, etc.? The Wittenberg Role Play Guild, fondly known as the LARPing (Live Action Role Play) Guild provides students with an opportunity to test their skills at adopting a different persona each week.
The LARPing guild at Wittenberg is an organization on campus in which students perform role-playing activities in fantasy situations mainly based off of books or video games. Wittenberg student Christopher McDaniel has been a long time member of the guild and has been involved in LARPing at Wittenberg for around four years.
“The best way I can describe LARPing is from a web comic I saw that compared it to improvisational acting,” said McDaniel.
The guild’s president, senior Sean Redfield, discussed the perks of LARPing.
“It’s different, it’s fun, you get to interact with lots of different people,” said Redfield. “It’s an adventure in and of itself.”
The Wittenberg Role Play Guild meets once a week to engage in role playing games called one-shots, in which a designated Game Master creates a fantasy world and assigns characters to members of the guild. The players then act out their character’s role and persona as events are described and created by the Game Master, sometimes on the spot.
McDaniel said, “As a Game Master, you can create different circumstances and obstacles and explain what happened and why, but the players have free will with their character’s decisions.”
Redfield described the experience of the LARPing guild as a very communal organization in which strangers and friends interact and create an entire world out of imaginations for a couple of hours each week.
The guild’s secretary, Samantha Heaston, described the organization as a family.
“You get to see people at their silliest,” said Heaston. “It’s a great way for people to break out of their shell.”
However, McDaniel does feel that there is a certain stigma against LARPing in general because it is seen as a part of “geek culture.”
“Sometimes I think, ‘Can I tell people? Are they going to make fun of me?’” said McDaniel. “I just love stories and I love gaming. You get to know a lot of people inside and outside of a role playing game. Some people say that escapism is bad but you get to be somebody else for a little while. I know some people who take the games we play and use them as teaching tools for kids.”
The Wittenberg Role Playing Guild has several events over the year, including one big LARP that lasts for several hours during the reading days of each semester. These biannual events are not typically open to the public but the annual WittCon is open to the Wittenberg and Springfield community.
“The WittCon is our biggest event of the year,” said Redfield. “We have usually 120 people attend but we have some new attractions that will probably bring more people from the community.”
For a full schedule and more information on the Wittenberg Role Playing Guild, visit the guild’s webpage located on the Wittenberg University website. Students can receive information about the guild, the members and officers, the games that the guild plays along with background information on the stories, the meeting times, and upcoming events.
Heaston discussed her favorite aspects of LARPing.
“What I really like is that there is lots of creativity there,” commented Heaston. “I like it because you can dress up. I’ve never been an actor because I get stage fright. But LARPing is like acting without the stage. You can mess up and no one knows!”

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