The Realm: LARP 2017

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Michael Hamilton

Elder senior Logan Cleaver looks back at his clan, the Dark Riders. Everyone stands at attention, head-to-toe in black: black shorts, black shirts, black face paint, even black robes. Beneath Cleaver’s hood, a smile creeps across his shadowed face. The orders are given. “CHARGE.” The hesitant and cowardly stand back while the brave and daring sprint forward. 

But before battle could commence, a lore had to be established.

The idea of medieval warfare with shoddily constructed weapons was passed down to senior Clayton Phillips by alumnus Will Fenimore and Will Reimer. This was LARP, short for Live Action Role Play. Intrigued by the thought, Phillips pitched the idea to friends senior Ryan Kahle and Cleaver.

Soon after, Phillips, Cleaver and Kahle created their own clans. They began recruiting classmates and having build days to enlarge their arsenals. What started as three clans made of five people each, had grown to be a realm with over 80 members. 

Build days, which were established in preparation for weekly battles, meant that PVC pipe, duct tape and foam pool noodles could be forged into weapons at clansman’s houses. Sleds would be turned into shields and soccer balls into flails. Cardboard duct taped over old T-shirts became breastplate armor, and football pads were repurposed to take blows from enemies’ war hammers.

Battle days were chaotic: lobbed archer shots found targets, swords beheaded adversaries, shields and clansmen alike took beatings. Strict battle strategies were disrupted as clans clashed together, warriors dispersing into a mess of furious swings. Clan members betrayed their former elders, dueling them in front of the entire realm. 

“There’s kind of a taboo around it that it’s really nerdy, but everyone that comes to it is immediately like, ‘Okay, I’m getting all my friends to come to this because it was so fun,’” Cleaver said. 

But clearly nobody cared about how they looked. Nobody cared about the Game-of-Thrones-esque garb they were clad in. They only cared about the battle and the people that they spent their Sunday afternoons with.

“I feel like it’s been a good bonding experience for everyone in our grade,” Cleaver said. “I have a couple underclassmen in my clan and we kind of set it up, like the ideal situation, would be to pass the eldership on to a member of our clan so that the future kids at East can larp.” 

LARP, the club that will be remembered by all who joined and chose to embrace their nerdiness. It will be remembered because of the “apple ale,” the talk conducted in the tongue of hobbits and the epic battles.