LARPing through NRB

Freshmen given opportunity to game IRL

The Live Action Role-Play Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond trip focused around two murder mysteries. In these games, participants were given a name tag with a character’s name and a folder containing their in-game identity. The event was mostly full with about thirty players.

According to the director of the event and contrary to popular belief, LARPing does not involve swordfights or other fake weapons. The correct word is “boffering”. A “boffer” is a construction of weapon that involves a piece of PVC pipe, with pipe foam around it, and covered with duct tape.

The first LARPs were run in the 1970s. LARPing, since its creation, has branched into a wide variety of styles. Games can focus on the story, or may be more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression, such as costumes and characters. Events can also be used to achieve goals in the real world, commonly educational or political. There is a great variety of fictional genres used, from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic worlds. For example, NRB had a both a traditional murder mystery and a cyber-themed one based on Shakespeare.

There is no LARPing club at RPI. Instead, events are put on through the Gaming Club, which provides the majority of players for the LARPing events throughout the year. While later in the year, costumes are used, they were not used during the NRB day trip because new players are not expected to have their own costumes. When asked why he chose LARPing, Sol Todin ’18, replied, “My brother had been into similar games and I thought the event sounded interesting.” His character was the drug-dealing owner of the manor in which the hypothetical murders took place.

The freshmen taking part in the game had plenty of time to joke around using the characters’ personas. Unlike the athletic events going on, LARPing gave those on the day trip more of a chance to interact with their peers. Even though only a few of the over 1300 freshmen students were able to experience LARPing, the event put people together with similar interests and helped them make connections. For more information, visit or email