May 8, 2017
Writer: David Payne & Myles Primm
What originally looked like a few strange college students fighting in the park is now a weekly activity that continues to grow.
Scott Harper, a student at BYU-Idaho, has taken his passion for live action role playing, also known as larping, to a whole new level.
"The reaction was kind of negative. Most people thought we were weird looking. We had maybe five or six people who would show up," Harper said. "However, now we're getting up to 20-25 people and the reactions of people watching has changed more to a state of awe than one of insult."
Larping consists of wearing homemade armor and preparing for battle with foam swords and spears. Players create their own characters with new names, classes, races and special powers. Many events have a storyline where individuals and teams are fighting for a certain purpose while others are simply games of capture the flag.
Harper said larping has helped him to bring people together in the community and has created great friendships.
"I enjoy the community, it's a lot of fun. You make a lot of really great friends," Harper said. "People tend to, their first week, get accepted in very, very quickly."
Harper and his friends created a mini documentary about their larping guild.
Although larping may not seem like the most popular activity, Vice also made a short film about larping and how it can benefit lives.
Many participate in larping for the recreational aspect, but Harper sees it as a business opportunity.
"I'm actually trying to start a business out of this," Harper said. "Long term we would like to expand to be more involved with other cities."
Harper's larping group has been together for over a year and he has been providing most of the funding for materials to create armor and weapons. Recently he decided to begin charging a small fee to help cover those expenses.
"Right now we have decided that we will charge a $10 participation fee each BYU semester," Harper said. "That's not all that expensive, it just helps to cover maintenance fees on the weapons and it helps us build new props for the games."
Another option is to simply pay $2 each time you participate in one of the many activities.
Harper's group meets at Porter Park in Rexburg every Thursday and Saturday. Thursdays the group tends to do more instruction and practice from 5-8 pm. Saturday's are form 10-2 pm and are typically combined storyline events with other larping groups from the surrounding area.
You can learn more about the group on its Facebook page.