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Everything you’ll need to start LARPing

Pretend Play

Although most LARPs use foam weapons to represent combat, some may opt for card- or dice-based combat systems instead.

What do you need to become a LARPer?

Live-action role-playing allows you to become anybody you want to be and live out a story that could typically only exist in your imagination. If you’re interested in getting into LARPing, you’ve likely wondered where you should begin. Learning how to LARP is half the fun, and after you’ve taken the time to review the most popular LARPing materials, you’ll be on your way to your first big adventure.

Popular LARPing items

Spell packets

LARP magic foam spell: Magic Shard

If you want to role-play as a character that casts magic spells, you’ll need spell packets to represent your magic. Spell packets need to be solid enough to fly through the air when thrown, but not so solid that they’ll hurt someone who gets hit by them.

Sewing together small pouches full of birdseed is an excellent way to represent your spells. You’ll want to ensure the birdseed mix that you use doesn’t contain any sharp seeds that might poke through the bag and nothing hard and large enough to hurt someone.

Organic Cotton Produce Bags

Many LARPers like to add “tails” or streamer-like fabric at the end of their spell packets to give it a spell-like effect when it’s thrown. Quality spell packets should be made with durable fabric, and many LARPers prefer to use biodegradable materials like hemp in case they lose any packets at the LARP site. If you don’t fancy making your own spell packet, there’s a range of great pre-made spells as well.

LARP Magic Foam Pyro Bolt 

LARP Magic Foam Pyro Bolt 

These durable foam pyro bolts can be used to represent a range of destructive spells. The soft foam is sturdy enough to fly great distances without hurting other role players.

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LARP Potion Bottle Throwing Prop 

LARP Potion Bottle Throwing Prop 

If you want to play a healer, you can’t go wrong with these highly detailed potion bottles. The stunning detail might lead you to believe these bottles are too hard to be thrown, but they’re made of a surprisingly soft foam material that’s excellent for LARPing.

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Foam Detonator LARP Throwable 

Foam Detonator LARP Throwable 

Not all LARPs are based around swords and magic. If you’re role-playing a futuristic LARP session and need throwable props, these foam detonators are an ideal choice.

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Weapons and shields

XCEL Large, Value Roll, Cosplay Fabrication Roll

Most LARP swords are made from foam to avoid injury. Many LARPers use foam designed explicitly for cosplay and LARPing, although a thick yoga mat will work just fine. You’ll need a “core” to give the weapon the firmness it needs to be swung around — a 1/2-inch solid fiberglass rod is ideal.

Franklin Sports Arctic Trails Snow Saucer

Shield cores are typically made of plywood, although this can be heavy. If you want to avoid lugging around a heavy wooden shield, try using a plastic snow sled as your core instead. Most LARP groups will require you to cover your core in foam for the safety of other role players. There are also plenty of incredible pre-made weapons and shields.

Glamdring LARP and Cosplay Sword 

Glamdring LARP and Cosplay Sword 

This foam replica of Gandalf’s sword from the Lord of the Rings series is sure to have people talking. Despite being safe to use for LARPing, the guard and blade look incredibly realistic.

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Norse Lightning God Foam War Ax Hammer 

Norse Lightning God Foam War Ax Hammer 

If you want to play a barbarian-like character, a war ax might be more your style. This detailed war ax, inspired by Thor’s hammer, is soft yet durable and features an impressively detailed design.

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Customizable Blank Matte Black Foam Shield 

Customizable Blank Matte Black Foam Shield 

If you’d like to customize your own shield without building it from scratch, look no further. This affordable foam shield is both sturdy and soft, and the blank matte black design leaves you with the freedom to do whatever you’d like with your new shield.

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Costumes

No LARP is complete without an awesome costume. When it comes to designing costumes, the materials you can use are nearly endless. There are, however, a few things you should consider when planning your costume.

It’s important to know whether you’re LARPing inside or outdoors. Outdoor LARPs can be a ton of fun, but they also tend to result in people getting dirty, so you won’t likely want to wear your most expensive costume. Outdoor LARPs also tend to prevent you from wearing heels with your outfit, as they can sink in the mud. If LARPing outside, you’ll also want to consider your costume’s breathability.

Many costumes won’t have pockets unless you add them. You may want to buy a bag or satchel that fits your character’s theme so you can bring along essential items, such as a phone for emergencies. If your costume involves a wig, make sure to get one that doesn’t squeeze your head too tight since you’ll likely have to wear it for several hours.

Additionally, for role players that plan to wear colored contacts, it can be a good idea to practice wearing them for a few hours each day before the LARP, as they can be uncomfortable if you aren’t used to them.

Costumes can be designed from scratch, but you may find it easier to purchase a few of the necessary items online.

Elven Ears 

Elven Ears 

Elven ears may be one of the first things you think of when you imagine LARP costumes. This classic elven aesthetic has been depicted in pop-culture representations of LARPing for decades and is a staple for role players that want to play as elves. These latex ears come in a variety of skin tones and fit comfortably on most ears.

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Adult Medieval Hooded Cloak 

Adult Medieval Hooded Cloak 

This faux fur cloak is excellent for barbarians or Norse-themed characters. Although this may not be the best piece of attire for LARPing on a hot day, it’s excellent for LARPs in colder weather or indoors.

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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