I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the film Knights of Badassdom back in February (starring Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, and Margarita Levieva). In the film, a demon is accidentally summoned during a larp event (live action role play). It’s a great look at larping in general, but many people are unfamiliar with what larping is and how to play. In honor of its release April 1st, Scaretissue.com and Entertainment One is giving away a Blu Ray copy of the film as well as a poster! (Instructions on how to enter below)
Larping is a relatively new game with its first documented group established in 1977 (Dagorhir). The game itself was heavily influenced by the Dungeons and Dragons craze (which was created when a hobby shop owner was looking for new ways to sell Elastolin figures. He wrote his own “rules” for battle and the strategy game was born.) and the film Logan’s Run. Basically, games were evolving off the table and painting our realities with these fantasies. Soon, rudimentary games were being played in parks, farms, and at sci-fi conventions all over the United States. Many other games followed including UK’s Treasure Trap and the Mind’s Eye Theatre (which is the most commercially recognizable game).
Larping can be a very complicated game. Knights of Badassdom focuses on Dagorhir-like games (There are many types of games including the horror game Humans vs Zombies.). These games are full contact with foam (or padded) weapons, and while a traditional battle focuses on weapons only battles, games can and do include spells and other fantastic additions. There are three mantras to a Dagorhir game: safety, playability, and realism. Weapons are checked beforehand. Common sense trumps loopholes. The game is organized so that the players do not have to break character, and interactions that take place during the game should be in character.
An event (game) consists of the following roles:
Event Organizers – Organizers write the battle story ahead of time. The organizers set the rules for the event, procure the area and clear it, collect any fees, and check the weapons of each player. After all players have arrived, the organizers assist in splitting the teams evenly and “draft” heralds (see below).
Heralds – A herald acts as a referee and a scorekeeper during battle. A herald’s job is to move the group through each battle scenario so that the game can continue on a timely basis. While game play is mainly on the honor system, heralds settle any disagreements on the battlefield. Heralds wear some piece of identifying clothing (yellow tunic, headband, etc.) to identify themselves in the game.
Fighters – Fighters fight the battle. At the beginning of the game, the event organizers organize the fighters into Units. Each unit is given multiple scenarios and side quests. Most games begin with a melee battle, but they are not required to. Once the initial melee is over, the units disburse to complete their missions. A fighter is costumed, and cannot be on the battlefield unless he/she is wearing a costume (and is supposed to stay in character). Fighters can be specialized in their own fighting style, as magicians, or can even be classified as “healers”. Battle is strictly on the honor system, and heralds referee any disputes.
Now, in the film Knights of Badassdom, Ronnie (Jimmi Simpson) is the “herald”. The rest of our cast (excluding demon Beth) are fighters. Eric (Steve Zahn) is a magician and obtains a book of black magic for his costume. Hung (Peter Dinklage) is a traditional knight, and Gwen (Summer Glau) is an battle tested elf protected by Gunther (Brett Gipson). They are all placed in one unit, and they are joined by hungover/heartbroken novice Joe (Ryan Kwanten).
Scoring is best explained by Hung in this clip:
I really enjoyed this film, and I think you will too. It comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray April 1st, and we have a copy and poster available to our readers (courtesy of Entertainment One). Simply tweet a link to this article, like Scaretissue on Facebook, or subscribe to this site below through Friday April 4, 2014. It’s that simple.