Massive Warhammer Festival More Than The Average LARP

Massive Warhammer Festival More Than The Average LARP

Orcs and Dwarves and Beastmen, oh my!

Half the fun of Warhammer (or any tabletop minis game) is in painting and assembling your army. It's all about picking out colors, adding awesome minute details, and giving them a weathered look with battle damage. Now imagine doing that, but in full 1.1 scale, and instead of your local gaming shop, you battle with a hundred other screaming fans in the Czech Republic. What I just described is Smrtihlav 2014, an insane Warhammer Fantasy LARP that just recently took place.

The forces of order clashed against chaos, and the setting couldn't be better. Rolling hills, open forests, the participants even got to siege a castle. There are some truly impressive costumes on display here. There are hideous orc masks, intimidating chaos knights, a dwarf with a rifle, and a badass Warpriest. There's also an awesome one-on-one showdown in a narrow ravine with forces on either side cheering them on.

This gallery's but a sampling of the hundreds of pictures taken of the event. While you won't find the more exotic races like the Skaven or Lizardmen, there are a few Beastmen (and Beastwomen) present. Anyways, I'm sure it confused the hell out of any passersby who thought it was supposed to be a historical reenactment.

Source: Martin Janca, Lukas Makovicka

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I almost feel sorry for the castle. The place is likely older than dirt. That being said, I'd love to live in a countryside with ruins like this just scattered around. Here the closest thing we have are limestone caves. No castles in the U.S. and that makes me a little sad.

Except that I have no money for whatever, I would love to join a LARP, let alone a warhammer LARP. Specially in such a beautiful country as the Czech Republic.

In Denmark where I live we have a yearly LARP event called "Krigslive" - meaning War-LARP. Its been going on, once a year, for almost ten years now. The tenth iteration is happening in a month or so.

Here be some youtubes from it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFM20uKAP-E - trailer for WarLarp 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF9C8NG6aRs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuEdoZSMtOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrlR6v34zDc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93zDmlGSIM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YW-RaaQBYo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17836t5chb0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfrT5S3CKZg

This sounds like All The Funs!

In Canada, more than 2000 people go to this LARP in july. More than 150 buildings created. 7 days of madness, le last day being 1000 vs 1000 on a battlefield.

http://www.bicolline.org/page_grande_bataille.html

And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Really? All of them?

That's...not an easy thing to do. I feel like I should be patting them on the back for it. And for the effort they put into their costumes.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

People going out and having fun with something they are passionate about makes all gamers look bad? I thought spewing negativity on a forum made gamers look bad.

Silentpony:

When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Um.... How?

This looks awesome, I'd have loved to be at something like that. Staging a massive fight like an American Civil War re-enactment. That'd be a great laugh!

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Well if 40K LARPs existed, I'm sure every military base and SWAT team in 200 miles of it would be on high alert for possible terrorist/enemy activity. You might be able to group a bunch of people together with flint lock muskets, foam hammers, and obviously medieval armor without causing a scene. Make it boxy futuristic firearms, homemade power armor, and scarred half-naked battle nuns, and you got, what looks like to the general public, a suicide cult gathering to destroy whatever establishments they can before being gunned down by law enforcement. I'd bet they are still plenty of people below 50 years old today that think Dungeons and Dragons is a satanic cult. I wouldn't put it past them to call the cops on 40k cosplayers reenacting the Horus Heresy.

I've never felt so conflicted about a Chaos Beast.

Props for trying with the costumes, but... I can't help it, I look down on LARPers. I used to fight battles in places like this one - really fight, with real swords and axes (blunted edges and rounded blade tips, of course), the kind that would earn you broken bones for screwing up in combat.
I've seen these folks embarrass themselves in the most pitiful ways, and it's sad, given how cool this kind of thing could actually be. :\

Hairless Mammoth:
Well if 40K LARPs existed, I'm sure every military base and SWAT team in 200 miles of it would be on high alert for possible terrorist/enemy activity. You might be able to group a bunch of people together with flint lock muskets, foam hammers, and obviously medieval armor without causing a scene. Make it boxy futuristic firearms, homemade power armor, and scarred half-naked battle nuns, and you got, what looks like to the general public, a suicide cult gathering to destroy whatever establishments they can before being gunned down by law enforcement. I'd bet they are still plenty of people below 50 years old today that think Dungeons and Dragons is a satanic cult. I wouldn't put it past them to call the cops on 40k cosplayers reenacting the Horus Heresy.

You made my day, mate. Thanks for the laugh. ^^

Sonicron:
Props for trying with the costumes, but... I can't help it, I look down on LARPers. I used to fight battles in places like this one - really fight, with real swords and axes (blunted edges and rounded blade tips, of course), the kind that would earn you broken bones for screwing up in combat.
I've seen these folks embarrass themselves in the most pitiful ways, and it's sad, given how cool this kind of thing could actually be. :\

Hairless Mammoth:
Well if 40K LARPs existed, I'm sure every military base and SWAT team in 200 miles of it would be on high alert for possible terrorist/enemy activity. You might be able to group a bunch of people together with flint lock muskets, foam hammers, and obviously medieval armor without causing a scene. Make it boxy futuristic firearms, homemade power armor, and scarred half-naked battle nuns, and you got, what looks like to the general public, a suicide cult gathering to destroy whatever establishments they can before being gunned down by law enforcement. I'd bet they are still plenty of people below 50 years old today that think Dungeons and Dragons is a satanic cult. I wouldn't put it past them to call the cops on 40k cosplayers reenacting the Horus Heresy.

You made my day, mate. Thanks for the laugh. ^^

To be fair, that's primarily US LARPers (of which I am one, though we do our best to keep our LARP low-power/low fantasy and based around real combat skill - it was founded by a group of guys who werent old enough to do full-up SCA re-enactment and settled on a nearly-full-contact LARP instead) that have the bad rap. In Europe, it's not looked down upon, and the guys in the hobby put tremendous effort into their outfits, fighting skill, etc.

Without the stigma, you have a lot more people willing to do it, and people willing to really dedicate their time to making it awesome, which is hard to do in the US. And, the few groups that do try to hold out for this level of immersion/skill/dedication end up with smaller groups of players because they are looked upon as elitist.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Wow, projecting much?

As a 40k fan I personally find this to be the best part of Fantasy. Apart from possibly modding some airsoft guns you can't really do a 40k/Dark Hersey LARP, or at least one with ranged weapons.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Yep, keep dividing the community! Good job, guy!

OT: This looks awesome! Must organise something like this in Britain. Maybe some form of Albion LARP, with Firmirs and all!

Sigmar ov The Hammer:

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Yep, keep dividing the community! Good job, guy!

OT: This looks awesome! Must organise something like this in Britain. Maybe some form of Albion LARP, with Firmirs and all!

I wonder if GW would crack down on that for "Copyright Infringement" if they find out about it before it happens. It does seem like the sort of stupidity they'd be pulling these days.

As for the LARPers... damn, that looks sweet. I wish I had the talent to make an outfit like that myself, because it looks awesome.

Mangod:

Sigmar ov The Hammer:

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Yep, keep dividing the community! Good job, guy!

OT: This looks awesome! Must organise something like this in Britain. Maybe some form of Albion LARP, with Firmirs and all!

I wonder if GW would crack down on that for "Copyright Infringement" if they find out about it before it happens. It does seem like the sort of stupidity they'd be pulling these days.

As for the LARPers... damn, that looks sweet. I wish I had the talent to make an outfit like that myself, because it looks awesome.

I could see that happening, but at the same time, I doubt GW would be that bad... I hope.

DSP_Zulu:
To be fair, that's primarily US LARPers (of which I am one, though we do our best to keep our LARP low-power/low fantasy and based around real combat skill - it was founded by a group of guys who werent old enough to do full-up SCA re-enactment and settled on a nearly-full-contact LARP instead) that have the bad rap. In Europe, it's not looked down upon, and the guys in the hobby put tremendous effort into their outfits, fighting skill, etc.

Without the stigma, you have a lot more people willing to do it, and people willing to really dedicate their time to making it awesome, which is hard to do in the US. And, the few groups that do try to hold out for this level of immersion/skill/dedication end up with smaller groups of players because they are looked upon as elitist.

No no no, trust me, it's looked down upon. I'm German, and I'm just one of many who can't stop rolling their eyes.
I think it's mostly the 'play' aspect of roleplay that gets dialled up to 11 in LARPing, with people laughing and grinning like while they smash each other with foam warhammers, like kids taking whacks at a pi~nata; and before anyone says it doesn't look like that one these pictures, it's there, believe me. Maybe I wouldn't have such a problem with it if people at least went whole-hog on the fantasy of it and approached the game like they were actually doing battle.

That said, I will stand by my approvement to the commitment of crafting good costumes, which I find to be a wonderful manifestation of personal imagination, dedication and skill. Besides, this sort of thing helps deepen immersion for the roleplay and is common even among those who fight with real weaponry (like the 'tribe' I used to be with as mentioned before).
I still have my forearm guards (reinforced leather with a lining of rabbit fur), my shield (also self-made) and my sword (modified in weight and balancing for maximum efficiency). Ah, such pleasant memories. :)

Those guys are alright, but I can't help but think that will just a little more research and effort they could have really nailed the cosplay. I mean, just look at the weapons. Those things are about half the size a proper warhammer weapon should be. Those longswords in the OP pic should be about twice the length and three times the width, while being utterly and completely weigthless. That warhammer haft should be the diameter of a small telephone pole, with the priest's hands enlarged to match. And those tiny, tiny shoulders! Really, looking at warhammer figures with actual human proportions just looks weird.

Hairless Mammoth:
Well if 40K LARPs existed, I'm sure every military base and SWAT team in 200 miles of it would be on high alert for possible terrorist/enemy activity.

Nah, I think they'd just be wondering why all these bald guys with comedy giant shoulder pads were constantly screaming and pointing.

I...Okay? *does not get the title*This looks exactly like the average Swedish LARP. Seriously, there's nothing special about any of those pictures.
The orcs look like generic LARP orcs rather than the stuff found in Warhammer, the elves look generic, the Chaos raiders look..Like barbarians?
Wow? I suppose? I must be getting sort of picky with friends putting more time to their gear than this.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Hell, I'd love to do a 40k larp. The guns would make it difficult, but it's still be pretty wizard. Especially if a regiment of Sororitas were there...

Long live Karl Franz!

I'd love to tag along for something like this sometime. If nothing else, it'd brighten up some people's day. I've always had a soft spot for improvisation theatre.

Silentpony:
And people wonder why 40k is more popular than Fantasy.
This. This is why!
When you guys do these sort of things, it makes all table top gamers look bad.

Well, not any worse than when you guys are doing this. Significantly less, in fact.

My experience with a local LARP group that I attended 5 or so years back have pretty much confirmed to me that it's not for me. I still enjoy checking out pictures of cool outfits and what-not though. But the reality, was too tough a pill to swallow. I really thought I'd love it, I've been playing table-top games for a really long time and I always enjoy getting as much into character as I can. However at the LARP group I tried out, there was a 'barbarian' who was a 18 year old skinny topless kid carrying around a 8ft tall foam axe, a 'beautiful Elf maiden' was a spotty, bespectacled girl who was all over me from the moment I walked in the door. There was another Elf, an archer or something, who was around 45-50 years old, balding and fat wearing fake pointy ears. They all ran about in the woods for a couple of hours in full get-up, at one point we passed an elderly couple out walking their dog and I'll never forget the looks they gave our motley crew. It was tiring, dirty, awkward as all hell...

I respect everyone who chooses to have fun this way, all power to them. And a well made outfit is a cool thing to see. But some people will never be LARPers and I'm one of them.

My opinions wind up being mixed. I've seen both good and bad LARPs and SCA events even if it's not really my cup of tea. I'm a huge nerd, but this kind of thing tends to bring arrogance and politics up to an entirely new level. Some SCA cantons and the various rankings and such get taken WAY too seriously. When it comes to fantasy LARPs and stuff the problem is that it can be hard to get the right mix of things going on, you wind up with a lot of costume discrimination, power trips based on fantasy ranks, and of course people just acting so outrageously nerdy that even other nerds occasionally have to step back and say "WTF".

See, these kinds of pictures, and versions of this kind of thing that show up on TV or in movies, tend to avoid the whole "fat marshmellow nerds in capes" aspect of things (and this is coming from a nerd who is truly obese nowadays). The relatively normal guys and gals, in fair shape, with cool costumes, are only part of it.

That said there would be absolutely *zero* problem in setting up a Warhammer 40k LARP. Most LARPS and similar events are intentionally set up at camps or in sections of parks or whatever which aren't heavily travelled. A local group called "Fantasy Quest" tended to rent a local 4H club. More high tech games, such as Cyberpunk and Vampire, oftentimes involve renting a ballroom, or someone involved donating their home or property. Things like paintball arenas and the like can also be used. In a lot of cases the guys organizing the events will sell tickets, and the tickets are used to rent the space and/or purchase dividers and the like and paint/decorate them to set up in ball rooms or whatever.

When it comes to gun combat, that's stupidly easy, and people doing Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, and Vampire-type LARPS have been doing it for ages. Typically I've noticed it being done with squirt guns (which come in crazy configurations) or occasionally paintball weapons. The idea is that you generally don't want to make a huge mess out of people's costumes or the environment. What's more, despite how it might LOOK at times, LARP combat that actually matters typically involves a referee to verify hits, and weapon effects, especially as seeing in a fantasy environment some characters will cast spells (oftentimes handled by tossing bean bags, or just by making a declaration to the rep), and while skill can play a role in combat, in a lot of settings that have "role play" as opposed to being purely historical, things like immunities, defensive spells, and similar things can come into play.

For the most part Warhammer 40k would probably be one of the easiest settings to do from a LARP perspective given that guys like Space Marines and the like are supposed to be comparatively rare. Reinactment uniforms are fairly obtainable, and big in certain paintball events to begin with. To say be part of The Imperial Guard all you need is something that looks like it could be a uniform (and it can vary greatly) and a gun for example, a Dark Cultist can just wear a Halloween robe or cape. Things like Powered Armor and the like are comparatively difficult to do, but you already see people making things like that for cons and such. One balancing factor in LARPs is that not everyone is uber, and gets to live out a personal power fantasy because you generally need to be able to have a costume for whatever your going to play. Not everyone can make or afford to have someone make them say chain mail or something that looks like plate, so thus not everyone gets to be knights and such. In comparison someone say picking up cheap vinyl or Nagahyde to stick onto a vest or jacket with some shiny "studs", or just wearing a leather jacket, or whatever, is comparatively easy and what a lot of people do, and usually wind up in comparatively low ranks. Wizards in fantasy events tend to be comparatively common (and surprisingly fairly weak) because robes and cloaks are relatively easy especially around Halloween. The same logic would of course apply to any kind of 40k event. Of course this tends to lead to the point about "costume discrimination" the guys that get to be powerful in a kingdom are the ones who have a lot of time or money to put into it. Someone who can say afford to drop $3000.00 to buy a set of chain mail, and/or spend the time learning how to fence, could wind up as say a Knight Or Baron within a couple of events. In comparison some dude who "RPs" well (or maybe just likes to hang out) but can only afford a shoddy costume (not being talented enough to
make one) could literally show up for years and not be able to do or have a say on anything. Of course there is also politics (ie your friends with The King, or one of the Canton organizers) and similar things. A lot of people very much wind up just helping to make the "scene" for others, especially in very historic settings where say a duke doesn't even have the remote possibility of one day getting nicked by the wrong beanbag/spell.

As I said, not my cup of tea, but I have known some people who were very, very, outrageously into this kind of stuff for a while. I thought about doing it, but decided not to, both from a financial perspective, and the fact that it seemed like it would be a giant headache waiting to happen. I don't much care for politics, and sleeping out in the woods while occasionally running around with boffer weapons and throwing beanbags around (or listen to nerds in costumes give speeches about how great they and their kingdom are, while otherwise walking around a Ren Faire) was something I figured wouldn't hold long term appeal. I showed up for a few SCA events and things and my reaction was kind of "meh".

 

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