The biggest LARP that I attend is Profound Decisions‘ Empire campaign.
Empire is a massive system, not only in terms of the size of the events – well over a thousand people – but also in that the background literature for the game is an effort of worldbuilding that you’d expect for something like the world of A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones), Dragon Age’s Thedas, or Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The wiki’s wordcount exceeded the full set of Harry Potter novels when the game launched, and has only been added to since then.
I’m a member of PD’s crew (I currently administer the wikis, help with the setup of networking on the game field and generally provide IT support; but previously was part of the NPC Civil Service and briefly helped run Game Operations and wrote some plot) but right now I play the game as Reichard Callan Remidos von Holmauer, part of The Seven Mirrors, a political salon and publishing house, which is in The League, an Imperial nation inspired by history such as the Republic of Venice, the Hanseatic League and Prague. The Prince of our guild is also currently the Empress, after a long and complicated campaign, and the image above is her being crowned last summer.
One of the things I love about Empire is the things created by the players that enhance the game world. From Steph Morris‘ banners of the nations that hang in the Imperial Senate, though to Daisy Abbott‘s glorious map of the Empire, and the photos around this article of other things. Roz & Simon, who head up and organise our Guild both in and out of character, do some fantastic work on the publishing house side of the guild too, creating mastercrafts of pamphlets and booklets. A lot are information that can be found on the wiki online, but brought into character in a pretty way, and the latest and best of these is the brand new Book of the Empire, a professionally printed, gold-leaf titled, 766 page hard-back book of beautifully designed and typeset (THE FONTS! THE TYPOGRAPHY! THE WOODCUTS!) sections of the ruleset about things like the houses of government, the Imperial religion, the history of the empire and its rulers, all the nations and how their magic works, how their senators are elected, what they’re like.
I’m consistently amazed at the time and effort people go to for this game. I’m not sure what’s next to top this, but I’m excited to find out…
(Header image is The crowning of the Empress of Flowers, photo by Tom Garnett)