First person: 'I am a teenage elf'

Chioma Nri, 17

Dressing up as an elf and heading out to the woods to engage in battle with a whole cast of other elves, humans and "half-orcs" is not how you'd imagine an average kid from south London would spend his weekend. But if you knew the feeling you get when it is 1.30 in the morning, it's pitch black, you're in the middle of a forest and you know there's a big nasty monster out there who wants to kill you, then you'd understand why. At this point, you completely forget that you're in character and all you can think is: Oh my God, I'm going to die! It's the best adrenaline rush I've ever had.

In case you haven't already realised, getting your head around what Live Action Role Playing (LARP) is about requires a certain suspension of disbelief. To put it simply, it's rather like a medieval version of paintballing, with an element of improvisational theatre, using swords instead of guns, with everyone dressed up as a different character, all of whom have different strengths and weaknesses.

I have been part of the same LARP club since I was nine years old. Our battles take place within a world we've created called Orin Rakatha, which is reminiscent of Middle Earth. Most weekends around 20 of us head out to the woods or to a castle or a campsite and are given a plot, with different scenarios; we act out our parts against a crew who play the opposition in various different characters. Maybe one of our cities will be in trouble and it will be up to us to protect it, or perhaps the opposing faction is getting too strong and it will be our job to bring them down.

Orin Rakatha is governed by a complex system of politics and hierachy, and there are generally three races: elves, humans and half-orcs, with various healers and gods as well. Following a great war, the elves have been split into two factions. Centuries back there was a battle and one of the factions was driven underground. Over thousands of years without sunlight, the elves have grown darker in skin colour and in character; these are evil elves, called "drows". I have been a drow elf since I was nine years old.

Elves are generally clever, deeply political characters with a sense of self-importance. My character is something of an outcast. Most of the people who belong to my club are white, but I am mixed race. While the other drow elves wear dark paint on their faces, my skin tone is naturally lighter, so I have created my character as a half-drow: I am unpure, and not as evil as the other elves.

In our world there are different colours of magic: yellow involves lightning bolts, red is for flames and black is used to make others weaker. The importance of hierachy within the realm of the elves is such that you aim to kill those above you in order to get an immediate promotion. At the moment, my drow is sucking up as much as possible to the high people in order to move himself forward.

As well as my club, which revolves around plot-based scenarios, known as linear games, there are huge festival events where as many as 1,000 people gather in different countries and join a different faction, and do their best to achieve the objective set out for them. The longest event my club, Hero Quest, has held lasted for 11 days, during which you could spend from 9am to 3am immersed in a series of battles.

Most people see what we do as something geeky. When I was younger I wouldn't admit to my friends what I do. But then I realised that it was so much fun that I didn't care. If someone told me about it now, I would probably think it's incredibly nerdy, but once you go out into the forest and get to hit monsters with a latex sword, there's no going back.

For details of how to join Chioma's club visit heroquest-larp.co.uk; or to buy weapons or costumes for events visit darkbladeuk.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering