L.A.R.P. club members practicing on the second floor of Coburn Hall. (Tim Clark/Connector)
The clamor of sword against sword fills the second floor of Coburn Hall. There is no steel or knights here; only students and their foam weaponry.
UMass Lowell’s L.A.R.P. Club members put “sword” skills on display while sparring with teammates. L.A.R.P., short for Live Action Role Play, is a sport in which players act out characters.
Members act out characters such as fighters, mages and healers in battle. Many members of the club participate in weekend events like large-scale battles between imagined clans and nations, as part of Clan River Hawk or even on their own accord.
There are many different types of L.A.R.Ps to take part in ranging from a heavily role-play based game to a more strict combat style event. The L.A.R.P .Club on-campus has a balanced mix of both.
The Club plays by lightest contact rules: any contact between sword and body will result in a successful strike for the offender. General rules for the sport are simple. When a weapon strikes the body, the contacted part of the opponent is rendered useless.
Witnessing duels between single-legged warriors hopping around with aim to deal a “lethal” blow is not uncommon.
During the cold winter months, the club practices at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights on the second floor of Coburn Hall. When warmer weather arrives, the club will move practices outside to the South Campus quad and “hopefully add practices on east campus by the Rec Center,” said Ben Grossman, newly appointed president of the club.
UMass Lowell’s L.A.R.P. club is diverse in its members with L.A.R.P. enthusiasts who travel to events across New England every weekend to newcomers who have never handled the foam weapons. This sport offers a unique way for students to get active, meet new people and, most importantly, have fun.
“[The club] is open to everybody,” says Grossman, “and has many different benefits. For those who want to do exercise, there is a lot of exercise involved. For those looking for a more social aspect to it, you can make a lot of friends. You can act; you can play a character that you develop yourself. It’s not a heavy time commitment either. Some of our members only show up to the practices instead of traveling to events. It’s just a lot of fun.”