Every Saturday afternoon for the past few months the nature path at Kinnaird Park has been transformed into the site of a fantastic battle.
The Castlegar Youth Council has been running a live action roleplaying (LARP) group since the beginning of the summer, and the kids who participate roam the path, fighting each other with swords, lightsabers, and magic powers.
LARPing is usually based on the same rules as other roleplaying games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, only with LARPing players actually dress up as their characters and act out combat with fake weapons.
The Youth Council started a group after a player’s mother suggested it.
“Landon Postnikoff … is sort of one of our leaders in our group. His mom was a student of mine—practicum student of mine—and sort of posed the idea to our youth council group as, ‘Hey, do you think that the kids might like to do this live action roleplay? My son did a group in Nelson with the Nelson Youth Centre.’ And she said maybe he’d like to come talk to the group about it,” explains Zoe Mackay, the council’s program coordinator.
While LARPing is usually done in a set universe—e.g. Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokemon—the Youth Council decided to keep the theme open so that it would be more accessible.
“We wanted to keep it open so that anybody can join with their character. They can mix them up, and that way it’s more inclusive to whoever,” says Mackay.
Group members had to design their characters and come up with background stories before they could begin playing. They also made some costumes, but they don’t always wear them, and still enjoy creating new characters for themselves.
“They’re still in the rough stages…. They don’t always all bring their costumes and stuff, and they’re always also kind of doing their own thing with ‘Hey, today I made a new character, and so now I’m this guy,’” explains Mackay.
Postnikoff plays two characters: Angus MacDonald, a Scotsman from before the Jacobite Rebellion, and Darth Pyros, a Sith Lord.
His fellow LARPers also play a mix of characters.
Damian Hillstead plays as both Dumnorix Hilisted, a viking, and David Valentine, an elemental or someone who can control the elements.
Hannah Johnstone plays as Rin RaRz, a human, siren and demon wolf, and as Alice, a reaper, assassin, and Dragonborn (can talk to dragons).
Olivia West plays as both Captain Hoppity, an android with rocket launchers in her arms who can summon tanks, and Shade, a Sith with lightening powers.
Mackay also gets in on the action, playing a healer who can assist the kids when they take damage.
She says she’s like to find an indoor space so they can keep LARP going over the winter, and help the kids develop their costumes further. She’d also like to see them put together a book describing their LARP characters and laying out the rules.
“It’ll have the character and what their powers are, what world they came from,” says Mackay.