Quest for Champions monthly LARP event

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Two LARPers duking it out in the melee ring. Are you not entertained?! Hannah Eiserman

Regina LARP group mixes wholesome family fun with safe and structured violence – what can be better?

During the past six months working for the Carillon, I have been continually put into weird situations that ultimately end up to be some of the most fun I’ve ever had. This week, I unearthed a Facebook event by Quest for Champions LARP (Live Action Role Playing) group and thought it would make for an amazing article – and would bring something entirely new to the pages of the Carillon.

Now, before we continue dear reader, I command you to dispel all of your pre-existing ideas about what LARPing is – I promise you this was actually nothing like what you would imagine. Yes, there were a few folks in full or part LARP regalia, including my tour guide and event organizer Dylan Biasutto, the owner of Regina Battle Ground Stefan Shewfelt, and fellow participant Kaitlyn Erz, but plenty of us fought in street clothes.

General use weapons were provided and constructed by Biasutto, mostly out of PVC pipe, duct tape, and pool noodles. The foam padding on the tips of the arrows didn’t stop them from stinging, but that was the weapon packing the most bodily damage. These weapons did require a bit of imagination, but the hardcore LARPers like Biasutto had their own custom-made weapons that look surprisingly like the real things!

Biasutto also took me on a tour of the Battle Ground, which is in the old Sears building and also absolutely massive! Closest to the door, they have the beginnings of a medieval-style tavern, which is so far just the bar and some bits of room décor. As of right now, they can still do events with a temporary liquor license, but hope to eventually be fully operational with a full liquor license. Biasutto says that on LARP nights they have even had Dungeons and Dragons groups play sessions in the tavern area. There’s also a padded archery area and a back area designed for Nerf gun fights with towers and shelters. Those two rooms are also able to be rented out for parties.

Biasutto saw a need for a group like Quest for Champions in Regina and hopes they can help provide some good, free, wholesome fun for the city. We chatted a bit about how Regina is a chain city, and finding unique options for fun like this seem few and far between. It’s a perfect way to meet new people, take out some aggression, and get some exercise. More importantly, though there may be a medieval-style tavern in the works, the LARP event isn’t centred on alcohol like a lot of events in the city.

The LARP group meets for these informal battles once a month in addition to a larger event in both the summer and the winter. The summer event takes place a bit out of the city in a wooded area and is quite a big shindig, with bands and merchants joining in. They hope to start meeting twice a month once they get a more dedicated group going, Biasutto tells me. For now, they’re just hoping to get more folks to come check it out.

And if you do come check it out, you will be back. Biasutto tells me that every first-time player has come back again, probably due to his insane persuasion skills. I came purely as a journalist and a spectator, and was hailed into the fighting for two whole hours. Spectatorship is not an option at the LARP events – but don’t worry, the fear of looking silly starts to go away super quickly when you get to hold a huge foam sword or axe – and completely evaporates when you get to start whacking people with ‘em. The group is also unbelievably inviting and accepting, so there’s no reason to feel awkward about being a newcomer. If you jump right in, like I did, you’ll be surprised what you find.

I fought – and the term ‘fought’ is used loosely here, because really, I was a big coward and hid behind the shelters avoiding those arrows for the most part – with a long sword, a shield, and a small throwing dagger. Biasutto explained to me that what types of equipment you’re allowed depends on a point system. For example, you’re not allowed to wield two “two-handed” weapons (like my long sword), but the shield and sword combo seemed to be legal. I was too busy trying to stay alive to take notes on the exact rules of the game, so there’s even more reason to come out yourself and give it a try.

Essentially, the way it worked was if you were struck by a weapon in your arms or legs, you would simply stop fighting with that arm or hop on the opposite leg. If you lost both legs you could still fight, though you’d be confined to the ground. If you were hit in the chest or back, you “died” and were out of the round.

We started out fighting in teams of five and played a few rounds that way. Then we played an “everyone for themselves” style round before another wave of new players joined us. But the real fun was the melee tournament (paired fights using only close-range weapons). Each player drew a number to make matchings randomized and fair, and those players fought to the “death,” best two out of three. I won precisely zero of my two rounds so I sat the rest out – but I got to watch the real pros fight. And got some fantastic photos!

I have never been a particularly athletic person so I didn’t feel like I was operating under any delusions of grandeur, but there’s nothing more humbling than seeing just how fast you would die in Game of Thrones – which, for me, was way faster than Ned Stark or the Night’s Watch deserter whose head he chops off in the first episode. My terrible performance actually motivated me to come back and practice next month, however, not the opposite. It was an incredible workout and just an obscene amount of fun.

That being said, I’m pleased to announce there were no high school gym flashbacks! Okay, maybe just one when I was picked last for one of the teams, but it was midway through the night and my lack of skills had become glaringly obvious, so I don’t blame them. But don’t let that stop you – if I can do it, anyone can do it! The group is very welcoming and inclusive, with participants of all fitness and age groups. And I mean all age groups: we had a little assassin, Fynlie Gettle, who was elementary school age, absolutely wipe the floor with us (and her dad did pretty good too)!

Highly skilled assassin Fynlie Gettle takes down some big game: Regina Battle Ground owner Stefan Shewfelt.

I truly can’t recommend this group enough. It was such a blast. I didn’t have the foresight to ask when the next battle will be because I was too busy fighting for my life, but you can find the group on Facebook easily (Quest for Champions – LARP) and I’m sure they will post the date and time for their December event soon!

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