Live Action Roleplaying as a teambuilding event? Hell yes!
Some of our Co-Learning colleagues have this peculiar hobby, called LARP or Live Action Role Playing. The most common roleplaying exercise that can be descriped as LARP is the well-known Murder Mystery Dinner, where you find yourself in a story, with of course a murder, and this murder needs to be solved. Actors play the deceased and other important figures who drop clues in order to help people find the culprit. It's a popular teambuilding exercise.
But LARP goes a bit more adventurous than that. So we playtested a full day teambuilding format, transporting everyone to a world not unlike the world of The Lord of the Rings. Each team member got assigned a "player character". Based on a talk with them and the team, each of them received a description of their character, and a short list of special abilities that come with that. No more than half a page, so a bit of a guideline, and lots of freedom to act as you choose troughout the game.
So how did it go?
Around 10am everyone arrived and got to try on their costumes.
Costumes are made available via Co-Learning and are fitting for the character that has been assigned to you. Also safe-to-play weapons are made available. The next half our is spent teaching everyone how to use these "boffer" weapons, that look like swords, hammers, axes and even safe bow and arrow systems. The weapons are made from a fiberglass core surrounded with foam and finished off with special latex paints. The results are stunning and from afar, you look like you're holding a real weapon!
Around 11am, we start the actual game. The scenario for this specific group: a group with different backgrounds get together for a tournament, but need to rally together to save the forest they journeyed through, because it's dying. Why is it dying? How can they fix it?
A group of non-playing characters leads the way, offers clues and also makes life difficult for them. Before lunchtime, the group has encountered a Faun, some peasants and a dryad, imploring them to save the forest, solving riddles, fighting off scoundrels, and of course not forgetting there's a tournament about to happen!
A cold quick lunch allows the players to relax a bit under the trees, with peasants at hand to serve the high lords and ladies in the party, as well as the forest creatures in the group.
In the afternoon, things heat up. They find out that the forest is dying because of a demonic portal that is being created. They are attacked by demons coming through the portal and need to defend themselves! But this helps them to also find out that they need to gather artefacts to close the portal. One of the artefacts is closely guarded by a golem, and they need to outwit it, because it is indestructible.
Not much time for rest, because the tournament will take place. 2 events are held: the 1-on-1 swordfight and the archery game. The winner gets a special magical prize... which turns out to be one of the artifacts they needed!
In the end, the dryad has witnessed the hero's help and offers a last artefact, the players then need to find out how to close the portal, in the middle of a fierce battle where the sorcerer who caused all the problems in the first place tries to stop them from doing so!
So did they like this new version of a teambuilding event? See for yourself!
Quotes by the players:
Jurgen: "The most unconventional and fun way to achieve some introspection!"
Khyra: "The best teambuilding day ever. It still puts a smile on my face when I remember the hilarious moments! Everyone should experience this at least once in his life time."
Michael: "A great setting and a game full of fantasy where you can learn to know each other in a royally different way!"