Like many LARPers I find an “interesting” (Edgy/Cliché) backstory both entertaining and necessary for character/warband or world creation.
Just like many LARPers I also fall victim to “What happened to my life and where did these 17 pages of backstory come from?!”
Hi I’m Matt Kennedy of The “Everal Marauders” I’m Lore writer in chief for the warband and serial loser of time.
The following article will be my personal story on how I easily ate up close to 200 Hours of my life on Lore without actually realizing it.
I got into LARP around 12 months ago, falling in love with what I thought to be a simple yet intricate Hobby.
Originally just enjoying showing up and having a biff as well as making a few friends along the way.
With most hobbies it starts off innocent enough then you slowly start to fall deeper into the rabbit hole. After about 2 months just showing up became mundane I wanted to do more, so I gathered my friends and started a Warband and then I volunteered my time to write the lore and all text required, this is where things got rewarding and damning at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoy writing things into existence, despite my work being judged endlessly by myself.
Being relatively new to LARP I wasn’t quite sure what I had agreed too, so I wrote the warband brief, a simple one or two paragraph descriptions of the basis of the warband (Asian Pirates so easy right?) I did this in maybe 20 minutes, sent to the rest of the group got the thumbs up and sent it off.
What this did was inspire me to continue to flesh out this idea, 2 paragraphs were no longer enough. I needed characters to have motive and identity but none of the warband had ideas on who they wanted to be or how to begin writing these identities. So, I offered to take this on board as well. Effectively playing god with my friends, I would spend hours writing characters based on the little direction I was given. Some of these ideas being anathema to myself (IE: I want him to be like me but not, I don’t know man write whatever) This resulted in a brand-new tab on our warband page “Character Creation Bar” which I’ve poured easily 30+ hrs. into before I had the brilliant idea of creating “The Isles of Everal” a map of our Home.
After creating the map, spending a whole day searching for map builders and generators until finally settling on the “Perfect” one. I began plotting points of interest, I had 3 main islands and 5 smaller islands to work with resulting in 19 unique locations all requiring lore and backstory.
This became a labor of love and loathing, I told myself this was for my benefit and the warband wholeheartedly agreed. The amount of “Hey man, this will probably be for your reference only but you do you.” I received was expected but I wanted to create a rich backdrop for us no matter the pain and suffering.
Now I originally planned to spend a week writing for the Isles, but no plan survives contact with the enemy. I wrote maybe 3 points of interest before it dawned on me I had to create 19 unique descriptions that varied enough from island to island yet still somehow connected an overall theme.
Now our warband is a group of Outcast soldiers forced into piracy due to a unification of the Isles. This created unique problems in the sense of what time period do I write these descriptions Pre or Post-Unification? So, after the first week I had to scrap my already written pieces as I failed to plan ahead. I sat down and planned out my timeline (A very important detail) deciding to write from a Post-Unification stand point. This effectively meant every point of interest would have a mention to key characters from the warband in a negative light while simultaneously thanking them in helping conquer the Isles for Unification.
I spent another week writing up one islands worth of lore and descriptions until finally hitting a brick wall creatively.
Weeks went by before I even wanted to look at the map, People in the warband were asking if I had giving up which was far from the truth I had simply set my own bar so high I had burnt myself out.
Inspiration on the other hand comes in many forms. When Hayley joined the warband she had the luxury of being new and was filled with questions, asking about our backstory and lore on the Isles themselves. I’m not one to turn away questions on my own creations so I got stuck right back into finishing the other 14 points of interest Deciding to spend at least 3 nights a week knocking over as many as I could.
This lead to a lot of discord conversations with my brother about “What if this point was like nomadic and this one a magical forest) if we count the time spent on this spit balling we can easily add another 10 hours to my already lengthy creation. I probably finished another 5 points of interest before it started to bleed into my work life. Now the people I work with are well aware of my LARPing but conversations would change from my talking about murdering people and being murdered too “Hey man do you think a fantasy City filled of all-natural resources but food is compelling?” I needed outside feedback to ideas that would otherwise feel entirely self-serving. This got to the point where people with no involvement would ask how the map is going and offer suggestions just because I had become obsessed with making something amazing.
1 Month later I had finished the map to my satisfaction, feeling all points were different enough to offer a lot of further growth for characters and to paint a clear picture of how Everal worked.
Did this mean I was finished though?
No, it did not, I spent easily 100+ hours creating a world, but this world allows me the opportunity to Retcon all character lore as I can now give them points of origin. I can create Religions as what fantasy world doesn’t come with its own Gods vying for power and worship?
All in all, my creation demands more and more, be it time or just more development.
I have since had offers from other members of the warband to help lighten my creative burden, but I have a vision that I am maybe holding too tightly too. This is not including the writing I had to do for Everal’s part in the lore of Neolysium, which probably added an easy 5 hours.
My name is Matt Kennedy and I am Lore Writer in chief for the “Everal Marauders” and my Back story has become my Main LARP Story and I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well I’d rewrite somethings later most likely.)