LARPing enters the classroom

“No swords will be involved, but you may get to burn a heretic.”

Few Truman State students made it past the first sentence of an email sent to every student on campus two weeks ago, much less the phrase “Live Action Role Playing game,” to reach this surprising statement. A heretic was not actually burned at the stake on Truman’s campus. Instead, students were invited to enroll in a class participating in a live action role play of the trials of Galileo.

History department chair Kathryn Brammall spearheaded the class using an interactive technique developed by “Reacting to the Past,” a curriculum series, to get students excited about reenacting history.

“We’re recreating who the actors were but we may not have the same outcome depending on how effective the various people are at persuading based upon their research, the speeches they give, the arguments they make, their ability to think on their feet and their ability to challenge their opponents,” Brammall said. “If live action role-play is organized and has that deep historically accurate information, I think it can be incredibly enriching and fun.”

Brammall said she had high hopes that after starting this class, students would be motivated to come back and participate in more historical LARPs.

Brammall said the class is a collaborative experience for the students, but it’s also an opportunity for them to go in-depth with the sources and become a character from the past.

“I think in terms of innovative ways to get people to interact with the past and understand it, this kind of an approach can be really productive,” Brammall said.

Junior Adrien Zambrano, president of the LARP club, said he participated because he was drawn to the class because of his passion for live action role-playing. Zambrano said this class also was an enjoyable way to boost his GPA.

Zambrano said he hopes the class includes other passionate people.

“With any luck, I’m going to have a group of people who are very outgoing and willing to participate in the discussion, which is going to vary greatly from a normal classroom setting,” Zambrano said.

To learn more about the class, read the rest on Issuu.