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22nd August
Ogres and elves arrive at Europe's biggest role-play
The big battle

4,000 people in battle is an impressive sight
This bank holiday Monday, 27th August, over 4,000 goblins, elves, ogres, dragons, hobbits, imps, and other creatures will be heading this way for the biggest live role playing event in Europe.

Paul Sims

Nottingham, home to Games Workshop, has a long heritage of role-playing groups, and many will be amongst the hordes taking part in The Gathering.

Minotaur
Watch out for the cow

Think of any fantasy creature and you can bet it will turn up at this, one of the biggest Live Action Role-playing games in the world.

Live Action Role-playing, or 'LARPing' as it's referred to, can be described as freeform theatre.

Take a game like Dungeons and Dragons, usually played around a table with dice and a lot of imagination. Move it out doors, wear costumes made of fur and chainmail and run around with foam weapons fighting fantastical beasts.

Started in the mid eighties, LARPing has grown into a hobby enjoyed by lots of different people, needing only a good imagination.

Goblins
Our friends...the goblins

Likened to big re-enactments, The Gathering is different in that it's not a spectator activity. You are fully involved, the weapons are made of foam, and it's based on fantasy rather than history.

New players are always encouraged by 'veterans' of the game, and you can get involved as much or as little as you like.

The Gathering, run by The Lorien Trust, is one of the largest of these events in the world, and regularly attracts thousands of players from all over Europe.

Imps and demons
Our friends...the imps

Some games are run in a single day, although most Lorien Trust games are camping-based events, taking place over a weekend. The Gathering starts on Friday and continues until the Bank Holiday Monday, at Locko park near Spondon, just over the Nottinghamshire border.

Most of the games are pre-booked although you can pay on the gate for The Gathering. It's £50, and if you come remember all your camping gear.

To give you an idea, I once heard someone describe it as "...like a music festival, without the bands but much more to do".

How come I know so much about this? Well, I'm a veteran role-player. If you don't believe me, see if you can spot me in our picture gallery.

See more pictures of The Gathering.


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