Ever watched “Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones” and thought, “I want to dress up, fight and have some fun with like-minded people?” Or maybe you are just looking for a way for exercise to not be boring. Either way, the new Amtgard – Freehold of Three Lakes, a LARP group in Grays Harbor, is the perfect fit.

“My love of medieval fantasy allowed a friend to convince me to follow them out one day,” shares Micay Corey, lead founder of Three Lakes on how he got started in LARP in 2015. At that time, he had to drive to Tacoma to participate with his friends.

Bringing LARP to Grays Harbor

Micah explains that there are other LARP groups along the 1-5 corridor, but none closer to Grays Harbor on the coast. It took Micah, with the help of three other LARPers two years to get everything they needed – including practice gear, a place to LARP and becoming part of the Amtgard – to start their group in January 2024.

Amtgard is a worldwide organization for medieval and fantasy combat sports and recreation. The organization blends fantasy and medieval history, using safe, foam-padded replicas of medieval weaponry to bring to life fantastical stories and characters. They provide chapters, like Three Lakes, with rules for classes, leveling, magic and special abilities in their “Rules of Play.” Participate weekly to advance in a class, unlocking levels and new powers. They also have a “Monster Manual” that includes more than 250 monsters and pre-built game scenarios. Chapters can also create quests and other roleplaying scenarios to complete.

LARP has come to Grays Harbor through Amtgard – Freehold of Three Lakes. Here members are participating in a 2-on-2 sparing match. From left: Breezy, Mason Stone, Qaann, Beasty. Photo credit: Angel Cooley

Most are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons – a purely fantasy game. You may also be familiar with the Society for Creative Anachronism or the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance, both of which work to preserve historically accurate reenactments of medieval-style battles and ways of life. Micah explains that Amtgard is somewhere in between the two, a bit of fantasy and a bit of history. “The typical park day for us consists of stick warm-up (stick being the slang for our foam sword fighting), followed by a couple of battle games, during which players can choose one of several classes – ranging from more melee-based classes like barbarian or warrior to more magic-based classes like wizard or healer,” he shares. “We can also run quests, stick tournaments, arts and sciences (crafting) competitions and raids to other lands – these are scheduled ahead of time and have larger turn-outs.”

LARP at Vance Creek Park in Elma

“Finding the perfect park for Amtgard LARPing is hard,” shares Micah, but they finally settled on Vance Creek Park in Elma. The founders decided to name their Land after the three lakes of Vance Creek.

All are welcome to come out and try an Amtgard – Freehold of Three Lakes LARP event. Those over 14 years old can participate with a signed waiver from a guardian. Those under 14 may also join, but there are some safety constraints, including having a guardian on the field with the youth to keep them safe as this is a contact sport Micah explains.

Amtgard – Freehold of Three Lakes members in a battle game. From left: Beasty, Mason Stone, Breezy. Photo credit: Amelie Miller

Don’t have equipment? Not to worry! Three Lakes has a collection of loaner gear to help those getting started. “We also have several members both here in the harbor and at our fellow park in Lacey that can help people make gear, garb, and weapons as they progress into the hobby,” Micah adds. And of course, there are plenty of places online to buy gear and garb or resources to make your own.

Ready to join? Get in touch with Micah and the rest of the Grays Harbor LARP group through the Amtgard – Freehold of Three Lakes Facebook page. Drop-ins are welcome adds Micah. LARPing is a way to escape your ordinary life for a day of fantasy, fun, exercise, fresh air and comradery. What are you waiting for? Get in on the adventure!

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