Born from ancient myths and legends, creatures and monsters are the epitome foes in many heroic tales, from pagan folklore to modern fantasy.
While mythical races or fantasy species are not human, they are still people, with morals, virtues, and lots of nuances. Monsters were not meant to delve into these gray areas of morality, but to serve as inherently malevolent and often brutish antagonists, or mere minions under the authority of some dark lord or corrupting force.
These creatures are the ones many of us have been introduced to through the stories of Tolkien and the many he directly inspired, from books to tabletop games and LARP settings. In these stories, orcs, trolls, bestial folks, goblins, and other monsters are vile creatures, irredeemably stained by evil and doomed to serve as agents of chaos, destruction, and malevolence.
They know no social taboo, eating sentient flesh and butchering innocents, and respect only fear and violence. In a way, the concept of the fantasy monster is a more extreme and negative take on the barbarian archetype, that of a foreign invader devoid of reason and motivated by raw impulses, an ‘’other’’ made to be hated and to inspire terror.
If this vision of fantasy creatures still holds true for many, its essentialist claims are no longer as consensual in contemporary games, where storytellers are often more concerned by the duality of nature and nurture, and may be willing to explore a more nuanced approach to these typically monstrous races. The simplistic equation of making the ugly creatures evil is also a trope that has run its course, with many now trying to subvert the cliché by giving orcs an honorable warrior culture, or presenting goblins as odd eccentrics rather than creepy cannibals.
In LARP, creatures are one of the most setting dependent character types you can decide to play. Many creature species exist in fantasy, and most LARP only pick a handful of types to be playable. Among the classics like orcs, goblins, ogres and trolls can also be found rat people like the skavens, or savage bestial creatures akin to werewolves and lizardmen, plus various unnatural crossbreed mutants. Many events have their own original monsters loosely inspired by fantasy and folklore, but with their own twist. What you will be authorized to play will always be entirely dependent on the lore of your chosen LARP.
Any creature you play will obviously be more than their mere specie, but truth to be told, these characters are often seen as a monster first, any other trait like class of skill set being secondary when you play such a bold concept. Facing this reality, you as the player have a few options. The most obvious one is to embrace the stereotype and lean into the trope, doing your best to play the best monster you can be. That means pushing your limits and putting the whole body into the act to be as monstrous and inhuman as you can be; crouching, snarling, twitching, sniffing ravenously, and openly wondering about the taste of someone’s flesh are all valid options. This is particularly fun to experience as a group, with everyone trying to surpass the others in sheer awfulness.
Another approach would be to play a creature with redeemable qualities, but still suffering from a major culture gap. That means your goblin shouldn’t act like a green-faced human, but they may have a few traits that will surprise other players or create conflict through apparent contradictions. For instance, having a fiercely loyal and loving orc that unfortunately protects their friend in an overly violent way makes for good drama. Same goes with the surprisingly good-natured ogre that cannot resist snacking on fallen foes. Make it difficult for other players to put you in a box and watch them scramble with the moral dilemmas and debates you create with your actions.
Les Artisans d'Azure
This full armor was designed for a true barbarian warrior. Vegetable leather molded and plated metal patina, each piece is carefully worn out by hand, which gives its wearer the look of one who has experienced a lot of violent battles. Completely modular, it is possible to choose several types bracers, pauldrons and sleeves to customize the set. Because the handmade aging effect, each piece is unique from one series to another. The lower torso is made of thinner leather to allow better flexibility and comfort. The pauldron's spikes and helmet's horns are in Calimacil foam and perfectly safe.
Les Artisans d'Azure
Dark Elf Armor
Made of dyed vegetable leather cut with complex swirl patterns, this fantastic armor presents a purple coloration as unique as it is sinister. Reinforced by thick black leather, this sturdy armor is also flexible and protects both the torso and the back. It also includes matching pauldrons and tassets, giving an even more impressive and elegant appearance to the wearer. It is the perfect set for any dark elf, mindflayer, illithid, shadow warrior, or dark cultist in LARP.
Creatures are all about makeup and prosthetics. The best costumes will be the ones that hide your humanity the best, while remaining believable and convenient to wear during LARP. Masks present an easy and convenient way to hide your face and turn yourself into a creature, but sometimes they will make it harder to breathe, see, drink, and eat. They also reduce the expressiveness of someone’s face, so often players will choose to opt for full makeup and prosthetics like noses, ears, eye lenses, and fake teeth to avoid wearing a mask.
Very high quality masks may alleviate some of the typical issues associated with these accessories; while prosthetics and makeup are harder to master and require more time to put on every day. No one said it was easy to turn yourself into a monster. These costumes are often among the most difficult to pull off and not the most comfortable, but make for very impressive characters in play.
Clothes and weaponry will largely depend on the setting and your particular monster, but typically creatures tend to use crude equipment and clothes that are turned to shred and severely damaged.
You want lots of small pieces in a messy patchwork. You want scratches on your leather. You want rust and dent in your weapons. Clean and neat are the enemy for a creature’s outfit.
In many cases, you will have to craft or modify existing clothes to reach the desired effect. Very few items are sold off the rack with the kind of scrappy look you should aim for. Rub a cheese grater on your cloak if you have to. Accessories and trophies will also go a long way to boost a creature's costume, may it be bits of people (made of latex please), bones, feathers, or animal teeth.
Our custom projects | Creatures
The creature theme is very popular in the LARP community. Here are some custom projects we're done for our customers over the years.