DENVER — It’s a hot summer Saturday in Denver's Berkeley Park. People are riding their bikes, walking their dogs, and in a big grassy area, others are flinging Styrofoam arrows at each other dressed as medieval wizards and royalty.
“I am a duke known as Sebastian Kazimir Whorl,” Casey Temple (his real name) proclaimed.
He’s one of about a dozen live-action role players, or larpers, who are ready to fight.
“I wanted to try to find some kind of an escape, or some kind of excuse to make fun things, be ridiculous…I found this and it worked perfectly,” said Temple.
Every weekend, the ever-growing group gathers in the park. For their purposes, they call it the Duch of the Iron Mountains within the empire of the Iron Mountains Kingdom. It’s all a part of a non-profit organization called Amtgard.
“Right now, there’s five active parks in our kingdom and 20 other kingdoms internationally,” Temple said.
People make clothes to match their alter egos, then weapons that match their powers (magic balls, swords, bows, you get the idea). Their most popular weapon-making materials include pool noodles and tape.
“Once you make your own garb, that’s when you know you’re coming back next Saturday,” Stanley the Daft, another character we encountered, told us.
After a quick meet up, and sometimes a weapon-making class, they are given their mission, split into teams, then for 20 minutes, fight to save their realm.
“Whoever you end up being here is typically just an exaggeration of who you either want to be or are elsewhere,” Casey said.
It’s all about having fun, getting exercise, and making friends.
“I think Amtgard really provides this sense of community that would otherwise be missing from a lot of people’s lives,” Stanley said. “This is where you can meet a lot of people that are different than you but you share enough interests that you can forge really lasting friendships.”
If you’d like to learn more about larping and Amtgard, the best place to go is to their Facebook page. They are always looking for more people to join the battle.
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