Maelstrom LARP Combat

Date : December 12, 2016

What’s it like to be in the thick of LARP combat? Last month, I had a chance to find out at the Maelstrom II: Refuge event.

Maelstrom LARP, RPG Role Over Play Dead

Rushing to consolidate after a skirmish with the Undead.


The Rules Behind Maelstrom

In the Maelstrom LARP system, based on the Dutch Vortex LARP rules, a single strike from a foam weapon inflicts 1 hit point of damage. Most characters can survive 3 hits, but leveling up and wearing armor can increase that total. However, the torso is a critical location, so if you get struck there, it is a “double” worth 2 hit points.

To make the scenario interesting in Maelstrom 2: Refuge, the Undead monsters often had 13 or even 20 hit points. The heroes had to gang up to overwhelm the monsters with many hits. Worse, they could rise back up from the dead unless the players took special actions. For instance, players had to say that they were “decapitating” or “burning” the zombies to finish them for good.


LARP Combat – a Immersive Ordeal

You see the enemies approaching. You grip your foam weapons tightly and call to your teammates. Spread out to avoid being flanked – and find ways to flank stronger enemies. The first lunge of the Undead warrior’s foam sword. Parry, backslash. Keep moving, keep a wide stance and don’t trip.

The fight might be over after just a couple of minutes. Five minutes might feel like an eternity. You’re high on adrenaline so you don’t realise that your muscles are already burning their store of ATP. But the moment combat is over, everything just drains out of you and you’re little more than a puddle on the ground.

Two or three fights in a single day of LARPing and you really can’t wait to hit the shower and go to bed.

Maelstrom LARP, RPG Role Over Play Dead

After a fight you just want to roll over and play dead like this skeleton.


Despite my poor physical shape, I have no regrets about joining the LARP. Maelstrom will return in 2017, and in the meantime, there are more events planned. Keep checking for more LARP events in Malaysia at the MyLARP Facebook Group.

If you haven’t read our other articles about Maelstrom, check them out!