What is LARP?

Many people have noticed that I reference LARP a lot. I also reference “My LARP” as in the LARP that I write. So I think maybe I should write a bit about it so everyone knows just exactly what I am talking about.

I also quickly realized that this would take up more than just one post since it is both an expansive subject, and one that I happen to know quite a bit about. So I’ll break it down into a few various pieces and try to explain it as best as I can.

For starters. What exactly is LARP (short for Live Action Role-Playing)? Well that turns out to be rather hard to explain to someone whose never done it. But a good place to start is knowing where LARP came from, which is traditional table top role-playing games. Like Dungeons and Dragons which I think most people are familiar with. In D&D people sit around a table, there’s a few Players who play one character, their Player Character or PC. They describe what they do and say to the Storyteller, who plays everything else in the world and describes how things react to the PCs. Basically the Players play one character of their own design and the Storyteller plays everything else, and they work together to tell a story.

LARP takes this concept and tries to expand upon it by having the Players actually get in costume to represent their character, act out their actions, and the Storyteller populates the world similarly with a cast and costumes of their own. If that sounds complex, it’s because it is. LARP requires a lot more effort to run than regular table top games but pays off with an immersive experience.

Another good example of what LARP is like comes from Civil War reenactment. While there is a lot of stuff going on in the background concerning various characters, there is an overall narrative playing out which is what is really important to the whole experience. Unlike Civil War reenactment though, often times the primary participants won’t know exactly what is going on until it happens. It can lead to some very interesting results when the agency of the Players collides with what the Storyteller has planned.

So that’s the general idea. I’m going to write more about how it actually functions too so wait for more updates.

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