How LARP Works

So after reading my last article on LARP and what the general idea of it is. You may be asking how the Storyteller and players work together to resolve what occurs when there is some sort of narrative conflict. Like, lets say the Storyteller wants to have bad guys attack the Players who, of course, would rather not have their characters injured and killed.

How this is handled varies by the game. When I started LARPing I originally played what was called Theater or Parlour LARP where you just acted as much like your character as possible. But as soon as some sort of conflict occurred you would use a random outcome, like rock paper scissors or something similar.  Most of the time, these were simple, quick tests and the game would have ways to modify them to make them easier or harder depending on how good your character was supposed to be at a given task.  This worked well for certain games and for a few years when I started. But it also meant that you had to take a step back and imagine what was happening a lot.

I eventually decided on boffer LARP. In boffer LARP instead of using abstract test like rock paper scissors to decide combat and things like that, you use safe foam stand ins for weapons and things like that to have a performed fight. In order to represent your character being more skilled than you are, you can improve your character with skills to use during combat. In this way you can play all sorts of types of characters.

One good example of this was when I first tried boffer LARP. My characters first appearance was outside of a large city and we’re told in order to get in we need to do a favor for the town guard and clear some dangerous animals out of the sewers. So far pretty standard stuff for anyone whose played a Roleplaying game like D&D. What really got me was when we came up on a builting the was full of these evil creatures (which were rally just other people playing in costumes). Immediately that was when the switch flipped with me. I was in a very realistic take on actual combat where speed and skill mattered a lot more. I had to be aware of what was happening around me and it was intense. I was hooked in that moment and haven’t looked back.

Between the two I found I preferred boffer LARP because it lead to a much more intense and immersive experience. Immersion is an important concept which I will talk about more. Also I’ll talk more about the game I designed and wrote.

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