To the uninitiated, Live Action Role Playing (LARP) looks like some sort of glorified Comic Con dress-up session, replete with knights in homemade tunics and Styrofoam swords. While this may not sound like everyone’s ideal form of entertainment, it might come as a surprise that most people have, in a loose sense of the word, actually larped before. What’s more, they probably enjoyed it.
Remember playing Cops and Robbers as a kid? Did you ever attend a murder mystery party? What about seeing a battle re-enacted? These are all good examples of a collaborative game of pretend within a set of rules. What these games have in common with larping is that they all operate on the same principle: players physically act out their characters’ actions.
Whether in a childhood game or an epic adult larp battle, participants don’t just play their characters, they become them. Players create their own characters’ names, back stories, and costumes to most effectively embody their characters at game time. Consider it the ultimate improvisational challenge.
Larping operates on a strong sense of community and collaboration. The goal of a good larp is to provide a great space for characters to create a storyline and participate together. Like any team activity or sport, larps strive to be entertaining and engaging for everyone involved.
This community spirit carries over into the kind of larp being created, as like-minded people gather together to create their own games. Events can last from a few hours to whole weekends. Though most larps tend to be combat-style, there are many other genres to choose from. Games range in style from horror to fantasy to adventure to historical period drama. Whatever your interest, there’s a larp for that.
Check out the gallery below for some inspiration.
Note: While LARP is an acronym, for Live Action Role Play, it has entered sufficiently into the common vernacular to be treated as it’s own proper word. While researching blogs and articles regarding larp, it is most often spelled as it’s own word, in lower case.