ISSUE 1 - WHAT IS LARP?


 


 

This is a question that a lot of people ask and a lot of people have different views on, so this is a difficult question to answer.

In Essence LARP (Live-Action Role-Play) is a bit like improvisational acting, but confined within a world that the storytellers/organisations create and rules which have been put in place to make it safe and make a structure.
It is a chance for someone to leave reality and take part in a world, which is generally fantasy/sci-fi/sci-fantasy/horror/historical and has been made as real as humanly possible.
These LARP Organisations range from small groups of people (making adventures in the woods for example), to large organisations which try to create complete immersion into the world by making plenty of things for the players to interact with; such as factions so people have a friendly area full of other players they can talk to; buildings which the players can either explore or try to conquer; Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) which are sent out to deliver a performance of some kind or a message which helps to sculpt the story they are taking place in.

The majority of games, as part of their stories, have the bad guys. These bad guys or the opposing forces of evil, have minions/an army which try to either attack the players in an epic battle, or in skirmishes and raids.
The opposing army are played by people acting as part of a ‘monster team’. This monster team are made up of players who have volunteered one way or other, to act as the opposing army soldiers, taking authorised time out during their play to do this. LARP systems usually ask that all players volunteer at some point in the game to act as monsters. Without these monsters the games simply wouldn’t have enough people to simulate battles.
Most people enjoy monstering as it gives them a chance to fight without the risk of their character dying; also it is seen as good, far play to take part in this way. To make things fair, if there were to be an epic battle that needed to be waged, one half of the game would monster, the other would play, the next day they would swap and another epic battle would ensue.

Players can play any character they like within game guidelines. These guidelines come in the form of a rulebook which states how to make a character, what skills can be used and what the general rules of the game are.
Each character will have hit points, either per location or globally (depending on which system you play in). Once these hit points are reduced to zero, a death count is made where there is a chance for a character to be revived, after this the character is proclaimed as dead and the player would be asked to make a new character.

LARP was first made and explored in the early 80’s as an expansion to table-top role-play. People simply wanted to do the things they were imagining, rather than sit in a room, locked away and just ‘talk’ about it. It was time for role-playing to come out of the closet and throw itself into the great wide world.

Players wanted to beat the hell out of each other without hurting their opponent (too much), so they first made Boffer weapons for this purpose. They were foam, wrapped around a wooden pole and held together by an outer layer of gaffer tape, which formed the skin. These weapons are still very popular in America, but in England we carried on the development of them into the latex weapons, which you see today.

As is the same with most new things, LARP has been ridiculed by people who have very little understanding of it and are reluctant to let it become socially accepted. However, with the rise in numbers of LARPers and the years it has now been around, it is now starting to become socially accepted.

 

BBC NEWS ARTICLE: THE RISE OF LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAYING

YOUTUBE VIDEO: LARPING AROUND

 

LARP is seen as an excellent escape from reality, where people can have an adventure and use teamwork to overthrow enemies. It inspires people’s creative thought, gets them thinking outside the box and keeps them active and fit. At LARP you meet new people and make new friends, these friends become your allies and you learn to live and die by their side. It allows you to make mistakes and learn from them without breaking laws or being ridiculed. It helps you look at things from other people’s perspective and puts you in their shoes. It gives you stories you can tell for a lifetime and experience you would never be able to have in reality.
There are so many positive things, which come from LARP. If you haven’t had a go, why not?