By way of introduction, I’m going to try to give a basic overview of who I am as a LARPer, to provide a context in which one might read this blog.
Over the past seven years, I’ve played in around 80 to 90 LARPs, depending on how you would define a LARP and how you would count them. I’ve NPCd a mere handful of LARPs, and written a grand total of zero, unless you count my 10 Bad credit (and I would understand if you didn’t — it’s part of a series of very short, very silly LARPs.) So no real writing credits, but I do have the odd art credit. The majority of the LARPs I play are usually referred to as theater style. I’ve also seen the tem “parlor style” tossed around. (I consider myself part of the New England community, if that helps at all with pinning down my terminology.)
I read whatever LARP-related writing I can find on the internet, and sometimes I get frustrated how often the underlying assumption is that the standard LARP is campaign boffer. Except it’s actually totally fair, because if you somehow quantified the various forms of this hobby in LARPer hours (the way people quantify smoking in smoking years), the majority of LARPing is campaign boffer, and what I typically do is the rarer form.
But I don’t think I’m going to preface every post with “by the way, this mostly applies to theater.” So here is the basic format of most LARPs I play.
A LARP is written, with characters and plots created by the writers in advance. It is somehow announced (usually through by word of mouth for LARPs that run as individual events, or through the convention that is hosting it.) People sign up. They are sent a questionnaire, which they fill out to indicate how they’d like GMs cast them. The GMs cast all of the players, then send out a bunch of information. What characters each player has been cast as, what those characters would know about the setting of the LARP, how the mechanics work, etc.
The LARP itself typically opens with an introduction, typically a review of the rules and any other information players might need to know (like what constitutes game space.) Then it’s game on, and players begin to mingle and set about achieving their goals, (both their characters’ goals and their own goals as players). Usually, there is some form of mechanics to moderate what happens, whether it’s, say, rocks, paper, scissors, a complex card game, or a simple comparison of stats. Eventually, game wrap is called, and the players and GMs all sit in a circle to share revelations and go over what happened. From introduction to game wrap, it often takes about four hours.
I play in unusual and sometimes “experimental” LARPs that deviate from this formula from time to time, but most often that’s what it looks like.
I do also play regularly in a campaign boffer LARP- Lost Eidolons, (which uses the Accelerant rules) and that’s where most of my boffer experience comes from, though I have NPCd for a four hour event that was part of a LARP campaign called The Calling, and played a PC in a one-shot set in the world of a LARP called End of Seasons.
I’m also one of those cliches who has a million ideas and a slew of half started LARP writing projects… one of these days, at least one of them will be seen to completion. Maybe this blog can somehow help with that.