Series: 1 – Episode: 0 - What is LARP
We would like to welcome you all our “pilot episode” of the The Quest. In this episode you will note that we called it “The Quest: Advancing Live-Action Role-Playing”; following this first episode we have decided to expand beyond just LARP and into all Role-Playing, including LARP, Table-Top, CosPlay, and anything else RP related.
LARP, first and foremost, is an acronym for Live Action Role-Play. Urban dictionary has 6 possible definitions ranging from “the closest internet addicts get to reality” to “a type of game where a group of people wear costumes representing a character they create to participate in an agreed fantasy world.”
But really, it can be boiled down to being a fancy name for playing pretend.
LARP’s grow out of a shared desire to experience fantasy storytelling in a physical way and is rooted in the games of “make-believe” we used to play as children. Its a way to act out play-fighting and costume parties in an improvised theater type of environment.
The history of LARP is a contentious one, but it dates back as far as 1976. Most people think of LARP’s as a place for a handful of nerds to get together and pretend to be wizards, but some major events in Europe have as many as 7000 players annually.
LARPers, or people that LARP, can range from your stereotypical basement dwelling Nerd to highly successful business persons, lawyers, doctors and even jock professionals like Firefighters and Marines. In the modern age of “Sheek Geek”, it has become not only acceptable to openly enjoy the things that interest you, but the geek sub-culture has become so pervasive that things like LARPing are becoming almost “cool”.
There are a number of types of LARP that use a wide variety of rules. Everything from “Storyteller” games like Minds Eye that resolve character interactions through Role-Playing descriptions or simple tests like Die-Rolling or Rock, Paper, Scissors, to groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism that is more of a reenactment group than a LARP.
Many of the most popular LARPs are what are called “Boffer LARPs”. These groups use custom made padded or Latex weapons and simulated combat, often alongside creative and collaborative storytelling. LARPs span all genre of fantasy including Medieval and Sci-Fi but by far, the most common tends to be European Medieval Fantasy.
LARPing has been portrayed in several films like the documentary’s Darkon and Monster Camp as well as feature films like Role Models, Little Brother, The Wild Hunt, and the up-comming Knights of Badassdom. While these films may not always portray Live Action Role-Playing in the most positive of lights, they do often show the social stigma of LARPing.
Despite the often ostracized nature of LARPing, it is a way for people to express their shared love of interactive, improvised fantasy storytelling with one another. It is a social escape, not that dissimilar to going out and getting drunk...only probably won't find yourself hugging the toilet with a killer headache the morning after a LARP event.
Some quick topics about LARP types can be found here:
Museum Replicas: http://www.museumreplicas.com/
The RenStore: http://stores.renstore.com/StoreFront.bok
This is our very first show and we know we have a long way to go. We hope you enjoyed the show and we hope to be able to bring you more very soon. Please bear in mind that this show was unscripted and we know it didn’t really cover anything substantial. Our future shows will be MUCH better organized!