LARP – Live Action Role Playing
LARP is a broad and inclusive term used to describe a game that in some way resembles other Role-Playing-Games (RPG) whether computer games or table top games, but also includes a “live-action” component. This simply means the players” act out” some of the activities that would otherwise be represented by the mechanics of the game or exposition. These actions can range from walking around and talking in character to simulating fighting with foam swords.
LARP’s come in many different formats, styles and genres. Some games focus primarily on large scale combat, these are often referred to as Battle LARP or Battle games. Some have more story, where players interact with an ongoing narrative, these are often referred to as Story LARPs.
*Subsets of LARP*
Freeform?: Non-contact live action roleplaying, usually held within an enclosed environment. This term is not generally used outside Australia, where the generalised term LARP is used to cover both contact and non-contact forms. The terms Parlor LARP or Chamber LARP are used in some countries.
Battle LARP: (also battle game or Live Action Battle Game)
High combat game, usually involving large numbers of people (100+) using foam swards. The main goal to simulate battle with armies competing against each other, to compete a goal or simply take down everyone on the other side. Role-playing is not necessary at these events though some costuming is recommended.
Story LARP: LARP events that contain some combat and role-playing and are run in an ongoing campaign story format. Events within the campaign can be weekend long, freeforms (see above) or day events. In these games a player will usually play the same character through multiple games, developing the characters skills and interacting with an ongoing story designed by the organizers.
Festival LARP: A weekend (or longer event) involving large numbers of people (100 or more) held outside Melbourne at a scout camp or private camping ground. While role-playing and battle simulations are a large part of these events, they are not compulsory. Organizer story elements are sometimes included though usually smaller and less prevalent than in a Story LARP.
Tabletop roleplay: Traditional form of roleplaying where a small number (less than a dozen) play. Does not have to involve a table, but often does.
GM: Games Master. A person with authority of a game's rules, storytelling or direction. Different games may have other names for this person (such as scribe, Dungeon Master, referee or bookkeeper).
In Character (IC): Something said or done within the context of the game without bearing on the real world in specific relation to a character. For non-character examples the term "In Game" is often used.
Out Of Character (OOC): Something said or done that is not to be considered part of the immersive game experience.
Public, the: Non-participants. Players are generally expected to avoid the public and not interact with them In Character.
Code Red: An announcement made to inform of a safety breach or injury. This will result in a Time Out. Not used in every game but is swiftly growing to be a standard.
Time Out: A halt in play. Usually an announcement will be made or systems will be resolved before time is called back "in". Alternatives may occur, such as a "Time Stop" where other rules may be in effect to distinguish them from a normal Time Out
One of the things that immediately becomes apparent as soon as you start discussing LARP in any detail is that there are a bunch of different terms used to describe different elements related to LARP and even LARP itself. It also becomes apparent that some terms are familiar to some but not others and not everyone agrees on what these terms mean. So in the interest of helping us all understand each other better I aim to fill this thread with a glossary of terms for us to use in discussing LARP.
Of cause I expect there to be much discussion of what LARP terms we should use and what they mean. I hope that after some discussion and mutual agreement or compromise we can all agree to use the terms laid out on this page where relevant. This is to help prevent other discussion topics, in other sections devolving into a discussion about terms used.
I will do my best to update this first section with new and updated terms as they are mentioned, discussed and decided upon.
What terms do you use when discussing LARP?
This is a place for in-depth discussion around LARP-related topics.
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