edited: Monday, May 19, 2003
By Logan L. Masterson
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2001
Become a Fan
Explaining a very strange hobby...
So, what the heck does larp mean anyway?
So there were these weirdoes, see, who decided it would be fun to pretend to be other people in other places
and do stuff they could never possibly do in the real world, like kill dragons and be turned into vampires. They're
still with us, going at their roleplaying games with great vigor. Out of their ranks stepped a new group of creature
who thought, "Hey! We can get some exercise out of this!" They began finding ways to make cool, but safe,
weapons out of pvc pipes and foam and things., and then ran about hitting each other with them and having a
generally good time. Not long afterwards, some of them got together and decided it hurt. Some other people who
had never gotten into the whole foam thing in the first place for the same reason joined up with them. They thought,
"You know, we could do it more like a re-enactment of theatre that actually hitting each other." But instead of
learning stage-fighting and buying cheap tin swords, they went back to the old methods: rulebooks. Rulebooks, you
see, have long been a favorite among humans and other equally bureaucratic creatures. So they use these books, in
combination with some sort of randomizer like dice or rock-paper-scissors, to create their fantasy world. So the
first group practices RolePlaying, and the second two engage in Live Action RolePlaying, or LARP.
Not exactly accurate, but you get the idea.
So now we have several categories of roleplaying games:
Traditional RPG (tabletop, dice & paper)
The old school, sittin' around eating Cheetos and rolling dice group. It started with Dungeons and Dragons
and has expanded in a thousand thousand directions. Popular genres include Fantasy, Science Fiction,
Horror, Cyberpunk, Anime, Super Hero and Espionage.
Physical Activity: Low (fridge run) to Moderate (Taco Bell excursion)
Problem Solving: Low (rolling dice) to High (uncovering plots laid by ancient civilizations or evil priests)
Roleplaying: Low (rolling dice) to High (reacting to the sight of your lover eaten by the Ravenous Bugblatter
Beast of Traal)
Sport LARP (LRP, re-enactment, freestyle simulation)
From the SCA's hard weapons and heavy armor to Dagorhir's very safe foam construction rules to historical
re-enactors' muskets and artillery, any kind of combat challenge is available. But be warned, roleplaying most
often means costuming and dying well in these games.
Physical Activity: High (slaughtering 12 foes with a foam butter knife)
Problem Solving: Low (kill that guy) to High (kill that guy behind that wall of 30 guys with 4 ft tall shields
and rubber javelins)
Roleplaying: Low ("kill that guy!") to Medium (telling tales of your battles with panache)
Theatre LARP (live action, pansy)
The newest and most controversial of the genre's theatre style gaming is not as well suited to fantasy as the
Sport LARP, but almost all other genres do well
Physical Activity: Low (sitting on couches) to Moderate (getting in someone's face)
Problem Solving: Medium (who killed the prince's ghoul?) to High (who killed the prince?)
Roleplaying: Low (brooding in corners) to High (convincing the others that you didn't do it)
Note that this article does not address another style of gaming popular in our community, the tabletop wargame,
which has little or nothing to do with roleplaying, but is fun anyway.
Web Site: The Houses of Eternity
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