LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing. That's what most LARPers will agree on. It is interactive improvisation, between people who are each playing a persona. After that, ask ten different LARPers what they think LARP is, and you may get twelve or thirteen different answers!
In the UK LARP or Larping is often used to describe the kind of game which involves running around a muddy field hitting other people with special non hurty latex weapons. This is however often also called Boffer style. Confused yet? Then let's throw a few more terms around...
Have a look at Brian Williams's explanation.
This is what some Americans call Freeforming.
There are all sorts of games and players. LARP is not solely medieval fantasy games, or dark games filled with vampires, or mysteries where everyone tries to find out who did it, or games where people wear armor and beat on each other with padded weapons, or...
LARP is all of these, and more.
There are some things in common amongst all of these games. Everyone at the game comes in character. You play a role, like the Russian ambassador to Germany, the drummer from the band Toxic Waste, or the doctor on board a luxury starliner. For the duration of the game, you dress, speak, act and live the part. You've got an agenda for the game - a list of things that you must accomplish. Some tasks are easy, some things are hard. Some players may be working towards the same goals as you, while others may be working against you.
There's no script. You improvise all your lines. You don't operate in a vacuum, because you have a character description, a background history of who you're trying to be.
You're also not alone. Games can be small, with only a few characters, they can be large, with upwards of sixty or seventy players, or they can be huge. Games can last a few minutes, four, six, or eight hours, an entire weekend, or even longer, played in several sessions. A good game can be an amazing experience and incredibly fun to play.
Why LARP / Freeform etc?
Because it's fun! People roleplay for a whole number of reasons. Some for escapism because it's lots of fun to be someone else for a few hours or a few days at a time, for the social aspects of the game and the opportunity to meet new people and for the pure exhilaration of letting your mind run wild in a world of complete fantasy. Some players of LC style games like the opportunity to get away from their desks and do something physical in the fresh air.
I play tabletop role playing games, is this similar?
Yes, there are many similarities, but there are also many differences. In a tabletop game you describe what your character is doing, but in a Live Action game you do the actions your character does.
You get to play as many games as you like, a name badge, and a convention booklet. Accommodation is not included, and must be booked and paid for separately, details will follow shortly.
The con staff knows a lot of writers. We get references from players who come to the con. We also look for new games and new writers. So, yes, if you have a game, we're interested. There's an easy bid process.
We're intending to have:
As the organisers, we appeal to your common sense. If you are too tired you won't enjoy your games so much, and you may affect other
people's enjoyment of the games they play with you. As a guideline, we would suggest 5-6 freeforms over the weekend, giving you a slot off
every day to do other things!
For LARPs we suggest no more than two, as we want you to enjoy yourselves and not burn out. For table top no more than two each day.
Volunteering is easy and fun. You don't need any experience, just a willingness to pitch in. There are jobs that need to be done before, during and after the con; by sharing the work, we all get a chance to enjoy the con.
We are a group of gamers running events throughout the year, including a writing weekend (Peaky) where we have written a number of games which have run at Gencon, Conception, Maycon and many others. We also run a weekend long event each year and the 2010 game will be Sharp and Sensibility.
There is a Yahoo group where you can find out about all sorts of freeform events throughout the year.
UK Role Players forum.
Original web design: Barry Tannenbaum, development Mo Holkar, hosting Richard Salmon, assorted geekery Mel Dymond Harper -- and of course Intercon for their help in allowing us to use their site format.