About Live Roleplaying

For those who are wondering, live roleplaying (or LRPing for short, also called LARPing for live action roleplaying) is a hobby in which each participant ("Player") creates a character who inhabits a fictional world, much like the characters in a book or film (their "Character"). The Player then takes up the role of their Character, as if acting in a play or film, as they face and hopefully overcome various challenges put in their way by the Referees ("Refs") - the people who are running the game. If you have ever wanted to escape from the mundane world and become your favourite hero from a film or book, just for the weekend, live roleplaying is your chance.

Unlike acting, however, in LRPing there is no script and no audience. Each Character is free to act as they wish, without being constrained by any pre-determined plot. The characters create and shape the story line as they go along, guided by the Refs. The only audience is the other players, who participate as well as watch. So if you are one of those people who always shouts at the television when characters do something you consider foolish, this is your opportunity to step in and stop them.

The Refs, who run the game, are aided by a crew of people who play various parts, depending on what is needed. They may play 'line monsters' - monsters who are usually just cannon fodder, there to be killed in large numbers by the players - or 'non player characters' ("NPCs"), which have a more detailed background and history, and may have important information to impart, so should be talked to before being killed.

The challenges which the Refs set before the Players' Characters vary wildly depending on the event, but typical things might be, for example, discovering the location of an important artefact or enemy base, defeating an enemy (everything from asassinating one man to defeating entire armies or mystical or magical creatures), rescuing hostages, escorting merchant caravans through dangerous territory, defending forts against invading marauders and, of course, rescuing dragons in distress from fiery damsels. Once the task or danger has been identified, it's up to the player characters ("PCs") to find a way to deal with it, hopefully, but not always, successfully.

To help everyone interact in a consistent way during an event, there is a 'system' - a combination of world background information and game mechanics, which together form the rules of the game. The world background is information about the world in which the events take place. For example: what countries exist, who rules them, and what form of government they have (feudal, republic, democracy, etc); what races exist and what they are like (elves, dwarves, goblins, aliens, etc); and what gods exist and what their spheres of influence are. The game mechanics govern interactions between characters. For example, if you have a magical spell cast at you there need to be rules to tell you how to react, or if you have a fight there need to be rules to tell you who wins the fight, whether anyone dies, and how you can be healed from any injuries. Things which relate to the game world and happen during game time ("Time In"), are referred to as In Character ("IC") while things from the real world which happen outside of game time ("Time Out") are referred to as Out Of Character ("OOC").

The major difference between live role playing and most other types of games is that rather than competing against the other players you are working co-operatively with them to overcome the challenges set by the Refs. Although conflict can, and does, exist between PCs, this is usually secondary. There is no 'winning' or 'losing'; you may succeed or fail in a given task, but even if you fail and live to fight another day you have not lost the game. Even dying isn't losing; if your character sacrifices themselves so that some aim may be achieved or so that another character can live, then that's a good way to go. Then, after talking to the Refs, you simply create another character and re-join the game.

There are many different types of LRPing systems in existence. Some are historical, some futuristic; some are high fantasy (meaning that the world they are set in contains mythical creatures and magic - think 'Lord of the Rings'), others are low fantasy (much more like the real world); some are high hit, others are low hit (this refers to the number of hits from a weapon a character can sustain before dying, which has a big effect on combat in a system). Although all of these are forms of LRPing games, each system may be vastly different to any other, in much the same way that Monopoly, Chess and Cluedo are all board games, but are completely different to each other. What all LRPing games have in common is that, just for a little while, you get to be someone else, who lives in a much more exciting world and does much more exciting and dangerous things. It's good fun, it's great escapism and it's fabulous stress relief, so why not come along and give it a try?

For further information about LRP we suggest you check out Wikipedia's page on LARP.

Majestic Oak LRP's Best of Volume 1 photoset Majestic Oak LRP's Best of Volume 1 photoset
"Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who decided to stand their ground" - Anon