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The advancement of technology has allowed the rise of various types of games. However, some people like to keep it the old and real way. A live-action role-playing game (LARP) is a type of role-playing game where the game participants are portraying their characters physically. The players call the game “larping” where the players are pursuing goals in a fictional setting which is represented in a rule world. Each participant’s character participates in the game by interacting with other characters.

The outcome of the participant’s action is mediated by certain game rules. It can also be determined by the players making a consensus. The game’s arrangers are referred to as gamemasters. They are the ones who decide the rules and setting where the participants are facilitated in playing.

The first LARPs started in the late 1970s. The larping games at that time were mostly inspired by bu genre fiction or tabletop role-playing games. In the 1980s, the game spread internationally, which was later diversified in a variety of styles. The games can be focused on the mechanics of the game or can be focused more on the artistic or dramatic expressions of the participants.

The events can be designed to achieve political or educational goals. The fictional genres were used greatly from historical settings to realistic-modern style. Some games can be fantasy-based or focused on futuristic eras. The production value of the games can be minimal but still involves distinctive costumes and venues. The range of larping games can start from small private events that only last a few hours to a bigger public event that hosts thousands of players which can last for days.

Terminology Origins

Larping can also be called live role-playing, free-form role-playing, and interactive literature. Some of the terms can still be used but LARP is the most commonly used term. LARP can be written in lowercase as LARP. The live-action in LARP is synonymous with live-action that is used for film or movies. The term live-action is used to differentiate the work performed by human actors compared to animation. Playing the LARP can be referred to as larping and the player is called a larper.

How are the games done?

The participants in a LARP game will portray their characters in a fictional setting. The person can improvise his or her speech and movements, just like what actors do in improvisational theater. What makes live-action role-playing different from tabletop role-playing games is that the characters move and act.

Larps can be played in a private or public place, which may last from hours to days. There is no audience included most of the time. The players can dress as their character and carry appropriate props. The environment is usually decorated to resemble the setting where the participants play. The LARP events can be a one-time event or a series of games within the same setting.

Types of Players


Aside from the participants, the game has other types of players within it that serve to be beneficial to the main players. The first type of players is the ones who take on the roles of player characters (PCs). These PCs are the ones who are the main players. They can play the character they create for themselves or it can be assigned by the gamemasters. The person can use the same character in other separate LARP events. They can develop their characters and their connections with other characters.


The arrangers are referred to as gamemasters (GMs). They are the ones who create the fictional universe and determine the rules of an event. They can act as referees while the game is taking place. The GMs can do certain logistical work or advertising the event. A gamemaster handles the financial management and booking of a venue for the event.

Most of the time, GMs are not focused on tightly maintaining the game’s narrative but mostly on arranging the structure of the entire event before the play begins. They also serve as facilitators of the fictional setting during the event.


Participants who are part of the crew help the GMs to maintain the fictional environment of the game. They are called non-player characters (NPCs). They also act using their characters but their role is to only help the characters progress in the game. The NPCs mostly know more information about the game’s direction or set as given by the GMs compared to the PCs.

In a table-top game, the GM plays the role of the NPCs but in a LARP, the NPCs are played by separate crew members. Most of the game time involved interactions between characters and the outcome mostly can be determined by either the rules set by the GM or the consensus of the players.


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