What is LARP?
LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing. Many of your favorite Table Top games have been adapted for a LARP setting. But how does LARP differ from a more traditional Table Top setting? What do you do in a LARP that makes it different from a Table Top (TT) game?
Once of the staples of TT gaming is the DM leading the action and a smallish player base (3-6 players) along for the ride. A large portion is what is referred to as narration, or the GM relaying what happens to the players. One of the largest differences in the LARP setting is that the Storyteller (ST), same thing as GM, is there to provide the framework for the setting wherein the players and their characters will then flesh out the specifics rather than the ST simply calling the game, similar to an announcer calling a sport’s game. LARP is much more driven through movement and body language, the same way that a theatrical performance is driven by the actions of the actors on stage. I would liken LARP to a large scale theatrical production wherein the framework of the story, the starting point, is there but the character’s choices in how they interact with the story is yet to be written and, often times, the end of the story is simply a rough outline that can be directly influenced via character actions. Players in a LARP setting will embrace their characters more so in how an actor embraces a role through physical action and initiative.
LARP also include a much larger group of players than a traditional TT game. We expect to have no less than 40-50 players per game with numbers possibly reaching 100. These greater numbers allow for a much larger group dynamic than your typical TT game and provide more diversity in the personalities a player would normally expect to interact with in a smaller setting. Our hope is to accommodate as many people as possible. And costuming is not only recommended, it is highly encouraged. Weapons are NOT allowed, both real and prop weapons, so please leave them at home. Any players with any kind of weapon will be asked to check them at the check-in desk and will be able to pick them up after game is over.
For the setting we are using at SwampCon this year, we do not use dice. Our system to determining the outcome of player actions is a modified Rock-Paper-Scissors. Modification comes in the form of rules which will be discussed with potential players prior to each game and we will have simplified cheat sheets available for all players.
Essentially, it boils down to 4-5 hours of improvisation within a controlled environment and centering on a defined set of rules.
What is happening at SwampCon?
While specific plots are still being formulated, we plan to have two of the largest International Live Action Roleplay Gaming Organizations running games on both day of SwampCon. Both organizations will be focusing on games from the World of Darkness setting by White Wolf publishing.
Mind’s Eye Society (North American arm of the Camarilla Fan Club)
Currently MES will be planning to run evening LARPs on Saturday and Sunday. In general, these LARPs will last for 5 – 6 hours, with check in around 6:00, game announcements at 7:00, and game on between 7:30 – 8:00 PM. Games will plan to last until around midnight or whenever we are kicked out of the Reitz and have to go home.
Right now, we have plot likes based in the Vampire: the Masquerade setting, of which you can find a lot of important setting information just by doing a Google search. We will be providing what we call a VSS (Venue Style Sheet) closer to the event which will further explain what you can expect from the game. Also, we will be crafting a premise, or a quick summary of what has happened and what the game will be based around.
You do not need to generate a character ahead of time, though please feel free to do so if you would like and have played in a Vampire: the Masquerade LARP before. We will have a large assortment of characters for you to pick from at the game and will have staff on hand to assist with building characters if you are unable to find a pre-generated character sheet that fits what you are looking for.
Vampire: the Masquerade is a setting built around political intrigue and gothic horror. There are adult themes built into this setting, so it may only be suitable for adults 18 years and older. While physical combat is not a focus of this setting, it is a part of the game we will be running, so there will be a place for all character types to enjoy this setting.
OWbN is planning to run during the afternoon sessions of SwampCon on both Saturday and Sunday. They will also be running Vampire: the Masquerade based settings, though their play style will be significantly different from the other games running.
Currently, OWbN does not have all of their information out about the game they plan to run, but please check back for updates.
If you have any other questions or would like to host a LARP event, please contact Jonathan Gravely