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Moon's Costume Blog

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Monday, July 27, 2009

All About LARPing


LARP stands for Live-Action Role Playing, as opposed to regular role-playing games. In regular role playing games, the setting exists in the imagination and the interaction is done by talking through the game while seated together in a room. With live-action, the setting is created in the real world and players dress in costume and act as the characters they represent.

Many varieties of role playing games exist, but most follow the pattern established by Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1974. Traditionally, a small group would include a game master, or GM, who would lay out the rules and the fictional setting for the players to work within, including specific challenges and goals. The players then create their characters, using creativity to fill in the details of their backgrounds and to improvise along the way, interacting with changing outcomes. Numerical statistics are assigned to the characters, which are then used to determine the outcome of various events in the game—which usually involves rolling dice--to see whether an action was successful. Live action role playing allows players to more fully immersed in the experience, from the feel of the costume against their skin to the detail of the setting and being surrounded by others in character.

The first LARPs happened in the late ‘70’s, but really caught on worldwide in the ‘80’s, and with their popularity came a wider variety of styles. Some are more game-like, while others are more about dramatic or artistic expression. Some focus on educational or political themes, while fictional genres range from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic eras. Production values can be minimal or elaborate with costumes and venues fully creating the fictional setting in as much realistic detail as possible. You may want to commission a custom costume to fit the details of your character more authentically. We’ll be looking into the different LARP genres in future posts.

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