Live action role-playing game

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A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters' actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules, or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called gamemasters decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate play.

The first LARPs were run in the late 1970s, inspired by tabletop role-playing games and genre fiction. The activity spread internationally during the 1980s, and has diversified into a wide variety of styles. Play may be very game-like, or may be more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression. Events can also be designed to achieve educational or political goals. The fictional genres used vary greatly, from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic eras. Production values are sometimes minimal, but can involve elaborate venues and costumes. LARPs range in size from small private events lasting a few hours to huge public events with thousands of players lasting for days.

Contents

Terminology

LARP has also been referred to as live role-playing (LRP), interactive literature, and freeform role-playing. Some of these terms are still in common use; however, LARP has become the most commonly accepted term.[1] It is sometimes written in lowercase, as larp.[2] The live action in LARP is analogous to the term live action used in film and video to differentiate works with human actors from animation. Playing a LARP is often called larping, and one who does it is a larper.

History

LARP does not have a single point of origin, but was invented independently by groups in North America, Europe, and Australia.[3] These groups shared an experience with genre fiction or tabletop role-playing games, and a desire to physically experience such settings. In addition to tabletop role-playing, LARP was preceded and possibly influenced by the Society for Creative Anachronism, childhood games of pretend, play fighting, costume parties, roleplay simulations, Commedia dell'arte, improvisational theatre, psychodrama, military simulations, and historical reenactment groups.[4]

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