Since I started this I’ve had an awful lot of people tell me I should cover the LRP/Larp debate, usually while giggling suspiciously. I stand firmly on one side of the debate. That’s mostly because it’s funny, and also because Vampire added the ‘A’, and Vampire isn’t what I think of as LRP.
There are a range of different things that count as LRPing to various different people. I know that my definition now would not match my definition 5 years ago, and if I can’t agree with myself then I shouldn’t expect other people to either.
In the UK we have a wide range of different systems claiming to be LRP - and they probably are. We have systems with about 10 and others with several thousand people. We cover genres from modern day, lovecraft, 1950s, 1930s, dark ages, fantasy, sci fi, post apocalyptic, and a range of others. We have systems that have no rules, and others that have rule books the size of a dictionary. We have systems where anything is a weapon (apparently they’ve been known to use benches), events with nerf guns, with foam swords, and others where there’s no combat. There’s star gate, star wars, serenity and next year we’re even running Jurassic LRP. This is amazing, because if you want to play it it probably exists.
I know very little about LRP in other countries. I haven’t played them, and whilst I haven’t played most games in the UK either, a lot of my friends have. I hear a lot about what they like and don’t like. I see photos, and whilst photos aren’t the best way of judging a game they do give you some idea, at least of what players and organisers consider important. I also know very little about UK LRP. We were talking about the LRP awards the other night. It was mentioned that it’s not representative of UK LRP. Of course it’s not. It was started as something fun. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. The counter argument was that people outside of LRP don’t know that. That if they take the results seriously and think they they’re representative then then won’t know about the broad range of events that are out there.
I still don’t know about the broad range of events that are out there.
There isn’t one group of LRPers in the UK. Even at the fest level it’s broken down into CP players, Empire plays, LT players, Vale players, F&Hers, and all those circles overlap. When we started playing Slender I didn’t know the people running it. They run games in a style we love, and like the same sort of things as us, but despite both groups having been involved in running LRP in the UK for over a decade we didn’t know each other because we weren’t in the same circles. A huge number of games are never really advertised and remain something for a select group of people. New people joining the hobby will never get an accurate picture of what’s going on in the UK. Does it matter that they will see something listed as the ‘Best UK LRP’ try it, and not really get an idea of what’s really out there?
UK LRP is very undefined and that’s one of its best features. You can decide what’s important to you and you’re not constrained by a very set idea of how LRP should be (individual players may have more set ideas, but people as a whole are very accepting). We can try things and people will go along with it. We aren’t necessarily trying to change the world, or our view point. We’re mostly having fun - even if by fun we mean being scared witless in the dark for 30 hours straight.