L.A.R.P.ing, not for the weak
L.A.R.P. is the acronym for Live Action Role-Playing. It takes your regular role-play gaming and adds crafts, theater, and imaginary settings. This system gives the participants the chance to act out their character’s role in a small group or large scale production.
More than just swords and dragons
Often tied to Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) coming out of the 1970’s, L.A.R.P.’s are flexible in the scenarios and playing styles. The fictionalized scenarios can range from Steampunk story lines, to Lord of the Rings, to a zombie apocalypses. The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international living history organization dedicated to recreating the Middle Ages, and can loosely be thought of as a L.A.R.P. organization.
Rules vary by the group or organization. Some groups have published their rules to be followed. Others just mandate the form of weapons and how they are to be used. While, yet others act under the tenant of portraying their character as appropriate to the scenario.
Play is refereed by game master(s) or arrangers that drive the scenario’s goals, and more mundanely book the venue, advertise the event, and manage the finances. Because they know the overall goal, the game masters manage the player characters acting out self-created roles or ones developed by the game masters.
Geeks come to the mainstream
Over the years, the media has picked up L.A.R.P. in television shows. However, we first heard news stories of how D&D was filled with occultism, satanism, and escapism. Over the years, these notions have been proven wrong. Now, we see L.A.R.P.s occasionally on the internet and television in a growing acceptance of geek culture. One of the best known geeky L.A.R.P.-minded personalities in my book is Felicia Day. She has her own internet show called The Guild, and plays a limited character, Charlie, on Supernatural.
Ah, the awesomeness of Felicia Day… For more on beginning L.A.R.P.ing