LARP at Play: LARP Link Dump

This article really isn’t much of an article, but rather a list of various other works which I feel are good reads (if I could I’d make them required reads) for players and LARP organizers/GMs (with a few at the end for designers). If you’re looking for the designer link dump, you can find it in the “A designer’s reading list” article.

I’ve always been a big advocate of reading what others have to share on the hobby in the way of opinions and advice. Not only does this give a person a chance to see things from a different perspective, it also gives them a chance to learn what worked or didn’t work for another individual, game or organization.

I do want to give a warning that this is a very extensive link dump and I’ve done it this way on purpose so that it becomes a singular book-markable spot rather than having several spread out smaller ones. I also want to share that while I’ve categorized the links based on their target audience, they’re all good articles worth reading regardless of who the targaet audience is. There are things that players can take away from the links geared toward organizers/GMs and vice versa. Enjoy the links.

Players – These are articles specifically written to and for players. These aren’t introduction to LARP articles, but rather advice for players.

  • Unsolicited, but Useful, Advice for LARPers: This site is a treasure trove of links, albeit some rather dated but nonetheless still relevant. They have a decent listing of links/articles geared for players, some of which I feel were good enough to be highlighted here:
  • The Ten Commandments Of Priceless Players: A very good article listing the “ten simple rules that you, the player, can and should follow to make your games more pleasant for everyone involved.” While written for table-top gaming, the points it brings up apply to LARP as well. I strongly suggest you read through the posted comments too.
  • Top 10 LARP Faux Pas: “There’s a lot if information out there about how to LARP and how to make or purchase appropriate weapons and costuming for a game. However, it’s important to note that there are some ‘what not to do’ items for LARPs as well. Be sure to avoid doing these things at a LARP to promote maximum enjoyment in game play for yourself and others.” This is geared toward live-combat games, though I feel it’s a good read for anyone.
  • Great Character Backgrounds: The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A short article on writing a good character background. While table-top RPG based, like the above the majority of points can easily apply to LARP.
  • Radio Dead Air – The Six Unwritten Rules of the Cam: The six unwritten and vital rules of roleplaying in the Camarilla LARP. Even though it’s geared toward the Camarilla, the points brought up are valid regardless of game. NOTE: This does contain some swearing.

Players and Organizers/GMs – These are articles that contain some advice for both camps: players and organizers/GMs.

  • It Takes Two to Tango: A really good advice article on “Player and Game Master Responsibilities.” This article is from the Unsolicited, but Useful, Advice for LARPers site.
  • Newbies at the Larp: Some good advice for both players (particularly new players) and GMs on integrating new players into an existing game. It’s written for a vampire LARP, but the concepts presented are valid regardless of genre. The author has a some other articles at the bottom of this page should you wish to pursue them. Note: The text is a larger font in green on a black background. Be prepared for a bit of “optical shock.”
  • The DIY Guide to LRP: A site that is full of how-tos from costuming to props to special effects. For more advice on costuming I suggest looking at “Costuming and You, Part 1” and “Costuming and You, Part 2.”
  • Doing Your Part: Advice to players and organizers/GMs on keeping your LARP group a tight knit group. This is from the Houses of Eternity site. Even though this article was written for a oWoD game, it’s advice is still valid no matter the genre of game.
  • While various articles are good sources of information, some of the best I’ve found have been forum posts. I feel this is because discussion and discourse often happens on the topic at hand (provided it doesn’t digress and end up on one tangent or another). The forums I’m noting below have a plentiful number of good postings, those postings stay on topic for the most part and discussion remains mature and civil.
    • General LRP Discussion on Rule7: For topics involving the entire LRP/LARP hobby. On Rule7 they do have some boards just for discussion about fantasy and modern and sci-fi LARPs.
    • The Method on Pagga: Making Kit, Costume, Props, Masks and Monsters.
    • General Discussions on Shade’s LARP List: In this forum, you can discuss just about anything LARP-related here. You can talk about LARP news, games, events, logistics, etc.
    • Making and Buying Stuff on Shade’s LARP List: Want to discuss about making costumes, props, weapons, sets for your LARP? Enter this forum to see what you can contribute or learn!
    • LARPA General Discussion forum: The General Discussion forum for LARPA.
    • RPG.net LARP forum: Discussion of all sorts of LARPs.
    • Game ideas on DIATRIBE: Open your ideas up for discussion and have them come to life.
    • Gear on DIATRIBE: Useful stuff about larp gear: Costumes, props, environmental effects, etc.
    • General discussion on DIATRIBE: About your LARPing.

Organizers/GMs – These are articles written for organizers and game masters. This is a collection of links covering various issues, situations and circumstances that organizers and GMs are likely to encounter.

  • Unsolicited, but Useful, Advice for LARPers: Just as there are some good articles for players on this site, there are also several good articles for organizers/GMs. Below are those I feel needed to be highlighted:
  • LARP Sense: What Makes a Good Live Roleplaying Game (LRPG or LARP)and on the challenges of running one. This is a short article, but makes some good points.
  • Starting a Live Role-Playing Game: What it takes to start up a LARP, with a focus on WoD LARPs.
  • Tips for Game Masters: A slew of advice all about running a game. While this was written for table-top RPGs much of what is discussed can be applied to GMing a LARP. There are also some other draft articles on his site here.
  • Learn from my Mistakes: This article was written by Mike Ventrella, head of Alliance LARP (formerly the NERO Alliance) and while aimed at Alliance games, there are some very good points that can apply to any LARP.
  • Threads of Damocles Leadership Organization: A White Paper: “This White Paper is intended to kick off a planned discussion on the future of leadership in Threads… . It isn’t just a blueprint of leadership.  It is a detailed discussion of every challenge and problem facing us.  It presents a new model for production based on a ‘Free Market of Ideas.'”
  • LARPWriting.org: “Welcome to this little site for information on Live Roleplay, Improvisational Drama, and anything and everything else related to the theatre-style production.” The essays in particular are very good reads. The LARP Writing Blog is the companion to this site and contains several other good essays and articles.
  • LARPA Blogs: I know I listed this in my “A designer’s reading list” article, however I feel it’s also worth noting here. This is a listing of various LARP articles from different sources. While all of them are good reads, I suggest the LARPWriting.org blog in particular. There’s some really good stuff in here. This blog is also the companion to the LARPWriting.org site noted above.
  • Nerology blog: This blog is about running NERO, a live boffer combat fantasy role playing game. Even though it’s focus is on NERO, it does present some good advice that organizers can use regarless of the LARP you’re running.
  • Houses of Eternity Library: This site contains a list of post articles and stories relevant to the World of Darkness, live action role-playing and the chronicle this group ran. Even though these articles focus on the WoD (particularly oWoD), many of the points discussed are relavent to any game out there.
    • Founders: Now that you have your game up, running and active, this article offers advice on how to keep your players engaged out-of-game.
    • Common Elements: An article discussing the different player archtypes and what drives them.
    • Bit Parts #1: Discusses types of background characters and how they can influence your game.
    • Bit Parts #2: This builds on the above article and talks about tying your NPCs into your game.
  • How to Host an Amtgard Event(pdf): This document discusses what is needed to host an event: from figuring out when to where to actually holding the event and every step in between. While written for Amtgard, I think it makes great reading for any live-combat group.
  • Tips for Building a Better Amtgard Park: Some tips from Amtgard on establishing a new game location. While live-combat groups will probably find this of particular interest, I feel there’s stuff any LARP can take away from this.
  • Things You Need to Know When Starting a Group: While geared for Amtgard, it does provide a good rundown of different things to consider when starting up a new LARP game or group.
  • As noted in the Players and Organizers/GMs section I think forums make great sources of information due to the nature of the discussions that can take place over them. As before the forums I’m noting below have a plentiful number of good postings, those postings stay on topic for the most part and discussion remains mature and civil.
    • Location and Logistics from Rule7: Discussions on good event management and the things you need to know and do to run a decent LRP/LARP event.
    • Organizing LARPs on Shade’s LARP List: Talk about writing and running games in this section. If you are new to LARP and have questions about how to start one or if you are experienced in running LARP events, this forum is for you!
  • I know I listed this for designer, but I feel that organizers/GMs should read this too. The Book of Larp as Conor expressed on the Mortalis Games forums, “is just a fantastic place to start – even for long time gamers. It’s very short if you just read the theory and not the example games.  Having said that – the example games themselves stand out to me because they are fantastically well written and socially balanced – every player has an equally large part; no ‘background’ characters. I feel these example games are essential to review before beginning to write a one-shot, or any game that involves casting characters.” If you can find a copy read it, better yet buy it.

Organizers/GMs and Designers – These are links that either Organizers/GMs or Designers will find of use. They are predominatly for creating alternate realities/worlds.

  • Creation on Pagga: This forum is one which I feel both Organizers/GMs and Designers in particular will find useful. Writing plot, rules and settings. Organising games.
  • Larp Developer’s Resource: “This page is dedicated to how to write and run a 3 day 60 – 100 player larp. I’ve now run four 3 day (24 hours a day) larps. On this site, you will find my notes and advice for how to run a successful larp. Keep in mind that each larp is different and these are just guidelines and suggestions. Anything you choose to do or not do is still your own responsibility.” The final parts of this extensive write-up are unfinished, however a large part is and that large part contains some very good advice. Theater and convention style LARPers will find this of particular interest.
  • World Building: A site of links; some that I’ve found useful are Patricia Wrede’s World Building Questions (also noted below) and the Time Line Creator (a good way to get ideas of what’s happened in your realm’s history).
  • Patricia C. Wrede’s Worldbuilder Questions: This is a huge list of questions, broken down by topic that can be asked to help you flesh out and build your word.
  • Dawn of Worlds(pdf): You can also find the PDF on this page. This is “a cooperative system for creating alternate realities/worlds.” A game aid that provides a loose set of rules for world/campaign setting creation by a group of people; this is a great aid if your campaign setting will be created by a group of people instead of a single person.
  • Medieval Demographics Made Easy: This article is a must read if you want to create a realistic fantasy, medieval setting. I also suggest reading through the associated FAQs. There is an online calculator built off this article that can help you get an idea what business would exist where. The calculator would be good to use for each different country or kingdom/political division in your game world.
  • Campaign World Creation for Mortalis LARP(pdf): This is a short guide I wrote up for people who would want to create a game world under the system I’ve been developing. Even though it is written for Mortalis LARP I feel there’s enough general material in there that others might find it of use, particularly the worksheets in the back.

Designers – These are some finds I dug up while validating the links on my list for players and organizers. For other links that are must-reads for designers please see “A designer’s reading list.”

  • The Forge: While geared toward table-top RPG games, there is a gem here and there that is very applicable to LARP design. There is also a lot of discussion here on GNS Theory for those interested in that RPG theory. The forums also have some good stuff to browse, just keep in mind this is for table-top RPGs and LARPs are a slightly different creature.
  • There are some good forum resources for designers too. Just as before the forums I’m noting below have a plentiful number of good postings, those postings stay on topic for the most part and discussion remains mature and civil.
    • Academia on Rule7: A discussion area for LRP/LARP theoretical ideas and publications.
    • Game Designer’s Cabal on NZRaG: Want to discuss game creation and design, this is where you go. Looks to be more on RPGs in general than LARP, but still worth reading over.
    • Game Design & Development on RPG.net: Creating RPGs, from creating professional systems to patching your favorite game. Even though this is geared toward table-top RPGs, there are still some very good threads to read in here.
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  • LARP.EU: An international & open community dedicated to live-action roleplaying theory. While this site isn’t updated with new content that often, you can find some good offerings on it, particularly under ‘Articles.’
  • Game Design Concepts: Game Design Concepts is an open experiment in game design, education, and blogging. Even though this was done over summer of 2009 the blog remains up for those who want to read through this free series of lectures and notes (essentially a course) on basic game design concepts. This was created and geared toward those who design computer games, but there are still some very good points and take-aways that can easily apply to LARP design.
  • RPG Design Handbook: An online handbook on RPG design that is a work in progress right now. It’s geared toward table-top RPGs, but still contains enough very good material that any LARP designer should read it through too.
  • RPG THEORY: “There are many sources for advice on role-playing games, but most of these try to promote a “One True Way” of playing. Rather than telling you how to roleplay, this is a collection of articles on what the different ways are — and the pros and cons of different choices.”
  • Knutepunkt 2009 Book: A collection of articles primarily on Nordic LARP theory. This is produced as a companion to the Knutepunkt conference. I’ve yet to find or see a PDF of the 2008 book or articles. Links to earlier Knutepunkt books can be found in the “A designer’s reading list” article.
  • Interacting Arts: This is a group of arts producers and theorists, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Our main focus if to create and explore possibilities of interaction in various fields, such as art, role-playing, social experiments, literature, activism, reality gaming etcetera. Aside from doing projects, we also write theory on participation, interactivity and spectation.

Goodies/Shout Outs – These are some finds I dug up that I feel are worth linking to and offering.

  • Open Source LARP software: A variety of LARP software to help you run games from Alleged Entertainment.
  • Brassy’s Men LARP Database: A set of web pages created for the Brassy’s Men LARP with a database back end. It helps you run larps (and can be tweaked for your own game provided you know a bit about coding web sites to modify it). From Interactivities Ink.
  • Grapevine: A Live-Action Roleplaying Game Administration Utility designed for use with Mind’s Eye Theater from White Wolf Gaming Studios. This was build for oWoD setting, there aren’t any updates for nWoD.
  • The Cumberland Fontworks: Fonts for Gamers: Free fonts that are great for creating paper props or to use as a main headline font for flyer, brochures and such. There are other goodies here, primarily for table-top RPGs.
  • The Merchant’s Guild: NEW SITE, JUST OPENED! The Merchant’s Guild is an auction house for fantasy LARP, medieval, and Renaissance items! They offer clothing/garb, armor, weaponry, and everything you need to have a jolly good time! The Merchant’s Guild service is FREE – No seller’s fees or buyer’s fees!

I know there are a lot more sources than this out there and if you have a particular blog, article, or other source you feel is a must read/reference please share it.

The next column will be on Creating a LARP. As always I love to hear feedback and suggestions for further articles. Feel free to leave a comment here at the Mortalis Games site, write Amber at webmaster [at] mortalisrpg [dot] com or once this goes live on RPG.net, visit the article’s forum thread (there should be a link below the article to it) to see what else has been shared or to leave a comment there.

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