LARP Terminology

The following is not a complete list of phrases or words that you may encounter in LARP spaces, but should list the most common phrases you will see in your experiences. Please note that some LARPs define these terms slightly differently, so your mileage may vary.

  • Live Action Role Play (LARP) - A story-telling game where players play characters to tell a collective story about different topics. Characters may be PCs or NPCs, and the story is generally written by a plot team.
  • Player Character (PC) - A Player Character is someone who has created their own character and is telling their own story throughout the weekend. They are expected to stay "in character" for most - if not all - of the weekend.
  • Non-Player Character (NPC) - A Non-Player Character is someone who has not created their character(s) by themselves, but has been given characters by the plot team. They will often play multiple characters over the course of the game, and interact primarily with PCs. NPCs are often referred to as "mosnters", "bad guys" or similar, but not all NPCs are bad. Some are good and on the PCs' side, while others are more neutral.
  • Boffer - A weapon - usually made out of foam and/or latex - that are considered safe enough to use to strike other players.
  • Boffer LARP - A LARP that uses boffers and packets to strike opponents. To do damage or cast a spell, you must actually hit your opponent with your weapon or spell phys-rep.
  • Parlour LARP - A LARP that uses other means than physical combat to resolve conflict. Combat or conflict may be resolved using rock-paper-scissors, dice or decks of cards, but no one is actually physically touched by weapons or spells.
  • Monster Camp - Also known by various other names such as Hive Camp, the Fishbowl, NPC Camp, etc, Monster Camp is where the NPCs and plot work out of. This location, usually a bit removed from the rest of the game, is often where NPCs will relax between shifts, PCs will come looking for specific NPCs, and plot and NPCs will get ready for upcoming mods. This space is almost always desginated OOG, and PCs are generally not welcomed to stay for extended periods of time, lest they spoil some surprises!
  • ELC - An ELC, or Experiential Learning Center, is a location usually at a state park where games are held. Not all games are held at ELCs, but they are popular locations. ELCs usually have cabins of some kind, a main kitchen/dining building, and spaces for mods and fights.
  • Packet - A packet is a small square of fabric filled with birdseed and rubber-banded together to form a beanbag-like structure. They are commonly used as phys-reps for magic and occasionally other things too.
  • Plot - Plot are the people who write the stories for the events. Plot creates stories between events and arrives at game with instructions for NPCs on how to tell the stories. Plot will also play NPCs as well.
  • Garb - The clothing people wear as their characters. Garb may come from different time periods, or may be fantastical. "Garb" may also include armour and the like, but the term is usually reserved for clothing.
  • In Game (IG) - In Game, or IG, is when a player is in character and acting as that character. Keeping things "IG" means keeping them in the game world. Anything referring to "IG" is referring to the game world, and the characters playing within it.
  • Out of Game (OOG) - Out of Game or OOG refers to the "real world." Things that happen OOG are happening without character involvement, or character knowledge. People "go OOG" and step out of the game world and back into the "real" world for things such as check-in conversations, smoke breaks, and to just take a breather from an intense scene.
  • Blockbuster LARP - A high-production-value LARP that usually costs more than a regular LARP weekend would. These LARPs often provide different perks - such as bedding, garb, or other swag - and can last shorter or longer than a usual weekend. Blockbusters sometimes take place in exotic or fantastical locations, like on battleships or castles, and often require travel to other parts of the country or world. Some are smaller-scale and more localized.
  • Nordic LARP - A type of LARP whose cultures stem from Nordic countries. These LARPs focus on collaboration and collective story-telling without as many rules, and generally nothing can happen to your character that you aren't okay with. Nordic LARPs may sometimes encourage a "play to lose" mentality, which encourages you to find ways to have difficult or bad things happen to your character in order to tell a more interesting story.
  • Type 1 Game - A LARP that is fun in the moment of gameplay, and fun later when you reflect back on it, that you are sad is over.
  • Type 2 Game - A LARP that is not fun in the moment of gameplay (although it may be meaningful, beautiful, powerful, empowering, or any other kind of thing like that), but is fun when you look back on it. You aren't always sad that it's over.
  • Type 3 Game - A LARP that is not fun in the moment of gameplay and is not fun to look back on. You are not sad when it is over.
  • Phys-rep - A physical representation of an in-game thing. Phys-reps can be test tubes representing potions, armour representing armour, foam swords representing real swords, nerf blasters representing guns, packets representing spells, basically anything that has a physical presence in your hand or on your body that represents something in the game world.
  • Mods - Also known as a module, these are encounters between PCs and NPCs. This could be a fight, a role-play scene where people talk, or a combination of the two.
  • Serial LARP - A LARP whose story is told over multiple events. This could be a blockbuster with multiple games, or a regular LARP with a continuous story. Serial LARPs often have single-event storylines as well, but their whole story takes place over multiple events.
  • One-Shot LARP - A LARP whose story is told completely in a single event.

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