LARPing Along

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lizzie Stark, founder and editor of the literary journal Fringe, and the author of Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games, explains the world of Live Action Role-Playing games-- a kind of amalgam of improv, fantasy and historical reenactments.

→ EVENT: Book-signing at WORD: 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY | May 30 at 7 PM. More info here.  

Comments [18]

@Jenny from NYC... I would really like to talk to you about you and your husband LARPing. I am fascinated by this and would really like to know more. Please get back to me

Nov. 27 2012 06:47 PM
Claus Raasted

Another take on larping - this time from Time Magazine. ;)

Aug. 14 2012 05:02 PM
alex from NewJersey

I've been LARPing for several months now..i go to Sparta NJ to a post apocalyptic zombie LARP called Dystopia Rising. Basically, LARP is just a fun way to get away for real world problems, without the use of illegal substances. there's nothing more fun and relieving than dressing up and being someone who you always wanted to be, like a doctor, or martial artist, or an assassin..W.E. you wanna be, its the one place in the world where everyone accepts you for who you are and no one judges you, i know its sounds corny and dumb and geeky, but honestly its a good way to go outside and meet new people instead of sitting behind a computer screen on "Social Media Networking Sites" (<= there's irony in there somewhere)but regardless we have people that come to games that a veterans, that have served our country and by saying that LARPing for nerds and geeks, you not showing much respect for our friends that fought for YOUR freedom overseas, now when im not LARPin i work for three jobs for the town that i live in, i play softball every Sunday until football season and hockey season start up again, i get physically active all the time, so the fact that people out there thing because i go LARPin that doesn't make me a member of society? just cuz i dress up and beat people with foam weapons...if thats the case than maybe you should open your mind and stop being a closed minded asshole

Aug. 14 2012 02:47 PM
Aaron V from Los Angeles

Congratulations to Lizzie for investigating this new art form!
Don't mistake the content of the art for the art. Not all larps are vampires or rehashed Tolkein. Other larps are: mock trials, model UN clubs, disaster simulations, and military training (check out "The Box" at Fort Irwin). I consider the Stanford Prison Experiment to be a larp. Live action role playing is used in business, research, and education. Full disclosure: I started a company that uses larp to teach kids in the classroom. Read Lizzie's book.

As to the rest of the world, in Scandinavia, at least, they are far ahead of the U.S. in larping, and, I think, because of the attitudes of the people commenting here. They've run a larp about the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City ("Just a Little Lovin'"). They've run "Hamlet" as a larp. And teh larpwriter challenge brings larps for social change to countries like Belarus and Palestine. Again, full disclosure: a larp I co-wrote, "The Road Not Taken", was second place in the challenge, and was run in Belarus and Palestine. In Belarus, the government censored one of my scenes for being too provocative. It had to do with joining your friends in a protest against the government.

Fantasy foam weapon campaigns are to larp like super heroes are to comic books: they are the most colorful, flashiest, loudest, but far from the total of the medium of expression.

Final disclosure: I have been larping for almost 25 years, have been married to my lovely wife for 12 years, and have been playing pitching on a co-ed softball team for almost ten years. I see little difference in me wearing a medieval costume and my team's jersey when I take the mound. We all take on many roles, all the time: friend, lover, spouse, parent, boss, employee, etc. Larp simply allows us to try a new one on for size.

As to people who think that the fantasy world overrides the real one, do you have any evidence of this, or are you just stereotyping?

If you are at all interested in learning something, try out my essay "Cooler Than You Think: Understanding Live Action Role Playing" available as a free PDF download here:

(BTW, that's also the text for a class on larping from the University of Washington)

May. 26 2012 12:24 AM
Michael from Middle Village, NY

Yes Tom. A lot of us ARE adults. LARPing is FUN. Just like throwing around a football or playing softball. Newsflash, a lot of us have lives & we live them how we want to. Not like how YOU want us to. We are individuals.

May. 25 2012 02:13 PM
tom LI

Okay, let me temper my last remark. Nothing wrong with an adult occasionally slipping into a costume and acting out - the issue with these LARPrs and others who play a lot of role playing games - it starts to become their persona. These alternative characters and the games start to swallow up the reality of lifee and become the be all in these peoples live, where they atart to view reality thru their characters..

May. 25 2012 12:07 PM

What ever happened to throwing around a football or playing some softball in the park? Want role-playing? Try covering seond base.

May. 25 2012 12:07 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ GW
LARPing didn't originate with hipsters,LOL!

May. 25 2012 11:58 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Why don't we skip the LARP crap and call it what it really is: theater geeks indulging in one of their scary hobbies.

May. 25 2012 11:57 AM

Read the short story by Philip K. Dick's short story, "The Days of Perky Pat." These guys sound like characters from it.

May. 25 2012 11:57 AM

Evidently LARPing causes the voice to go up at the end of every sentence like it's a question...

May. 25 2012 11:57 AM
TimM from Westchester

Hey! Don't discount the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) activities that have been going on since the late 60's..

May. 25 2012 11:57 AM
Jenny from NYC

Met my husband LARPing. We're both professionals who have real lives. Some people just don't understand.

May. 25 2012 11:56 AM
tom LI

Really, these are adults? And we wonder why the rest of the world looks at us like we're a bunch of children. We can thank the never wanna grow up Boomers. !

May. 25 2012 11:55 AM
Fenton from Brooklyn

Nudniks of the world unite!

May. 25 2012 11:55 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I don't LARP because I live real life.

May. 25 2012 11:50 AM
John A.

Americans fought and died in wars so we could have a class of "adults" 18-28 that could play games for ~1000 hours a year or so, but I digress.

May. 25 2012 11:50 AM
GW from Manhattan

LARPing? like al of this hipster Williamsburg culture and the characters it attracts is just plain creepy...

May. 25 2012 11:48 AM

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