Live action roleplaying games, often called LARP for short, are recreational immersive events that draw their roots from tabletop roleplaying games and fantasy novels. These events are often highly elaborate, lasting over multiple scenarios over months and years of play, and allowing the players to impersonate characters that are going to evolve according to the hardships, quests, and conflicts they encounter along their stories and adventures.
LARP are often compared to improvisation theater in the sense that all players are invited to create and play a character in the context of a particular fictional setting, and have to follow a set of rules to allow the game to run smoothly. The major difference being the depth and immersion reached in a LARP event, where the minimum duration is going to be a few hours, if not a full weekend.
The LARP world is well known for its costumes, colorful characters, and combat simulations using foam weapon replicas. However, it's hard to generalize considering the incredible diversity of play styles available in the LARP community. Some activities will offer highly scenarised events, with complex plot and dramatic conflicts pushed forward by a team of storytellers and actors. Other LARP will offer a more competitive game opposing players and factions, with battle, politics, and cunning as tools toward victory. Some LARP even move away from the more classical medieval fantasy sub-genre to explore post-apocalyptic, futuristic, period, or modern fantasy settings.
LARP are for everyone, some activities being specially oriented toward kids and teens, others toward families, and many being mature events reserved for adults of all ages. The diversity of styles can also bring under the LARP umbrella players of various backgrounds, some event being more sportive and combat focused while other go deeper into the theatrical aspect.
Most activities take place in a natural settings, on rented or owned lands that have been prepared to allow a safe and immersive environment to play. Some also take place indoors, mostly the intrigue and political centered scenarios.
The best way to feel if LARP are for you is certainly to try one. You can try to reach out for players and LARP organizers in your community to get introduced to the hobby and create your first character.
Some local ressources (in french)
- La Fédération du GN du Québec (a organization supporting the development of the hobbies)
- Le Calendrier des GN du Québec (a platform to find LARP events and similar related ressources)
- Parlons du GN (a Facebook group to talk about LARP)
- Rassemblons tous les joueurs de GN du Québec (a informal Facebook group for everyone interested in the hobbie)