LARPing, a natural extension of tabletop gaming

    I have been gaming since 1994, and the first game I played was AD&D, which at times I had a hard time grasping the nuances of character creation and the rules, but I eventually got it.  I then migrated to DC Heroes, Marvel, Warhammer, Shadowrun, Star Wars D6 and Old WOD (World of Darkness).  LARPing came later after watching a troupe play a WOD LARP at Origins game convention back in 1996.  I looked at them with wonder as they used rock/paper/scissors to resolve combat and skill checks.  I went back home and told everyone about what I saw, and I immediately started looking for more information about LARPing.  My first experience LARPing was back at Origins when I played in a LARP based on an RPG I was infatuated with at the time, NOIR, the Film Noir RPG.  From there I played in a local Minds Eye Theater LARP, and migrated to running my own LARP with a group of my friends.

After that experience, I thought about tabletop gaming and how easy it would be to transition into LARPing from tabletop gaming.  You are basically LARPing at the table, you just are not acting out what your character is doing, and you are not “staying in character” at the table like you have to do when you LARP.  Some people may find that harder, if their personality does not allow them to be as outspoken as others may be.  LARPing allows you to stretch out and do something different and interact with your peers in a different way.  Just as I feel that tabletop gaming allows you to release stress, LARPing does the same thing.  If you are having a bad day, then you can transfer that frustration into your LARP character.  The “acting” you have to do in a LARP is no different than if you are sitting around a table rolling the dice and drinking 2 liters of Mountain Dew and eating Doritos.  As in tabletop gaming, your LARP character has goals and motivations they want to achieve.   Your LARP character has to compete with not only the Storyteller (DM in tabletop jargon), but other players as well.  In tabletop gaming, you are playing with others as a group.  You do the same in a LARP, but you also are playing solo as well. (Depending on the LARP you play in.  WOD LARPing enhances the solo aspect more than any other LARP)

I encourage anyone to try LARPing just once.  Find out if the game you like has a LARP, and if not then try something else.  The most popular right now is White Wolf Game Studios Minds Eye Theater system.  It is streamlined now to seamlessly convert you tabletop character into a LARP character.  There are others out there, but none as popular as the nWOD (new World of Darkness).  Go on, challenge yourself, play in a LARP, stretch your acting chops, and you will see just as I have that your tabletop game will be enhanced more by your LARPing experience.


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