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Live Role-playing (LRP)Live Role-playing (LRP) Introduction

Live Role-playing (LRP) is a form of role-playing game where the players perform some or all of the physical actions of the characters they are playing. Your character's attitudes, ambitions, and history are yours to define within the guidelines of the rules for that particular role-playing system. During the game or event you actually perform the actions as that character rather than as yourself. When you interact with others you do so as your character, when you want to fight something you take part in a combat. The organiser of the LRP event provides a gameworld, a storyline, and a playing environment (including props) within which the players play their character.

LRP Illustrative PictureIn some forums LRP can alternatively be called LARP (or Live Action Role-Play), although this term is used more predominantly in the USA.

Most LRP games occur in both a real and an imaginary environment - the latter generally called the "game world" or "setting" - the real-world environment is generally called the "site". In the majority of live role-playing events the organisers will enhance the site with props and dressing to help players imagine the game world in which they play their characters.

Many LRPs utilize some sort of game system that promotes the growth of a character, representing your character learning new skills as they go through their "life". Some LRPs use a point system, where a player is awarded points based on attendance of events or how well they perform at that event; the play can then apply these points to their character to provide growth and mastery of the character's chosen traits.

Characters may also die in most LRPs. In some systems, this is merely a temporary phenomenon, putting the character out of play for a time. In most, it is a major setback, forcing a player to create and role-play a new character from scratch.

LRP events vary in size from a handful of players to several thousands, and in duration from a couple of hours to whole weeks. Most LRP events are either single, self-consistent events or form parts of a campaign or ongoing game world which may have multiple plot/story lines running at any given time.

LRP styles or genres are diverse, with widely different kinds of events being described as "LRP" in different regions, countries and groups. Some of the more popular genres of live role-playing are described below



Fantasy genre LRP events are usually set in pseudo-historical worlds that are inspired by legends and/or fantasy literature. These settings generally have very low technology, some magic, and non-human species based on myth and legend. Examples include Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Faeries, Goblins etc. Fantasy, taken as a whole, is probably the worlds most common LRP genre. Fantasy combat LRPs are primarily about competition between different fantasy-based characters or factions using magic, weapons, tactics and (possibly) diplomacy.



LRP games with a horror theme will often use specific horror books, movies and comics as a basis. This is a metagame shortcut allowing the organisers to create a suitable atmosphere without the need for a long introduction. Horror games often include genre stock elements such as zombies and vampires since these are easy to represent on a limited budget.

LRPs with a horror theme can be set in any era from fantasy to sci-fi. Sub-genres include games with a 1920s setting based on the writing of H.P. Lovecraft in Cthulhu Live.

Survival horror genre LRPs are a blend of contemporary/sci-fi settings with strong fantasy elements. These range from the magical futuristic settings of Riftworld and System-Override to the whole range of zombie themed LRPs.


Historical/Living HistoryHistorical/Living History

Historic LRPs take place in our world, at some point in history. They can vary from a 1930s murder mystery to a feudal Japanese Samurai story. Historical accuracy, in both fictional content and physical props and costume, is often prized in these LRPs, and there are similarities with Historical reenactment.


Science FictionScience Fiction

Science fiction LRPs take place in futuristic settings with high technology and possibly aliens but usually without magic. The "Science fiction" label covers a broad array of LRPs, including politically themed, combat-oriented events played with laser tag weaponry, cyberpunk LRPs, space opera LRPs and post-apocalyptic scenarios. Much of these were presaged by spontaneous role playing games at US science fiction conventions based on the movie Logan's Run. Players took on the roles of "runners" and "Sandmen".


History of LRPHistory of LRP

LRP does not have a single point of origin, but was invented independently by several different groups in the late 1970s. What these groups had in common was experience with tabletop role-playing games (particularly Dungeons & Dragons) and a desire to make the game more physical and immersive. The earliest recorded US LRP group was the live-combat Dagorhir Outdoor Improvisational Battle Games, founded in 1977 in the Washington, DC area. Though the exact dates are not known, shortly after the release of the movie Logan's Run in 1976, rudimentary role playing games based on the movie sprang up in US science fiction conventions and quickly spread. In 1981 The International Fantasy Games Society (IFGS) began to open chapters. It was also live-combat but with a complex rules system more clearly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons. Treasure Trap, formed in 1982 at Peckforton Castle, is generally recognised as the first LRP game in the UK. More information on the history of LRP in the UK can be found in the section on Labyrinthe History on this website. LRP now has a strong following in many countries, but especially in the UK, US, Germany and Denmark.