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Live Role playing

Live Role Playing (LRP) is an opportunity to step into the shoes of a fictional character in a fantasy realm. You live their life and make their decisions. You fight the battles and may even die. It is all part of the experience.

LRP is usually set in a fanciful realm where magic spells may be cast, and their effect is role played by other players. Fighting too is simulated with the use of fake weapons so the fights are not predetermined.

Although combat is a big part of LRP it has to be for a reason. So plots and politics are added to the setting. This means players must interact with others in many varied ways. Maybe rousing speeches in front of their troops on a battlefield or a midnight meeting of conspirators away from the eyes and ears of others. It is the politics and plots that drive all things.

LRP requires rules. Rules like:

  • How many times can I be hit before I am dead?
  • What spells can I cast and how do you cast them?
  • What skills can I perform and how are they performed?
  • How does armour effect my character's chance of survival?
  • Do different weapons cause more damage?

There are many more rules but this gives you an idea. Many different companies run LRP events and each does tend to have its own rules system. But the companies are very helpful to new and old player alike and will furnish the player with a set of the rules and any additional information they need.

But now to perhaps the most important part of LRP, the aspect that makes it come alive. The costume! Because LRP is based on a fantasy realm it doesn't restrict the player to a specific time period. Many of the costumes are from throughout history from Roman centurions to Napoleonic infantry men. A great deal of effort and money is put into making costumes, and although they do not have to be historically accurate many do try and represent them accordingly. I myself have a rifleman's jacket from the 95th Regiment and it was made using the tailoring techniques of the time.

Thus in conclusion LRP allows you to escape from here and now and immerse yourself in the life of a fictitious character, to be someone else. Whether it is a champion or a hero, a wizard or wicked villain you decide what you wish to be and as in real live you must work towards these goals. Your words and actions will be your measure.

Q. How can Myths and Legends aid Live Role Play?
First of all, imagine all the fantasy beasts and monsters that are battled in LRP. Orcs, goblins, trolls, ogres and many others, these mythical beasts originated in folklore. They have been used in classic tales of magic and battle, tales like The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and more contemporary classics like the Shinara Chronicles and many Forgotten Realms novels. But the goodly races too come from myth and folklore. There are dwarves, elves, pixies, sprites and many other such. So much of the basis of sword and sorcery fantasy is based on myth and folklore.

But the link does end there. How many people who play knights in LRP base themselves on Lancelot or any other famous legendary knight. How many barbaric warriors are based on Cu Chulainn, or wizards based on Merlin.

So as you can see there is a link between Myths and Legends and LRP. Our folklore is a valuable source of inspiration and ideas. If you are willing to dig deep enough there is a great deal of information that can flesh a character out with a lot of personal history based in folklore.

Q. What is the difference between Re-enactment and Live Role Play?
Re-enactment differs from Role Playing in many ways. Re-enactment is based on historical fact, where Role Play is based in fantasy. There isn't such a need for historical accuracy when dealing with Live Role Play.

But the essence of Live Role Play is living the life of a fictitious person. It is not just reliving a battle or and event in history. It is their live, you have to interact with other players as this person, and the decisions and actions you take affect the rest of your life.

Live Role Play doesn't spend so much time getting every historical detail correct but immerses the player into a world more fully than re-enactment.

Q. Where Should I go if I am interested in Live Role Play?

If you are looking for Live Role Playing on the grandest scale then certain events are run. The two main ones are The Gathering and Renewal. These both accommodate thousands of people, and it will let you experience mass battle and plenty of interaction with numerous other people. This is a good introduction but perhaps a bit overwhelming. Another problem with these sort of event is that it is very difficult to get into the plot of the event. Plot lines are run through out the event, but because there are so many people it is difficult to find quests and goals. This sort of event is good for socialising and meeting people.

The other way of experiencing Live Role Play is in smaller groups, with more intense role play. This sort of event is far more dangerous because there is a great deal of combat, but this dangerous, and sometimes frightening, type of event is what role playing is all about. Epic adventures against fearsome beasts or a life or death struggle against your enemies. This in my opinion is the way to experience role playing. You are relying on your wits to survive for 48 - 72hrs. If you survive this type of event you really feel a sense of achievement.

There are many people or companies that can help you discover more about live roleplaying, below are just a few.

The Lorien Trust, organisers of the Gathering,68 High St, Eaton Bray, Dunstable, Beds LU6 2DP. Telephone Number: 01525-222884

Shards LRP, Event Organisers various Genres.

Curious Past Times, organisers of Renewal


Ian Dennis



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