If you're a Veteran LARPER, which you may very well be, since I'm cross-posting this, please feel free to skip ahead to the *** section.
In live roleplaying, also known as LRP or LARP, you don the persona of a fantasy character, in both body and mind. This differs from classical Roleplaying games (RPGS) like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) where you sit at a table and interact with other players and a single Game Master (GM or DM). At a LARP you invest time in both costume and often make up, create a character history in the world you live in and get suited up for you role that usually occupies 1 weekend of a month, perhaps every other month sometimes. Throughout North America there are Numerous Larps, fantasy based, gothic horror and otherwise, but the focus of this post is the Fantasy Larps that exsist.
At present I play at a LARP called Underworld. Its one of the few LARPS that I've been too with a minimum age to play, more mature content and a darker, gritter feel to it than most of the other games. A player at Underworld can expect to encounter situations that are designed to engage and challenge adult players more than children/teens. But I've also been a player at Nero Canada, infact I was a founding member of that game system but stopped playing a few years back.
NERO was one of the first, and definately most successful, LARPS to set up in North America. An anagram for the New England Roleplaying Organization NERO has been thru many incarnations of its present rule system and a few years back a split between the owners/creators of NERO ended up with there being 2 seperate companies, NERO International and NERO Alliance To be honest, while this may seem like a good idea to both organizers it really only hurts the community to have such division.. but I digress.
The problem I find with LARPs in Canada, however, is the three fold. Firstly the player base is too small. This is because of several things, lack of advertising for new blood, weak recruitment from untapped or potential markets and too many games for too few players. As it is Southern Ontario has no less than 7 Live Action Fantasy Roleplaying games with very little player cross over between games.
I personally believe that drawing people up from the States and bringing in new players can only improve the quality of the games up here.
Secondly LARPS in Canada have a younger, generally, crowd than the American and UK counterparts. Counterparts that have between 10 to 100 times the player base in size. My prefered LARP, Underworld - Which is a game derived from the NERO system, but so much so that theres barely anything recognizable in it now - draws 40-60 players per event. Entertaining, definately, but I've attended American events that had 400-800 players and I know of LARPs in the UK, like Omega or Renewal (Which boosts 1000+ players).. its an awe inspiring site to be involved in a battle the size of those shot in films like Braveheart or Gladiator.
I personally believe that while attracting younger players is vital to keep the game living, attracting new older players is also important to keep the level of game play more advanced. I think that older players tend to be more interested in roleplay and politics and less interested in Hack and Slash combat. This isn't a blanket statement, mind you, just an observation and there of course, as always, exceptions.
Lastly players in the American and UK LARPS I've been to/seen invest alot more time and effort into their characters. Costuming and weapons (made from foam latex) are so many light years beyond the ones we have locally, well.. perhaps not costuming as there are quite a few people who spend alot of time on their costumes in Ontario (but there are still far too many people who belong to the "Levis Orc Tribe" for my liking) but the Duct-taped PVC boffer weapons just *have* to go guys.. Latex poured weapons are the way to go...
Anyway.. my reason for posting this giant rant is I'm hoping to make people aware of this hobby who didn't previously know about it. Its alot of fun to attend these events and the more people you bring the better! I'm hoping to, sometime next year, organize a Giant once a year type larp using a totally different rule system (depending one whether people in the UK are agreeable to allowing us to use their rules in Canada) and for that I'm hoping to attract people from all LARP systems across the board.
If you're interested in, or you think you might be interested in checking out Live Action Role Playing, and I *strongly* suggest you try it just once, Underworld has a special introductory price for first timers, its only $5 Canadian to play your first event and if your character happens to die at all, it doesn't count. (You can also download the rules on their website)
If you have any interest in Live Action games, or Fantasy in general, or even in Cosplay and medevil dress, then you very well could enjoy Fantasy Larping. Consider this your "Get on board and check it out" invitation. If you need or want further info on how to check out the Larp games in Southern Ontario or would like to be kept informed about the planned Giant event for 2003, contact me at: VSGS611@Hotmail.com and make reference to LARP in the message title.
As a founding member of Nero Canada, A Playtester and founding member of Myste, Epoch and Underworld, as well as the Various World of Darkness LARPS that ran in and around Toronto I've invested alot of time and effort into helping keep LARP going in Ontario.. but the only way I see it reaching the next level is co-operation between the tribes, as it were.
I really to mean it though, people from all walks of life should come and check this game out.. you're never too old (though for Underworld you must be 18 to play, or 16 if you have parental consent) and we're very friendly with newcomers and willing to help. You only make the game stronger with your presence.