LARP Glossary

If you’ve come across a word or acronym on the blog with which you are unfamiliar, chances are it is explained here! If not please make a comment on the blog post and I will happily clarify.

LARP Live Action Roleplay. A game of interactive theatre.

System Organising body of persistent world games. Also refers to the rule set used by that particular organisation

Player Self-determined participant in the game. Usually pays to participate.

Character Theatrical role created and performed by a player in line with the rules of the System.

Crew People helping to coordinate and run the event. May include monsters, logistical work (often hard labour!), referees, caterers. All non-Players (the majority of the time).

Keener A player described by other players as overenthusiastic about the game, to the extent that they may obsessively talk about the game world or display game behaviours outside of time in (for example, being in costume early).

Monster Volunteer theatrical ‘extra’ performing a predetermined role in line with the rules of the System directed by a referee. Usually also a player.

Monster Room Backstage, out of character area where volunteers await instructions and are provided with relevant costume and makeup to play their specified roles.

In Character / IC The state of performing the game. Also refers to geographical zones where the game is played, as in “this field is an in character area”.

Out of Character / OOC The state of not performing the game, or temporarily not performing a character role. Also refers to geographical zones where the game is suspended, as in “the bathrooms and showers are out of character”.

Referee An administrator of the theatrical performance, adjudicates on rules and facilitates game performance for players and monsters. Also ensures safety requirements are met.

Time In The beginning of the game performance. Also used as an instruction by referees to indicate the start of the game; “We’re now time-in”.

Time Out The end of the game performance. Also used as an instruction by referees to indicate the end of the game. The instruction “time freeze” is also used to temporarily suspend game performance.

Time Freeze A call made, usually by a referee, to temporarily suspend gameplay. This may be to set an effect in motion, introduce new elements into the game, or as a result of a safety issue. Players are required to remain in their current position and usually keep their eyes closed.

XP Experience points. An earned currency that allows players to improve their character’s abilities within the endogenous rules of the System.

Phys-rep Abbreviation of ‘physical representation’. A stand-in or prop indicating a reality within the game. Roped off areas may ‘phys-rep’ magical barriers, for example.

Lammie Abbreviation of laminated card. Laminated cards are often used by game organisers to identify persons, items or areas which have particular effects or properties.

3 thoughts on “LARP Glossary

  1. Good for commonalities; most games have their own specifics – both those in the game world, and those shared in the community that plays that game.

    One important loaded word you are missing is ‘immersion’ – the effort needed to believe one is in the world. Some games are deep immersion – amazing costuming, lots of props, rules on referencing oc things.Some less so – more happens inside the imagination. Importantly, it behooves lrp organizers to indicate what level of immersion is required – do plastic goblets break immersion, or can we all pretend they’re glass? What about electric lights? Cool boxes?

    The interaction of the worlds requires some handwaving words. Example, one need to think how does a character arrive at events? you need to have an idea, so when Bob breaks down on the A6, and texts you to say he’ll be late, people asking where Bob’s character is can be given some kind of answer.”His cart horse got ill” Why doesn’t have any trade goods? IRL an admin error held up their income. IC “my goods are stuck in Customs”

    My personal bugbear of lrp terms is using ‘strawberry picking’ to describe ‘went oc to go monster’ Why is your hero picking fruit? Aren’t there peasants for that? Also, in the same vein as telling people they were going for a shower; SS mine clearance officers told their human sweepers they were picking fruit. It’s one of those things to work on.

    • Hi Allison, thanks for the comments! I intentionally avoided including ‘immersion’ as it is such a loaded term, and I wrote this glossary more for people who had never heard of LARP than for those who enjoy it. However you raise some really interesting points about the internal communication mechanisms of LARP and how they try to promote the narrative – perhaps I’ll revisit this in a new blog post!

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