The acronym LARP means Live Action Role Play. So then, what are LARPers? They are the participants doing the LARPing. The participants in the role play act out their characters’ actions in a decided setting, and may have rules set by a gamemaster who facilitates play. It’s really like playing make-believe. If you’ve seen the popular comedy Role Models, you’ve seen Live Action Role Play:

LARPing became popular in the 1970s, and has grown ever since. It can be held in public venues like a park, or indoors in a large hall. Genres may vary greatly from modern or historical to fantasy or futuristic settings, which are by far the most popular. Not all live role playing games are battle-centered. Check out this Harry Potter-inspired LARP in a castle! They may run for a few hours to days, and be public or private. Most are held for the enjoyment of the participants with no spectators.

You can look for LARP groups in your area to see if there are any you may be interested in. Once you find and join one, it is important to become immersed in the invented play and keep to its rules for everyone to get the most enjoyment. It may involve weapons and costumes and have a certain ideology. For some basics of LARP and how it works, check out this fun LARP how-to video.

Here are some of the other many ways to get started or hone your skills:

  • Perhaps the most intimidating thing for a LARP newbie is the rules. Check out LARP Rules Simplified.
  • Meetups are a great way to meet people who want to socialize around common interests. Simply type in your location, and LARP in the search box to find LARP “clubs” near you. Meetups usually are comprised of the curious and the advanced, so feel welcome. The group’s description will specify if it allows advanced players only, but LARP’s culture is not elitist.
  • is a great website about everything LARP. You’ll find articles and resources to enhance your LARPing experience, with interviews, videos, how-tos and reviews, as well as LARP lists and ways to connect with other LARPers.
  • Get some experience with online or tabletop role playing games (RPGs). This great article breaks down some places to start.
  • This is a great tour of a LARP facility, and gives a lot of insight into what an event is like.
  • If you are feeling entrepreneurial, you can start your own LARP, especially if none are in your area. Start one on your own (maybe use or Underworld offers a franchise.

Watch out for an article later this month on more about organizing and hosting a LARP event, and how AIS can play a role. 🙂