Live Action Role-Playing, more commonly known as LARPing, is a term that describes a broad genre of “living fiction,” a story that takes place in an established world, but is more often than not made up on the spot by the active participants in the story.
The essence of LARPing is in living the scenario, and much like in a stage play, actors in a LARP will monologue, fight, conspire, and cooperate with other players to advance whatever open ended goal the player has in mind. Similar to table top role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, a person attempting to LARP will have a persona that fits into the setting designed at the outset of the LARP.
Some LARP settings, such as the medieval fantasy themed LAIRE or the post-apocalyptic Dystopia Rising have broad and expansive settings combined with a general set of rules so that almost any character a person can come up with can be neatly inserted into the fabric of the fiction. Others, like the one debuted at NJITs MiniCon, are solid frameworks with established characters that anyone with a basic talent for improvising can play with.
MiniCon’s LARP took place on the second floor of the Campus Center, and was titled the Mystery at Redshire Hill. The LARP could be played with anywhere between 6-12 people, with more people being preferred. While it was inspired by the TV series Twin Peaks, the LARP is completely original, and is reminiscent of a classic 1950s murder mystery drama, with some supernatural elements.
Unlike more traditional LARPs, The Mystery at Redshire Hill requires only a few props to denote areas or location (For reference, the LARP organized at the MiniCon used tables and chairs with paper labels taped to them to denote areas like a conference room, a mill, and outdoors). This was intentional, as requiring custom props can drive the costs of playing a LARP through the roof, which in turn drives away college students who often don’t have a lot of disposable income.
The LARP can also be completed in around an hour, in stark contrast to LARPS like Dystopia Rising which can play out over the course of several days. The short time period made it ideal for the MiniCon, though it’s a shame that the staff supporting and running the LARP could only be present for a single game, as the players that did manage to get in settled into their roles quickly and seemed to be having a lot of fun.
“”I liked how much thought was put into the story and how there was a possibility the players could fail their task. I’m really happy I came,” said
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