The Allure of Live Action Role-Playing Games

Every weekend in many different countries around the world, grown men and women put on elaborate costumes, adopt different identities, and meet to enact fantasy scenes set in various alternate realities. Even though they are occasionally met with ridicule and comments that they “should grow up,” these live action role-playing enthusiasts see themselves engaging in “interactive storytelling” and living out their creativity by creating whole new, fantastical worlds.

The participants

GMs or gamemasters are people who make decisions regarding the rules and the setting and help the game run smoothly. They arrange the structure of the game before it begins and help maintain the fictional environment during the game.

The players interact with each other in a fictional setting and pursue certain goals, and they also agree on the game rules which determine the outcome of their actions before the game begins.

The game participants fall into two categories – PCs or player characters and NPCs or non-player characters. PCs are the ones who participate in the game and play actively, whereas NPCs are there to fill out the setting. They serve the role of extras in the movies and get more information from the gamemasters than player characters do.

The Setting

Live action role-playing games typically take place in a fantasy setting, but they also branch out to other genres, such as science fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk. Players create their characters and spend a determined number of points on skills and abilities. For example, whether they can cast spells, create healing potions, use shields, etc. They also improvise the characters’ movement and speech, and they make their costumes and carry the appropriate equipment to match the setting.  

LARP games and events can last for hours or days, and they can be played both in public and private areas. The games can feature a dozen of players, or even several thousand, depending on the magnitude of the setting. There is usually no audience. Additionally, the use of mobile phones is frowned upon in the LARP community.

ConQuest of Mythodea

This is the greatest LARP event in the world which is held in Germany every year. Several thousand participants gather in Brokeloh, near Hanover, to be part of the most spectacular live action role-playing gaming event that the world has seen.

The first-ever gathering of LARP enthusiasts in Brokeloh happened in 2004. In 2018, more than 8,000 player characters and 1,500 non-player characters participated in this live action role-playing phenomenon, which is a unique experience that all those who are fans of LARP have to see.

The setting consists of meadows, forests, and fields of the manor Brokeloh, and the participants camp in groups on the grounds. There is a medieval city with traders and inns where participants can buy the equipment for the game.

The game lasts for five days and it is played without interruptions, even at night. Those who want to withdraw from the game can stay in their tents. Parents can come with their children, but those who are younger than 14 are not allowed to participate in the battles. They can instead enjoy children’s battles on the NPC stage.

The goal of the game is to capture the fortress, and besides numerous fighters, there are also beggars, blacksmiths, miners and many other characters participating in the game.