by Devin Caldwell
Decide on a LARP Model
Unsurprisingly, there are a multitude of models you can base your LARP on. Models are ways of dividing the labor involved with organizing a LARP, and choosing one is critical to creating an environment of cooperation and harmony. This website breaks down several organizational models you can choose from, depending on how many organizers you have, how much time you have to devote to organizing your LARP, and your personal organizational style. Once you’ve chosen a LARP model, it is important to stick with it to minimize confusion among organizers.
Select or Write a Story
Like tabletop games, LARPs revolve around a story. The amount of detail you put into your LARP story will depend on your group. First time LARPers are more likely to require a detailed origin story, whereas experienced groups might do well with simply a goal and a brief discussion of their surroundings. Organizers searching for a good story can draw inspiration from a variety of places including TV shows, books, movies, video games, and even dreams. If you suffer from writer’s block, a quick search of websites such as the LARP subreddit can provide a wealth of inspiration and ideas. Ultimately, the most important part of a LARP story is providing a framework the participants can work within and mold to their own character’s stories and motivations as needed. Too rigid of a story will limit the creativity and natural ebb of the LARP.
Build Strong Characters
Since your LARPers are operating under an alternate identity as their character, it is crucial they have enough information to bring their character to life. As the organizer you can choose whether to provide character sheets ahead of time and have them be slightly more bare-bones, which gives your participants control over factors such as character motivations, backgrounds, family history, and desires, or create
more detailed characters with some or all of these factors already included and pass them out on-site. Both approaches have their pros and cons, so it falls to the organizer to determine which approach is most suitable for them, their co-organizers, and their participants.
Consider Human Needs
While your LARP may contain non-human characters who don’t need to eat or use the bathroom, the humans playing these roles have unique needs. Make sure you will have enough food, water, and bathrooms available, as well as a shady spot if you’ll be LARPing on a hot day. Medical needs should also be considered, and a first-aid kit should be available at the bare minimum. The organizer should also ensure they’ll have enough battery power on their cell phone in case of emergency. Consider buying or borrowing several portable chargers and fully charge them the night before so you have power available. You can also consider finding a venue with outlets, so participants can charge things like phones, vape mod batteries, or other devices.
Ask For Help
Even the best organizers need help to pull off a large-scale event like a LARP. Reach out to participants, friends, and even organizations such as comic book shops and local Facebook groups dedicated to similar subject matter to find individuals willing to help with setup, keeping the LARP running smoothly, manning an aid station with food, water, and first-aid stations, and cleanup. Volunteers can be compensated with a meal, shirts, or other appropriate incentives.
Overall, organizing a LARP can be a daunting task, but careful planning can ensure it runs smoothly. Most importantly, make sure you and your participants have fun!
About Devin Caldwell
“I’m a native of Los Angeles, a freelance writer and LARPing enthusiast. I’ve been writing my whole life and love to share with the world what I am passionate about. When I’m not behind the desk writing I can be found either preparing for my next LARPing match or taking a hike in the foothills.”