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The Truth Behind Live Action Role Playing

Updated on October 18, 2011


Is Role Playing Really Role "Playing"?

Have you ever live action role played before? It is a pass time many enjoy and even more take seriously. What is it that makes role playing so addictive? This so called "game" has people from ages 5 to 95 "playing". Out of all the different types of games out there, there has never been a following with such a large age range. Take Candy Land for example. Young kids start playing this game and most by the disappointing age of ten, do not what anything to do with it. Many people say "Grow up already!" or "I am too old for this game anymore." When people reach the age of maturity they tend to leave their self, behind with them. It usually takes someone a whole lifetime to find themselves again. Then why is live action role playing admired by all ages? It is because this "game" is a game changer!

Live Action Role Playing or LARPing for short, is a game where all ages dress up in costumes and role play a fictional character they created. Costumes vary from simple store bought outfits to hand woven wardrobes. The main purpose of creating your own attire is to help define who you are as a character, as well as set the time period. There are many LARP groups that form themed events where players battle with blunt swords and other weaponry. The fun of LARPing is you can be whoever you want to be and wear whatever you want to wear, all the while playing with others who want to do the same.

The reason why people love live action role playing is because they have an excuse to be themselves. Under this "game" grown men and woman find their childhood dreams and live life as if they were a child again. Some are afraid to "play" because they do not want to be mocked or ridiculed by their friends. While others say "Hey it is just a "game" guys, ok?" Usually people are so desperate to "play" the "game" that they will use this excuse. What does this mean? Why do grown ups loose their love for games? And why is this game so different?

The truth of the matter is this: all people love playing games, you just have to find yourself first. Real life role playing is not a game. It is 5 to 95 year olds being kids. When it comes down to it, we are all little kids just wanting to play Candy Land for the twelfth time. :-)


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    • DavyCrockett profile image

      DavyCrockett 6 years ago

      Hey Simone first start with a character idea, then start designing a costume. After that you could join a LARP group. There are many local groups all around the US.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I've always wanted to try LARPing, but don't have any friends who are involved with it, so I have no idea where to start. Ah well. Some day, maybe!

    • DavyCrockett profile image

      DavyCrockett 6 years ago

      I am going to queue that movie on Netflix now, sounds interesting.

      Yes that is very true, it's the other side of the coin. When we find something good there can also be a flip side. LARPing is unique because, different than most games it doesn't have a game board, which means it doesn't have any real boundaries. The interesting sociology about this game is, as I stated above, people start being who they want to be.

      A fast growing past time, yes, or a fast growing reality? LARP makes grown men and woman want to play and that says something. In a society where we are becoming conformists, people need be who they are. Masked by calling it a game, LARPing again is becoming more than that.

      I too am interested to see what comes of LARPing...I feel it will continue to grow. Most LARPers play with friends and therefore are not driven by anger or hatred, but rather excitement and adrenaline. Some on the other hand do have a message to give and might be tempted to act.

    • dungeonraider profile image

      Jason Marovich 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks. After reading your more detailed description I understand what the appeal is. Like acting, role-playing is a form of expression. For young people, like it was for me, I'd think its a welcome relief to allow their 'true selves' to come out in character.

      I would point out the danger of 'leaders' of such groups forming and controlling a less-benign path for the games. It seems like a game that someone could take too far at some point (surely a minority, but noteworthy).

      I can't help but be reminded of the story made into the 1982 TV Movie, Mazes and Monsters, with Tom Hanks. That brought down a load of negative attention onto mainstream D&D players.

      I guess we'll have to see how it plays out, but from what I hear, this is a fast-growing past time. Here's hoping that the people who play can focus on it as a way of having fun and expanding their imaginations, and to remember that fantasy is just a temporary escape from reality.

      Thanks for the info and the update!

    • DavyCrockett profile image

      DavyCrockett 6 years ago

      Hey thanks for your input dungeon raider! I am actually new to role playing myself, but will give it a try!

    • dungeonraider profile image

      Jason Marovich 6 years ago from United States

      Hey DavyCrockett. I've heard of this recently and haven't had a chance to look into it yet. A big help for this article would be a little more description of role-playing and perhaps any differences with traditional role-playing games. Since I'm curious, I'd assume others would be to.