LARPs (live action role playing games) can be fun and challenging to run. These games allow players to physically assume the role of a character and act out the character’s actions–sort of like playing Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft in real life.
There are fantasy LARPs, zombie LARPs, and one-shot LARPs based in various environments. Because LARPs utilize game mechanics to represent combat in fantasy and sci-fi environments, the options are endless.
Like most creative people, LARPers usually have preferred fandoms, some of which are based on television shows or movies. While it would be awesome to run or participate in a LARP based on a successful movie or show, licensing unfortunately makes that a dream for most LARPers.
However, there’s no harm in dreaming. Here are my top five dream LARPs based on TV and movies:
Star Trek. This is something that people actually do small-scale, usually involving more role-playing and charity work than LARP combat. Star Trek is a long-running, sturdy franchise full of a variety of fans-from casual Trekkers to masters of the Klingon language.
It would be awesome to run a LARP based on a starship, complete with an area for dining and of course the Bridge. Since combat in Star Trek includes energy-based weapons like phasers, it would be easy to represent them with light (light striking the target equals a hit).
Firefly/Serenity. Weiss and Hickman have actually written and published a Serenity role-playing game book as well as several scenarios. Although this is a table top role playing game, I’ve found that it is incredibly reliant on role playing and that combat in the game is serious business. Just as it would be in the Serenity ‘verse, if someone gets shot, it’s a big deal and there are consequences.
The real appeal of Firefly and Serenity is that the series and movie are very character-driven, making the scenario incredibly appealing to actors and LARPers. Those enjoying social combat skills or working as healers would find their characters to be in balanced demand in this type of situation.
Costuming for the Firefly ‘verse is also very appealing to LARPers. Compared to fantasy LARPs, the costuming for Firefly could be less expensive and easier to find-especially if the LARPer is already into Asian cultures, cosplay and anime or happens to live near a city that includes a Chinatown section.
Harry Potter. Harry Potter is one of the most notoriously copyright-guarded literary and film series of all time. Author J. K. Rowling is famous for pursuing cases against people using her characters unauthorized. This makes a Harry Potter LARP next to impossible to run or present.
Many LARPers love a fantasy setting that includes magic, and Harry Potter plots are incredibly reliant on the use of magic. Rowling’s characters are also integral to making the audience love the genre she created, making this a LARPer’s dream setting. A Harry Potter LARP could center around an inn like other fantasy LARPs or take place within Hogwarts Castle.
Star Wars. There are some Star Wars groups out there mainly functioning as non-profit groups, donating money to charity. Most of these groups seem to function within the scope of George Lucas’ approval; Lucas seems to be fairly lenient for groups seeking to use Star Wars to help charity. That said, most of the Star Wars groups out there focus on martial combat and using light sabers, obviously an appealing aspect of combat in the Star Wars universe. They do not identify themselves as LARP groups.
A Star Wars LARP setting would be expensive unless the players were confined to a planet or on-ship location. While costuming could range from inexpensive to pricey (depending upon the type of character played), energy and force weapon game mechanics would be relatively easy to implement in the Star Wars setting; it would be particularly engaging to call skills in a fight as a Jedi or Sith.
True Blood. While there are plenty of awesome vampire LARPs out there, True Blood has inspired a wider scope for fans of vampires and vampire culture. Taking place in Louisiana, the logistics of a True Blood LARP would be relatively easy since the setting is modern. Like the other fandoms on this list, True Blood is very much character-driven. It also represents a wide skill set and variation of abilities; having a long-term True Blood LARP would actually feel pretty true to the show if a new person came in when others were at a higher level.
The immense variety of creatures available to play in the True Blood setting is incredibly appealing as well.
What are your dream LARP movie/television settings?