14 Myths (and Truths) About Larping

Whether you’re a veteran larper or new to the hobby, you’ve likely been exposed to the many myths about larping from other gamers and some films about live action role play. In truth, ‘larp’ encompasses a variety of experiences and styles, so even the truest of stereotypes only apply to a limited amount of larps.

So what are these myths and how do we move past them? Let’s take a lighthearted look at the facts.

Myth: All larp involves boffer combat. Fact: You can larp in different genres with weapons, in pacifist settings where combat doesn’t work, magic-only settings without boffer weapons, and in political scenarios where no weapons are present. There are many styles of larping and boffer combat is not required.

boffer larp

Myth: Larp is for people without social skills. Fact: By nature, larp is a very social activity that involves interacting with others and even exploring aspects of yourself. Some have even used larp to become more extroverted or assertive.

Myth: Larpers don’t have love lives. Fact: If this is what you think, you clearly haven’t met any larpers. Many larpers meet partners at larps.

nerd love

Myth: Larpers can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and people only larp to escape real life. Fact: While escapism is a benefit of larp (and usually a healthy one), most larpers have a healthy delineation between fiction and reality.

Myth: Larp is an activity enjoyed only by men. Fact: In the 2014 Larp Census, 35.5% of larpers identified as women, with 1.3% identifying as nonbinary. In some larp communities, there are more women than men.

Myth: People of color don’t larp. Fact: People of color do larp, and there is an entire Facebook group centering this experience.

heimdall

Myth: Larp is for broke college students. Fact: Larps can cost nothing at all or thousands of dollars depending on location, insurance costs, and more.

Myth: Larpers are young. Fact: Larpers come in all ages. While most larpers must be 18 or older in some countries for legal purposes, some larpers are well into their senior years. Other larps are family friendly, accepting participants of all ages.

Myth: Larp is competitive. Fact: Some larps are competitive, and others merely have small competitive elements. The point of the larp – the objective – can vary greatly from event to event. Play to lose style games may contain competitive elements, but focus instead on making the best choice for the story.

Myth: Larp is for physically active people only. Fact: Some larps (usually salon larps or parlor larps) are playable from a seated position or even over the computer.

Myth: Larping isn’t for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Fact: While not all larps are for all people, many live action experiences accommodate larpers with physical and mental limitations. From wheelchair accessibility to content warnings, many larps do their best to be inclusive.

Myth: Larp involves a lot of travel. Fact: Larps involve a varying amount of travel. You might fly to Poland to larp in a castle or stay at home to playtest something.

star trek travel

Myth: Larping isn’t for parents. Fact: Some larps are accommodating for parents, being kid-friendly. Other larps only take four hours, making it easier or more affordable for parents to find child care. While finding the time and money to larp can be a challenge for some parents, many do larp regularly.

Larp is just about elves and vampires and wizards and shit. Let’s be real: fantasy larping is pretty popular and there are lots of really epic larps all about fantasy creatures. Many vampire larps have communities with history, and wizard larps like College of Wizardry, New World Magischola, and Bothwell School of Witchcraft are nothing short of epic blockbusters. That said, there’s so much more to larp beyond fantasy. Just take a look at the various event categories listed right here on our site.

 

What larp myths annoy you the most? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to Lauren Wheatley and Nicole Wheatley for assistance with ideas for this post.

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