LARP is an acronym for Live Action Roleplaying. It is a type of roleplaying game wherein the participants take on a character, often of their own creation, and interact with other players doing the same, thereby creating a shared story and improvisational theatre experience.
One of the most popular systems is the Storytelling system, published by White Wolf. The system allows a group of players to work with a Storyteller to create a storyline. The plot may be guided by the Storyteller or guided by the participants. The story is then facilitated by the Storyteller and a group of people playing various parts that fill out the setting. Prior to the Storytelling system, White Wolf published Mind's Eye Theater, a similar system that can still be found in use. Storytellers are aided by 'Narrators', who assist in running stories in the game.
There are currently Two LARPs active in Davis, each of which runs on alternating weeks. They are all based on one version or another of the World of Darkness setting. The schedule is (based on the A Week/B Week schedule used by DRAGON:
Cirque des Perdue
Time: Friday, 7 pm
Location: Wellman Hall, usually room 226 or 002
Website: Davisgames LARP - Changeling Wiki and Forum Boards
Story Teller: Lucas Macdonald
Cirque des Perdue is a Changeling: the Lost chronicle currently set in Bellingham, Washington and the freehold of the Iron Ring. All changelings in the city are player characters.
Garden of Eden
Time: Saturday, 7 pm
Location: Wellman Pit
Website: Davisgames LARP - Changeling Wiki and Forum Boards
Story Teller: Bryce Holms
Garden of Eden is a Changeling: the Lost chronicle currently set in Bisbee, AZ.
No large scale chronicles meet within Davis, but people in Davis looking to play in a world wide setting have a few regionally active options:
The nearest One World by Night chronicles are in Stockton (whose vampires lays claim to Davis within the game or at least they did several years ago), Sacramento and Oakland. There are also games in Chico and Auburn.
The nearest regular Camarilla chapter is in Sacramento, the Strange Bedfellows domain. There appears to be no domain claimed that covers Davis, but in-game activity can still occur here. Should anybody in Davis playing in the Cam need an east coast contact, Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards and SarahEdwards are both VSTs and players active in Requiem, Awakened, Forsaken and Lost chronicles in Pennsylvania and occasionally neighboring states.
The first Davis LARP was a Vampire: the Masquerade game entitled Underground Puppeteers (nicknamed the "Underpup" game), founded by Bill Albertson (Storyteller) and Kent Whittington (Head Narrator) on Sept. 13, 1996. Underground Puppeteers lasted for nearly two years, and in that time saw two new StoryTellers (Richard Crawford and Keith Phemister) and a rotation of approximately 60 players (although the core group at most times numbered about 25). It was played at the Death Star for a year before moving to Mansion Square, but ultimately returned to the Death Star before ending in early 1998. A 10th anniversary game was held September 15th, 2006 featuring characters from all the various games sporting the Underground Puppeteers banner.
The second Vampire: the Masquerade LARP present in Davis was founded by Michelle Booher and Jon Martz in June of 1997, and was called Underground Puppeteers: Second Progeny and nicknamed "2P". Due to mature story themes, the original Underground Puppeteers staff restricted its player base to individuals aged 17 and over, but realized that a need existed for a game tailored to younger participants when it came out that a number of players had lied about their ages to be allowed in. Wanting to allow younger gamers to participate, but understanding that younger gamers might not have the emotional maturity to handle stronger themes (and respecting that even the players who could handle them might have parents who would object to their exposure), Second Progeny allowed a range of players from 13-25 and placed PG-13 restrictions on the story and game elements. Adam Blackman became StoryTeller for Second Progeny in September of 1998 and continued in that role until the game's conclusion in 2002. As independent LARPs go, Second Progeny was wildly popular, drawing over 100 players throughout its run and participants from as far away as Rocklin and Alameda. A sequel 2P2 Millennium ran briefly in September 2005 as an invitation-only venture by Ed Gyles Jr..
During the run of Second Progeny, several other LARPs began and/or ended. Reign In Blood was another teen-oriented Vampire game, running on Saturday mornings; Tooth and Claw was another adult-oriented game played on Saturday nights. Cataclysm was a long-running Werewolf game (1998-2000) managed by Joaquin Chavez with an abortive 2003 continuation, Terrible Certainty, resurrected in name as a current old-style MET Vampire LARP. And the original Underground Puppeteers was briefly revived three times, with the last permutation forming the foundation of a long-running game in Sacramento.
Following the end of Second Progeny, Adam Blackman started a Changeling game called Book of Dreams, which lasted two years and is credited with spawning into the two separate and unrelated Changeling games Dreamer's Ball (Which ran from 2004, covering 3 different historical periods and 2 different game systems. It finally completed it's storyline in 2008 with Storyteller Jared Thaler) and Glitz and Glamour (ended 2005). A Vampire: the Dark Ages game known as The Dark Past (run by JoaquinChavez) had several short runs in 2003-2005. Silent Throne (another Changeling LARP) and Frailty (a Werewolf game) both founded by Erik 'Bob' Berman and later passed to other StoryTellers (Martin Presley and Tim Smith respectively) had strong multi-year runs, but finally ended in 2006. One Vampire: the Requiem game, Memento Mori (hosted by Adam Blackman and Erin Manley) had a short-lived run in 2006, and the Werewolf game Nightfall hosted by Joaquin Chavez moved to a table-top format in 2006 as well. The Changeling game Sticks and Stones by Adam Blackman and Erin Manley) also moved to table-top format in 2008.
During this time, The staff and players of Dreamers Ball were invited to take part in White Wolf's play testing of the new MET: The Awakening system as part of White Wolf's outreach efforts to get feedback from non-Cammarila gaming groups. As a result, Gates of Gold was formed, with a limited participation, as a playtest run. With the end of the Playtest period, Gates of Gold was opened to the public, but it's size was limited by it's small venue size. As of May 2008, Gates of Gold returned to the Death Star and is once again an open game, using the MET: the Awakening corebook published in 2008.
Several groups have run sites dedicated to tracking the various LARP games in Davis, including the defunct Penny Dreadful and Black Clad Gaming groups. Currently, DavisLARP provides a hub for the local live-action gaming community.
One new Changeling LARP debuted in 2008: Cirque du Perdue by Jared Thaler and Kris Thaler. It uses the Changeling: the Lost setting, published by White Wolf The game officially began play May 23rd, 2008.
A debate exists as to whether LARP is "totally better and more creative than table-top roleplaying games". Both systems have their merits and flaws, strengths and weaknesses, and putting one form over the other is merely a matter of opinion.
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2010-10-24 09:55:46 Of course, if you're reading this page, then of course LARP is totally superior. :) —JeffWood