Live-Action Roleplay, or LARPing, is essentially a grown-up game of Let's Pretend, like when you played Cops and Robbers as a kid. Through the players acting and through the ongoing narration from a storyteller (or ST), you tell the story of a group of supernatural characters that live in a setting called the World of Darkness.
THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE
There are a lot of misconceptions about LARPing. Most think it involves being out in a field hitting people with foam weapons. While that is certainly one type of LARP, our games are not that kind of role-playing. What we do is closer to improvised dramatic theater. At its heart, it's a shared story being written and brought to life by a group of creative people. In Orlando LARP Dreams, the players work together to tell the best story possible - one that makes you care about each of the characters and get excited to see what will happen to them next game session. It's like being inside a movie or book, where you determine the tale.
The World of Darkness is a series of game books that set the stage for the story you and your fellow players act out. The books give you options for what type of supernatural being you can play, what powers they have, how their underground society functions and what enemies they face. The books also provide rules for things that can't reasonably be acted out - combat, use of magic, skills your character has that you, yourself, don't.
HOW TO PLAY
To play in a World of Darkness game, you need a character. Just like with any movie or play, your character is a persona you portray while LARPing. Unlike a movie or play, there's no script - you're encouraged to develop your character through roleplay in the game.
You are encouraged to create your own character. The ST can help you with the creation process, and there are all sorts of resources to tell you what kind of supernatural character you can make.
You also need a character sheet. This sheet shows what your character is and what they can do. A character sheet does not, however, show WHO your character is - their hopes and fears, their goals, their story. That's something you do yourself through role-playing.
Again, the ST will help you with making a character sheet, and can even make one for you once you tell him what kind of character you want.
So, you have a character, you have a character sheet, and you're ready to play. What will it be like? Read on...!
People usually arrive half an hour to an hour before game actually begins. They socialize, talk with the ST about things their character might need during game, put on their costumes if they wear them, and look over their character sheet.
When the ST is ready to begin game, he gathers everyone around for pre-game announcements. The Organizer lets people know about upcoming events and introduces new players to the group.
After announcements are made, the ST tells everyone to get into character and game begins. Usually this means the players move from the Out Of Character room into the In-Character room, which is decorated and lit to offer a more immersive set in which to play.
Some people are able to get in character easily; they walk into the game space and immediately start roleplaying. Others need a couple minutes to get ready to portray their characters - just like actors in a play preparing to perform.
PLAYING THE GAME
Once everyone is in character, they spend a few minutes socializing - they talk about what's been going on in the time between games, and discuss any important occurrences or problems. Any time they stop roleplaying within the game space, they cross their fingers to indicate that what they're saying is out of character.
At some point, the ST will begin to narrate things that are going on around the characters. This introduces plot to the characters, and gives them something to react to.
The players are encouraged to roleplay out their actions as much as possible. Talking to non-player-characters (or NPCs) portrayed by the ST, reacting to things that happen in the game, and anything that can safely be done via acting is done so through roleplay. But if a character has a magical power, or has to fight - things impossible or unsafe to do through roleplay - then the players use their character sheets.
USING A CHARACTER SHEET IN GAME
Character sheets are used when something can't be done through role-play, like magic or combat. When that happens, a player will look at his or her sheet, refer to the abilities listed that apply to the situation, and use them along with a random pull from a set of cards marked 1-10 to determine the outcome of the attempt.
Some LARP games focus more on a character's sheet and what they can do, and adhere strictly to the books' rules. Orlando LARP Dreams focuses more on the stories of the characters, and will shift the rules a bit if the story of the game is better served doing so.
THE ADVENTURE AND THE DRAMA
Orlando LARP Dreams currently offers two games. Our Friday game is a vampire game focusing on a sect of vampires known as the Sabbat. The game often consists of violence and adventure.
Our Saturday Changeling game is more dramatic. While there are a few funny moments, the overall tone is more serious and deep, with a focus on character interaction and overarching saga.
Both games encourage cooperative roleplaying, rather than player-versus-player.
After each game, the ST awards the players experience points, which they can spend on their character sheets to gain new abilities or increase ones they already have.
HOW DO I DO THIS?
Join the Meetup! That's all it takes to get started. As soon as you do, you'll be contacted by the Organizer and given all sorts of helpful info. You'll also be able to talk to ST, who will walk you step-by-step through everything you need to attend your first game with confidence and ease.