LARP Role-playing tips and tricks

I’m far from the best role-player (I suck).  I know the theory, but my shyness/insecurity makes the practice of said theory sporadic.

I’m playing a PC for the first time in over 10 years next weekend, and the first new LARP character in over 15 years.  It is for the high-RP low-combat game Dying Kingdoms.  I’m excited about it, and nervous.  So, I polished off my old notes and reddit posts for this week’s entry.


There two rules to role-play.

  1. Everybody wants to tell you about their character.
  2. Nobody wants to hear about your character.

Most posts I’ve found give you RP tools to get around rule #2 (i.e. find ways to make telling people about your character something that isn’t a boring info dump). Instead, I advocate that you embrace rule #1.

Step 1: Break the Ice – approach them about the most obvious thing you can think of “You look like somebody familiar with nature magic. Was that hard to learn?”, “Why are you wearing full plate and a scowl in this peaceful tavern?”, “This beer is cataloblepas piss. Have you ever had anything worse?”

Step 2: Shut the fuck up until they are done talking.

Step 3: Make a short comment about what they said. “Isn’t nature magic difficult/dangerous/prone to cause ass-cancer?” 

Go back to Step 2

It works like a charm. If somebody returns the favor and asks about you, then it’s usually a natural question from something you have led into. Don’t use that as an opportunity to brain dump your entire background or this neat story that you think is awesome that happened to your character (see rule #2). Answer the question and hopefully with hooks involved. For the simple, a hook involves asking a question or giving a leading statement. “I’m a healer because I’m scared of fighting. How did you overcome your fear of combat?” In essence, circle back to them and use rule #1 to your advantage.

RP can work fantastically when it’s a perpetual daisy chain of jacking each other personas off.

Oh yeah, this works in RL also. +1 Charisma pots for everybody.

More in-depth methods

Confess Your Secret – this is the exception to Rule #1, and you talk about your character.  However, in this case, you confess a secret you have.  [Obviously you need a secret to do this.  Make a character with secrets, but make sure they get out!]

  • Confess to an authority figure your guilt about the secret, and look for absolution.
  • Confess to a friend, and get them to promise to never tell anybody.
  • Confess to a stranger because you are drunk, or you think they won’t connect you with it later.
  • Confess accidentally with a slip of the tongue, or leaving evidence of your secret where it can be found.

Gossip – Make an extension of rule #1 above (Everybody wants to tell you about their character), looping back the information about somebody into another conversation

  • Spread a rumor.  It doesn’t have to be true, and in many cases, it should not be
    • It can be an ugly rumor (I heard that Sam is in league with Lord Tushysmash)
    • It can be a glowing rumor (I heard that Sara is just an amazing healer)
    • Say the rumor “I simply cannot believe X”
    • Ask the person if they think the rumor is true.
  • When you find out details from Bob about Bob, use that as a talking point with Mary.  Ask Mary about Sally, and more important than details, ask what Mary thinks about Sally.  This gives you:
    • Ammunition for more talking
    • Gets Sally to form an opinion about Mary

Confront – This is best done when both you and your target are comfortable with each other.  

  • Do a confrontation privately only if you want OOG to create a link between your two characters.
  • Do a confrontation publicly (or with friends with you at least) in all other cases.  This brings more people into the mix.
  • Confrontation can be
    • hostile – “stop killing those elves you monster!”
    • good intentions – “we think killing those elves is a bad thing.  What can we do to get you to stop.”
    • supportive – “You keep killing those elves, and we think it’s because you have a problem with elves.  Let’s discuss that problem and hug it out in a naked drum circle.”

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One thought on “LARP Role-playing tips and tricks

  1. Really, really good advice here!


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