Digital LARP (live action role playing) is a type of social game played primarily over technology, such as the internet. It involves all components of in-person LARP except the physicality (potentially being able to reach out and touch others in a role play environment). Digital LARPs typically rely upon audio and video as primary means of communication, and usually include an organizer, GM (game master), or facilitator.
Digital LARPs can be immersive and just like in-person LARPs, may or may not occasionally rely on narrated description. The digital format lends itself especially well to LARPs focused on social combat, politics, and interpersonal interactions.
Some LARPs may not be fully digital. For example, in some LARPs, several participants may interact in person, but some participants may use an electronic means of participation. This has occurred at the blockbuster LARP Event Horizon (known for incorporating technology into LARP) and Project A.T.H.E.N.A., a digital superhero LARP by The Geek Initiative.
Tools for Digital LARP
Most often, digital LARP involves audiovisual technology. If you have a mobile device and an internet connection, there are some free tools available to help you:
- Discord: Used by gamers, Discord allows you to create and coordinate your games. Video is currently only a one-to-one option on Discord, but many organizers use Discord to coordinate all types of games and facilitate role play.
- Skype: Participants can also LARP over Skype. You can have up to 10 people on the call.
- Google Hangouts: On Google Hangouts, up to 10 participants can dial in using voice and video.
Broadcasting Digital LARP
The Geek Initiative often broadcasts our digital LARPs on Twitch. You can view the archives of the broadcasts on the TGI YouTube Channel. We also run non-broadcasted (archived, uploaded) runs, and “closed runs,” which are private and do not get broadcasted at all.
Digital LARP’s Place in an In-Person Campaign LARP
Digital LARPs can facilitate collaborative storytelling and role play between in-person events. In 2017, The Game Theatre commissioned The Geek Initiative to run three ‘mirror mission’ adventures for this purpose. The missions were set in Cambria, the fictional world in which their blockbuster LARP “Dragon Thrones” takes place.
Do Players Wear Costumes in Digital LARPs?
Just like in-person LARPs, that depends on the type of LARP, the game, and the preferences of the organizers and players.
Accessibility and Digital LARPs
Digital LARPs tend to be more accessible than in-person games. This is due to several factors:
- No transportation required
- Lower cost (varies)
- Ideal for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities
- Since no travel is required, digital LARPs also fit in to a student or working person’s schedule
- Free resources (see “Tools for Digital LARP” above)
The Geek Initiative offers free or low-cost accessibility tickets. These subsidized tickets allow marginalized LARPers to participate. We recognize that often, LARP isn’t a friendly and inclusive place for marginalized people (including the financially disadvantaged), and we want to make every effort to be inclusive.
What Does Digital LARP Look Like?
To get an understanding of digital LARP, check out the aforementioned YouTube channel or view the CHARIOT LARP trailer below:
As with LARP in general, digital LARP can encompass different play styles, genres, and more. We’re proud to be digital LARP pioneers, releasing regular schedules of digital LARP events.
Do you have more questions? Email us: [email protected]