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Differences in larp cultures

"To really understand larp, you need to experience it."

It's a sentence we often tell new players when they ask us about larp. And it's true. You cannot really describe immersion. You probably cannot even remember all the tiny details on other people and in the environment that added to your experience and immersion.

A photo may tell a thousand words, but no amount of photos can truly show you how it really is. Words and images of larp are only pale shadows of experience. Larps are meant to be felt.
But for some inexplicable reason, lots of existing larpers seem to think this no longer applies to them. In a way, your first larp is a very defining one. You always remember your first larp. It leaves a huge impression on you.

It also tends to define the way you see larp in the future. Seeing your first larp defines your perception of what larp is - not just the larp you saw, but larp in general. After it's done, you tend to expect certain things from larps. The requirements, game style, the way they're run, the rule design (if rules are used), duration, comfort standards, equipment standards... Everything.

Me wearing a simple fantasy larp kit on Krvomeđe
Me wearing an elaborate fantasy larp kit on Tragači zore
Me wearing my Steampunk larp kit (clothes from my wedding, actually)
What you have, what you use, what you do, how it's done and why depends on a larp you're having at the moment. It's more than just gear (gear is just easiest to show on photos). It's the genre, playstyle, and pretty much everything.

The welcoming town of Novi Dom on Croatian Fallout larp

It can even differ so much that what you're considering to be an essential larp experience is simply missing from another larp or larp series. In such a case, it's almost as if some people get paralyzed. Not understanding other larps and how they work. Not wanting to understand. As if they're somehow a lesser form of larp, stripped of the essence of what makes a larp. Unfortunately, I see this viewpoint all too often.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
― Stephen Hawking

What people usually fail to see is that every larp (considered successful by a group od people) has some value. Or a lot of value. Something that makes it tick, which people find valuable enough to call it successful and good. And nothing is set in stone. Be curious, go and see stuff that is different than what you saw so far. You're probably going to enjoy it, learn something new in the process, grow as a larper, and maybe help improve other larps you're on.

Gareyth and his tent on Crolarp
Just in case you were wondering, no, I'm not addressing any Croatian group in particular. I'm addressing players from various Croatian groups, and I'm addressing probably most of you larpers worldwide who are making the same mistake. I'm not hoping to win any popularity contests by doing it, but I hope some larps get improved by doing it...

Dr. Zippovitz and his automaton Zip-7 on Steampunk larp Para pokreće svijet: Vrata rata

See what's out there, see how it works and how it's different. There's no one true way of larping - check out different larps and different cultures, nationally and if you can internationally, and help to make every larp you're on a better experience for everyone. You should care, it's your game too. Keep your mind open and never be afraid to discover new things in larp.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” 
― Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29


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