Live Action Roleplaying

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Roleplaying that is physically enacted.

Roleplaying can be done in several ways in games. Live Action Roleplaying is when players physically enact the actions and attitudes of their characters.


Live Action Roleplaying grew out of Tabletop Roleplaying Games such Dungeons & Dragons and Basic Role-Playing, not too surprising since live enactment occurs intermittently in these. Speaking in the way one's character would do is the simplest example of this but some players also use gestures and pacing to convey their characters' actions.

Many Live Action Roleplaying games are only staged once: examples of such games include 1942 – Noen å stole på, Dragonbane, and Pelageya. See the list of Live Action Roleplaying Games for more examples. While the rule system for many dedicated Live Action Roleplaying Games are constructed specifically for each production, the Mind's Eye Theatre is a reusable system for create live-action versions of campaigns in the World of Darkness roleplaying setting. Assassin is early than Mind's Eye Theatre but has significantly less roleplaying involved.

Although people playing games are not aware of it, many engage in Live Action Roleplaying portraying a player that is more interested in the outcome of a game instance than they are themselves. This since the shared experience of playing a game is enhanced if all participants are interested in its outcome and some people may exaggerate their interest for both their own and others' benefit.

Using the pattern

Live Action Roleplaying games are built upon unmediated Roleplaying and - unlike Tabletop Roleplaying Games - is played by physical Physical Enactment of players where they do the actions of their Player Characters. That players should use Diegetic Communication as much as possible is a natural continuation of the idea that gameplay should be done by Physical Enactment. It is common in Alternate Reality Gameplay where both players and Dedicated Game Facilitators may need to roleplay to fit into the requirements of both the real world and the fictitious narration overlaid on top of it.

Difference in what a player can know and can perceive compared to their Player Characters can heavily influence player actions and behavior, and thereby should be considered when designing Live Action Roleplaying. The first aspect, Character/Player Cognitive Imbalance can both depend on the that the Player Characters know more about the Game World than the players and that players may have meta knowledge letting them predict what will happen in ways the Player Characters couldn't - both the cases can cause players to do actions that break narrative plausibility. The second, Player/Character Awareness Consistency may seem like less of an issue compared to other types of Roleplaying but can become relevant whenever there are any difference between the sensory (and sensory-cognitive) capabilities compared to the Player Characters they are enacting.

That players act out their Player Characters actions puts a requirement on designers to consider what actions the players can perform convincingly. In addition, due to the wish for Diegetic Communication players in Live Action Roleplaying games need to communicate about things their Player Characters cannot discuss without breaking Diegetic Consistency. Various Meta-Techniques can solve this, with Substitute Actions as a specific solution that avoids breaking ongoing Scenes while at the same time allowing Diegetic Consistency to be maintained. Prompting Techniques also affect Scenes but mainly by indicating when one should stop or suggesting that another should start. In contrast, Meta-Postures strain Diegetic Consistency but put less limitations on what players can do otherwise when performing them than is the case with Substitute Actions.

Real World Gameplay Spaces is often an important part of games with Live Action Roleplaying but so-called "Black Box" LARPs[1] show that this an option rather than a requirement.

Workshopping and Warming-Up Roleplay Exercises are techniques can help players in games with Live Action Roleplaying to both familiarize themselves with roleplaying specific Characters as well as develop these Characters and their relationships and backstories.

Diegetic Aspects

Taking place in real environments with real people taking the role of Player Characters, games with Live Action Roleplaying typically take special interest in have detailed and plausible game items. This means that a game's Alternative Reality modifies how Live Action Roleplaying can take place, as does the need of complying with the Diegetic Consistency the Alternative Reality stipulates.


Live Action Roleplaying is Roleplaying done through Physical Enactment. This means that players are their Player Characters and thereby have First-Person Views. Being physically enacted, Live Action Roleplaying requires that Armor, Props, Tools, and Weapons need to real or look like the real versions.

Non-Diegetic Communication may occur in Live Action Roleplaying unless specific design solutions exists to allow ways for players to discuss things outside the game without breaking Diegetic Consistency.


Can Instantiate

First-Person Views, Non-Diegetic Communication

Can Modulate

Alternate Reality Gameplay, Armor, Player/Character Awareness Consistency, Player Characters, Props, Tools, Weapons

with Meta-Techniques

Diegetic Communication

Can Be Instantiated By

Diegetic Communication

Physical Enactment together with Roleplaying

Can Be Modulated By

Alternative Realities, Character/Player Cognitive Imbalance, Diegetic Consistency, Real World Gameplay Spaces, Substitute Actions, Meta-Techniques, Workshopping, Warming-Up Roleplay Exercises

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Third-Person Views


New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Entry for "Black Box" on the Nordic LARP wiki.