Role-playing is play – improvised drama – done for the benefit of the participant/actor rather than an audience. There are many kinds of role-playing – educational, therapeutic, sexual, tabletop, online, freeform, pervasive – and many different contexts where role-playing is performed. Role-playing is “play” both in the sense that Hamlet is “a play” and in the sense that children play. Anyone who has ever played together as kids understand the basic mechanisms of role-playing. Anyone who has only role-played as a kid is also in for a couple of surprises when encountering adults role-playing.
In most places, larp, or live role-playing, started out as an offshoot of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), a kind of role-playing where the players sit down and verbally describe what their characters do, usually aided by dice, rules and a judge/storyteller called the “gamesmaster”. Continue reading Role-playing, larp, and what’s this blog about anyway?