Explaining some of the jargon we sometimes use.

American Freeform - A sort of Nordic larp/theatre style hybrid popularised by Lizzie Stark.

Bit Part - a character played for a short while by a player, instead of playing their main character. The bit part may or may not be an NPC.

Black box - not what it sounds like it ought to be.

Bleed – the phenomenon of in-character feelings affecting a player’s out-of-character feelings (bleed out) or vice versa (bleed in).

Background sheets/briefing sheets/briefs - sheets containing information on a larp's setting or some part of its setting, of which duplicate copies are distributed to all players whose characters would be privy to the information. In the US theatre-style community, these are commonly printed on blue sheets of paper and have become known as "bluesheets".

Boffer – US terminology for a type of larp where combat is “live”, meaning players actually tap each other with padded weapons (and/or strike one another with projectiles). In the UK these games are also referred to as "combat LARP". Generally unknown in freeforms, as combat tends to be simulated.

Casting - the art of matching players to the characters. Often involves casting forms, or may be done randomly.

Debrief - what happens at the end of a larp, to wind down after the game has finished.

Factions - a style of freeform where the players are organised into groups (factions) such as rival offices, mafia families, ships, gangs or similar. Trick or Treat, Venice, and The Truth are such games.

Freeform - a type of larp that tends to involve pre-written interlinked characters. Typically they run from anything from two hours to a full weekend. Physical actions tend to be simulated. Also known as Theatre-style (particularly in the US) and parlor.

GM - game master. Someone running or helping run a larp. Also Director. Also "Host" (when used by Freeform Games).

Horde game - Horde games are characterised by having a huge number of characters (the horde) played by a smaller number of players. In horde games there are broadly two types of player:

  • Those with characters that they keep throughout the game - there are usually only a few of these, and they have to 'manage' the rest of the horde.
  • Everyone else, collectively known as "the horde". Horde players change roles many times throughout the game. Some of the horde characters have specific needs from the "permanent" characters, others are just there to generally make life difficult.

Victoria Junction and Dr Nefarious and the Paradise Project are horde games.

Jeepform - I have no idea. May not involve jeeps of any kind.

Larp - "live action roleplaying". Larping spun out of tabletop RPGs (such as Dungeons and Dragons) when enthusiasts took their games into castles and woods. In the UK, Treasure Trap was one of the first larps. Freeforms are a type of larp.

Peaky - annual freeform writing weekend organised by Peaky Games.

Plot - often used as a term for writer-created material that players will then do something with. Players can create their own things to do, but that normally isn't talked about as "plot".

Nordic larp - Although larps of all sorts are played in Scandanavia, "Nordic Larps" has become a shorthand for emotionally intensive larps with workshops and debriefs. Nordic larp is characterised by considerable academic documentation and comment.

NPC - non-player character. A character under direct or indirect control of the staff, often a monster or someone used to relay information to the PCs. Occasionally used to refer to the person playing the character. NPCs are rare in freeforms.

Scenery Chewing - to overact melodramatically. From theatre - see this page for more.

Workshop - a preparatory session, often used in Nordic Larp to get players into an appropriate mental space for the game.

UK-Freeforms - Organisers of weekend freeforms and the Consequences convention.

Other lists of terminology:

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