A LARP on social media is a type of live-action role-playing game that takes place entirely online, typically through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Discord.
In a social media LARP, players create and portray characters through text, images, videos, and other forms of digital media, interacting with other players in real-time or through asynchronous communication.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of LARP on social media, how it works, and its benefits and challenges.
Why LARP on Social Media?
Live-action role-playing games, or LARPs, have been around for decades and have gained a devoted following of enthusiasts around the world. But with the rise of social media, a new form of LARP has emerged that offers a unique and convenient way to participate in this immersive hobby.
This was especially helpful for many LARPers during the pandemic shutdowns because players were unable to connect in person for events. Large LARP parks like Evermore Park were forced to shut down temporarily, which negatively impacted the mental health of people who relied on that creative outlet to help manage their stress and cope with their personal lives.
Social media makes LARP more accessible and available to people who are disabled, homebound, or unable to participate in a local LARP event. Since live events typically take place infrequently and in major metro areas, social media allows people in rural areas to participate. It also helps people who have social anxiety interact in a LARP without the pressure of in-person attendance.
How Social Media LARPs Work
LARP on social media is a type of role-playing game that takes place entirely online. Instead of meeting in person to act out scenes and interact with other players, participants create and portray their characters through text, images, videos, and other forms of digital media. Players typically use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Discord to communicate and interact with other players.
Gameplay mechanics in social media LARPs can vary widely. Some games are narrative-driven, with players collaborating to tell a story over the course of several weeks or months. Others are more focused on social interaction and character development, allowing players to explore their characters’ personalities and relationships through online communication.
Typically, the organizer of the group will establish the rules and protocols for how the LARP will proceed.
Although the rules will vary depending on your LARP organizer, common rules for LARP on social media include the following:
- Stay in character: When participating in a LARP on social media, it is important to stay in character at all times. This means that you should only post content that your character would post and respond to other players’ posts as your character.
- No real-life violence or harassment: Just like in traditional LARPs, social media LARPs have strict rules against real-life violence or harassment. Any behavior that makes other players feel uncomfortable or unsafe is strictly prohibited.
- No cheating: Cheating is not allowed in social media LARPs just as it is not allowed in traditional LARPs. This includes things like pretending to have abilities or items that your character does not actually have.
- Respect other players: It is important to be respectful of other players at all times. This includes not attacking other players’ characters without their consent, and not insulting or belittling other players out of character.
- Follow the rules of the specific LARP: Different social media LARPs may have different rules and guidelines. It is important to read and follow the rules of the specific LARP you are participating in to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone.
- Do not break the fourth wall: The fourth wall is the imaginary barrier between the game world and the real world. In social media LARPs, breaking the fourth wall means acknowledging that the game is not real. This can ruin the immersion for other players, so it is important to avoid doing so.
- Do not post spoilers: Posting spoilers about the game can ruin the experience for other players. It is important to keep any game-related information confidential until after the game is finished.
These are just a few examples of the common social media LARP rules. It is important to always check and follow the specific rules of the LARP you are participating in to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Advantages of Social Media LARPs
There are many advantages that occur when you choose to LARP on social media instead of at an in-person event.
One of the advantages of social media LARPs is that they can be played from anywhere in the world, as long as players have access to the internet and the necessary social media platforms.
This makes them accessible to a wider range of players than traditional LARPs, which often require players to be physically present at a specific location. This makes it easier for people who live far away from traditional LARP communities to participate in the hobby.
Social media LARPs can offer players the chance to connect with other players from around the world, building relationships and friendships that might not be possible in a traditional LARP setting.
LARPs on social media also allow people with social anxiety, physical disabilities, or who are homebound to participate in the fun. These online events are also resistant to real-world interruptions like lockdowns, participant illnesses, and other unfortunate circumstances that could prevent people from attending.
Social media LARPs can be played from the comfort of your own home, making them a convenient option for people who might not have the time or resources to attend physical events.
Another advantage of social media LARPs is that they can be more flexible in terms of scheduling and time commitment. Since players can interact with one another asynchronously, they don’t need to be available at the same time to participate in the game. This makes it easier for players with busy schedules or conflicting time zones to participate in the game.
Social media LARPs are generally safer than physical events, as players don’t have to worry about physical injuries or accidents. Additionally, social media LARPs often have rules in place to prevent bullying, harassment, and other negative behaviors.
Moderators can actively prevent abuse within the LARP, protecting the comfort of all participants.
It is a lot more affordable to run a LARP on social media than it is in real life. Expensive costumes and props are generally not required. It’s also much easier to describe an epic setting in words or art than to create an immersive setting in real life.
Social media LARPs are way more affordable, both in terms of set-up and travel expenses. This makes these LARPs easier for hosts and participants alike.
Challenges of Social Media LARPs
Of course, there are also some challenges to playing LARP on social media as well.
Difficulty Maintaining Immersion
Since social media LARPs take place entirely online, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of immersion and suspension of disbelief. This can make it difficult to create immersive role-playing experiences and can limit the types of actions that players can take within the game.
Creating a cohesive story in a social media LARP can be challenging, as players may have different schedules and may not be able to participate in every aspect of the game. This can make it difficult to create a consistent narrative and can lead to confusion among players.
Players may be more prone to breaking character or being distracted by real-life concerns because it’s harder to focus on digital interaction.
Difficulty Managing Large Groups
Social media LARPs can attract large numbers of players, which can make it difficult for game organizers to manage the game effectively. This can lead to confusion, delays, and other issues that can detract from the overall experience.
Gathering a large number of players from different geographic areas can also create cultural conflicts and disagreements about the trajectory of the plot. Some players may struggle to communicate effectively and may seek to usurp control over the storyline.
Dependence on Technology
Social media LARPs are dependent on technology, which can be unreliable at times. Technical issues such as poor internet connection, server crashes, or other technical problems can disrupt gameplay and lead to frustration among players.
This can also cause an unequal experience for other players, where some are able to respond faster and participate more continuously than others.
Difficulty Enforcing Rules
Enforcing rules in a social media LARP can be challenging, as it can be difficult to monitor player behavior and ensure that everyone is following the rules. This can lead to cheating, rule-breaking, and other negative behaviors that can detract from the overall experience.
Organizers who choose to LARP on social media may find themselves spending more time moderating than actually playing the game.
Online communication can be more prone to miscommunication or misunderstandings than in-person communication. Players may need to be extra careful in their interactions to avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
Types of Social Media LARPs
There are many different types of social media LARPs, each with its own gameplay mechanics and style. Some popular types include:
In these games, players work together to create a collaborative story over the course of several weeks or months. Players may have specific goals or objectives to accomplish, and their actions can have a significant impact on the outcome of the story.
In my experience, most LARPs are narrative in nature.
These games are more focused on character development and interaction between players. Players may spend more time chatting and socializing than actually playing out specific scenes or actions.
This is a great way to begin to learn about character building, because the focus is on development and not necessarily accomplishing a specific mission.
There are countless other types of social media LARPs, including those based on specific fandoms or genres. Some games may focus on puzzles or challenges, while others may be more focused on exploration or discovery.
These are just a few examples of the many popular LARPs that take place on social media. Each game has its own unique rules and mechanics, but all offer a fun and immersive experience for players who want to participate in a virtual world of adventure and excitement.
Tips for LARPs on Social Media
If you want to LARP on social media, there are some tips that can help.
- Creating a strong and consistent character profile
- Familiarize yourself with the rules.
- Stay engaged!
- Be respectful!
- Be patient.
- Balance in-game and out-of-game interactions
To find a LARP on social media, I recommend asking around social media pages like LARP Haven.
Encouragement for readers to try out a social media LARP for themselves.
Overall, social media LARPs offer a unique and engaging way to participate in live-action role-playing games, with the added convenience of being accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.