LARP in Germany

Even though the first LARP events of any significance were started by a supplier of LARP weapons, armour and gear in order to grow a customer base, LARP in Germany is by and large perceived to be a non-profit enterprise at least as far as events are concerned. Large-scale events of over 500 people are the exception and there is a bit of a stigma attached to organizers who apperar to be too “commercial”. For most events it is expected that revenue is kept to a nominal amount or re-invested in sets or props for the next event.

While organizing events is expected to be mostly non-profit, there is a growing industry of suppliers for costume, weapons, armor and gear. With medieval fairs, re-enactment and LARP itself becoming increasingly popular, affordable armor and quality costume is widely available (cf. LarpWikiDe:BezugsQuellen)

The vast majority of events is in the 50-200 participants range and organizers usually are small clubs or associations running events for their own in-game “countries”. Some of these countries associate to larger “campaigns”, but both organisational and in-game restrictions on members of these campaigns are loose. In most cases it’s no problem to travel between campaigns with one character and often there is in-game diplomacy between campaign and non-campaign countries. Sometimes the only purpose of a campaign is to have a common map. The largest of these campaigns has about 120 participating countries, some of which play low-key near-historical settings with honor system rules and some of which play sword-and-sorcery style games with skill point based rules. (cf. LarpWikiDe:LarpKampagnen, LarpWikiDe:LarpLänder)

Usually, games are run by game masters who are both referee and storyteller, transporting the intended plot by the use of NPCs with prefab roles, who are usually given discounts to event cost in return for their help. There are some organizers who prefer player-versus-player games or at least player driven plot development but the storyteller’s approach is predominant.

There is a variety of skill point based rule systems with varying power levels. Generally it is expected that characters start at a low skill level and gain experience through play. Honor system rules were a minority, but have rapidly gained in popularity in recent years.

Most LARP events in Germany are either in the Fantasy or in the Vampire - the Masquerade genre. Star Wars, Star Trek, Cyberpunk, Western and Victorian LARPs are still exotic genres. (cf. LarpWikiDe:LarpGenres)

RalfHuels, 2004-04-26

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