LARPing, or live action role-playing, is a fun and exciting game that allows participants (called “players”) to fully immerse themselves in a fictional world. However, it’s important to ensure that everyone involved is both emotionally and physically safe throughout the event.
Here are some tips to help make sure your LARP is safe for all players:
- Clearly communicate rules and expectations. Before the event, make sure all participants understand the rules of the game, as well as any expectations for behavior. This will help prevent any misunderstandings or accidents during the LARP.
- Have a safety plan in place. It’s important to have a plan in place in case of an emergency, including emotional distress. This includes maintaining a first aid kit and location, emergency contact numbers, and a designated person in charge of handling any safety issues that may arise.
- Use safe combat and weapons. Make sure that all combat and weapons used during the LARP are safe for use. This might include using foam weapons with specific safety elements, having a weapons check, and testing players for proper combat technique before the event. Be certain that all participants understand what is considered appropriate contact level for striking each other with a foam weapon.
- Be specific around what is not allowed. For example:
- No carrying or bodily moving another person
- No lying on the ground when there is combat in the area
- No running at night or in low-light situations
- No climbing up structures
- Make sure that there are designated “non-combat” areas where there are fragile props or unsafe trip hazards. Also consider using plastic props instead of glass and battery operated candles instead of actual candles with real flames.
- Encourage consent. Make sure that all players are aware of the importance of consent and that any physical contact or combat is only done with the explicit consent of all involved. For example: All participants (not just players) have to ask and receive consent to touch another person’s body before doing so. Also, check in with participants and provide a system of communication (especially a command for halting all action) if they feel uncomfortable with any aspect of the game.
- Provide a way for participants to opt-out. Some players may not feel comfortable with some aspects of the LARP, such as combat or certain role-playing scenarios. Make sure there is an easy way for them to opt-out or take a break if they need to. You might also consider providing less intense interaction options for those who are younger or prone to feeling overwhelmed.
- Encourage open communication. Throughout the event, encourage players to speak up if they have any concerns or issues, including emotional safety. This will help ensure that any problems are addressed as quickly as possible.
- Provide debriefing and support after the event. After the event, provide an opportunity for players to debrief and process their experience. This can be done through a group discussion or one-on-one support with a designated person.
As you can see from above, a great deal of safety at LARPs has to do with open communication and boundary setting. It’s important to cover each of these points in any LARP event so that your players and participants feel confident that they can speak up if they feel unsafe and that their physical and emotional well-being is the top concern during the event. With these considerations, your players can focus on having fun and enjoying the many benefits of LARP.
About: Guardian Adventures provides free and licensed educational games, adventures, and LARP systems for summer camps, schools, and recreation organizations.