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HELP! What is a Live-Action-Roleplay?

At first we will explain the term LARP as it will come up continoually. LARP is the abbreviation for Live-Action Roleplaying.

Who of us has not yet wanted to be the hero, the princess or the dragon? Many people do like Fantasy-Novels or Fantasy-Movies, Fantasy-Role-playing-games or Fantasy-Adventures for the computer. And who does not imagine himself to ... be this or that character from a movie or novel? Who did not for once want to be like Gandalf the mage, rescuing the world from the evil Sauron? Or maybe rather like his friend Aragorn, the brave ranger? One imagines the events in ones own mind when the movie or book is through, but the physical participation is lacking.

In Live-Action-Roleplay a few thousands of "crazies" try to be for once themselves the warrior, mage, rogue or just the mideaval farmer. For one weekend the LARPer embodies a role (also called "charakter"), that he does not have during the week. Maybe he is a student or civil servant or still at school. But for 48 hours he will be someone else: maybe the Knight Hartmut the Proud, who tries to protect maidens from mishap. Maybe the footpad Frederik, who wants to steal the great treasure of Atlantis. Maybe the mage Flambelius who seeks the secret scrolls of Xü and who is willing to travel half the world if only his search would meet with success. Or maybe just the shepherdboy Rüdiger who knows nothing of battles, magic and orks and who would like to stay clear of all that while looking for his lost sheep.

Well, and how does the LARPer embody this character? Some (many) are even more crazy than others and organize CONs regularly. This word stems from convention and means exactly that. Here Live-action-Roleplayers from all over Germany can meet. CONs take place mostly at castles, but sometimes in simpler youth-hostels or even camping-grounds, that are decorated accordingly. CONs usually stretch over a weekend but some are longer (the longest I heard of has been going for three weeks). There are also CONs for "trying out", the so-called LARPies, that usually do not include an overnight stay. Here the game lasts only a few hours. These LARPies offer a good glimpse at Live-Action-Roleplay, especially for beginners.

But let us return to the decoration of the site, for many LARPers invest a lot of work here. This means: the barbarian is hanging his tent with felts, the knighthood decorates the meeting-room of the youth hostel with knightly chairs, tablecloth with arms and medeavel chandeliers. Many LARPers meet at a CON, don strange clothing - the knight his armor, the shepherd his sheepskin coat and the mage his robe - and then they try to leave the world of the everyday behind for the weekend and simply be someone else. There is no more Heinz who could not hurt a fly standing before you, no, it is the knight Crookbeard the Cruel, feared by all and wanted in 15 countries. And there is no more mathematician Ute, living only in her world of figures, but princess Eugenia looking for a nice figure of a bridegroom.

To make CONs more exciting the organizers try to implement a background-story. So you are probably located in the keep of Knight Sägebrecht. Unfortunately his keep is currently beleaguered by orks and a ghost is haunting the premises. And by happenstance the players (or better: their roles) are there to help him. Or won't they? That depends on their roles. The organizators which are fittingly called Gamemasters, are helped in the creation of the background by some NPCs. NPCs are Non-Player-Characters, roles that are desingned by the Gamemasters (such as Knight Sägebrecht, the mentioned master of the keep) and played by some friendly persons who therefor refrain from playing their own characters.

Further down are some Links to Sites, that specifically address beginners.

All right. What is a Campaign?

A normal Live-Action-Roleplay can be compared to a book or a story, though it is a book like no other witth up to 200 main characters … and you will never see all of it.

And just as there are series of books in the shops (e.g. the trilogy "Lord of the Rings"), there are "series" in LARP: CONs, that are built upon each other. And many of the characters in one book appear aganin in the next, they know what happened before and already have social connections (friedship, enmity, love, hate, etc.) to the other characters. Thus were the Söderland-CONs 2-4 (what happened to 1 is revealed at the Söderland-Site) in Söderland. At Söderland 2 a character found a key that was looked for by the grey henchmen at Söderland 3. at the 4th he and some others decided to solve the mystery of the key in an old castle and at one small LARPie for 15 persons (the other games were for about 60) the mystery has been solved at last. But of what relevance is the horn, which has been found in the large treasury… thus the plot of these CON-series is continous. But careful! Besides the story with the key there have been many other plots under way, many of the players did not even notice the key at all but have been wrapped up in other ploys.The constant adding of new plots an sub-plots offer many opportunities, especially for beginners. (Nasty Gamemasters start many plots by giving beginners pieces of information or some artifact, that the more experienced players need, so the beginners are drawn into the game ).

Then there are books which are only loosely connected but refer to the same backgroud. The best example might be the Discworld by Terry Pratchett. Many characters appear in one or other of the books, sometimes the books are partially overlapping in regard to the timeline, but the real connection is in the background and the events therein. The novels can be read as a sereis or as single books. Thus it is with a LARP-Campaign: you have a background.-world with many complex countries and background-characters, such as kings, heralds, mighty magicians … the CONs are loosely connected by the fact that individual characters appear at the one or other CON and meet again. The organizators of the CON retain full control over their country and their CON. The connection remains still: three CONs later the leader of the mercenaries is still hunting the thief of his fathers sword, and the commander of the armies of Burgund is overjoyed to meet the ambassador of Kirson oin this CON, because they still had to talk about the relationship of their respective countries. Thalianna and Ravensong on the other hand are looking forward to exchange songs, for they both learned much during the last winter that the other might not know.

A campaign is nothing else than the attempt to offer a background for the players to play in. How much use the individual player makes of that offer is up to him- or herself.

And the Mittellande is ...

Exactly: The Mittellande is just a LARP-campaign.

In the Mittellande you find about 120 countries. A lot of work and imagination of the respective Gamemesters, organizators, NPCs and not the least the players themselves has gone into each of them. Only characters and players can give life to a country. Some countries are large and have many players (maybe even over 100 characters coming from that country), others have only 10, but every country is made fascinating and special by the individual ideas contained within.

There are the northerners from Söderland, known primarily for the breeding of sheep although their raids are quite famous, too.
There are the knights of proud Allerland - a country without magic, hard as that seems to believe.
There are the haughty magicians from Gutingy that command the high magics but are unable to cook spaghetti.

Some like this campaign, some don't, but that is not overly important: players can play their characters at non-campagne-CONs, as well as a non-campagne-character can appear at a Mittellande-CON. The realm of his or her home is simply supposed to be somewhat far off and thus not so widely known.

What do I gain by the Campagne Mittellande?

In the beginning of LARP every LARPer designed his or her own country as background for the character. Thus we had thousands of realms which were at times rather similar. Within the campaign many ideas and backgrounds have gone into the individual countries. Historical backgrounds (Celts, Wikings, Knighthoods etc.) lie at the core of some countries, others are based on fantasy-settings (Orks, academies for mages). Interested players can contact the country in order to play a character born there. This saves time on developing an already existing idea and creates a connection to other characters. "oh, you are from Galladoorn? Say, I heard that your king..." Everyone who prefers to refer to his or her own background or without a home-country is welcome in the Mittellande as well.

Knowledge about ones own country is not everything. An adventurer has to know a lot besides. Therefore on this site we offer Information regarding the other countries of the Mittellande. It stands to reason, that one from Kirson must know what Etraklin is, as they have been at war for two years.

On the whole the Mittellande is trying to offer the possibility for better interaction and a faster and easier start for beginners.

The Mitellande Campaign is a help, an add-on. It is not necessary but a bonus. And we hope it is a useful one.

Where do I get further information?

What has been explained for a thousand times does not have to be explained again… there is still much left to say on the topic of LARP, but here we would rather refer to other sites which offer quite good explanations:

What now?

Now it is up to you how you wish to continue. Perhaps you want to take a look at some countries or LARP-pictures. There are many opportunities at the Hauptseite. Among others you will find the Impressions-Site containing a few pictures.

You are on the pages of the LARP-campaign Mittellande.
Down here you can choose from:
Starting page •  Start without Frames •  What is ...? •  Countries •  Map •  Library
Services •  Internal affairs •  Interaktiv •  Miscellaneous •  Contakt •  Search

This page has been updated 01.10.2003.