Good First Time LARPs?


#1

I’ve been slowly starting / growing a regular play group over the past few months, and it’s gotten to the point where we have more people interested in playing than can fit comfortably in a typical TTRPG system. Meanwhile, I’ve also been looking to try out more LARPs. I played my first few at Big Bad Con last year, and they were fun as heck. Since LARPs seem better suited to playing with 7-10 people at a time, I’m thinking I can solve both my “too many players” and “haven’t played enough LARPs” problems at the same time. The only hitch: I don’t have any idea what LARPs are good!

Anyone have suggestions for 7-10 player LARPs, especially ones that might be friendly to people new to RPGs at large? Preferably ones that can fit in a 3-4 hour time frame?


#2

If you’re after theatre-style with pre-designed characters, these are my suggestions

  • On Display by Paracelsus Games is only 6 players (and an NPC for half an hour), but it is a perfect beginner’s theatreform. The character sheets are simple, yet flavourful. I have a review of it here.
  • The Face of Oblivion by Cat Pegg (6-8 players) is a tense larp about how people confront a crisis. Review here
  • Hamlet by Shifting Forest Storyworks (8 players). Chuck the rules, there’s a pretty good game under them.

Once people are feeling more comfortable, I would highly recommend Howling Fire Theomachy by Paracelsus (8 players). It has longer character sheets, but they are well worth it.

On the freeform side, I quite like Will That be All by Graham Walmsley, and Arsenic & Lies looks good. But I’m more a theatre-style person.

If you’re looking for more, there’s a list here which is regularly updated, and I can answer questions about quite a few of them.

(Disclosure: I write larps. None of the above are by me. If you’re interested in the stuff I do, here’s my patreon).


#3

Strange Gravity by Jay Treat, if you also want an exercise in distributed authority. This is essentially Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Larp. There is no MC, and all GM-like roles are distributed to players based on their role on the ship. This is a hard game.

Symbiosis by Sarah Lynne Bowman, if memory serves. That feels right. This is a game about growing up and developing new emotional capabilities.

Tribunal, written by J. Tuomas Harviainen, English version done with the help of Jason Morningstar. This is a game about the mechanism of oppression.


#4

It’s so exciting to introduce people to live action play! New people are the best players, always. You’ll have a great time. I’d suggest finding a couple of games that sound really fun to you personally, and then letting your group choose the one that fits their mood and comfort level.

Seconding Strange Gravity for that size group. Maybe not for your first larp, though.

The Tribunal will sort of work with 8-10 and is designed for 12. It’s a good first larp if people are on board for some intensity.

Still Life is a great first larp and scales well to any size group. It’s simple and fun and, at its best, a little thought-provoking. The rules say up to 10 but I’ve run it with 20. Needs a facilitator.

We Are Roommates Now is great for up to 8. It is silly and delightfully simple.

Will That Be All? mentioned above is a lovely game for 6-10.

Sign is my favorite “first larp” and a beautiful experience, but it is for 4-7. Play it anyway, it is great. Benefits from a facilitator.

All of these games take about two hours, more or less, to play. Maybe three on the outside.

You might also strike gold (see what I did there?) by trolling through the archives of the Golden Cobra Challenge, which is full of interesting short freeform larps.

I could recommend some of my own if you want as well.


#5

These are all great suggestions! Excited to read a bunch of larps over the weekend to see what stands out. Sign was already on my short list (as one of the like 3 larps I’ve read before), On Display looks intriguing, and someone I asked offline also recommended We Are Roommates Now. I really like the sound of Tribunal, though I think we’ll be on the short side of players / won’t want to get that intense off the bat.

A bunch of these other suggestions look great for a “2nd or 3rd time around” list. Strange Gravity - love me a Star Trek.

I’ll be sure to report back with what I decide on. Thank you to everyone so far!