Live Action Role-Playing Games

Live action role-playing games, also known as LARP  is a kind of free time activity where particpants represent several kind of characters with the help of items like clothings, or inoffensive copies of weapons. In contrast to traditional role games, where plares sitting around a table pley their role only in an oral way.

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Live role players usually act, move theirselves, speak and behave like a real actor on the stage. While in traditional role players use their imagination, in live role physical involvement is required. For this reason, acting skills become more important than the story’s quality . So we could claim that live role is theatre and role game is a storyteller’s stuff. ESPADA ESPARTANA LATEX 432x450 - Live Action Role-Playing Games

In live role there is no audience or public, whoever attends become a participant or player. There’s no limit for the number of players and neither for the ambiance where it can take place. So it may be indoors or outdoors. Additionnaly, the game can last several days in which it can be interrupted for eating, sleeping or resting.

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The creation of an atmosphere or an setting becomes essential in live role. While traditional role can take place anywhere, a coffee shop, a room…live role needs a prepared environment. If the story is developed in the current world, a few scenographic elements will be necessary. But if the story happens in a fantastic world or from another period of time, we could search special locations or even building big structures to simulate the scenery.

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Interaction with the real world is enriched with scenogrraphy, not only for decorating but also for becoming a vital part of the game. representing items that can be exchanged or places of the game with a specific fonction, like the doors of a fortress, a castle the Holy Grail…

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There is no limit in the realism of a setting, but it’s accepted that we can’t disturb those don’t take part  and avoiding settings, scenographies and dangerous behaviours. The most well prepared settings were the ones related to historical recreation. A kind of live role game and incredibly attractive is medieval role.

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Just like in theatre , clothings and dressings can make a difference between the player and role he plays. So, a twenty years old guy can play the role of a old man with some make up, for faking wrinkles and grey hair. The goal of this characterizations is to allow people to identify the character, at first sight, the person is representing. Even in little games which are played in public and open places, players must be unnoticed by people unconnected to the game. For only being recognised by other players.

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Not necessarily live role has a combat system. But sometimes its games are based on combat. This is one of the parts which receive more attention, given that they are the most worked. Some settings or games are entirely combative (a medieval tournament, for example). Others are not conceived originally in that way, however, two or more characters might fight each other due to their characters, because they could represent a duel with guns or a vinkings combat.

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Develop those confrontations in a safe way, has implied the creation of several systems from the most abstracts (iron, paper, scissors) to the most realistics (like in Canada in Russia where medieval combats take place with no edge swords and entire metal armours, sometimes combats on horse have taken place).

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It’s very frequent to see in LARP medieval combats simulation with swords made of latex. In Spain combats with realistic weapons are only done by medieval fencing or airsoft recreation groups. Particular precincts are home to white weapons combats, but also for combats with latex or foam rubber swords.

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According to Record Guinness Book, the biggest LARP in Spain took place in Irmandiños: a revolta, in Monterrey’s castle in Galicia from 2006-2008 and was organised by 13NEGATIVO, in collaboration with Junta de Andalucía.

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The game went about the Irmandiña’s revolt happened in Galicia during the XVth century in which farmers rised agains nobles. Although, there were others multitudinaries events in other countries. (Conquest, Drachenfest) Irmandiños:  a revolta has been until now the one with higher participation. Every year about 500-600 people joined there to play live role.

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Templar Knights Decorative Chalice

Some old legends refer to the Holy Grail as the one being used by Jesus Christ in the Last Supper. The relationship between the Grail, the Chalice and Joseph of Arimathea comes from the work of Robert de Boron, known as “Joseph d’Arimathie”, published in the twelfth century. According to this story, Jesus, already risen from the dead, appeared to Joseph so as to give him the Grail and order him to take it to Britain.

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Following in this tradition, subsequent writters tell that Joseph himself used the Chalice to collect the blood and water coming from the open wound caused by the spear of a centurion on Christ’s side and that, later on, in Britain, he set up a dinasty of guardians to keep it safe and hidden. The hunt of the Holy Grail is an important element in the stories about King Arthur, where Christian tradition and old Celtic myths are combined when referred to a Divine Crock.

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The first writer to mention the Grail is, between 1181-1191, poet Chrétien de Troyes in his narration Perceval —also called Le Conte du Graal—. The play, presented as taken from an old book, tells about Perceval’s visit—who tries to become a Knight to King Arthur — to the Fisher King’s castle, where he is shown the Grail. From that moment, the texts focus on two different stories. On the one hand, we have the stories about the search of the Holy Grail, carried out by King Arthur’s knights; on the other hand, we find the Holy Grail’s story since the times of Joseph of Arimathea.

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According to la Vulgata, the Chalice would have belonged to Joseph of Arimathea’s table set, a rich Jewish merchant, who according to tradition organized the Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea would have asked Pontius Pilate Jesus’ body (whom he made bury in his own grave) and the spear he was hurt with (in his power together with the Cup). As Joseph was a wealthy merchant, on a business trip he would have arrived up to Albion (the old name for Great Britain) setting up his home, building a chapel in Glastonbury.

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When Joseph died, the poems were taken to keep the relics, appointing a Knight for this purpose. Being Sir Pelles the Grail’s guardian, another Knight, Sir Balin the Savage, wanted to steal it together with other relics; both fought, but when he lost his sword, Sir Balin took his sacred spear and hurt Pelles; immediately the castle collapsed due to the desecrating. The Holy Grail, then, disappeared until a sincere knight found them. Eventually, Sir Galahad, the holiest Knight of the Round Table, came across the Chalice. On dying, according to the different stories, the Grail was taken together with the knight to the Celestial Realm.

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In the old Capitular Room, today called Chapel of the Holy Chalice in the Cathedral of Valencia, a chalice is kept as admits Aragonese tradition being the Holy Grail. It has a Chalcedon cup,  which is 7 cm high and with a diametre of 9,5 cm and a foot with handles added afterwards. The archaeologist Antonio Beltrán has dated the higher cup around the turn of the era (first century), carved in an eastern workshop in Egypt, Syria or Paslestine, so it could have been on the Lord’s Supper table.

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John Paul II and Benedict XVI have visited Valencia and they have used this Chalice in the mass Eucharists during their visits. The Church has not proclaimed the authenticity of this relic.