Frequently Asked Questions

From Cambridge Larp Society

What is Roleplaying?

Roleplaying is the act of pretending to be something which you are not. Specifically, roleplaying games are games played where the players take on the roles of specific characters, and describe what they do. Roleplaying games have been around for quite a long time, and range from tactical fantasy combat simulation (such as the rather famous Dungeons and Dragons) to comedy games (such as Paranoia). Roleplaying games exist for pretty much any situation you care to play, and there are some generic systems designed to incorporate any scenario.

Most roleplaying games tend to take place around a table, with the characters existing on paper, or as models on a board. Some roleplaying games are played without any paper at all, with the players just sitting around and talking. These games are commonly referred to as "tabletop" roleplaying games.

Photo by Tom Garnett

What is LARP?

LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) is a type of roleplaying where instead of recording your character on a sheet of paper, and representing them with a model, or in your imagination, you take on the mantle of your character physically, and act out their actions in real life. This has some advantages and some disadvantages over traditional tabletop roleplaying. Swinging heroically from a chandelier while fighting a horde of screaming harpies might work in your imagination, but actually doing it is another matter. On the other hand, what you do in LARP is a lot more immersive than most tabletop games.

What is Breaking Worlds?

Breaking Worlds is the game run by CLS for the 2016-2018 academic years. It is a game of adventure, discovery, and intrigue set in a world of high fantasy and mysticism.

For many years, the island realm of Arginet has enjoyed peace and prosperity, ruled over by an ancient nobility and guided by the spirits of the elements and the ancestors. But in the last year cracks have started appearing in the fabric of reality in a metaphysical outburst known simply as the Breaking. Unstable rifts have opened to other planes of existence, disgorging strange creatures both human and monstrous, and the boundaries of the spirit world itself have grown weak.

You play one of a loose group of adventurers working to fight - or exploit - the unknown threat of the Breaking, while navigating the mysteries of the spirit world and the cutthroat political rivalries between the Noble Houses, the Royal Armies, and the Reform Coalition.

Will you go freelance, or pick a faction to side with? Are you ready to face the horrors of the beyond? What do you stand for - and how far are you prepared to go?

Photo by Kay Chard

How much does it cost?

You don't need to pay anything the first week you play. After that, to become a member of CLS for the year, you need to pay a one-off charge of five pounds. Charactering a Friday night interactive costs four pounds each time, but monstering and attending linears is free. After you have settled in you will probably find that you want to buy some costume or weapons for yourself, but we have lots of advice on how you can make your own costume cheaply.

What events do Cambridge LARP Society run?

Breaking Worlds sessions run on Fridays and Saturdays during university term, the times and locations are published on our website front page. For more details on what happens at the different types of event we run, please look under Events We Run.

Can I play?

Although it is a university society, CLS is not just for University of Cambridge students! We are happy to see anybody who wants to know more, although you must be over 16 to play. It is not even necessary to live in Cambridge to attend - we currently welcome regular players who commute to events from Oxfordshire, Sussex and London. CLS aims to be fully inclusive and so if you are worried that you might have difficulty taking part please get in touch and we will work out how we could help you play.

Won't people think I'm weird?

Whilst we do understand that dressing up and pretending to be other people isn't everybody's cup of tea, we think that LARP is a great way of building confidence whilst having fun and it even gets you outside into the fresh air! Don't forget that even though you are in character during events, so is everybody else - CLS is run for the benefit of the people taking part, not for an audience, and because it is spontaneous you don't ever need to worry about forgetting your lines...

Photo by Kay Chard

How do I start?

If you are interested in coming to a CLS event, please email the refs so that we know to expect you and what sort of thing you might like to do, if you already know (we are also happy to see you unexpectedly, but we may be less prepared!). You don't have to commit to playing a character to turn up, we are happy to welcome you just to talk to you about the game and show you how it works, or you could be part of our monster team for the night. Monstering means that the refs will lend you costume and you can play a series of different short roles, taking in information to the characters or having fights. We recommend monstering as a fun way to try out some LARP if you are unsure. Of course, if you do want to start playing a character right away you are very welcome, and we can also provide any help with writing a character sheet and finding costume that you might need. If you want to chat to someone in advance, try our Contact Us page for details on where we all hang out.

I haven't got any costume - what should I wear?

You obviously don't need to wear anything specific to just show up and find out what we do, but if you are planning to play or "monster" at an event you will need to arrive dressed in loose, comfortable but plain clothing. Try to avoid anything modern looking - in particular, denim, white trainers and obvious logos can look decidedly out of place. Dark plain trousers and a dark plain top (even a black t-shirt turned inside out) are the most appropriate clothing, as we can then lend you a basic costume to wear over the top. If you are coming to a Saturday Linear, you will also need to wear good shoes or boots as the ground may be slippery.

Photo by Kay Chard

What do I need to know before I turn up?

In order to take part in events, you need to read the Safety section of the website, which will let you know how to act if someone starts shouting confusing instructions at you and how to stay safe. The refs will also take you through this when you first arrive, as well as answering any questions you may have. You might also want to read our Guide To Roleplaying if you have never LARPed before and are not sure what to do.

I'm ready! How do I start a character?

Once you are ready to create a character you will find everything you need in the "The Game" section of the website. The pages there will explain the setting and the rules. Good luck! We look forward to seeing you at an event soon - and remember that you can email the refs if you have any questions.