LARP Jargon

A number of these are covered in the General Rules for Play chapter of the Rulebook; some of the more common/important ones are repeated here for New Player simplicity.

Ambush Alley — Originally, this referred to a very dark (yet still inexplicably combat-safe) stretch of path between the Craft Building and the Unit 2 Lodge at AH Stephens. The underbrush left only a narrow path, and despite its relatively central location on site, it was the scene of a huge number of monster ambushes. As the underbrush was cut back several years ago, the term is now used for any dark path that is obviously ideal for ambushes.

Basic Blacks — This refers to basic attire that is worn when a player is volunteering to NPC or Monster. Black shirts and pants are preferred to be worn, as it provides an easy and nondescript base for costuming.

Bennies — Short for “Benefits,” refers to any special award or benefit given out. There is an intermittent tradition of handing out bennies to people who show up in time for a game’s Opening Ceremonies.

BGAs — Also IBGAs— In-Between Game Actions. Available at Checkout, these are limited tasks a PC can take between game events, or “Gathers.” In Rule of Three games, players are generally granted three (3) BGAs per event period. This is subject to change at Staff whim, though it is always announced if this is the case. BGAs can be used for production, social, political, exploratory or research actions. BGAs do not usually allow interaction with Important NPCs, provide an avenue for conflict resolution, or let you simply succeed in the tasks you are trying to accomplish. An excellent rule is to ask for what you want in BGAs, but be willing to change your actions based on what the Staff tells you.

Blanket — This refers to the amount of Character Points (See also Build, XP) that everyone receives for paying for an event. This is typically two (2) Character Points for a one-day, and seven (7) Character Points for a three-day event.

Boffer — a weapon padded with foam, covered in duct tape, dacron, or other material. Latex weapons are not technically boffers, but can be used in what is referred to as, “boffer LARPing,” that is to say, live-action combat, as opposed to non-combat, or “Parlor” LARPs.

Boss — an extremely high-powered monster, tied into a specific plot or storyline, just like in video games. This can be a major campaign villain, or a major monster that must be defeated before the storyline may progress.

Brew — A consumable item, generally represented by a tag, which is destroyed upon use. Brews are created with the Med Tech (short for Medical Technology) production skill.

Build (noun) — (See also CP) These are the points with which characters purchase abilities. Characters have Starting Build (typically 40, with a bit more for sending in a character history or taking Disadvantages) and Post-Creation Build. Some abilities can only be purchased with Starting Build in some games, while other abilities have an increased cost when purchased with Post-Creation Build.

Button — the Rule of Three form of special currency, awarded for volunteering, donating to the games, extra site clean-up, or other things, at the discretion of Plot. Other games have called this sort of thing “Brownie” or “Goblin”. Buttons can be exchanged for various goodies at various times.

Button-Pusher — From “Apple Bitin’ Button Pusher,” a player who takes risks without necessarily considering the consequences. For example, biting an apple handed to you by an NPC without thinking, or pushing the Big Red Button.

Campover — an event that occurs at a primitive campsite. This means there are no cabins or showers, but there are usually bathrooms and running water within walking distance. Players sleep in tents that they bring themselves. Sometimes called a “Two-Day,” theoretically beginning on a Saturday morning and running till Sunday evening, though they do often last as long as the usual 3-day event.

Cap, Cap-Out — Reaching the maximum available build for a given event or non-event month. In normal usage, this term includes the three CP from post-event nominations or Buttons, but not bonus CP from extra NPCing time. The cap for a normal three-day Dust to Dust event is 10 CP.

Circle, Circling — In Rule of Three games, many skills – particularly psionics or martial disciplines – require an in-play test or other contact with an instructor to advance after the player has spent CP purchasing the new circle or level of ability (called “tiers” in Eclipse). Talents that require circling as part of their advancement are always noted in the rules. Plot committees do their best to provide opportunities for circling in a timely manner, but things slip through the cracks. Delays of a year or more are regrettable, but not unheard-of.

Charging — Crowding an opponent so that they must retreat or step aside to avoid physical contact, considered unsafe behavior. The “Charging Check” is raising a knee to waist level. If it connects with one’s attacker, this is considered Charging.

Cheater Chain — Despite its name, there is no particular stigma attached to this term. It refers to micromaille, a type of chainmail armor with very fine links. A full shirt of this armor typically weighs around three pounds, and can be comfortably worn between layers of clothing.

Check-out — The end of play form, where Character Points and BGAs are spent. Older games used to complete this on site after Game-Off; most games now, including Eclipse and Dust to Dust, complete this via an online form.

Cheese — Fudging or misinterpreting rules, typically to the Cheesy Person’s benefit. This can be include things like creatively interpreting how firm a “firm hit” must be to count as actual damage, or jumping backwards /after/ someone has called a point effect within five feet.

Claws — Boffers made with red tape or dacron, usually in small (dagger size) or short (shortsword size) length. Claws imply natural weaponry, and as such, cannot be disarmed. Many monsters use claws as their default weapons.

Closing Ceremonies — a final address of plot to the player-base, at the end of an event, after Game-Off. Many events do not have a Closing Ceremonies.

Cobbler, going to see — See also, “Orphanage” — Doing one’s volunteer time as a PC is often referred to as “Going to see the Cobbler” (King’s Gate) or “Going to visit the Orphanage” (Eclipse) or “Venturing into Troll Country” (Dust to Dust), so as to have a vaguely in-play way to refer to it.

Combat Discipline — See also Martial School, Warrior Order

Corkscrewing — the practice of walking around a character who is on their knees and can’t move their legs, forcing them to spin around rapidly to continuing fighting. This is an unsafe behavior.

CP — Character Points. See also Build.

Crawl — usually Dungeon Crawl, though can also refer to Crawly Tunnels; a kind of physical-challenge module involving small, enclosed spaces through which players must squeeze, and often a lot of low-powered monsters. Can be a Hellgrinder, but not necessarily.

Crunchies — wandering monsters, usually fairly weak, sent into town largely for the purpose of being killed quickly, and entertaining combat players.

Culture Packet — a packet of information given to players who choose to play a given in-world culture. Culture packets should not be shared with others, not even people who are playing the same culture. They should only come from the game staff.

Cylume — also spelled “Psylume,” the luminous liquid inside of glow-sticks. DO NOT SWALLOW. Glow-sticks also contain fine shards of glass. Breaking open glowsticks and pouring them over oneself is inadvisable for this reason. Nonetheless, often used to create nifty effects at games.

Disads — Short for Disadvantages, this refers to a list of flaws that a character can take in order to gain more Starting Build. It is also possible to acquire Disadvantages over the course of play. Disadvantages gained during play do not award Character Points.

Draw, Death Draw — after a PC dies in-play, and a resurrection is attempted, they must see a Marshal to have a death draw done. This may use cards, stones, or other items; in Eclipse, it involves playing cards. The result of the draw determines whether the resurrection is successful, or if it results in Permanent Death. The draw may have other effects, for good or ill, based on a system determined by Plot.

Event — Also called a ‘gather’; a single game session. “During an Event” refers to the period of time which is considered “in play”.

Fate of the Party — If a player has to be called away from a module for any reason, they may opt to take “fate of the party,” indicating that they accept the outcome of the module in their absence, without being able to take part. Any consequences that the rest of the module party gets, such as a death draw due to a TPK (Total Party Kill), or evenly split loot, they generally also receive.

Feast — part of an event where a large meal is provided, usually at an additional cost. This is typically held in the Tavern, and most often provides some rest from combat for both players and NPCs, although in-town, “talky” plot may occur.

Field Battle — generally the largest battle of any given event, most three-day events involve a field battle, usually on Saturday evening.

Floon — Excitement, enthusiasm, or interest. E.g., “I’m bursting with floon for the event this weekend.”

FOIP — “Find Out In-Play”, this means that the answer to an OOP (Out of Play) question is something that can only be discovered within the game world, and will not be answered in any other fashion.

Four-day — An event lasting four days, usually from Friday night to Monday morning.

Full Set — In most Rule of Three games, offensive and defensive combat maneuvers are limited to purchasing three of them, such as three parries, three dodges, or three piercing blows. To have all three of these abilities purchased is said to be a “full set.” Some things in the game, such as martial schools, allow a character a fourth combat maneuver; such cases always specify that they are outside of the Rule of Three.

Game-off — the official end of play at a given event. Clean-up, packing up, and the like must still be completed after this point.

Game-on — The official start of play at a given event. Check-in, getting into costume, and set-up is usually completed by this time.

Gather — an In-Play term to refer to a game event, meaning a time when all or most of the player base is “gathered” at a given location for play.

Healer Girlfriend/Boyfriend — a Player Character built for primarily healing, typically with very few combat skills. In its most classic form, the character carries a staff.

Hellgrinder — Any extraordinarily difficult or brutal combat-heavy module, field battle, or event.

Hold — a game-pause, generally called due to an unsafe situation, rules dispute, or plot fiat. During a Hold, everyone must freeze, take a knee, or cast eyes down if possible. a Hold ends when all issues are resolved, with a count of, “3…2…1…lay on!”

Hook — See also ‘Module.’ The hook is the character or marshal that comes to let you know that the module is ready for you, and leads you to the location.

IBGAs — See BGAs, above.

IP — “In Play,” events, items, and actions which take place in the consensual reality of the Game World. See also OOP. Players are expected to remain “In Play” as often as possible during an event, and it is polite to keep “Out of Play” actions and conversations away from those who are “In Play.”

Jumpy-Stones — a form of Physical Challenge in which players are forced to leap from position to position. To miss a jump is to fall into something universally bad for your character. This can sometimes be used to describe any sort of Physical Challenge when briefly describing something. “We had a fight, some jumpy-stones, a puzzle and some more fights.”

KBA — Killing Blow Active. See Killing Blow.

Killing Blow — administered to an unconscious or otherwise helpless character, this involves touching said character with a weapon and saying, “killing blow one… killing blow two… killing blow three.” At this point, the character is dead, and if they are a PC, must see plot to have the death recorded. Not all NPCs are “Killing Blow Active”, or KBA. Only NPCs which are KBA may deliver a killing blow to a PC; PCs may always deliver a killing blow to unconscious or helpless NPCs, or other PCs.

Lay-on — the call to end a Hold, indicating that play may resume. This is usually said at the end of a three-second count so that everyone can prepare and resume their positions.

Lich-Marshal — A Marshal who is accompanying a specific NPC, and calls out effects, defenses, and manages their stats on their behalf. Usually indicates that the NPC in question is an extremely high-powered monster, or a Boss.

Marshal — Also called “Guide,” “Referee” or the like, a non-player who oversees or ‘marshals’ action in a scene or module. Marshals settle rules disputes, give stats to Monsters, describe a scene if elements cannot be phys-repped, and otherwise represent Plot to players.

Martial School — See also Combat Discipline and Warrior Order.

Medic — Calling ‘medic’ means that someone has been wounded OOP, and needs real medical attention. Not to be called for in-play injuries.

Mitigation — a fancy way of referring to the totality of one’s defenses, especially invisible/intangible defenses, such as spell-wards, magical shields, and the like, in addition to physically represented shields and armor.

Module — A fully Marshalled storyline, usually set outside of town.

Monster, Monstering — Playing an NPC, usually as a monster. These come in various flavors.

Monstertown — the out-of-play area where the Volunteer NPCs, and sometimes Plot, reside.

Munchkin — A person who is primarily interested in gaming the system in such a way that their character is as powerful as possible, without regard for game-balance. Useful to have around in that they are good at pointing out where rules completely break down, in practice. Annoying to have around in that they are often super Cheesy. Also known as “Power Gamers”. A general geek reference, also, look here.

NPC — “Non-Player Character”. Also known as “Monsters.”

Off-Month — A month in which no event occurs for a game.

Off-Season — The period of time between the last three-day event of a year, and the first three-day event of the year. Often times one-day events will occur in the interim, but it is still considered the Off-Season for all game-related purposes.

One-Day — A type of event that ends the same day it begins. Most One-Day events begin in the late morning and run until the early evening. These events are held in different styles, but are almost different in style and location than a three-day or four-day event.

One Rez Deep — A type of physical challenge that failing results in an instant death for your character. This is often tied to Jumpy Stones.

OOP — “Out of Play,” events, items, and actions which take place or exist outside of the consensual reality of the game world. Stuff that “doesn’t count.” See also IP. A person that Out of Play is designated by a single weapon or hand resting atop the player’s head, or by wearing a White Headband.

Orange Headband — Someone who has opted to have no part in combat at a given event, typically for reasons of safety, such as players who are injured or pregnant. This non-combat status is indicated by wearing an orange headband.

Packet — typically made of birdseed bundled up in a bit of colored cloth, and tied with a rubber band. Represents a thrown spell; the person hit with such a spell must take its effect, or otherwise mitigate it. Also called a Spell Packet, though it may represent thrown grenades/energy lances as well. Each game has their own color system to determine what type of source is represented by what color.

Packet-Chucker — slang for Psionicist, or someone like a Cyborg with energy lances, who primarily throws spell packets instead of engaging in melee combat. Also called a ‘Caster.’

PC — “Player Character”, this refers to those who play a given LARP, as distinct from Plot and Volunteers, or NPCs.

Perm — to permanently die, as a PC, meaning that one must roll up a new character in order to continue PCing. This does not typically occur on the first death, unless one is still dead at Sunrise or Sunset, at which point one automatically perms. One may also perm as a result of a “Bad Draw,” usually several deaths into their career.

Phys-Rep — short for “Physical Representation”, this refers to a prop item used to represent a thing, for example, a foam boffer might be a sword phys-rep, or a bit of rope might be the phys-rep for a wall of fire. This term is a catchall which can apply to pretty much any prop.

Physical Shield — does not actually refer to the hand-held shield item, but rather to a spell which prevents the first physical attack to hit you.

Plot — The Plot Committee; these suckers are the ones who are responsible for running the game on the whole. May or may not imply also a knowledge of Rules; this depends heavily on the game. In Eclipse, Plot and Rules are not the same staff of people.

Production — In-game item creation, such as weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, energy tech, and the like. Accomplished at specific times during an event; or as part of BGAs.

PVP — Player-Versus-Player. Indicates situations in which the PCs are pitted against each other, in combat or socially. In Rule of Three, PVP combat or behavior is typically frowned upon, but is not considered a violation of sportsmanship. It is likely to just make other players not like you very much.

Rez — Short for “Resurrection,” this refers to a dead character or monster coming back to life and returning to play. In Monster parlance, this refers to how many times a given group of volunteers should attack, be killed, and return to play.

Roll(ed) — Utterly annihilated; what happens when a group of PCs or NPCs come in and kill everyone in their path with ease and minimal casualties. When it happens to PCs on a module, it is sometimes called a TPK.

Rules — The game’s core guidelines and policies; may also refer to a “Rules Committee” or “Rules Marshals,” who are responsible for making calls about disputes in the rules. Not every game has a Rules Committee that is distinct from Plot.

Sea-Elves — Also known as, “Cheaters.” A NERO Wildlands reference, to a race whose abilities included natural short claws and a compulsion to killing-blow any downed target that they did not recognize as an ally. The disadvantage of belonging to this race is that Everyone Knows You’re a Cheater. Used to refer to any incredibly obnoxious or broken race.

Shar Out — In the Shattered Isles and King’s Gate campaigns, sorcerers became corrupted when they cast Tal Shar spells, and this corruption eventually manifested physically. Tal Shar spells caused injuries, sickness, and death. To “shar out” is to completely lose one’s shit and suddenly turn evil in a massive display of (possibly magical) power.

Shield Wall — a bunch of melee fighters with shields who have formed a line, holding their shields in front, to face the enemies.

Site — a given State Park or other area where an event is held, includes both in-play areas, like the Town, and out of play areas, like Monstertown.

Slime-Module — A generic term used to describe an adventure in which players are likely to get dirty, wet, or otherwise gross. These warnings should alert players to not wear their nicest clothes.

Spell-Blossom — Having a fist full of packets, usually so the bulbs are visible between the fingers, forming a “blossom of packets”. This is sometimes related to a packet-users power level, as it is assumed that they can use all the packets they are displaying.

Spirit Blue — a Ben Nye Makeup color which goes on a pale, ghostly blue-white. Typically used for undead makeup.

Stats — Statistics, refers to either the numbers on a character card, or the abilities and toughness/armor points given to a certain monster. PCs improve their stats by spending Build.

Stick-Jock — A term for a player who LARPs for combat, and is less interested in roleplay. More generally, a PC whose primary focus is being a melee brute.

Sword-and-Board — A character who uses the combination of sword and shield for combat. Considered a very standard build.

Tag — a slip of paper or card listing the properties of an in-play item. Tagged items are subject to in-world effects, and have greater in-world objective reality. In cases where it is impossible, inconvenient, or unwise to trade in phys-reps, for example, when weapons are taken from a monster in-play, often players will get tags for the items, instead of actual props. Also, one’s clothing is not tagged, but one’s armor is– thus, one’s armor may be shattered by an effect, but one’s clothing may not be destroyed.

Talky — an NPC whose primary function is to come in and talk to the PCs; they may or may not have any combat skills, as combat is not expected to be their primary function.

Tarp-Wrangler — an NPC or Plot member who assists in setting up modules, called so due to the copious amount of black tarp used in doing so. Fear and Respect the Tarp-Wrangler.

Tavern — the central building on site, where the majority of meals and feast are served.

Text-Prop — a physical in-play text, such as a letter, scroll, or other document.

Three-Day — an event spanning from Friday night of a given weekend, to Sunday morning. Typically considered a “Full Event.”

Town — The area of the site which is considered “In Play”, most often used to refer collectively to the player base, e.g., “We totally rolled Town.” Players sometimes use this as the group term for things the playerbase does as a whole, such as “the town went to kill the bad guy.”

TPK — “Total Party Kill”. What happens when a PCs are completely rolled on a module; used specifically for modules because those usually involve a small group of PCs, or a ‘Party’.

Trapping — a safety violation in which one player pins or “traps” the weapon of another, so that they may not freely move their arms or the weapon.

Turtling — a safety violation in which one hides their full body behind a shield, removing all legal targets from view/access.

Ultralight — boffer weapons made with lighter than pvc cores, thusly weighing less than old-school boffers. Super popular these days.

Unicorn — The practice of repeatedly raising one’s hand to his head in order to say “Out of Game” comments during the middle of In-Play scenes. This practice is so named because the motion frequently looks as if you are making a horn with your hand gestures.

Warrior Order — Frequently called Martial Schools or Combat Disciplines, Warrior Orders are formalized teachings of combat that restrict a character to certain styles of weaponry and armor, and teach specific and unique skills in exchange. Warrior Orders are not required to be a combat character, they are merely an option, and an integral part of the story of the game world.

Whirling Blades of Death — “I sleep better at night just knowing they exist.” A famous quote from NERO’s Haran Roeh journals, referencing a slightly less famous physical challenge.

White Headband — Worn to signify when someone is “Out of Play” and should be ignored by all “In-Play” characters.

Wounding Blows — combat skills that add a number to the base damage of a melee weapon. The hierarchy of wounding blows in Dust to Dust, in ascending order, goes: striking blow (+1), piercing blow (+3), mighty blow (+5), crippling blow (wound to limb), mortal blow (wound to every location), strike of death (does what it says on the label). In Eclipse, these are called ‘Crit Strikes’.

XP — Experience points, of course; in Rule of Three games these are technically called Character Points, or CP.

Zesty-Minty — This refers to flavored fake blood, typically used for mouth-related effects. It is a minty flavor that many people find pleasant or at least inoffensive to use when creating bloody and gory effects. It is sometimes simply used as shorthand for fake blood. If meant to be swallowed, it is very important to cut it with some other liquid, such as water or Gatorade.