Convention RPGs and LARPs for first-time gamers

If you’ve never played an RPG or LARP at a convention before the idea can be a bit daunting. Sitting down for three hours to play a game you might not be familiar with alongside four or five complete strangers can be intimidating the first couple of times. So, with that said; here’s some tips for first time role-players looking to give RPGs or LARPs a try this Gaelcon.

One of the main differences between LARPs and RPGs at conventions is their structure. Where a lot of regular games might be long-term campaigns played over a number of sessions LARPs and RPGs at conventions tend to be standalone three hour affairs. That being said however, some game writers like to write convention games that follow on from one another, either at another convention or at a different slot at the same convention.

Deciding what game you’d like to play is the first, and in some cases, the most difficult step. There’ll usually be a variety of different kinds of games on each slot; from suspense laden horror in the 1920’s to exciting interplanetary adventures of the distant future. Some games are even inspired by popular films or TV shows such as Game of Thrones, BattleStar Galactica or Star Wars. The important thing to find something that stands out to you as something that you think you’ll really enjoy.

Either way you’re sure to find a game that will appeal to your tastes. It can also be a good idea to listen out for any gamers being particularly excited about a specific game or ask around and see what people recommend.

RPGs sound slightly intimidating but the important thing is to relax. If you are not familiar with the RPG rules or the setting of the game then you can ask the GM to give you a quick rundown of the rules (most GMs will do this at the start anyway). It can also be all too easy to get overwhelmed and accidentally let the more experienced gamers run the show, and if that’s what you feel comfortable doing that’s cool, but it’s a good idea to try and participate, you might find out you’ve got a talent for it.

LARPs can be even more daunting; they generally have a larger number of players and can often be more free-form as the players move about the room and interact with one another and the GM(s). LARPs can be a lot more role-playing focused than RPGs with less ‘out-of-character’ conversation. It’s a good idea to ask the GM(s), or even a more experienced gamer, about the etiquette, but don’t worry if you don’t get it right away; most GMs and players are very patient and helpful to new players.

On the flip side of this there tends to be fewer rules to worry about so you can focus more easily on playing out the scenario and role-playing your characters. As always, if you’re having trouble following everything you can always ask your GM(s) for advice.

Lastly, the most important thing is just to have fun, after a while you’ll get into the swing of things and before you know it you’ll be a seasoned role player queuing up for game tickets every slot.

Happy gaming!