LARP / Otakon LARP

The Otakon LARP (or OtaLARP) is a Theatre-style LARP, which began the second year of the Otakon Convention (1995). Unusually for most Roleplaying games, players are not allowed to build their own character sheets. Character sheets are pre-made from popular anime series, with the Final Fantasy game series characters allowed because it had always been allowed. There is a window of opportunity each year for players to request new character sheet creation, but once the window closes, only characters made from past years are allowed.

Tropes that appear in this LARP:

  • All Swords Are the Same: Used to keep the complexity of the game system down, by having most weapons distinct in appearance, but having fundamentally similar mechanics. Characters use one of four skills to wield any weapons of the category. Commonly: Melee Weapons, Fire Gun, Thrown, and BFG (Big guns feat). Individual item cards for the weapons list a flat damage, and may include a modifier to the attack skill.
  • Anime: Defined as a show that was created, developed, and first shown in Japan. Characters and items must come from an anime, or from the Final Fantasy franchise.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Guns, fists, swords, ki blasts… All damage is dealt to players in HP. Items and buildings or Mechas can have Structural Hit Points that are damaged by guns.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: The LARP can be played in any of the three styles, but due to the large shonen genre population, it is most commonly completed with Combat. The climax of the LARP has been ended with one or two players using Diplomacy, on uncommon occasions.
  • Cos Play: It is common for about half of the players in the LARP to be in costume, either of their own character’s, or someone completely different.
  • Game Master: Since 200+ people are playing this game together, there’s a staff of GMs, usually with specialization in certain areas, and two Co-Head GMs. There is also a special player category called “Specialist”. They are players that have proven experience and knowledge that allows them to be a little more involved in creating complicated plots with other players.
  • Grandfather Clause: Final Fantasy characters are allowed and added as the franchise grows because they were a part of the LARP during the early years of Otakon. Aside from them, the only characters in the LARP must be from an Anime.
  • Hit Points: Characters (and items) have hit points assigned on a case-by-case basis, and can be restored by an hour-long trip to the Hospital (Out of game waiting period), or at Noon and Midnight.
  • Ki Manipulation: Characters with Magic or Chi manipulation abilities generally have an ability called “Sense Magic” that allows them to determine when a strong use of power is used nearby.
  • Mana: The energy meter for characters vary slightly. It may represent Magic, Chi, or Psionics. Essentially, they all represent a character’s ability to use powerful abilities in a limited form. They rarely overlap, and not every character has an ability that requires the use of their energy meter. A character whose Mana is reduced to Zero can continue, but cannot use or maintain any abilities that require whichever form of Mana the ability uses.
  • Negative Continuity: The LARP history resets every Otakon, meaning new players don’t have to memorize a long history. Everyone starts out brand-new every year.
  • Non-Player Character: The majority of NPCs are just assumed to exist when needed. Important NPCs are often played by one of the GMs or “Player Specialists”. Certain NPC classes are available for anyone to pick up and play for a short time, whether they have their own character or not.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Characters can learn skills only if they have 0 ranks in the skill, and can only earn one rank in the skill.
  • Quest Giver: Most characters begin play with one or more random plot hooks, but the whiteboard is used for any player to become a quest giver for any other player.
  • Regenerating Mana: Mana Points are restored at noon and midnight every day.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors: The game's mechanics are decided by the two players playing Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  • Side Quest: During the convention weekend, there is a meta-plot that the GMs run, and most of their events tie into it somehow. Individual players, however, are free to invent and support side goals and quests. “Player Specialists” often run a storyline that runs parallel to the GM plot. A misunderstanding of the GM plot has the ability to generate side quests completely by accident.
  • The Six Stats: Averted by featuring only four stats; Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Charisma is ignored in favour of player ability (although related skills are kept), and Constitution is eliminated. This trope is also Played With, because instead of a numbers system based on 3d6, the characters are rated at 1 through 5. Average characters (9-11) are rated at 2. Children (who are not exceptional in a category) rate at 1. Above average characters (12-15) are rated at 3, and so on.
  • Turn-Based Combat: While most scenes are conducted in Real Time, when timing becomes an issue (usually for combat), characters act in turn order. Turn order is determined first by their Dexterity stat, with ties broken by Intelligence. If characters have the same dexterity and intelligence, their actions are simultaneous.