BYOV Role-Playing Rules

Rules of the Game

The rules we use for our live-action games have been developed over a lot of years, taking inspiration from a number of other GMs who have run successful LARPs. The point of these rules is to streamline the playing of the game–to put as much attention as possible on the role-playing and as little as possible on mechanics. We think these work pretty well, as most of what you’ll be trying to do in-game is best accomplished by role-playing with the other players anyway.

Powers and Abilities

Some classic ‘magic-type’ powers do not work well in many LARP situations. Powers that would require a player to pretend he doesn’t know something he knows are often off-limits: e.g. invisibly listening to conversations, mind-reading, and the like. Note that there may be work-arounds that clever players may discover or invent to achieve the same results, and GMs are free to break the rules at any time for a variety of reasons (e.g. invisibility may work if it renders you unable to see and hear as well).

Some skills, like picking pockets, may require the players to physically perform the action–perhaps removing an item from or planting an item in someone’s pocket. If for some reason this presents an unreasonable challenge for a player (you don’t have use of your hands, for example), we’ll find a way to accommodate.

Sometimes They Come Back

Death is not always the final step for a LARP player. To ensure that a player can enjoy the entire game, players whose characters are killed off will be able to keep playing. Sometimes this will be as a new character inserted into the game, and sometimes as a ghost/hologram of their dead character–maybe complete with memories of that character right  up to death. Which option is used will depend on the specific game, the setting, the manner of death, and other circumstances. But your death does not mean you have to stop playing. (Well, your death would, but your character’s death doesn’t.)


Sometimes Typically, a character will want to do harm to another character. All combat or attempts to harm another character require the presence of a GM. No exceptions. Exact combat mechanics will vary by game, and outcomes may involve stats, descriptions of combat, creativity, and other factors.

It’s often not common knowledge among all characters, but poisons and voodoo trinkets and other nastiness may be available. See your GM.

Magic and the Supernatural

In some settings, magical abilities and other supernatural oddities are available to some or all characters. Depending on the setting, your character may be able to cast spells, use psionics, activate nanotechnology, etc. If this is the case with your character, please ask a GM if you are unclear what you are able to do with those abilities. We often leave descriptions of such powers vague to encourage player creativity. If you want to accomplish something, talk to your GM.

Playing a Character Unlike You

The world is a really big place–even bigger when you include all of our fake worlds. And there are a lot of people out there. You may end up playing a character who is unlike you in significant ways. Maybe she’s very religious and you the player are a humanist. Maybe he’s LGBTQ and you’re full-on Kinsey 0 straight. Maybe you and your character are not the same gender.

Typically live-action gamers roll with these things. If you do feel uncomfortable, we first ask that you ask yourself if it’s really a problem. Men were playing women when Shakespeare was casting his plays. Hollywood actors play all kinds of roles without batting an eye. You won’t be forced to do anything you don’t want to do–we won’t make the Catholic player actually act out his character’s bloody demonic sacrifice ritual. We won’t make you get physically intimate with anyone you don’t want to (in fact…we’d rather you not get physically intimate with anyone during the game…come on, man.)

It’s just a game, everyone else is something they aren’t too.

Help a Brother or Sister Out

Finally, we welcome players who have never played in a live-action game before, and we rely on experienced players to help their fellow players out. If you notice a player who is struggling (as a player, not in character) or not having a good time, let a GM know, or see if there’s anything you can do to help. We have multiple GMs for each game, but we can’t see everything.

Similarly, if you are the one struggling, please remember Rule #1