How do you play?

As with any kind of larp there are a multitude of ways to create and play a letter larp. However, the basic idea can be described in the steps below.

1. Somehow a setting is created, either by organisers or collectively among players. Other guidelines should also be decided upon, ranging from time frame to materials to themes, etc.

2. Players either create their own characters or are given characters by the organisers. Remember at this stage to create characters who have some reason for wanting to correspond via letters. Playing the quiet mysterious figure in the corner of the bar doesn’t really work for letter larping for obvious reasons.

3. Connections between characters are formed. This can be done by the organisers, or by the players themselves. Decide what your relationship between your characters will be. Are you old friends? Rivals? Colleagues? Family? Strangers who have just met?

4. At a given date you start writing letters to your contacts, and thus the larp has begun. Remember to decide who will send the first letter so that you don’t both start at the same time and create confusion as to whose turn it is to write next.

5. Keep on writing until the game ends. The beginning and end can be a bit fuzzy in letter larps unlike in traditional larps, because even if you have agreed on a certain time frame it is quite possible for more players to join in the game along the way (unless you have decided to ban this option). It is equally possible for players to drop off for a period of time, or entirely, since life has a habit of disrupting plans sometimes, while other players continue with their story long after the larp has ended. It would therefore be possible to have a larp running indefinitely, where people can join and leave as they choose during a period spanning potentially many years.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash