What is a letter larp?

First of all- Why is it called letter larp?

Sometimes we (speaking from the perspective of Swedish organisers) have been asked why we call our projects larps instead of just roleplay, and there are several reasons for this. The first reason is simply that the first game of this type that we participated in was called a letter larp, and we decided to continue with that tradition. Not only that, but we have other reasons than pure habit for maintaining the term letter larp though the years. In Sweden, where this all began for us personally, the term roleplay tends to be reserved mainly for tabletop roleplay specifically, or chat-based roleplay; stories where you describe your actions rather than do them. In a letter larp this is not the case, since you actively pick up your pen and your ink, write the words on appropropriate paper and send physical letters to your contacts. This allows for a different kind of immersion than regular tabletop roleplay provides.

What exactly is a letter larp?

As stated on the first page, a letter larp is what it sounds like- a larp played through the medium of written letters. There is a great charm in creating historical letter larps where you have an opportunity to bring out your quill or fountain pen, your ink, seal, wax, type writer and so on. But, of course, letter larping is not limited to only historical larps. How about a post-apocalyptic setting? Mutants? Sci-fi? Any kind of setting where you might imagine people would write to each other works. The general idea, which all of these have in common, is that you create a character, then write letters that feel appropriate for the setting, both in content and in materials, and via the regular post keep up a correspondence with other player characters. Now, as we all know the postal service can be slow, and you may not have time to sit down and write everyday, so this is more of a slow burn larp than most other traditional games. A letter larp is therefore a project spanning over a longer period of time, preferably at least a few months long.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash