Vault 57 - Photo by Oliver Facey.

Welcome to Part Two of the Definitive Guide to LARP! In case you missed it, make sure to check out Part One right here.

Every LARP system will have its own ‘language’ but there are some terms that you will likely hear in almost any system. Consider this one a glossary of some generic LARP terms! Remember that this will not necessarily be the same for all systems.

“OC/OOC” – Out of Character.

Self-explanatory can refer to any interaction that is spoken as yourself and not as your character. Can also refer to out of character camping.

“Okay, OC, where did you get that sword? It’s amazing!”

“I’m just going to go to OC quickly, need to grab something.” 

“IC” – In Character.

Self-explanatory like the above, this refers to any interaction during the game as your character. Also refers to the in-game area.

“Hey, this is an IC area, can you put the can away please?”

“Are we IC yet? Has time in been called?”

“PC” – Player Character

A character that is created and played by the player. The standard character that you will play until you retire or die!

“NPC” – Non-Player Character

A character usually created by the Game Team of the system and is possibly played by different people, depending on who is available. They are not a player character, and usually only available at certain times for PCs to interact with. They can be quest givers or offer problems for PCs to overcome, they can be villains coming to size you up before an attack, or they may simply be a local villager. The possibilities are endless!


NPC baddies who need to be taken down!


Particularly nasty monsters.

“Be careful, there’re Gribblies on the path.”


Like in sports, a ref is someone (who is easily identifiable, but uniform varies by system) who enforces the rules. They’ll take care of everyone, make sure you’re playing safely and answer any questions you have. They’re super great people who are usually veteran players and volunteers.

“Faction ref”

A ref who helps run/ref a faction.

“1/2/3 IC”

An IC faction referee. They will play characters as well as reffing and will handle most of the issues in game for your faction. The 1/2/3 refers simply to the chain of command, 1 being the lead ref.

Future's End LARP
Future’s End. Photo by Beth Dooner.

“Man Down”

Hopefully a rare call, but important for everyone to know. It varies on system to system on who can make the call, but usually, it will be a referee. If you hear man down, it means that someone has out of character been hurt and needs immediate attention. To help referees and medics attend the scene, take a knee and if you are near the casualty point to them so that those helping know exactly where to go. You will be told when you can continue by refs.

“Time In”

A call made by a referee to tell everyone that the game has started and you should go straight into character. You will normally hear this call echo across the game by refs.

“Time Out”

A referee call to tell everyone that the game has finished. You can now drop your character and go back to out of character interactions. You will also hear this call echo across the game by refs.

“Time Freeze”

A referee call to tell everyone in earshot to stop what they’re doing and ‘freeze’ whilst a game aspect is being set up. During this, time is suspended in character. This is often used for things such as teleportation effects. “Time in” will be called when the referee is ready, you continue as if no time has passed and respond to whatever is new or different.


The in-between point between time in and time out, you can discuss IC things in an OC nature and it will still be considered in game. Usually happens right before “time out” when everyone’s a bit tired… Can also refer to a period after “time out” where some will want to finish their role play before calling it a day.


The period of time in between LARP events. Some systems in character time will continue between actual events, where you can submit research, send letters and assume your characters have gone off to do various things before showing up at the next event. Some systems do not implement downtime in their games, and each system’s rules should be checked to make sure of this.

Curious Pastimes LARP
Curious Pastimes. Photo by Peter Scott.


Games Organisation Desk. The combined Reception, Customer Service and Queries station for the event. For Curious Pastimes, it’s also for collecting character cards, vet picks and 2 silver at the beginning of the event and where players collect spell cards, certain vet picks and foraging or scrounging quests daily. Also where players go should their character die and wish to generate a new one. Name may vary between systems but every game will have one with a similar function. 

“Event team”

Identified by high-vis vests. They deal with safety, security, site upkeep, traffic and parking.

“Game team”

The main team of refs who aren’t aligned to a specific faction and run the game together.


Find Out In Play. This information is something players need to ask in game as their character.


Your costume/outfit for the LARP itself.

“Phys Rep” – Physical Representation

A phys rep is as it says on the tin. If you are an alchemist, you need the phys rep to go with it such as your alchemical supplies; vials, mortar and pestle, a chest to keep these items in. Phys rep can also apply to specific costume requirements, for example a beastman would need beast like phys rep to demonstrate their race. Eg. A cat beastman would perhaps need cat ears and tail phys rep.


A laminated card of special IC value. These are usually attached to a phys rep to distinguish what is special about them. For example, a silver dagger will be a regular dagger phys rep with a lammie on it that says ‘Silver’, or a necklace that can resist magic will have the lammie attached that reads as such. There are a range of lammies that can be obtained in many games that will have the relevant information on them that you need to know.

Empire. Photo by Oliver Facey.


A combination of powerful weaponry/items (through lammies) and through magic that a character has gathered over a certain period of time. You may also temporarily be granted buffs that make you mingy or minged up. If you hear that someone or a group has a lot of ming, they’re a powerful bunch and it’s probably a bad idea to mess with them… Go make friends instead!

“Hard skill”

Any skill OOC talent that the player (not their character) possesses, such as combat ability, physical endurance, running quickly, being good at logic problems, being good at public speaking etc.

“Soft skill”

Any skill a character possesses that the player may or may not. For example, magic spheres.


Linears are smaller adventures that take place during game time. Often a group of people will get together (Via plot) attend a linear. It may be a side mission that helps the main events plot or something more related to a faction plot usually held away from camps.

“Meat grinder”

Skirmish or battle with a very high threat level and chance for character death.


Green Cloaks LARP
Green Cloaks. Photo by Peter Scott.

“Stab safe”

In a number of systems, players cannot stab with a weapon unless they are weapons checked by a ref and deemed to be ‘stab safe’ this is identified on the weapon. For example, at Curious Pastimes a stab safe weapon is marked with a white ribbon. 

“Hero fighting”

Heroic scenic style fighting done for flare and effect. Good weapon swings, IC reactions to blows etc. A suggestion for newbies to follow on hero fighting is to swing their weapon in an arc of at least 3/4 of the weapons length before striking each blow. For stabsafe weapons they are looking more to bodily lunge with blows rather than just move their arm forward and backwards.

“Drum rolling”

To quickly strike repeatedly with a weapon in a way to maximise hits rather than role-playing. Not appreciated, refs will most likely tell you off for it if they see it.

Exiled on the Shores of Carmoa. Photo by Beth Dooner.

“Tree of Aah”

The toilet. Either an actual tree, a portaloo or toilet blocks. “I’m going to visit the tree of aah.”


Out of character packaging, mostly referring to drink cans. Unfortunately, the knights of old Albion don’t drink Monster or Carling, it goes against the immersion of medieval/fantasy games. Find yourself some more time appropriate drinking vessels, pour your drink and chuck them in the bin. More info on where you can find things like that is coming soon.

“Rule 7”

Don’t take the piss. This is very much an IC phrase as well as OC. OC, it asks people to simply not take the piss out of the game; chances are if you’re mocking what’s going on and being a nuisance, you probably won’t find yourself welcome at events very long.

From an IC perspective, Rule 7 can apply to those exploiting the system for personal gain and is frowned upon as it is going against the spirit of the game.

Of course, if you’re ever not certain about anything, just ask!


  1. The Basics 
  2. Lingo of LARP (This page!)
  3. Which System is for Me?
  4. Character Creation – Concept
  5. Character Creation – Kit
  6. Camping 
  7. Monstering and Crewing
  8. Emotional Impact
  9. The Plot Stick
  10. Winter

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