How LARP Works PDF Print E-mail
Elven Archer

HeroQuest is a player-versus-monster LARP system, as opposed to a player-versus-player (PVP) system.  For us this means there are three groups of people involved on any larp event:

  • players - those people who have come along to play their self-created character for the entire event
  • monsters - also known as crew, this group of people will take on a number of different roles within the world, as non-player-characters (NPCs)
  • referees - who create and run the plot behind the event

The referees will run a series of encounters, where in each one the monsters will be given appropriate costume, and briefed on their background, combat capabilities and a motivation/reason for the role.  It is up to the players to decide how they interact with the encounter: you may wish to fight these monsters or you may decide that talking is a better alternative.

LARP Battleboard

If the players decide to fight the monsters, once the fight has ended the referee will call a "time out".  This is a temporary cessation to role-playing and a short time for players to talk normally with each other.  During the time-out, the referee will speak with each player individually and go through:

  • all the damage inflicted upon that character
  • all the healing received by that character

This is known as a "battle board".  At the end of the battleboard, all characters will be briefed on how injured they are (or whether they are dying).  They then assume the positions their characters were in prior to the break, and "time in" is called.  At this point, the players resume role-playing their characters.  

Why the Battle Board?

In low-hit systems, maybe one blow to your leg might immediately disable that limb, or just two blows to your body may render you unconscious.

HeroQuest is a high-hit larp system.  This allows those people who aren't superb trained fighters in real life to participate fully in the combat, to compensate for real-world limitations that your character might not have.  "High hits" means you can take a number of blows that you didn't manage to parry, and continue fighting (subject to your character's abilities).  Of course, if you ARE a kendo supremo then you'll still be able to enjoy the combat - the numbers of monsters and players means that everybody gets to be challenged in some way.

The slight downside of a high hit system is that there's more for you to remember and process during a combat, but that's where the referee comes in to make things easy for you.  They do the mental arithmetic, you do the fighting!


On each larp event, there are three types of referees in HeroQuest:

  • main ref - who has written the majority of the plot for the event and co-ordinates its running
  • monster ref - looks after the costumes, weapons and monsters during the event
  • player ref - stays with the players, to advise them on any rules queries, to assist with any out-of-character issues, and to keep the players informed as to what state their characters are in at any time

Numbers vary according to the type and scale of event being run; our 6-day Quest events tend to have more referees to help manage things, as do the multi-party Adventure Weekends.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 02 February 2014 19:38
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