I’m amused by LARP slang. I love how each region has its own body of terms and buzz words.
There are two pieces of LARP jargon, however, that I want to vent about briefly. This is a pet peeve, not a big deal, but I want to say it…
The first occurs in the question, “Do you have First Aid?” This peculiar phrasing makes sense to us because of the way we build characters. You “buy” skills like First Aid, and then you either have them or you don’t. But from our character’s point of view, there is no character sheet. You don’t “have” First Aid, you know it. Whenever somebody asks me, “How many levels of formal magic do you have?” or “How many proficiencies do you have?” I’m tempted to check my pockets.
The second piece of jargon is “physical representation”, often abbreviated to “physrep” or just “rep”. One the surface, it makes sense. The weapon sheathed at your side made of kitespar and tape isn’t really a sword, it represents a sword. It is a “sword rep”. Here, the word rep is referring to a physical object which exists in the real world, an object which signifies a real sword in the world we’re mutually imagining.
The same concepts exists in the theatrical world. It’s called a “prop”. If somebody in a play has a gun in their hand, it’s probably just a prop representing a gun. But would the actors call it a gun rep? No, they’d either call it a prop, or just call it a gun. And the people in the play’s universe would never call it a prop.
Our usage of the word rep is inappropriate when we use it to refer to things which don’t need a stand-in prop to represent them. For example, the spell circle of power requires that you draw a circle on the ground to mark the border of the spell. In the common vernacular, this real line on the ground is called a circle rep. It often refers to a length of rope or wire which is used as the material component for the spell. You hear players ask, “Can I borrow your circle rep?” or “Which side of the rep are you on?”
In that context, what is the piece of rope representing? It’s representing itself! It’s an indexical prop (see p211) and doesn’t need the clunky “physrep” jargon. It is something that exists in the same form inside and outside of the imaginary universe. Our characters really are carrying around lengths of rope and wire, they are not “reps” for anything.
Like I said, these are little pet peeves, not really a big deal. They bug me because they are out-of-game language which constantly creep into in-game conversations. They draw my attention to the fact that I’m playing a game. To me, it’s sort of like if you’re watching a horror movie, and you’re really in the moment, and the guy next to you leans over and says “Relax, it’s just a movie.” I know that, but I’m trying to ignore it!