Universal Phrases Used at all Imagine Nation Collective Events.
Brake: Is a term used to signal that a scene is becoming intense for the player. It tells a person that they can continue to play at the current level, but going any further emotionally might push the player into an uncomfortable situation.
Cut: This term is used to stop play in Nordic/Parlor or Theatrical LARPs. It is used when a player becomes uncomfortable with a scene or with a player.
Hold: This term is to be used only in emergencies. It is a complete stop of play. In boffer LARPing it usually constitutes an injury might have occurred. It should be echoed by all members in the vicinity to ensure all play stops.
All Ages Approved: This type of game excludes content or conflict resolution that might be seen as inappropriate for younger players. This does not necessarily mean that the game is specifically for younger players, but rather that one can reasonably expect to find content in the game that one might find in any other activity where parents/guardians or trusted adults might normally supervise children. Conflict resolution is generally non-touch or contact safe. Adult subject-matter in regards to violence, language, or overt sexuality is either non-existent or veiled in a way that obscures it from younger participants.
Mature Content: This type of game is generally geared towards an adult audience. The expectation is that participants are adults aged 18 or older. If younger participants are present, their parents or guardians have been informed of what content may appear, and have signed off on their child's permission to participate. Some Mature Content games may set a lower age limit in the 14-17 range, even with parental permission. Conflict resolution may fall into any of the categories listed in the "Style of Play" section. Content has a wide range, but could include simulations of violence or gore, uncomfortable situations, adult language, and adult conversation about sexuality.
Adult Only Material: This type of game bars all non-adults from participating, even with parental permission. This may be as either a result of incidental situations that could occur in the game, or because one particular "Adult Only" area is a part of the game's focus. Realistic representations of gore or violence may be present. Adult language is likely present. Nudity may be present. Situations related to violence or sexuality that test emotional boundaries (see below) may be considered extreme enough that the game director may not wish to expose it to non-adults.
Tests Emotional Boundaries: A game that tests emotional boundaries could fall into any category above, but the content may seek to intentionally cause "bleed," wherein the thoughts or emotions of either the character begin affecting the player, or vice versa. A game falling in this category might expose a player to stimuli that is intended to cause an emotional reaction. The stimuli is not always through pure role-play, and may include use of props or effects (light, darkness, sounds). The emotional boundaries that get tested are rarely happy ones: sadness, anger, rejection, resentment are often the feelings that may have a participant bursting at the emotional seams. While certainly games can cause intense feelings of happiness, forgiveness, or success, rarely do such feelings require any sort of warning to participants. These games often must take care to have safeguards in place in case boundaries get tested to the point of a player needing a break to collect themselves.
Sensitive Subject Matter: Games with sensitive subject matter may delve into any number of areas which might cause triggers or discomfort for participants. Depictions of slavery, torture, violence, gore, and imprisonment are some examples. Discussions espousing hateful rhetoric, blatant gender discrimination, racism, religious intolerance, sexual preference intolerance, or other such things--including the language that might come with it--might appear in the game. Game directors should take care to ensure that their players are well-informed that such subject matter may appear.
Style of Play
Theatrical - A style of game that is non-contact and uses different mechanical forms of narration to handle conflict resolution.
Contact Safe - A style of game that allows for limited contact, but is not intended to be a full simulation of near realistic combat. Often times these systems are 'lightest touch' or use other means of reducing the impact of contact.
Simulation Combat - A style of game that uses much more physical means to provide either sport like, or simulation, combat resolution for combat conflict resolution
Conceptual - A free-form style of game that offers limited guidelines in regards to conflict resolution, and relies heavier on player to player mitigation and conflict resolution.
Educational - A format of LARP that uses the medium of LARP to teach, educate, or instruct the participants and organizers.
Therapeutic - A form of LARP that uses the medium of LARP to assist individuals in addressing social, emotional, physical, or psychological subject matters with either rehabilitation or therapy as the primary focus.
Intent of Duration
Single Stand-Alone Session: These types of games are often called "one-shots." Many times, these are the types of games that are run at conventions or in living rooms. The game often relies heavily on mise en scène or back story so that participants are well-acquainted with the setting and role they are playing. The game is self-contained, and the story ends when the session ends. Used often for experimental games, combat games, or games that come to a quick resolution. This is comparable to a one-night only television special or a movie.
Non-conjoined Serial Session: These types of games run multiple sessions, often using a similar world setting, but the story or characters do not necessarily continue over from previous sessions. Either way, there is some disconnect that separates the new sessions from old; perhaps the story from a previous session affects completely new characters in a new session, or perhaps the characters are the same but the story is not at all dependent on what happened previously. A newcomer could go to one session of one of these games and it would feel like a "one-shot," while players that consistently participate in sessions will feel familiarity with themes or setting. This is comparable to a television show that is shot in episodic style: a new viewer can come in at any time and everything will make sense.
Serial Campaign Sessions: A game with this intent of duration has a story that expands over the course of several sessions. Characters, story, setting, and themes carry over each time. What happens in one session invariably affects what happens in future sessions. Newcomers get placed in the middle of a story that is already going on, like a character from your favorite television show that didn't appear until season two. Consistent players get to see their actions and the results of those actions play out over time. This is comparable to a television show that is shot in serial style: a new viewer may have to play catch up.
Networked Play Sessions: Not only does this generally follow the description of "Serial Campaign Sessions," but actions and story actually influence other locations within the game world, where other people are playing their own serial sessions. Characters can often visit multiple different locations, and their character exists in each game as the same entity. Each game that is part of the network generally has its own staff and player base, and run their own stories. Large stories may impact all of the networked games and their future stories. Items and statistics tend to be transferable between locations to create the feeling of a larger world. This is comparable to a television show that runs concurrently with spin offs: you can watch one, some, or all of them, and either way the story will still make sense.