Origin Stories: The Phenomenological Relationship Between Players and their Characters


  • Ryan Blackstock




Vampire: the Masquerade, larp, benefits, psychology, phenomenology, identity


Using a phenomenological research model, this study explores the question “How is a consciously embodied persona experienced through live action role-play?” Narrative accounts of twelve research participants were obtained via face-to-face interviews. Four themes emerged: 1. Continuum of personalization; 2. Stream of embodiment; 3. Freedom; and 4. Character as teacher. Four of Moustakas’ universal structures are presented as phenomenological underpinnings of the experience: spatiality, causality, relationship to self, and relationship to others. Larp is a complex process, which offers the players opportunities to bend the rules of typical social engagement. Larp provides fun, excitement, social interaction, personal growth, and self-exploration. Some players described that risk was present as the boundaries between game and life were blurred, but the majority of participants found larp to be safe and personally enhancing.




How to Cite

Blackstock, R. (2016). Origin Stories: The Phenomenological Relationship Between Players and their Characters. International Journal of Role-Playing, (7), 5–9. https://doi.org/10.33063/ijrp.vi7.251