xplorers, a New Jersey
-based medieval fantasy LARP
L.A.I.R.E. fills a social function somewhere between the SCA and paper-based games like Dungeons and Dragons. Players develop characters, and pay a fee to participate in monthly events held over a weekend at Camp Sacajawea (which also hosts Knight Realms events). The administration provides plots and referees, assigns NPC roles, and maintains the rules and character records.
The plots unfold in the Duchy of Avalon, divided into 5 baronies, and which supports a variety of factions: guilds, secret societies, and noble families. Characters develop in association with one (or more) of these factions. Some sorts of characters are limited in number; if you want to be a Sorceror, you have to wait for an opening in their ranks to be accepted. Obviously, advancement to positions of leadership in a faction is likewise limited.
Within reason, as approved by the administration, characters can be of any fantastic race (dark elf, elf, half-orc, vampire, nimling (akin to Dragonlance kender), dwarf, etc.)
Character abilities are defined by race and class - skills and special abilities are organized into various lists, from which players can purchase abilities with character points. One may buy skills at increased cost from non-native lists, e.g. a mage might select Waylay (similar to the AD&D rogue's Backstab ability), but it would be "cheaper" to just buy a spell that does something similar (Sleep or Paralyze).
To maintain safety and limit expense, players use foam weapons, which must be inspected and approved by referees (or purchased from an approved weaponmaker). Archers typically use Nerf arrows. Offensive spells are cast by throwing "spell packets", i.e. beanbags, and must be accompanied by a properly-recited spoken component. The attacker calls out damage or effects when the spell packet or weapon hits the target's body: "Two damage!" "Waylay, stun!" "Shield-breaker!" Hitting other players in the head is a big no-no; the admins can suspend players for dangerous lack of restraint.
While death is the ultimate price of heroic failure, resurrection is a staple of the genre. L.A.I.R.E. limits the number of times a character may be resurrected, by giving each character a bag of 19 white marbles and one black. Each time the character is resurrected, a marble is drawn. If a black marble is chosen, the character is permanently dead; if the marble is white, the resurrection is successful, but the marble is discarded and replaced in the bag with a black one.