LARPing in Color: Is It Possible to Make Larps more inclusive?

Lawrence Moore, LINC’s founder, is the creator of the Pantheon LARP system, which began playtests in 2017 and formally launched in 2019.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to connect with Lawrence Moore, the founder of Larping in Color (LINC).

LINC is a non-profit organization that works to connect larp creators with consultants who review their games and rules with an eye to making games as welcoming as possible for folks from diverse backgrounds, especially people of color and LGBTQ+ folks.

LINC presently has five employees, Christopher Tang, Ashley Naron, Jeanette Esparza, Dr. Rachael Cofield, and Lawrence Moore, who founded LINC. Moore is the creator of the Pantheon LARP system, and he was inspired to create LINC based upon his own experience as a queer Black man navigating the larp scene in the Atlanta area.

One campaign that is in the works (probably a few months out) is the Normalize Paid Emotional Labor (NPEL) Program. Presently, there is a problem in many larp communities in which players of color find themselves burdened with the unpaid emotional work of having to address racism within their gaming groups. Moore believes that the emotional labor of mitigating bias within a community should be acknowledged as a form of skilled labor, and that normalizing it as a paid position will help make it easier for players of color to opt out when this work falls upon their shoulders in a way that is unwanted.

Right now LINC is preparing to run a series of low-cost online workshops to help larpmakers make better design decisions to support players of color. The first workshop, which will be led by Mytrice Allen on the topic of Implicit Bias, is scheduled for January 15th, 2022.

Other services LINC provides include connecting larpmakers with consultants who offer what they call “sensitivity readings” of rulebooks and game systems. A sensitivity reading is a line-by-line approach that notes any aspects of the game system that players of color or LGBTQ+ players might find troublesome.

For gamemakers who want a more holistic approach, LINC also can connect them with consultants who can work with them from the beginning of the creation of their game, helping guide the process of creating the rulebook and developing the game community, helping create a strong foundation of inclusivity for players of color and LGBTQ+ folks from the get-go.

While LINC connects larpmakers to paid consultants, the organization does not charge for the work of making these connections. LINC is funded largely through their patreon page and donations. While LINC specializes in campaign-style larps with rulebooks, they are prepared to work on other types of larp and interactive media on a case-by-case basis.