The Freeform Book

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The Freeform Book

Morgana Cowling
The Australian Games Group

The Freeform Book is an early introduction to "freeform" or theatre-style live action roleplaying. It was published by The Australian Games Group in 1989. The book includes chapters on playing, running and writing freeforms, as well as simple dice-based mechanics.

Definition of "freeform"

The Freeform Book includes one of the first definitons of a freeform or theatre-style larp, comparing it to a play where the actors know a little bit about their characters but have lost the script:

And that's just what a Freeform is. The players are the actors. They set about achieving their [sic] objectives of the characters. The script is all ad-lib... A little character background is given... to get the players going, and of course, the objectives each players hopes to achieve. Thus the freeform is born.[1]

Cowling suggests three broad types of game: "the whodunnit", where the players must identify the murderer(s); "plot, subplot, scheme and scandal" focused on politics and negotiation; and "the common denominator" in which every character is pursuing the same (or one of a limited set of) goal.


The Freeform Book includes three small games:

  • Lunch With Mason (11 players)
  • Temple of the Winds (15 players)
  • By Royal Appointment (14 players)

All three games use the dice-based mechanics featured earlier in the book.


  1. Morgana Cowling, The Freeform book (TAGG, 1989), p. 5.