13 MORE Tips On Being A Better LARP Player

There are some things you can do that will especially help out your Game Master in running a fun game, maintaining a good relationship with their venue and keeping the players around you happy and involved.

These focus on out-of-character behaviours that can really help the game experience. If you’d like to read the earlier article, check out 13 Tips on Being A Better LARP player.

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13 Tips On Being A Better LARP Player

It’s always good to find out the best ways to get involved and help everyone have a fun time. So I’ve listed out some handy tips on building a better community by being a better player.

These tips focus on out-of-character behaviours that can make the overall game a better experience for all involved. Naturally there are ways to improve your portrayal of character, ability to engage with plot and skill at creating captivating characters, but that’ll be the focus of future articles. For now let’s look at creating a great game environment for all involved.

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Managing Bleed Through Game Design

Bleed is a LARP term defining emotional crossover between a player and their character. It’s not a bad thing. The rush of excitement on finding an important gadget and the satisfaction of an in-game job well done are also bleed. Bleed can also occur when our experiences affect our character’s behaviour such as when a player’s exhaustion leads to their typically free-wheeling character becoming quiet and withdrawn.

Other emotions such as fear, guilt and sorrow can also be entertaining experiences in a LARP that help us feel immersed.  There are plenty of players who will specifically attend a LARP that is designed to invoke an emotion that we may typically avoid in real life.  How many people attend horror LARPs for the possibility of feeling, just for a moment, a whiff of actual fear?

The problem arises when these emotions overwhelm us or when they persist over time.  It is one thing to feel sad during a character’s funeral and it’s another thing altogether to be crying over a fictional death a few weeks later.  Yet just as events in a television show can affect us long after we have stopped watching, so can a LARP continue to affect our emotions well after the scene ends.

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10 Steps to Manage Your Own Bleed

Bleed is a LARP term defining emotional crossover between a player and their character. Whenever you (as a player) feel an emotion due to the in-game reality or your character is impacted by your real world feelings, you are experiencing bleed.

Bleed includes the rush of excitement on finding an important gadget, the satisfaction of a job well-down and the sorrow of seeing a character die.  It also includes when your character refuses to go out on a mission because you (the player) are tired and need a nap.  In other words, it’s a natural part of the game and refers to the highs and lows that often inspire people to come along and get involved.  After all, you can feel sad when you see a character die on a movie or a play, why not in a LARP?

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10 Tips To Being A Great LARP NPC

We’ve touched a fair bit on how to be a great player in a LARP game but there’s also a group of people who can really make or break a LARP. A group of people who don roles created by the LARP writers and game masters to people the wider world, providing extra conflict and excitement during a session. These are the quest givers and the witnesses, the police who investigate the character’s crimes and the monsters that lurk in the forests. They add a lot to the game world but with the power to shape so many players’ experiences comes a great responsibility to do so well.

  1. Play to WIN the hearts and minds of the players. Too often people get caught up in the idea that they must win the conflict (physical or otherwise) or be sure to lose it when truly the goal is to entertain those around you and help the players write their narrative.
  2. Read your NPC bios and ask any questions you may have. You’ll be a much better NPC if you’re briefed on the scenario, likely choices and situations in the local area.  That way you won’t be surrendering when you’re meant to be fearless or talking about cheese in a world without milk.
  3. Congratulate the players on their skilful manoeuvres after the session. Odds are you saw more of their manipulations than the other PCs did.  Certainly never pay them out for their poor decisions.  We all make them.  Mistakes are part of playing one’s character and lacking a wider understanding of the game.  They should be embraced — don’t ridicule someone for making them.
  4. Read about body language tricks so that you can better depict your character and help differentiate them from others.
  5. Eat something for breakfast, or bring something with you if you can’t stomach food so early. That way you don’t get grumpy and fatigued as the day wears on.  And definitely drink water — or cordial if you just don’t like the taste of water.
  6. Be gentle with new players, in particular. Work with them and help make their hopes and dreams a reality!  This may be through targeting their character for a kidnapping, giving them the chance to make a speech or throwing their favourite monster into the fray.
  7. Remember that your NPC is most likely not omnipotent or omniscient. If it would be appropriate, assume your NPC doesn’t notice if the players try genre appropriate behaviours like sneaking up on your camp, eavesdropping from behind a tree or pocketing a key from a table.  Bonus points if you don’t tell them you saw them afterwards!
  8. Bring your own costuming, if you have it, and learn how to apply makeup or face paint if it would be appropriate for your game and you have the capacity to do so.
  9. Understand how much wiggle room for improvisation you actually have. If you’re not told, than ask.  Some games allow their NPCs far more free will than others.  Your GM’s response will depend on how events are scheduled, how cohesive the vision must be and whether your own gameplay desires are likely to mesh with the setting, player expectations and overall theme and style of the game.
  10. React to hits in a combat LARP. Nothing makes a person feel more special than when they land a blow and their enemy grunts in pain, shrieks in terror or otherwise responds as though they had been hit.  Heck, if your LARP involves dice-based combat you can respond to the player’s dice rolls as well!