LARP War Journal: Falling to The Madness
From my observation LARPing, I feel that there is one thing that can ruin the experience for a player character. That would be when they fall into the trap of taking the game too seriously. This could be taking the fighting too seriously, the rules, or the idea of immersion. All these things and more can kill the experience for you when you allow one aspect of LARPing over others to blind you to what you could or should be enjoying.
For me, becoming a Goblin wasn’t something I was in the loop about when the change came for my country (unit/party). When they did this I was going through a period where I didn’t quite understand the why or want to neglect the character I was already developing. Not to mention I wasn’t all too interested in having to create a new kit just yet. It wasn’t until a day where I was till playing as my character while they were Goblins where I could see why they did what they did. We played Drow characters who are serious and militaristic. Winning mattered, rules mattered, as well as just despising almost everyone else who isn’t us. When you choose that kind of character, these qualities may sometimes show OOC. When that happens, some people assume the character and you are one in the same which can become troublesome. So the idea of Goblins sparked from the appeal of being characters who couldn’t be taken seriously, even as they mock you.
It was quite the adjustment, but it was only then that I was able to see where everyone else was going wrong as well. Making fun of the things people did came naturally when all of it is just in your face. The ones who played royalty characters were definitely the easiest because they held so tightly to to these titles and statuses. Then came those who worry about the rules so much that they can be thrown off by something you do that is outside of it. I can throw cabbage at you and suddenly whatever you were doing comes to a halt when you struggle to figure out what it does or if it is a legal weapon/spell. There’s also giving those who want a straight up fight a hard time. And of course there is messing with those who wear either too much or too little, mostly those who wear too little that is period.
Falling to the madness means understanding the world you have stepped into and how all you have to do is make it your own. There was at least one other group that over time realized the fun you can have when you give in to the shenanigans that are at the tip of your fingers. Exsilium is this group and whether it was their garb or their actions they understood exactly what happens when you take things less seriously and enjoy the experience. Between us we started a thing where you can simply annoy people through the use of vuvuzelas, among other instruments. You could argue immersion or whatever nonsense, but not everyone plays the same game where fun is defined by a period of time or book.
It is usually messing with the stronger fighters and book abiders which tends to be the most fun. Some of them will loosen up, but others tend to need a little more of a push. One thing can hurt a game, and that is players who get too wrapped up in winning. Sure when you play a game centered around fighting and war games it can come with the territory, but it also creates a dull atmosphere when that is all you come to expect. Fun in these games come from running into the unexpected. Especially when it is more than dealing with the same standard fighting with the same people over and over.
Immersion can even go so far before everyone is just another warrior, prince, princess, king or queen. Where is the excitement when no one wants to get a little creative to be more than human?
At the end of the day there are limits to how mad thing can get before its silly, though worthwhile is what you get when you get something out of the day that you didn’t the day before. An interaction worth telling a story about, a monster who made you jump out of your shoes, a crazy character who made you laugh, wielding an item that shakes up the ordinary. All of these things matter when trying to avoid action that falls stagnate.