LARP War Journal: Playing The Villain
I’ve seen this topic floating around, though it took me until now to really let this topic of discussion sink in. When you play in a LARP, your default mode tends to be wanting to play the hero. For some reason every seems to be afraid to play the villains when that normally will mean that you lose. A thought that confuses me because I never thought the only way to have fun is to be on the winning side.
If you ask me, playing the villain is the best role you can take up. What is more fun than antagonizing the other player characters who are forced to play by the rules? When you choose to play the hero, that means you are sticking to that path and nothing else. There is no one minute being the hero and the next minute cutting off someone’s head for looking at you funny. That’s just being inconsistent and directionless. It takes a brave soul to stand there and be the target of everyone’s aggression and war efforts. To say damn the chance that you either win or lose. I mean if you properly antagonize a group or individual to act against you, doesn’t that mean you already win? In this role you have everything to gain and nothing to lose when you go all in.
It all really tends to come down to the person. When you play the villain, you have to be able to separate yourself from the character you are playing. You also have to be able to separate the person from the character you are interacting with, especially if they are a friend. The only way to run into trouble is if you can’t pull that off because the key is to allow yourself to pull fewer punches in what will get you the desired reaction from others.
There’s one group in my LARP game that impressed me and they are called Ched Nasad. A lot of the time they may be looked at as if the lowest of the low in the realm. It may not be true, but the whispers spread so far that it is simply a thing. Any group like them might take some serious offense to that or walk away, though they took full advantage of this opportunity given to them to embrace the label. We have a new King who will bring some changes to the realm for better or for worse. Ched just so happened to be the one group able to stand up and refuse to acknowledge his reign. In character, on and off the field they made their stance known in a creative way. They stood against the King when he was fighting for his throne, they stood with the harems when they were being chased out, they stood vocal in everything defiant of his vision for the realm. That was what we needed and they were happy to step up to the plate.
I should say villain doesn’t even have to be full-on chaotic evil. Not to say I don’t love a good “Being evil because I can and feel like it” as that is a forgotten art these days. Chaotic evil can be fun, though I’m sure a story will benefit most from actions that genuinely influence other actions and decisions. When the group I played with were still Drow, we were more of that militaristic force that didn’t care for many others who weren’t Drow. Well I guess that is most Drow, though you get the picture. For us it was as simple as looking at every one of them in disgust. If things were too quiet, the next move was to try to start something with another group we didn’t agree with. It didn’t matter the outcome as long a there was conflict stirred up.
Overall, playing the villain is all about trying to be that guy who everyone hates and commanding that role. To be able to do this and people see a completely different person than who they know underneath. You have to toss the rules out, all petty feelings towards winning, and show the other characters that whatever peace they are looking for is laughable. Even when you are down and beaten, you have to feel like you are still the victor and in control. You make sure that they know that too.