The five things I wished I’d known before getting into LARPing would probably be:
1. Engage. Whether it’s as the storyteller making sure that everyone coming out to your games is in some manner being engaged, or the players making sure that they’re coming to the game looking for ways to get involved in the story with the rest of the cast, this is perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned from LARPing – maybe even gaming in general. In many ways the collaborative games that tend to be the common place among the Live Acton community – like Improv – requires that you be prepared to say yes. Only when this happens can the truly memorable occur.
2. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’re complaining about being bored, make sure you’re trying to engage with the other players and have become vested in the story the cast is collaboratively telling. Even if you are, if you’re trying to play it safe, then you’re likely going to find yourself left out of the more “dangerous” scenes. This is not the place to be playing it safe. Even non-combatants can be very important to the successful outcome of a scene, and should never sit out thinking they have nothing to contribute. Everyone brings something.
3. Time outs are completely acceptable. Whether it’s because you need a chance to understand what’s happening, and make the decision your character would most likely make, or because you simply need a chance to step away and not make an emotional one, you should never feel like you’re pressured into making a decision in the heat of the moment. I’ve known storytellers’ who needed the time to regroup and adjust their narrative, or players that liked to explore decisions on both the character as well as the “author” level, time outs can be very helpful.
4. Group concepts should be encouraged. Not only do they provide a “safe” fall back place if you’re the type of player who finds it a little daunting interacting with strangers, but increases the chances of your group getting pulled into the story’s plot.
5. And as we learned the hard way from our trip down to Gen Con – Remember that LARPing can be a 4+ hour commitment. So make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, and if given the opportunity take a load off and conserve your feet. You’ll be much happier at the end of the night.