Badass Larp Talk #8: Ten Tiny Tips to Keep Old Larpers Young!
There’s a term that a good friend of mine uses – “larp fatigue.” It’s the feeling that can set in when you’ve been playing the same game for years, whether it’s a weekend boffer game or a parlor larp at a friend’s place. Those veterans in the audience know what I’m talking about – it’s the point when you realize you don’t know half the characters around you (and aren’t as interested in finding out about them as you used to be), when you see dread enemies lay waste to scores of people and think “well, that’s going to be a mess on the forums later”, when you start grouching about how things used to be in the good old days of the game, etc. A lot of the time it passes on its own if you just rally a bit and immerse yourself back in the game, but sometimes you might need a bit more of a push to chase away the dark clouds.
So with that in mind, here are a few tips for veterans who want to fight off “larp fatigue” and stay invested in the game. As always, of course, nothing about these rules is set in stone, especially if your character has a particular IC reason to be a certain way. (For example, #7 might not be as relevant if for some reason your character is not prone to big displays of emotion for IC reasons.) But in general, hopefully these tips will help inspire you veterans to fight off fatigue and apathy and come to fall in love with your games all over again. Because good games really are worth the effort. Here goes:
10) Don’t cut corners. New players often learn their bad habits by watching older players who slack off. If you don’t care, neither will they. If you want the game to stay strong, help lead by example.
9) Learn people’s names. It’s a little thing to you, but it can be huge for a new player when a veteran knows who they are. When you stop bothering to learn names, it’s often a big sign of fatigue.
8) Characters often organize into IC cliques. There’s nothing wrong with gaming with your friends – that’s why many of us do it! – but make sure you socialize outside your crew sometimes too.
7) Energy is contagious. Make sure you communicate fear and joy, pride and loss, as much as possible. Other people pick up on it … and it is also a big middle finger to game fatigue.
6) Take breaks now and then, whether it means playing an alt, volunteering to NPC for a bit, or even taking a game or two off. This is especially true if playing starts to feel like a chore.
5) Resist cynicism and mockery if the game seems to be changing OOC in ways you don’t like. Try to be constructive instead – volunteer, offer to help, give advice to new players, etc.
4) Get to know people outside of game, even if it’s just a diner trip after a session or the occasional forum post. Larps are communities, and knowing everyone helps keep you invested.
3) Set three goals – a short term goal for each session, a long term goal for a season or so, and a challenge goal that will be very difficult to achieve. Goals keep things fresh and characters busy.
2) Keep the old stories alive. Tales of battles won, friends lost and challenges overcome give a game history and depth, and make people really feel they’re part of an ongoing story.
1) Forget the “game” and embrace the story. It can be hard to see your 100th fight is as scary and intense as your first, but when you give up even trying, none of them ever will be again.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep my sweets.
And there are always new paths to find.
Badass LARP Talk is a semi-regular advice series for gamers who enjoy being other people as a hobby. Like what you read? Click on the BLT or Badass LARP Talk tag on this entry to find others in the series, follow me on Twitter @WriterPete, or subscribe to the blog for future updates!