LARP and the Failure of games

This is a post I made about issues the game I am a part of has been having. I thought I might add it here because it could apply to any LARP

Ok folks I am newish to the group, for a few years I have been hanging around the edges trying to join a game and have fun. Unfortunately until now I have failed to do that. It always seemed like I was not welcome and that the games were not looking for new players. The MC system seemed to promote the idea of an old boys club and it was reinforced by the fact that people tended to meld into cliques at the games. To compound that was the extensive amount of rules and revisions that were being used that changed the books which made it even harder for an outsider to come in and play.

This changed for me when the Garou game started. I came with a large group of my friends and to combat what I usually saw we all just formed a pack and basically ignored the other players. To add to that the ST proved to be interested in our story and made a point of spending time with our pack and doing things with us. This helped since we had no mc and thus were the basic of basic characters and not able to hang with the people with a lot of mc and extra points. So this got us into the game and allowed me to see how the Cam really operated.

You must understand I have been playing for decades, I was not a new LARPER. But I always played in troup games and all of my experiences with the Cam had been negative. So I had preconceived notions of everything and most of those were wrong of course. But some things are the way I perceived them and that is what is causing problems with the current domain. Now don’t get me wrong most of these problems exist in other groups of LARPERS and in no way am I saying this is a unique situation. But it has been magnified by the bureaucracy of the Cam and the inclusion and exclusion of multiple groups.

The first issue I have seen is all about authority. Who is in charge and who has the final say. LARPERS are prima donnas by nature. They all (including me) want to be their own special snowflakes. After all THEY have this great idea for a character and THEY think it is completely original. As such they become hyper invested in what they want. You have to have a ST that can and will say no. But with the bureaucracy of the Cam there are layers of authority. You have the ST for game, the ST for the neighboring game, the domain st, regional…..well you get the point. This sets up a situation where the local ST does not have the final say on things, there are the approvals where even though an ST likes something for their game others get to veto that thing. You have situations where one st lets something happen and then it directly affects another st’s game in a way they have no control. Then you have the fact that a st really cannot do everything they want to do in their game for fear that it will be disallowed by those above her. LARP needs to be a dictatorship not a democracy. LARPERS are not ready for democracy and it just leads to chaos. The local ST should be able to do what they want when they want and if they get out of line then the players can chuck them.

On the topic of being invested into characters the next thing I have seen (and this is not only the cam) people seem to believe that what happens to their characters is actually happening to them. Anything negative that happens to a character is obviously bad and an attack upon them as a player. “They” dislike me and are doing things to my character. Things I have personally seen are switching characters in the same night to avoid having things done to a character. Playing a different character or not showing up for a few games hoping things will blow over. Going to different games to avoid issues. Rules lawyering to try and get out of things. Going over a ST’s head in the hopes of proving malicious intent. Or even pitting ST versus ST. The thing is that bad things happening to a character is not a bad thing. That is a part of the story being told and your character is a main part of that story. These things are not attack upon the player but attacks upon the character and instead of embracing it many are hiding from it. The player does not want their snowflake to become darkened with some dirt that they did not apply themselves.

Next issue is communication, hell look at what we have had to do just to resolve some things that should have been an easy fix by a storyteller. It seems like most people here assume the worst of their fellow players. This person cheats, that person uses out of character info, this person just dislikes me. Now imagine a world where you see something you do not agree with and instead of assuming they cheated, after game sat down with them and ask “hey how did you do that? Or hey man what were your motivations there?” Sure not always will the answers be to your liking but with just a little communication you may have been able to avoid all this crap. Oh and make no mistake this is all crap that we as players have brought upon ourselves, because we have chosen not to speak with one another like adults.

Another issue that we all have had is that we have forgotten the prime directive for all games. Have fun God dammit. Drama and its ugly step sister ego seems to be what we want to do. We should be doing our damndest to insure that the guy or gal next to us is having fun. If the person you are talking to is not having fun you as a player have failed. Each one of us is a storyteller and each player around us are our players. We have a choice in whether we can add to a story or not add to a story. But it is a two way street the player you are speaking with has the same obligation. But unfortunately many of us have decided that their snowflake is more important than the other persons snowflake. When you are in a room with ten other people having fun most likely you will also have fun. But when you are in a room with a bunch of people not having fun you will most likely not have fun. Its your call.

In the end guys I am an adult. I have kids, a wife, a job, and a car payment. I am a 36 year old man pretending to be a werewolf as a form of entertainment. But the things that are happening now are making me want to stay at home and play chess with a computer. I do not come to game for out of character drama. I do not like to see my email full of whining, back stabbing, and maneuvering. Some of you may think you are trying to make the game “fair” for others. Or maybe just “fair” for you. But really what is going on is that many of you are killing your own games. The prime directive is not “I am a special little snowflake” it is have fun and many of you have forgotten that. Or perhaps never even knew it because your fun is more important than everyone elses. Are you all having fun yet?


2 thoughts on “LARP and the Failure of games

  1. Could you please define some of the abbreviations you are using? LARPing sounds interesting, but I have no idea what an MC, Cam or ST are. Great write up. Sounds, like you have the passion to start your own group.


  2. Sure Cam means the Camarilla which is a actual world wide group that sponsors the World of Darkness LARPS. MC is member class, this is gained by doing things in the camarilla that helps out the group. If can give you experience points or access to powers. ST is the storyteller or game master. They run the show. I was writing this to an internal group before deciding to also post it here. I should have been more thoughtful since my audience is broader. Thanks for the request.


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