Character Creator’s Log – Nevermind the Novel –

Some days it feels like I don’t even have the time to sneeze, much less map out a page turning back-story. Especially when, if what started out as a bit of fun… begins to feel like work, each sentence a strain.
The good news?
You don’t have to make the time, you don’t have to deal with any of it.

There are easier ways to flush out a character without going all David Copperfield
I Am Born
I Observe
I Have A Change
I Fall Into Disgrace
and all of its other tedious point-by… chin-nodding… plodding… points.

Besides, if you write it all out now, if you include every turn and twist, accolade and fault, where does the character have left to go/grow? Where is there room for someone new to enter their life or become a long-lost acquaintance, rekindled?
Or are you actually intent on playing out a mental-geriatric just waiting for Death to knock?

Better to recall how we all actually converse with and engage people.
Anecdotes. Tales to amuse, frighten and warn. Songs to belt out, lessons to learn, quirks to conceal and shy smiles that end in a rosy-blush.

Quick do me a favor… Find a copy of a play, a script, anything. Turn to the front.
What do you see? Probably something that looks like this?

Cast of Characters
George – 46- Member of the history department at NCU. Married to Martha.

Martha – 52- The daughter of the president of NCU. Married to George.

Nick – 28- A new member of the biology faculty at NCU. Married to Honey.

Honey – 26- Petite, bland wife of Nick.

This is where the play starts.
Whether you’re in the audience thumbing through the playbill, waiting for the lights to dim or reading through the script for the first time. This is what a Cast List gives.
Hardly anything.
An Name, Age, at least one ready Relationship with another character and a Profession.
A NARP, if you will… the absolute bottom barrel essentials of character-based larping.
This is the only OOC introduction I ever want.
How then, are we ever to get to know the character’s personalities, back-stories, where they came from or where they’re going? Or to put it another way, “What’s their deal?”
Simple. By observing. How they interact, how they speak. By what their body language is telling us. If they seem to always be lying or can’t keep a secret. Are they making others uncomfortable or welcome?

My secret key to strong RP is knowing how a character relates to others.
I firmly believe that having a working and most importantly, fluid, inner dialogue is more worthwhile then spending our time writing out an IC novel.

So stay tuned and join us as we tread down the well worn avenues of RP relationships and attempt to pry up the brickwork.

Advertisements

You’ve Lost That Learning Feeling

Most of us have stumbled into a game that we’ve gotten sucked into at some point in our lives. I’m not talking time wasters, no.  Nothing that is simply helping you bide the time so that you don’t have to make eye contract with strangers until your flight/name or serial number are called and you get to interact with the steward/doctor or guard of your ‘choice’. No. Not those. Those generally, can be put down at anytime and you’ll be free of any niggling ‘need’ reminders chiming in the back of your brain.

But if you think about it, I’m sure you can find something that you’ve at least lost a few hours of your life to, anything that’s shoved a chore, deadline or an interaction aside in pursuit of that one last item/level/plot point.  Something that’s actively stolen time/energy and study in order for you to upkeep your game.  Personally the most sleep I’ve ever lost has been at the hands of Play-by-Posts(PbP) and Multi-User Dungeon(MUD) games.

But I digress…
Picking apart those games and their (& my) “issues” are not what I wanted to write about today. Quite frankly, we’ve all wasted enough time on them already.

Yes, I do mean wasted.  While fun in the extreme, what do we actually gain from those games?  Where does knowing that the special combo move for game X is “Back-Back-B” actually get you, other then extremely specific in-game dominance & accusations of spamming?

Do you see where I’m heading here people?

But what if there was a type of game, where your levels, skills and good old fashion, hard-earned, know-how, translated across all platforms and incarnations? Something where you don’t have to spend the time to become a level 100 crafter/fighter/ expert in (__blank__) all over again? Well hey there friend, looks like you might want to be a larper!

Know why? Because practice makes perfect especially with larping.
Because larping is mostly a huge free-for-all of practice.
Especially when you consider that more and more larps, are moving towards a, “If YOU can do it, then your character can do it” model of rules through action.

Wanna be a warrior? Great! Come practice your sword/staff/bow/shield work!
Wanna be a crafter clothing/fashion designer?  Beautiful! People will actually pay/trade you for your creations as you learn and hone your crafting skills.
How about An Actor? A Sneak? A Writer? A Tracker? An Artist? A Chef? A Pompous Orator? (That last one’s mine. But I’m willing to share.)  Guess what? All can be practiced, built upon and perfected when you larp.
There’s very little in life that can match the warm thrill of a genuine complement from a friend or foe, who has noted your improvement or now lays beaten in the dust.

So come out and play. Practice your skills with us.
Once you know that you can, I don’t think you’ll ever want to stop.

Told By An Idiot

There is too much ‘hate’ in our lives.  You can’t go a day without hearing about it.
Someone hates their job, our government, their family… pick your poison.
Because it is.
Same old shit, different day and the tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow of it all can get pretty depressing.

So why don’t more of us embrace the concept of: Enthusiastic Ridiculousness?

It’s a brilliant phrase, one we should all thank Jenny Lawson for crafting.
In 2011 she was invited to the Ignite Evo Convention to speak on “whatever it is you’re passionate about” and then in just 9 minutes, armed with a 15 second demonstration she’s able to perfectly sum up the main idea/concept behind Larping better then most.
And she’s not even talking about larp.

Required Viewing:
Before we continue, watch this video first and all the way through please.

It echos the opening advice that I used to tell the ‘kids’…
Speaking to a large group or acting as if you’re another person can feel pretty silly.
Because it is.
It’s a kind of localized insanity… That your audience will accept whatever you choose to present to them as the truth, or the true you.  So why be nervous?  There’s no need to fear judgement when you have a rapt audience just waiting, wanting, ready to believe in every little thing you do. Now repeat after me.
“I’m about to look like an idiot and I’m comfortable with that.” Once you come to terms with this possibility and are able to truly laugh at yourself. The easy confidence that follows makes everything else cake.

So in acting, so in life, so in larp.
Don’t worry about trying to impress, win or prove yourself.
Just do it because it makes you furiously happy. I think you’ll find it’s contagious.

We Don’t Talk About LARP Club

I look around, I look around and I see a lot of new faces.
Which means some of you have been breaking the first two rules of LARP club…

Which is GREAT!
Those were some crap rules anyhow. I don’t know who in America decided that we shouldn’t speak of our hobby. Or that if we did, it should be in hushed tones parceled among the trusted few already within our circles… Or why for that matter, some want to keep it that way. Are we ashamed, still? Really? Especially since this self-imposed silence brings with it a swarm of other issues. But namely, it’s hindering our growth.

So. This ‘rule’ of silence, hasn’t served us well and while I’m pleased to see American bloggers/communities coming out of the woodwork to toss this one out with the bath water… I’ve also started to hear a notion of dissatisfaction… murmuring from around the communities and it threatens the growth and serious recognition of our hobby. An old, knee-jerk lament in new wrapping: The ‘old school’ vs ‘new school’ whine of “things were better before.”

While I’m convinced this is mostly just a wistful and a deliberate miss-remembering for that first tightly knit LARP group in the long-long-ago.  Another thought occurs… Is it a resentment at being ‘dragged’ kicking and screaming into the public eye? Do we feel that we would lose something special, something ‘ours’ if we actually began to fully embrace the lime light that’s just beginning to shine?

Is this why we continue to hide ourselves, our opinions… sometimes even from each other and continue to mumble that we were ‘camping’ when a co-worker asks us what we did over the weekend?
Why do we clam up and insist, still grumbling to ourselves, that ‘they’ just wouldn’t understand?

Why put back up the wall of silence?
Why the attitude? Why are there so few willing to extend a hand of welcome or criticism unless we’re being asked first?
Why do we hoard our own lessons of trial and error like they’re so hard won or worse meaningless? Who does that benefit? No one. So why keep doing so, when all that is required for us ‘old schoolers’ to lend a hand in continuing to move everything and everyone forward and onto something better, into something greater, is that we speak up and share these lessons and actively  invite others out there to join in?

So I’m calling out my attitude, culling the nonsense and instead picking up the chalk, clapping the dust from the erasers and out my brain and taking everything back to the blog-board in the hope that I can start to turn this around.

Welcome everyone. Please don’t hesitate to speak up.
I promise, you won’t even have to raise your hand.