Applied Role Play: Making Your Own Fun

Blogger’s Note: After the ICA=ICC post that I wrote a while back I got a blog idea from a person who asked to remain Anonymous. They asked if I wanted blog ideas, and I told them “yes”. It ultimately turned into them writing the story relating to the topic they believed should be talked about: Making your own fun in game.

I’ve decided to take this concept, illustrating an idea through telling an in character story or two, and cover it under a heading called “Applied Role Play”. If you feel like you have an Applied Role Play story that illustrates a concept, I welcome you to write it up and submit it to r.longfang[at]kitsufox[dot]com.


A Guest Post by By Anonymous Super Awesome Guest Blogger Person

There are many players out there who prefer being some stripe of the “Stoic Loner Archtype”, meaning rogues, scouts, assassins, ect, ect. I’m not coming down on that playstyle by any means, as I currently play a character that can be easily described as an outsider, but what I’m saying is that if you don’t roll into a game as a group you have to learn how to make your own fun.

I did this most recently at a Last Hope game in which I rolled in solo, carrying everything my character owned on his back. Yet, I managed to leave with a Case of fine Syndar (read: Elf) wine, a pocket full of silver, and an open invitation to visit far away lands… all on the dime of the people I “may or may not have just robbed”.

How did I do this you ask?

Well, it all started with a rainy day, a mischievous attitude, and knowing when to spot an opportunity.
A lot of folks are disappointed when it starts raining at a LARP, but not I or any other player who knows the value of information. You see, when it rains folks tend to seek cover, and when under said cover they tend to while the time away with gossip and games, or perhaps revealing a secret to a close friend in a secluded corner. To those with long ears and dreams of brimming coin purses, these moments are worth standing in the rain on the other side of a thin wall for, or buying another round to further loosen tongues. The point being, as I was making friends with fellow travelers waiting out the latest sheets of rain, there was an attack, and as a result there were wounded.

A young Syndar and a few others had taken ill shortly after the attack, which presents several opportunities for roleplay for many different players, healers chief among them, opportunistic cutpurses, more so. Now, depending on your roleplay system and comfort levels, when stealing you can do a verbal or physical pat down, coin pouches tend to make everything easier. I let the player know what I was doing, he agreed and I was able to open the pouch at his belt which we agreed was good enough to signify that I had completed the task, later we would meet up and he would hand me a few coins. Not many, but enough where I had to mind how I walked to avoid jingling. All of this was done under the guise of tending to the wounded, but realizing that sadly my “healing skills” were “inadequate for the task”. Had I not been such a smooth criminal, the process of getting caught would have been great fun indeed.

Which leads me to my second point: there is fun in both positive AND negative consequences. Once you accept that fact, nearly everything you do can spin off into roleplay.

By that time in the game I had new coin burning a hole in my pocket and without some kind of proper Fence to launder my loot, I had to get rid of it. This led me to purchase a trap, and buy the locals a few drinks, which in turn led to a few interesting nuggets about members of the Phoenix Clan that were nearby. As it turns out Phoenix Clan Insignia pins are fiddly little bits of jewelry, why if you brush your hand against them the right way, when applying “first aid” perhaps, that fussy little clasp comes undone.

Luckily I was close to that young Syndar whom I had “assisted” earlier, just in case he dropped something of value. To my complete and total shock, that’s exactly what happened. Now, let me just say that returning things to players if they drop them is the cool thing to do, but a lot of roleplay opportunities are missed when this common courtesy is enacted.

That being said, whether I “may or may not” have arranged for that insignia pin to fall off is irrelevant, because I parlayed returning it into a 20 minute scene between the young Syndar, myself, and a highly distinguished/disappointed member of the young Syndar’s clan. What ensued was a great bit of roleplay that concerned a great deal about the value of symbols and ended with my character parting ways with the insignia pin in exchange for a case of Pheonix wine and passage to their clan’s island, where further business could be discussed.
Not a bad deal for a new character, all because I made my own Fun.

Having that skill on your Personal Character Sheet (read: knowledge in your brain) can enhance any LARP and turn what might have been a boring game into a fun social sparring session.

Surviving LARP – Actions, Consequences, and Choices

I’ve RPed online for many years. In fact, since I was in my teens. I then branched into tabletop and eventually LARP. Because of this I have nearly 2 decades of experience figuring out the consequences of actions. Time and time again in Role Play I’ve been astounded by the lack of thought people have towards reaction to the actions they take, and the indignation some people experience when a negative consequence comes as a direct response to actions they’ve taken.

That’s why I’m writing this. We’re going to discuss the choices you make, the actions you take, and the consequences that result.

My entire Role Play life has been colored by the abbreviation “ICA=ICC“. I’ve followed it for so long that I’ve lost the link to my first experience with it. It means “In Character Actions equal In Character Consequences“. To me this is the core of all Role Play. The absolute root of all fun that comes of RP and the sources of each victory and each defeat.

 

To explain, I’m going to draw on a situation from long ago in my RP history. In Dungeons and Dragons (3.5) I played a cleric who was a servant of Io, the nine-fold dragon. In accordance she would only defend herself from even the most evil of Dragonkind, and only fight them when attacked and forced to. The choices I made for my character translated into more than one situation in which she walked openly into an evil dragon’s den to treat with the creature prior to what would become combat situations.

In all three instances with Dragons in her time as my character she nearly died. But my character was made better by having her stick to her convictions. If she had died in any of those fights the irony would have been painful, but it would have been the correct in character consequence for the actions she’d taken if her friends hadn’t realized the cleric walking straight up to the dragon and telling it that it must leave this place and stop harassing villagers was the ultimate distraction for them to set up during.

 

To provide yet another example I’m going to talk about another Dungeons and Dragons situation, this one more recent and from 4th edition. I was DMing, rather than playing. I presented a group with a warehouse that they had entered from the sewers while chasing down a villainous gang. Several members of the party engaged in looting while exploring the warehouse. Eventually, they found the manager’s office and ended up slaying the werewolf who ran the place. That werewolf was the son of the local duke, and a lord in his own right.

They ended up in a kangaroo court run by the duke whose son they had killed. They did manage to argue well, and instead of winding up on death row (where I would have had an “escape from prison” adventure for them to follow up the court as I had originally planned) they argued their case so well that as I tracked the points and marked down there jury opinions, I realized that it was a complete split. So instead as a DM I declared them outcast from the country, and forbidden from ever going home again. Which it a pretty big deal when all but one member of the party was a citizen of the country.

 

And finally, we’re going to reach my LARP career, and a situation that arose during a Last Hope game. My character, Reyna, was at Onsallas Outpost and a man named Shepard Bannica Yulerude asked her to train him in the ways of the Ulven witch. She said she wasn’t sure it was possible, and turned him away because he was both male and not Ulven. He went forth, and met with an evil Red-eyed Syndar in the Dirge Swamp. Several months later she was directly involved in an attempt to slay him. Now he stands as one of her mortal enemies, who has corrupted a cousin of hers and is a terrible danger to her home and everyone she loves.

If Reyna had chosen to train Bannica would he have stayed on the side of good? We shall never know, because Reyna made a choice, and that choice had consequences that I have yet to figure out the true extent of. I look forward to continuing to explore the story as it unfolds and find out exactly how far the ripples from that singular choice will reach.

 

Those three stories all provide good examples of ICA=ICC. When your character makes a choice you will reap the results of that choice every time if you’re working with DMs, Storytellers, and Game-runners who actually care about keeping an element of realism to the story. Every choice you make has the potential to either reach out and improve your character’s place, or spiral inward and bring some dire consequence down on your head.

You, as the player, consent to the results of your character choices implicitly when you have your character take an action. This is the most important thing you need to understand. The world doesn’t need your permission to judge you or view you however they want. You can’t control their characters or the world at large.

Even if you wrote your character to be a hero you cannot possibly make that reputation stick in the game world unless you act like a hero. If you kill indiscriminately, make threats, betray allies, and steal from the innocent you will be a villain in game. Your consent was implicit when you killed, threatened, betrayed and stole.

Own your character’s choices, embrace the person you’re playing. If you understand your character, and make that character’s choices, who they are will come through and be what people see. In the picture above you see the results of a shouting match between Reyna and her cousin Stanrick. We chose to have that situation because there was a hanging tension between the characters. And if there’s one thing blood Longfangs do well, it’s yell. Now that the issues between them have been aired out the relationship has smoothed out and an old closeness, from before Reyna had left to travel and learn her path, has returned.

And therein lies the crux of it. If you don’t like what’s happening to your character you simply need to examine the situation and figure out if you can find a situation to improve the matter. Sure, the past has weight, but the future is infinite and has room for things to grow and change. Just remember that the past will always be there. If you have committed evil it will take more than one moment of time to prove to the world that you had just experienced something deeper than an anomaly.

Surviving LARP – How Not to Starve

Food is something that you should give careful consideration to, but something that I haven’t seen talked about much for LARP in general, you should follow a good diet like the blood sugar ultra diet. Specific advice of great value has also not been frequently offered up where Last Hope has been specifically involved. In accordance I have decided that I am going to speak about it at great length.

At the time I’m writing this I’ve been LARPing around 8 months. I’ve been to a variety of events, including multi-day affairs. I think I’ve finally gathered enough data to know what works best, at least for Last Hope.

 

Things You Shouldn’t Make Assumptions About

  1. Don’t assume you will have access to fire when you’re hungry. And when you do have access to fire, don’t assume the fire will be cooking-ready or there will be enough fuel for you to make it that way.
  2. Don’t assume that you will have time to cook. Seriously. Monster Autonomy is awesome, but it can wreak havoc on you sitting down to a hot meal.
    * This is doubly true at Onsallas, where there are generally not monster-free periods.
    * At Apocalypse Paintball you’re more likely to have time to cook during the periods when we don’t have full access to the site, but in those cases see #1 due to the much more restricted fire access that exists.
  3. Don’t assume you’ll want to cook. There was a three day in which I brought bread, soup, canned meat for sandwiches and some jerky and dried fruit. I even had butter with for my bread. I ate bread and the dried fruit and the jerky. I didn’t even touch the butter. I’ve seen the same time and time again in others, too.
  4. Don’t assume you’ll want to leave the In Character (IC) areas to fetch your food. Have a pack and make sure all containers and eating tools are IC along with you. You will not regret this effort when you can just grab a bit of food while chatting with the other characters.

 

Things You Should Definitely Bring

  1. Bread. This will be your go to. If you pop over to a bakery and get something tasty on its own you’ll thank yourself. Yes, I know it’s more expensive. If it bothers you that much take up baking. (Someday, I might make a list of “Best Larp Bread Recipes, but I haven’t done enough research yet).
  2. Nuts. (Assuming they won’t kill you.) A quick, easy pop of protein and salt, both things you’ll need with the exercise and adventure LARP brings. They don’t require cooking and if you buy a nice mix they’ll have a variety of flavors that’ll please your pallet and not get boring quickly.
  3. Water. Bring a minimum of a gallon a day. More if you have the space. Better to have too much than too little, and water keeps well, so as long as there isn’t 6 months between games you attend it’ll keep. Seriously. Don’t count on Mischelle. Sure, she frequently has enough for everyone, but stop making her haul all the damned water. We’re grownups. We can haul our own water.

 

Things You Might Consider Bringing

  1. Peanut butter (or some other nut butter). Preferably, you’ll mix it with honey for the extra sugar and self-stability and then put it in a jar that can be IC, so you don’t have to sneak off to put some on your bread.
  2. Jelly, Jam, or Preserves. A pop of sugar when you’re feeling wrung out is the best thing while drinking some clear, cool water and recovering after an exciting battle. It’s quick, easy and no effort. Even for a 3 day event a some Jelly or Jam tucked into a little jar will keep well. If you want to bring more than a little jar, tuck a cooler in your tent and make sure you break it into multiple small jars. (This trick works for the peanut butter, too, and just about anything else with potential shelf stability issues.)
  3. Butter. Can’t stand dry bread? This is your solution. I don’t mind dry bread personally, assuming it’s good bread. But I know people who demand butter. If you’re one of these people, it’s worth carrying a jar of it with. If you’re really ambitious you could even mix it with some herbs.
  4. Jerky (or other preserved meats). Protein is important during events like this. Jerky is a nice, shelf-stable way to get that. It looks awesome and in character and stands up really well to being stuffed in your belt pouch and carried around all day. Keep in mind, that with dried food, your body will need to rehydrate it, so drink more water.
  5. Dried Fruits. Sugar is also awesome. And the bright flavors make a nice change from the easy to pack and shelf-stable stuff that’s readily available. Just remember that there are a lot of sugars in them, you wouldn’t sit down and eat ten apricots, but it’s easy to do with them dried. Also, see the rehydration tip in the jerky listing.
  6. Gatorade Powder (or other sports drink mix). Sometimes, you need electrolytes. Best put it in a jar or bottle so you don’t have to sneak off to mix it. The less you remove yourself from the game the happier you’ll be and the less you’ll miss.

 

With all of that said, I’m sure that I still have more to learn about the best things to bring. But I’ll continue to experiment. I’ve even brought hummus to one three day (Protip: Freeze it all beforehand and only bring the day’s hummus ration out of the cooler). Life is an adventure, and there’s always more to learn. If I find some amazingly perfect food (I’m going to start experimenting with quick breads and sweet breads) I’ll share the recipe. And remember, your character should always be an important part of what you carry. If you’re a hunter who’s been out in the woods for months you probably won’t have much more than a few handfuls of berries and some dried meat actually on you.

Go LARP, people. Even though it’s October and cold.