On LARPing “Rituals”

I’m not an actor, never will be. That said, the notion of pre-performance rituals* enacted in order to get one into the right head-space to be on stage really interests me.

No, I’m not talking about never changing my socks or whatever it is that sportsball players do when things are going their way, but it’s not all that far removed, either.

I’ve talked about this a fair bit in my LARP Advice piece Preparing to Perform. The point is that you can’t just walk off onto the street and into Willy Loman. Athletes stretch and warm up before they hit the field, and so do actors. I have to remind myself that LARPers are not actors and that one shouldn’t overreach. That said, I don’t see any harm in trying to get oneself into the absolutely optimum space for playing a character consistently and convincingly.


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Got Humanity?

What’s the point of having a humanity stat if no-one pays attention to it?

Recently, I played a darling of mine, Patricia – a low-humanity (Masquerade) Malkavian kindred with unsavory habits – at a local LARP. She happened to be chatting with some Toreador and, upon hearing that this high-status Toreador had been spoken to disrespectfully by another courtier, Trish offered – with all sincerity – to tear out the offender’s tongue.

The Toreador smiled – also with every sign of sincerity – and agreed that might be an option.

Looking back on the incident, I wish I’d asked that player to check their humanity score. Because, really, if you’re hearing that kind of shit and your humanity is above, oh, a four* the appropriate reaction should be either “God, no! What are you saying?” or uneasy laughter and a prompt change or subject.

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Why Vampire LARPs Are Doomed To Fail (Hint: It’s the Setting, Stupid)

I’ve played and GM’d Vampire: the Masquerade LARPs for nearly 15 years* and one conclusion is inescapable: every Vampire chronicle is doomed to fail. Assuming a troupe meets once a month, it takes about two years for the game to collapse into a singularity of power-imbalance, player burnout and a GM who makes an emergency root canal seem like a ray of fucking sunshine in comparison.

This. Always. Happens.

Changing out the GMs can extend the life of a troupe, and, god help us, the frequent character churn encouraged by the setting is, in a way, a help. But Vampire LARPs never really work in the long run. Continue reading