On many levels we like to take things seriously, especially things we enjoy. Internet spaceships are serious business after all. Look at the EvE stats. There has been some serious money stolen in that game, it prides it’s self on being real. This is a game where sites convert game money loss into real money loss based on the current price of PLEX, one of the ways of paying for the game. It’s a game that involves spreadsheets, and angry internet posts and really good promo videos by the players. I mean it must be serious if that much efforts going in? People get angry, not internet angry mind, but really mad. I just caught you screwing my pet dog mad. This shit is real and it’s scary. It’s deep south lynch em if they look at you funny serious. In fact so serious that as we move into the second decade of EVE the second great war is about to kick off. This is EVE at it’s most poe faced, the tears will flow and ‘you mad bro’ will be the sound of the galaxy.
I remember when after working hard for a corp i decided i wanted to leave ’cause i wan’t enjoying it and wanted to move back into a wormhole. Obviously all you LARPers will have to bear with this. The hatred that ensued from this was outrageous, to the point where one of the more important alliance leaders was making stuff up about me like i mattered. It was silly, but worst of all i got invested and cared about my good name. It took a mate of mine, Soul, to say why are you giving a shit? Of course it blew up again and again because we are a bunch of EvE arsehats, behave like six year olds at every opportunity and made sure that it blew up so we could giggle some more. The long suffering other half hears me giggling with my earbuds in and says ‘are you being a dick on eve again dear?’ and she’s right, i’m bumping incursion runners off gate in a fleet stabber. I am however having fun.
Right back to LARP before my spaceship obsession takes over. As far as i can tell Campsite Goblins is a serious business too. I mean why else do we have arguments about the rules, if someone is ‘Navarr’ enough or a proper Jhereg.
Actually while i’m here why is the Jhereg symbol the same as the Bacardi logo? I remember a long time ago when the Jhereg decided to roll the merc camp we had a long discussion about why the Bacardi bats where going to get us. Sorry i got distracted, but seriously are they like an evil Bacardi rep conference?
Right got that out of the system. Now there are somethings to take seriously in LARP. Arrows, they are pretty bloody serious. Combat safety, that’s another one. If your Armour is historically accurate….not so much, i mean who gives a shit, you’ve got comedy pointy ears on.
You know you have overstepped that mark when for example you are in Candlestone, with a chest infection and the ref tell you to go and run around as your are too full of the Gian equivalent of relentless….and you do it. I know you felt guilty, but you didn’t know and I woke up grumpy today. Yep that’s trying too hard, but sometimes you get caught up in it. The problem is when you forget to have fun.
However there is a a thing…’Can I Tell You About My Serious Character Syndrome’ IITAMSCS, is very serious and can lead to people faces imploding as their roleplay frown hits a critical mass. It can also led to telling people about your magical items, or discussing the wording of rules in depth on the internet.
I am going to add here right now i am not the perfect LARPer, i do not give Oscar winning performances and i do not think i’m better than you at LARP. As a human being i am twenty times better and your mum say i’m a much more gentle and satisfying lover than you. But in LARP i do not pretend to be the ‘shizzel’ as the youth of today i believe say when they are drinking their soda pops and smoking woodbines on a street corner.
I think i may have mentioned i’m a little pretentious, or at least have been. When i create a character i throw a background together, which i wont tell you about all the time as if you cared. Sorry that’s a bugbear of mine. When was the last time you went up to a stranger and told them about your life?
Imagine meeting me for the first time, you say hi and i go with ‘Hi, I’m John and when i was young i broke my nose, this led to my fear of ABC bricks, however i have fought against this and can now look at keyboards, i’m allergic to carpet, can i tell you about the other tragedies in my life and fear of people called Gary?’
So why is your bloody character telling me he’s carrying his fathers sword and is avenging his lost tribe like the other sixty other people i have spoken too? I mean were you hiding or could those Orcs just not be bothered with you? Did they point and laugh and walk off? Do you want to show me where you let them touch you so they let you live? Hell i wouldn’t mention it, i’d deal with my survivors guilt and move on.
If your dating me fine, i want to know about you or at least will pretend to on the off chance you think i’m sensitive and i can get some. If your applying for a job i might want to know about your experiences. If we have got to know each other and i trust you, i might share with you, but trust me if you just met me and you haven’t bought me drink i really don’t care how you ate a really big sandwich once, you have just walked up to me and shown off. Same goes for LARP, if you walk up to me and tell me of your great victories your just a massive ego tool. Your Chuck Norris, I don’t like Chuck.
Can you imagine if you mate constantly told your about the time his pet died and they are avenging it for the rest of their life, every bloody day. You wouldn’t put up with it. You’d suggest professional help, an intervention or hookers to chill him the hell out.
So why does it happen? Well we have nothing to talk about. I mean we have the big bad of the month I suppose, or the state of politics. However the depth of history isn’t there and you start to repeat yourself. Talk about you? Well at best you have a back story, you don’t have all those silly things that you talk about in real life. The time you saw Eddie Izzard and wore a dress, the first time you sat on the back of a motor bike and fell off because no one told you about the sissy bar, whne John Thor told you to fuck off because you walked into him by accident, the time in the pub when you all decided to drive down to the coast or that time you sat watching stars fall in a windy car park on the south coast.
You are mainly a some back story that tends to be a bit epic, sad or at the very least more interesting than being born in Lewisham and walking through life slightly bewildered wondering how the hell you got to this point in your life. So we compare notes on our personal tragedies, shout at each other because we have to feel everything at 11 and generally are like very intense versions of people. There is also some pressure to roleplay, that the roleplay elite are watching and if you aren’t being your character to the max you are being judged. Well you probably are, but any one who does that is a prick so why do you care? Have fun damn it.
LARP should be fun. Now if your like me and want to play some tragic, Byron like figure who is all ‘woe is me and angst’ that’s cool. Seriously have you met Rhain in empire? Everyone says he’s just like Edward Cullen, crying, holding a baby and whilst discussing the futility of violence through the medium of contemporary dance. However you don’t have to. If you want to have fun, just being this guy, that’s cool. I think it’s probably harder to play the person who has never really done stuff of note or had a tragedy they wear on their sleeve as you have to come up with all these mundane anecdotes that add to the character, but aren’t important. You don’t have something to attract attention to you, people don’t remember the lass with the amusing anecdote about the time they got lost and ended up walking into the senate building and ordered a pint, rather than Gary the barbarian who is avenging his family.
I think that’s a shame. When i write a character, and i do. I sit down and write the damn thing. It’s how i get in the mood. Interactive magazine said i should and damn it those articles were written by people who were serious. I also write some mundane crap, just five stupid anecdotes that mean nothing, just so i have something to talk about. Now that’s so i have something, but also i hate people so pretend social situations are even worse. So for example Rhain used to tell his adopted daughter stories about the great white Northen bears when she slept. He thinks that’s why she gone a bit Wintermark and traveled there. Now that is about as important as what time i went to the loo this morning (around 8 you weird stalker types), but it means i have something to talk about other than….Ha! nearly, still not telling 😉 .
One of the best roleplayers i know is a fella called Gaz. He has done evil person, he’s lead ritual teams etc, etc. Now he plays an incompetent thespian who avoids hard work or danger and is really funny. Not a little bit funny, but genuinely i have a hard time doing angry roleplay around him funny. He’s fun, the character is internally consistent and has even had plot. To be fair it was killer mimes and it still hasn’t been resolved three years on, but it has dragged the Jhereg in at one point! His character is made of stupid anecdotes and probably was the person who kicked the ‘everything needs to be serious’ out of my LARP. Well him and Frail Realities.
So instead being serious all the time screw plot for five minutes and sit and talk crap otherwise you may just become your job tittle and we all know people like that in the real world.
We don’t like talking to them. Too bloody serious. Cause what we really need when we go LARPing is more mid level managers who only want to talk about work and themselves 😉
So whats my point? As people we have a lot to fall back on in conversation, our history is more that a few large events and our interests sit outside of our jobs and some immediate crisis. Our characters however don’t have this at creation. Yes we gain history as we interact, but we don’t have those nights out, the one that got away or that embarrassing thing that happened in our youth that shapes us as people that gives us anecdotes and life outside of the ‘game’. Maybe my point is look at the stuff that isn’t serious and revel in it. Look at the minutiae, the little things that make up life and maybe add them to your character.