Swords are important, no really. They are a symbol of status, they were expensive and they ment something. Look at people even in games where there is no need for a sword, they still wear them. Hell 90’s roleplay just wouldn’t have worked with out katanna.
In most culture they were handed down, they had work. Your parent’s sword mattered. No stop it, you think you know where I’m going but I’d rather we all got ther at the same time, as it were.
The cliché of the family being murdered and the survivor surving with a sword wanting vengence is an amusing one in L(a)RP, a well worn path trod by us all. There are a lot of cliches in L(a)rp, in fact as many as there are in fiction with many good reasons. They work and they don’t require a huge amount of stuff to get them to work.
I’ve done it. Family killed by orcs, I found one on a battle field in game, shouted you were the one who killed my family, the monster rolled with it and he died. It was cool, gave a little scene in the melee and didn’t actually force anyone to swallow my character background. Its good fun, cathartic and actually adds depth in some cases. We are defined by our lives, both good and bad. My own personal tragadies and successes have defined the man I am today just as much as my parents or life choices. However unlike the avarage L(a)rp character I wont be walking up to strangers and telling them about it the moment I meet them, I digress however.
The other reason is that thease ideas and concepts are built into us. Jungs Archtypes or Campbell’s ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ explain this better than I can, and have the advantage of being another 90’s roleplaying trope. We have been telling thease stories around camp fires forever. Theseus and Ripley are tropes we can identify with, and in many way the same character.
The stories we tell are part of us and say a lot about us, the human condition and the sort of people we as individuals and a society are.
So when someone rocks up as a two thousand year old katanna wielding half dragon half vampire half human human chosen one king of the elves on a base character build, you are getting a keen insight into their soul. And it is a dark place that even Nietzsche would flinch from. Oh sorry did you think this would be a keen insightful piece? Nope. Sorry.
You see an interesting background has things that allow you to engage with the game, allows people to interact with you and builds on the world you are part of.
It is not a stick to beat people with to make them give you power, lammies or plot. I am not without sin here. We have alll probably used meta-gaming at some level to play the system. You’ve got mates you know will help you out, you know this character will work with the current campain arc, or just plain creating a character you know will have tags all over it that would make no sense for the world to ignore.
So for full disclosure:
- Created characters knowingly that would inherit from other characters in a system.
- Created characters that have stuff in their backgrounds that make them perfect to turn into a special.
I was young, I was stupid, I am not proud.
The idea of creating a character that come in with some sort of leverage based on something innate to it or its background is however awful. It is almost the antithisis of what the live bit of L(a)rp stands for. It always strikes me as ‘I have written a thing, therefore I should have a thing without working for it.’
Don’t get me wrong, in a game where being a noble gives an advantage over another is part of the setting and a thing you can be, that’s cool. If however you decide you want to be made of steel and argue you don’t have to take wounding or you are the child/lover/sibling of the last monarch that’s a bit different. And no you are not adding ‘flavor’ or ‘immersion.’
So to aid in this, and as an apology for all those times I have created something for obvious in game advantage, I present to you the patent pending background generator.
Not only does it appeal to every person who ever played traveller or cyberpunk, it is also a helpful tool for when your character has died at an event and you are not inspired. It will help you create a character for most genres and not one
Simply follow the chart and roll a d10 for each section.
‘My characters <table a> was <table b> by <table c>. I have <table d> and <table e>’
There you go a complete character you can go to town with. I think you will agree it will cover most of he bases you will need as a modern Larperist. Now as long as you have trench coat and a katana as your back up kit you are set.
- LARP character
- Facebook post
- Significant other
- Values defined by an old fasioned world view that is no longer relevent to, or has a place in, a modern society
- Forced to take the letter A out of LARP
- Reported to Facebook
- Sternly warned
- Sent plot
- Sent on an anger management course
- Told someones characters background for two hours
- A Modertor.
- A Ref.
- A secret society.
- An Evil wizard.
- The right wing media.
- An angry mob.
- A famous larper.
- Their sword
- Their Magic ring
- Their Tescos club card
- The self appointed moral high ground
- Middle class privalige
- Super powers
- A crushing nihilistic view on the world
- An ambivilant attitude
- Their spell book
- Strong sense of entitlement
- I will get my vengence.
- I will passivly aggresivly post on facebook until I get my way.
- I will tell everyone about my personal tragady like people do in real life.
- I will become a well adjusted person and deal.
- I will defend the weak.
- I will become an evil wizard and take it out on society.
- I will dress up as a bat, you know the rest.
- I will die during character creation. Go back to the start and re roll.
- I will dance, dance like a leaf on the wind…… to soon?
- I will probably get commplaints about this article.