There are consequences for actions in life, often crappy ones that can’t be avoided. Why should we tolerate them in a game? I mean its escapism right?
Because it, especially when its their actions that caused it. Sure fighting the big bad is fine and all that, I’ll get right on collecting that rod of many flanges in a minute, but facing up to the action you have made makes for a better experience.
My favourite moments in Larp, have always been down to my characters actions, or inactions, coming home to roost. Now don’t get me wrong it took a while to get used to this, but ultimately it makes for a more satisfying game. I have lived a year under a death sentence for my actions as a space wizard, Lost loved ones I have never told I cared, I have had loved ones threatened at Empire, been talked out of death and playing the spying game elsewhere has had to many close calls to mention.
In life the world and other people push back at the things we do, we do not exist in a closed system. Every social interaction, every mistake we make drives who we are and shapes us. Often it is adversity and how we deal with it that defines us. If I punch my boss on Monday I will pay for that, in spades. Not ideal so I don’t. If I punch my boss in a game, well I should expect similar consequences.
And that’s the thing, if you don’t want your character to pay for their sins, don’t do it. Step away from the two year old mindset of ‘Its not fair, just because I beat Bobs pet shrew to death, why is he picking on me?’ or ‘How do I make sure I don’t have to pay for this?’ The old adage of if you can’t do the time etc springs to mind. Ultimately you have control of what your character does, personal responsibility goes a long way.
Don’t murder if you don’t want to pay for it if you get caught, don’t steal if you wont pay the piper and don’t be a dick if you cant handle the social fall out of what you have done.
The thing is our minds are hard wired into the game part of winning, but if we step back and take a look at the stuff we like in stories our protagonists often do things and have to deal with the consequences of their actions and how much cooler the narrative of our experience is we will have more fun.
How much cooler is it to stand up in front of a judge for that shrew killing and either die unrepentant, weasel out of it or plead for your life? That’s an experience you wont have and a moment that will be remembered if you try and hide from it. Also think about the other players, its a shared experience. Your victim gets to see you go down, all the people involved either get to grieve or be victorious. You get to be the hero or villain in scene just for you and you get to provide a bucket of game for those around you.
Its not just the big stuff though, screwed up? Embrace it, role-play the crap out of it, something as simple as a silly joke can lead to an entire story arc that dosn’t need a plot writer or reffing that you have to play with during the dead time while the crew are gorging on chocolate amphibians. Oh and trust me something that comes out of an interaction between players will be twenty time better than an npc turning up and demanding shrew bones for a peace treaty.
I guess what I’m saying is let go and enjoy the things that you cannot help, it might make sitting around for the next plot drop more fun, or more importantly make the next plot drop irrelevant because you have your own personal apocalypse to deal with.
In embracing those moments you get to be remembered, no one remembers the person who kills mooks all day, no one remembers the murderers who never get caught, no one mourns mary sue and who really cares about the Larp love affair that runs smoothly?
In real life the consequences of our actions can be horrible and unfair, but in Lrp they are epic stories that in many ways are cathartic. I can honestly say my best moments in Larp have come from not running from the things I have done and trust my taking your hits, in whatever context, have made me smile wider than a chocolate frog that has escaped the crew room unmolested.