Thursday, 22 March 2018

Abuse in larp pt four: I'm an abuser..

Well now, that's a pretty loaded title isn't it?
Did it grab your attention?
Are you hungering to know the gossip as I apparently out myself as some form of predator in the larp community?

I'm going to recount something for you, an anecdote about me.

You see as a Ref I get to engage in all kinds of awesome things.
I run a World of Darkness game. As the name suggests, it's dark, it has some grim stuff in it.
Normally we play Camarilla sect vampires in it, if that jeans anything to you yay!

The other side of the coin are the Sabbat. In their earliest incarnations of the rules they were the monsters of the setting, they were the 30 days of Night vampires or the Dusk til Dawn vampires.
Crude, murderous beasts.
As the rules updated they became a more dangerous sort of thing, they had a hellish hierarchy and a vast panoply of monstrous clans within the sect. It became the very mirror of the refined and decadent Camarilla.

We decided to run a Sabbat game to cover some of the recent background lore for our game.
It was a massive gamble, players were going to be asked to blind pick new characters to play for three months.
The players stepped up, boundaries were pushed, and they were pushed hard.

But we also had an interest from other people, people who were already part of the larp hobby and had played vampire in the past apparently.
So, our regular players picked their characters and a number were left over for the new players.
They had all the same rules as the existing players to go by when it came to spending some points on the characters.

All the characters were written genderless, with the exception of a small group who were specifically female because of plot reasons, meaning that they'd fit who ever chose them.
All the specifically female characters were chosen, that was cool, and that just left the non gender specific characters.
We'd provided male and female names for them to use, and costume descriptions.

One of the characters was a former Olympic drop out athlete who bombed after an accident.
Seems like a good idea right? The Sabbat get to ride the coat tails of this athlete who's well known in schools and media, they're famous and the Sabbat can use that to destroy the Camarilla in Kent some how or other, totally up to the player to decide how they're going to do it.
So, new person selects that character, from a blind pick.
Totally random.

Shortly after the excuses start coming in from that person, then they drop out all together.
No biggie, a shame because it would have been nice to have some one else in game from another system, especially one that was pretty much our neighbours at the time and that we'd done shout outs for posting their game info once in a while, because that's what civil people do, they support each other in the shared hobby environment.

That character is resealed and another person selects it instead.

Then a few months after the very successful mini story we start hearing some things, a couple of our players started attending that other system and they'd heard some odd rumours about our game, or rather more specifically about me.

So, those rumours..
Wow they was a doozy I can tell you!

“Don't go to that game it's run by a pervert”
“The guy that runs it just wants to see all the girls running round in knickers and bras”
“That guy is a right weirdo and not the good sort”

That sort of thing.
So, I want to see all the girls running round in bras and knickers at my game?
Um.. pretty well documented that at our game there's no girls running round in just their undies, I'm the guy that takes the pictures and I often have to move to one side to make sure there isn't an upskirt or inappropriate picture.
And when they do happen, they get deleted, I make sure my A-Ref is with me at the time when I'm going through the pictures and they point out what may need editing or deleting if I don't pick it up right away.
These days I take between four and five hundred pictures at an event..

There Have even been times when a player has said “don't delete that picture, send it over to me so I have a copy of it” and afterwards I'll delete it.

Then the rumours started to be “that guys a creeper, he keeps posting on the same sites I do, I think he's stalking me”.
Back then there wasn't really a lot of larp and associated pages unlike now where there's hundreds of the things.

I'd had enough, I left a whole lot of roleplay social groups online, stuck to just the games I was active in or was going to be active in.
I was going to join that other game as well, but after hearing stuff like about me.. yeah no. I dropped that like a hot potato and removed links to in on my games facebook page and wiki.

Want to know what the character description was that made them think I wanted all the girls to run around in undies?
“The character is an ex athlete (track and swimming), they still dress the part when they go out to schools to check a location out for a mass embrace. You're the Face of the local invasion, it's through you that things kick off locally. Your character would wear athletic things, tracksuit and trainers sort of thing. Think Athlete.”

How in nine hells did they get “athlete” to mean knickers and bra?

If I'd have said “you're a swimmer and a track person, loose tracksuits and bikinis are what you wear, you don't like being restrained by clothing so you'll try and find reason to ditch the tracksuit when ever you can” I'd understand how that would be twisted in to “that guys a pervert who wanted to see me in my bra and knickers stay away from him and his creepy game”.

Those rumours went unchecked for a while, thankfully some of my players were part of that game and started to correct people once they realised what had happened.
I never got an apology for the shit they caused me personally.

Abuse in larp pt three: innocent until proven guilty?

So, I'm a ref of a "small" larp.
I've running the game for the last twenty five years.
No small achievement.
I'm a pretty hard line ref, rules are rules for the live aspect of the game and the rules are a bit more flexible for the non live part of the game where its more like a Cowritten story between the player and the ref.

There are some rules I won't be flexible on however.

The "social contract" is to me unbending.
It is a hard, solid thing.

When I am running a game I am a Ref. I'm not your friend.
Soon as it hits time out I'm not a ref I'm your friend.
And then there's when it's not Time In and I have to be the Ref.

As a ref I've had complaints brought to me, and I have to look into them with all seriousness.
I will ask the person bringing the complaint to me a lot of questions.
I will also ask if they have proof or witnesses to the origin of the complaint.
I, and my A-Ref, will then go over what has been presented to us.

Will won't assume guilt just because a complaint has been levelled.
We take our time to research the matter.
We speak to witnesses.
We will ask the complainant other questions based on what witnesses say.

One thing we never do at that point is say any names of those who are involved.
It's all just "it's been brought up by some one" and "May I discuss a delicate matter with you about something".

Once we've done that we will then talk to the person the complaint was made about.
We'd watch them beforehand whilst we spoke to other people, make sure they wasn't trying to cover anything up.

After myself and my A-Ref have done all of that then we go over everything.
We ask the complainant what they would like to be done about the matter.

Sometimes it's as simple as have a chat with the other person, tell them to not make such comments in future.
Other times we have to eject people from our game.
Once in a while the other person will leave the system because they know they've been caught red handed and want to leave on their terms before we can officially eject them from the game.

Afterwards, we speak to the person who made the complaint.
We reassure them that they have done the right thing and we thank them for coming to us.

Unfortunately sometimes people leave, they then slate the system, the other players and most especially myself and my A-Ref.
We've had a lot of abuse hurled at us, including threats of physical violence.
Sometimes those people have gone on social media and actively complained about how myself and my A-Ref have handled things, going out of the way to cause grief for the game.

Generally I'm pretty calm person, I'm easy to talk to, I'm reasonable.

But then when complete strangers on social media, who happen to be mates with the aggrieved abusers, and start to troll you, actively seeking out posts you make to to slag off system..
It's annoying.

Bullies love attention.
They thrive on it.
They get to show how macho or superior they are to their little hangers on.
And if you rise to it apparently that's bad, it apparently shows how right and correct they are.
And if you remain silent, well now that makes them puff up their chests and extoll how they've outed you as a bad person.

They forget the amount of time they attended the game, how many people they introduced to it, how much they raved about it online before they were caught out being an abusive person.

Bullies hate being wrong, they hate not having the last word, that last dig.
They'll dog you on groups and pages, even if you actively block them they'll get their mates to screen shot what you said just so they can reply to it.
But they'll do it in sly ways that mean if you call them out it must be because you were stalking them..

We've had this happen to us,myself and my A-Ref.

It's caused us both to doubt the decision we made in kicking them from our games.
But when looking back at the old documents and complaints it acts like a breath of fresh air, it clears the head.

I'd love to "Just let it go" forget all about the worries.
But they're always there just in the background waiting, watching.
Ready to leap with an "I told you so, look HE'S the bad man, I'm the victim here.."

It's tiring. And I often wonder if it's worth all the agro to run the game I run.
If you are a Ref you'll know what it's like maybe.
If you don't know what it's like, then maybe it's because people aren't comfortable coming to you with a complaint.

But treat everyone equally, do not assume guilt.
But it's proven act on it swiftly. Your game will be better off for it in the end.

Abuse in larp pt two: Predator/Friend

In the wake of my previous blog, which I admit was more than a little peripatetic, there's actually been some measure of discussion about the state of abuse in larp and how rampant it is.

People new to reffing are poking their heads above the parapets and being told the horror stories of victims who want to join a new system and want to ensure that certain people are not playing, then having to explain why they are having to check, resulting in said horror stories.

I'm going to go to a darker place than normal here today.
I'm going to look at larp from an abusers point of view.
I'm a roleplayer, I've played all kinds of monsters in the past.
This will be an extension of that, and is not necessarily what my actual views are on the subject.

I'm going to treat this as a roleplay.
That's all this.
And I'm slightly uncomfortable with having to make sure that you understand my point of view here.
MY personal thoughts are well documented.
What follows is not my personal thoughts.

And I'm treading dangerously close to Nord Larp territory by doing this..


My name is irrelevant.

But call me friend.
Everyone else does. I'm just a likeable person.
I help new people out, offer them advice, loan them kit and if they need a safe space they usually come to me.

And I make them feel safe, I make them feel secure, I make them feel like someone cares about them.

That's how I operate. It's easy to do. Flash a smile, say encouraging things in front of everyone to you.
It bonds us all together.

Our friendship grows, you come back to the game, spend more time with me.
We chat, we banter, we flirt.

Maybe it's in character, maybe it's out of character. Who's to say?
You take my clearly in character flirting badly, maybe someone hurt you in the past.
We apologise, there's hugs, it's all a mistake, a simple misunderstanding is all.
My hand lingers a little bit to long on your back, just in the small of the back, so innocent nothing wrong with that, you don't stop me.
Clearly you won't say no if we hug just a little longer, if my arm stays round your shoulder or maybe your waist. After all, we're friends, you know that right?
Friends don't hurt each other.
I'll always be there for you, no matter what.

Oh, did hear the gossip about That Guy, the older one who got married last year?
I heard he likes you.
Better stay away from him, could be trouble..
No, don't worry I won't say anything to anyone else about it.

So, That Guy tried to talk to you earlier today huh? Guess he can't help himself.. His wife isn't at the larp this weekend.
Maybe they had an argument or something..

I see you at the group camp fire, I wait away from it, just watching, keeping you safe from afar..
You've had a bit to drink tonight.. Maybe I should take you back to your tent.
Come on.. No we'll stop at my tent, That Guy won't trouble you here..
Let me help you out of your kit, don't want to damage any of it do you..

Do you remember when you first started here a year ago? All those times I helped you out, loaned you kit, gave you advice about the groups, the factions and the rules?
Yes, that was so sweet of me.. You've come so far now here.
No, I only have the one large sleeping bag, it's fine, we're friends, just friends sharing a tent is all.. No one will talk about us.
I'll make sure of it.

Oh.. Sorry, I'm so used to sleep alone, I guess I just rolled over in the night and cuddled you because I'm lonely.. You won't tell anyone will you..

I see you on the forums, your tents bust, I reassure you that it's totally cool to stay in mine, plenty of room.
Just like last time..

So, here we are, you've had a few drinks at the fire again but I stayed sober.
But I've got a bottle of the good stuff, the stuff you like, here have a drink.. OK I'll have one as well, let me top yours up, no bit of a low mood.. I'll be alright, you're such a good friend, I don't know what I'd do with out you in our group..
Come on, you look beat, let's go to bed, maybe snuggle a little. No one will know..

Sorry.. I guess when you agreed to share the tent with me it was just your way of telling me that you were interested.. Everyone else thinks so.
It's the talk of the camp, so.. We may as well..

Good morning.. So about last night.. Don't tell anyone. You don't want them saying stuff about you being a slut do you.. I mean you practically threw yourself at me, begging me to share my tent, for that booze you like I had, I was saving it for after the game.. No it's OK. Don't worry about buying a replacement. It's fine.

What, you don't want to share the tent tonight? That Guy will make a move on you.. Do you want to be responsible for the divorce with his wife? You'll get the blame. Come on.

What's that Event Coordinator Person? No, we share a tent is all, I'll show you. Look, her sleeping bag, mine. Yeah she was a bit drunk.. She gets drunk most events.. Can't handle her booze. I got her back here so she could sleep it off, we've been tent sharing for a few events now.
No, she's a nice girl and everything, but you know that she's been seen with That Guy.. Yeah. I know, I'm not going to judge her and him.. Not my place to do that, I've been coming here for years now, yeah Event Creator gives me a lift each time, I help set up and take down.
I like the system to much to see it come into disrepute..

Oh, what's that? That Guy isn't here this event? Didn't you know.. He'd been approaching people whilst his wife was away. Yeah one of the Event Organisers dropped by, nice bloke, did you know he's Event Creators, yes the guy who gives me a lift, it's his cousin. We had a bit of a chat.. Sorry.. I stuck up for you and everything, but there's word going round that you're a bit of a slag.. I know.. Its shocking that someone would lie about you.. Why don't I have a chat with Event Creation Person about it..

So long as you keep your head down nothing will happen I don't think you're a trouble maker or a drama queen, not my words, but I do get around Camp and hear things, I've done some damage control. Yeah I'm such a good friend.. Come on, I've got some of The good stuff back at Our tent..


So easy, so innocent seeming at first right?
Then the guy starts to manipulate the situation, putting pressure on the victim, making other people doubt what she says.
The slope is gentle, ever dropping off until she can't say anything because of how she'd be seen by others in the event/camp.

Some abuse you never notice until after the fact, after the gaslighting and playing on your fears and anxieties.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Abuse in larp

I've been pondering if I should wrote this for a while.
It's been covered by others elsewhere so I worry about the redundancy of me saying it all over again.

But no, I reckon I should talk about it because it should be talked about.

You've probably seen the other articles about "missing steps" and Creeper Players.

See, I've had to deal with them in the past.
As both a Ref and as a Player.

I didn't realise at first what I was seeing.
Everyone just ignored what was happening, it was par for the course, just banter and potential flirting.
Apparently that sort of thing was Normal in the gaming scene.

A couple years down the line, after I'd left that system and got into other systems I found out that sort of thing wasn't normal.
But everyone treats it like it is.

Guy flirts with girl, girl says jog on, guy laughs and walks away, next day there's word going round the site that the girl got drunk and ended up in a tent with the guy who was flirting with her.
Lucky guy right?

Not right.
Not at all.

That girl was raped. And when she tried to say something about it to other players guess what the responses were?
"oh player X, yeah he aims for the drunk ones."
"well, you were drunk, you probably said yes"
"I have a hard time believing that you were raped. You went willingly with that guy back to his tent"
"don't worry about it, it was his last event he won't be back again"

When she spoke to the game team guess what they said?
"we'll look into it"
They did, then nothing happened.
It was brushed under the carpet.
Then at the next event the girl freaks out, makes a scene about someone trying it on with her.
She got labelled a trouble maker and a drama queen.

That's not on.
But I guess that the hobby was just trying to protect itself.
I mean, who wants to admit that they knowingly associate with sexual predators on a social level and do nothing about it because it must all be lies or just someone trying to cause trouble for their mates.

In the last year alone on "the big system" pages I've seen a half dozen similar "my friend was abused and nothing happend"/"we're looking into it" posts.
I've sat with mates as they've discussed such things.

But nothing seems to get done about it.
You then start seeing or hearing "nothing will get done about it, they're a mate of the event team" popping up and posts getting locked or deleted, invariably followed by a "We here at System Name operate a strict policy when it comes to any complaints raised. Please respect the system and do not talk about it on the page. Let the Event Team look into the Complaints and take it from there.".

A lot of new players will see the Strict Policy on Abuse and feel comforted knowing that any abusers will surely be kicked out.

And yet...
There are those who know better, they've seen that post a few times before and seen both victim and abusers still attending events though the victims are often forced out by peer pressure and silenced by some of the more rabid fans of the system with constant snipes and "well the abuser is still here, guess he didn't actually do anything.." goads.

I've witnessed this myself.
It happens.

Is the hobby so worried about actually doing something about the level of abuse, physical, emotional and mental, that happens under their watch?
Are they so afraid that they will suddenly be cast in a bad light and will lose attendance at events?

The Hobby isn't afraid.
Individual systems are.
And they should be.

The Hobby isn't a unified thing. There isn't some big Larp Council that puts rules into place.

That only happens on a system by system level.
And if you've been larping for a few months to a year you've probably heard the stories of someone who was abused, even if you don't know what happened afterwards to either the victim or the abuser.

Police are almost never involved.
Infact I personally can't think of any systems or victims who have gone to the police.
No, that's a lie.
I can think of one system that asked a player if they want the police to be called.

I remember when I asked the person that question.
I asked because I was genuinely concerned about them.
They were petrified of the police getting involved.
"No, I don't want them to be called, I'm at another system next weekend and it'll spread that I called the police on the other person"

What could I do as a ref in that circumstance?
I spoke to the victim of abuse.
I spoke to people who witnessed the abuse, when they figured out what I was asking about they went very quiet.
"We don't want any trouble.." was their response.

Why do the victims and witnesses feel like they will be in trouble? Just what the hell!?

I spoke with my a-ref and with another ref.
Action was taken.
The abuser was spoken to after the event, after witnesses had been spoken to.
That person was asked not to return to the game.

I actively removed someone from my game. Because they were a sexually abusive person who had used my game as a venue to prey on others.

And I got a lot of flack for it from their mates. "So and so wouldn't do that.." "Other person is lying, I wasn't there but I know they're lying" "you're only defending the other person because you fancy your chances with them and got rid of the competition" was some of the stuff that came back to me.

My system took a hit in the social circles.
But after a while the flack died down and other players felt comfortable enough to come to me and my a-ref with concerns about other peoples behaviour.

Every single complaint that's bought to my attention is looked into.
I keep people updated on the progress and the final outcome.
I don't tell anyone who has raised concerns about their behaviour because that would lead to more abuse.

I don't think enough systems are transparent in how they do things.
But then that means they have to acknowledge that people with malintent attend their systems and they may lose members because of that.

But I think that if they own the problem then it will put them in a better light with people want to larp for fun in a predator free environment.
The predators will learn to either correct their behaviour or suffer the consequences.

And as for consequences.. Yes I also worry about the fact that some people might turn vigilante after finding out who's been booted from a system.

If the event team are careful then the only people who find out who's been booted are the victim, the abuser and ref team.

Unless of course the abuser goes elsewhere and starts slagging off the system he was booted from.
That's where the event organisers need to watch out a bit though.
The "new" system Ref's should extend a query to the old system to get the details first hand.
It's then down to the new system to decide if they want a known predator attending their events.

I'm pretty strict in my own system when it comes to people being dicks.
There are a couple of routes that I have followed.
1: Speak to the person and tell them that their behaviour is not acceptable and that if they do it again they'll be given a temporary ban.
2: Inform the person that due to the number of complaints raised recently they are no longer welcome back to the system again.

I've done both and I regret nothing.
Because abuse should not be tolerated.

At the end of the day I'm there to make sure people have fun in a safe environment.
Shouldn't every event organiser be like that?

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Pre Generated Hatred

So, I've been in and around Gaming since I was a child, I'm just short of hitting 41, and you know what?
My age has nothing to do with what I say about gaming in the slightest.
I still feel in my mid 20's (except on those really rough mornings when I feel maybe in my 30's...).

Would it be fair to say that being older makes me a better player or ref?
No, not really.
It does give me a lot more experience, both good and bad, to draw anecdotes and comparison from.

That's why I write these random blogs.
That and I'm bored and want to be able to speak about what's on my mind.
Which I don't do nearly enough, instead I let it fester and build up and I become stage by stage that bit more bitter and disillusioned with gaming as a whole.

So, here I am, about to talk about my experience with Characters in a game.
More specifically, Pre-Generated Characters.

See, as I type this I can already imagine people rolling their eyes.
“Oh, geesh Pre-Gens wtf dude, no one uses them, it's so goat to force that on people..”

Now, imagine, you've found out about a game, one that you want to get involved with, but it's just a few days away and you don't have time to source some amazing kit because all you're stuff is scattered between a dozen mates houses, in the loft, or the shed BUT you really want to go.
BUT you know you wont be ablew to play the awesome character you want to play due to lack of kit.
What do you do?
Either source kit really quickly or give up and say “screw it, i'll go next time”.

I mean, sure going next time means you'll be able to get your kit together and have a better read of the rule book or wiki.
Heck, you could even go in half cobbled together kit, not looking your best but at least you're there right?

Well, what about option 3?
Talk to the people that run the event. Explain to them what the situation is. Many event coordinators go out of their way to help new players, espescially ones who don't already have mates in the system because they know that “bums on seats is good, and this person might bring more, which is better”.
Ok, that's a bit of a cynical approach, it's not always about the Bums On Seats, some event organisers are genuinely nice folks and are happy to welcome new people to their game for totally non altruistic reasons.

I'm an event organiser, you should know this by now if you're ready some of my older blog posts.
I don't run a big game, 20-30 players is all.
But if some one joins us with just a few days to go before the event both myself and my A-Ref will bend over backwards to come up with what we call a Beanie character.

Beanies in our system are named after Sean Bean, or at least that's the running joke, they're generally a loose concept made within the basic rules of the game. The concept is basic, as is the background for the character, and yes there is a difference between Concept and Background not that many people get that these days..

A Beanie is designed to last, one or two games. Just long enough to get you into the system. They're designed to help you learn the rules at a slow pace because they're not stacked up with tons of special abilities, sure you have some powers but not the high end stuff, because you need to learn the system before you can get to grips with the evolution of your abilities.
No one starts a DnD game at level 30 knowing none of the rules is a pretty nifty example that works well here

We've had people turn up to the game in the past, no character made, select a Beanie from our wiki (we have a selection of Beanies per faction type for instant playability), and dive right in.
And you know what? People enjoyed the beanies a lot, because the hard work was already done for them, they had all the info at hand, they knew why the character was coming to the social gathering that our games generally are. And the Beanies? They don't stop getting played after one or two games, the continued being played, and we've still got Beanies in system that are a few years old now.

But, isn't this article about what's better, Pre Gens or Not Pre Genned?

Well, not really no.

It's more about people getting their heads out of their arses and supporting people, be they new to larp, finding out about an event last minute but still wanting to take part, those totally nervous and not knowing how much is enough with concept and background and stressing over it all.
It's about event organisers helping people out, providing a guiding (not rail roading) hand, providing a good reason for a character to be present, providing a character with reason to stick around and return, letting players know that as an event organiser you're there first and foremost to help.

I'd rather make a thousand Beanies than have players pass up coming to the game because they can't think of a good character concept that fits the style and setting of the game.

You think having a Pre Generated character is bad? Why?
Because they fit within the rules of the system, it helps a new player find their feet in the setting, it introduces new people to the game?
Or is it because you're worried that they'll be more powerful than you for some obscure reason (your badly spent XP for example, when you didn't know the system so well yourself once and made some bad choices and its totally unfair that a new player has the sort of advantage over you due to the event organisers learning from old mistakes and approaching things with an eye to help people enjoy the game from the beginning) or that they'll have access to lore and game secrets that you dont (because you actually joined the game before that sort of stuff existed and didn't really bother learning it in character and instead meta game whilst hating on those that spend xp on the lore and background info so they can actually legitimately act on what they personally know about the system), or maybe it's because they'll come in to the game with an agenda, a clear cut series of goals they want to achieve quickly (Whilst you just dally around in the background coasting from one thing to another whilst not actually achieving anything that pushes plot so you secretly resent the new players because they're actively trying to do Plot that you've spent so long ignoring now or sneering at because it's not Your plot so screw it..).

Reasons why A Pre Made character is a great thing!
It means you've got something that is already made within the rules of the game!
You have a concept that's permitted!
You have a background that's full enough to make you realistic (within the setting) yet empty enough for you to fill out some blanks a few games later down the line and totally make it all your own character!
You've been given a character that's easy to learn with no really complicated abilities!
A Pre Made character is a kind of archetypal character, so they're really easy to play or relate to!
You're able to jump right in because everything you need is at hand right away!
Pre-Made characters tend to be very kit light, meaning you won't have to scrounge round from mates or fellow players!

Reasons why A Pre Made character is a bad thing!
Some people feel like they might be “rail roaded” and forced to act in ways they wouldn't with the same sort of character.
You might feel like the character is out of your Comfort Zone.

Yeah, those are the only legitimate bad reasons I can think of and even then I can turn that around on its head!
Feel like you might be rail roaded? In larp it's all about what you want to do, how you go about doing it is up to you! SO, you've come to a game, been given a Thug character concept.
Now, will you play them as a brutally violent thug, the sort of thug that just uses scare tactics, the sort of thug who gets others to do their dirty work for them, are you just a patsy to some one else higher on the food chain, are you the person thats higher up on the food chain?

See, that one concept has a whole lot of different ways it can be played, and I bet you a slice of Battenburg that how you play the character and how it evolves over time won't be what the event organisers had planned for it.

The only real bad thing about Pre Generated characters is the attitude from within the community itself from those who dislike such a concept.
And that needs to stop.
I mean, aren't we all gaming for fun after all?

Monday, 11 September 2017

A personal thought

I remember when...

For prior parts of the game, when we didn't have drop box and indeed well before KBN/CI, players would get all their printing on the day and not get stuff in advance.
This usually meant that people turned up early to read things, soak up the importance of the words and then go in to game with it all fresh in their mind.

They were rather different days for the game, and part of me sort of misses that aspect. But nowadays CI isn't seen as any ones "Must Attend" system, its simply that little social game of vampire and if other things come up the other things take precedence.
Not IRL things but just other games.

There's a general lack of urgency in CI and i will in part take blame for that myself because i am the Ref of the game and it would be wrong of me to not do so.

The saga has been running for 25 years (very nearly) and there are few games that can boast that level of achievement.
Indeed even other vampire games can't really boast that.
The game started when i was 16. Sat on a friends floor or where i was living. Sometimes round a table. Sometimes in a pub. Once in a playing ground opposite from where i lived at the time. The game progressed on to rooms booked in pubs.
But now we use caves and university rooms.

And that makes me proud.

CI is a second job for me, and sarah, an unpaid one at that. We get no perks or payment from it, often we're personally out of pocket but it's the choice i made when the game carried on running.

Its been through thick and it's been through thin. We've had clashes with all the "big" systems, but when i look at it the big systems are just ones where people camp out. They cost so much more so i guess people feel they Have to go to them and they Have to take priority.

Want to know a secret, thats fine.
Really it is, but i'd at least like a little respect for the work we do.
Saying "great game, thanks" is all well and good but they're just words.
You keep coming back over and over and thats cool, but when did you really add anything to the game?
Not just new players, but when did you go out of your way to say "the Refs have done this thing, i'm gonna add to it and do some amazing plot" because it doesnt happen often enough and the game will stagnate unless something happens.

We do our part every month. Month in, month out, even when we really cant we still do.
Some of you've seen me when i was ill, but i still run the game. Some of you have seen me and sarah really stressed or over worked but we still delivered. And even when i have my son i always do my best to deliver for the game, only once or twice in the last year can i say it wasnt enough and thats only because i just run out of time.

I'm tired of CI being the "after thought" game. Folks do everyone a favour and step up to the plate.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Commitment Issues

Now, I've been larping for "some time" and I've worked more often than not in my life, earned an alright wage and rented.

I can afford may be one game a month if I'm lucky.

Every other person, with the exception of my partner, that I know seems to fill every Friday through Sunday at a larp. Some even go from Thursday instead of Friday.
Every weekend.

A couple of things confuse me.

Firstly, the Cost.
These other folks I know are in national minimum wage jobs just like me, or on a selection of govt benefits.
I've got a loan repayment also going out of my wages every month, and I have a kid.

Even when I didn't have those things I couldn't afford to larp every weekend, travelling from one end of the country to the other, usually by public transport and not cadging a lift, even then I wouldn't be able to afford it.
Seriously people where does this money come from?

Am I missing some trick here or something?
Just what the hell.

The other thing.
The commitment required.

Maybe it's the style of games that they attend that make the difference, the "big event" games with triple digit numbers of players.

Now, I run a small game, thirty or so active players.
The behind the scenes stuff is a second job for me.
One I don't get paid for either.
I make no money from the game at all.
It's not run as a business.
But as a ref I'm on all of my players social media profiles.
I know all of them pretty well, same as I know their characters pretty well.
Indeed it's been shown a number of times in the past that I knew their characters better than they did. Go figure.

I wandered off track there for a moment. For good reason.

See in my game when players start to drift from the characters goals, methods and such I notice it pretty quickly.
Often I'm able to steer them back to where they wanted to be.

They got lost due to what I see as Commitment Issues.
They've got a half dozen or more other larp systems on the go at the same time that they're losing track of what each system is and who each character is.

All the plots start to get jumbled up.
I've had it happen at my game.
A player convinced that I ok'd an action.
I didn't.
They got confused with the other system.

How many systems do you play, perhaps even run.
Ever had that problem?

As a ref in a small system I also notice the lethargy and, well let's call it what it is, the laziness.
Big systems take up a lot of people's time, understandably so.
But when you start turning up to other systems not bothering with the physical requirements, the right kit and costume and even the right mind set.
That right there is not on.

You're not only doing the players who turn up as they should a disservice but you're also telling the gm's that you don't really care about the thing you're at.
And that right there is well out of order.

I've seen a lot of games fold over the years because of the mental rot that sets in when players start to over commit to many systems.

When you start to commit to a few systems at first it might be fine, different settings and rules to learn, maybe even a few players from those other games you attend so that's all cool too.

But have you noticed that you tend to hang out with mostly the same people regardless of the system, that over time a lot of all your different characters start getting the same mannerisms because it's what you're comfortable with.
And besides you're surrounded by mates and they all do it to right?

Your characters in all the systems start to blur together.
You start to lose track of plot.
Plot that other people are involved in.
Plot that others are working hard for and on.
Plot that you can't really be bothered with, because you're thinking about that thing from the other game that was pure bants and well cool cos all the gang was there..

Ever noticed that?

Maybe there are times you can't be bothered because you're shattered from that thing you was doing last week, and hey its not like any one will notice if you're not there.
I mean it's not as if you're part of plot or anything right? Others can coast along with you not there right?

Seriously people.
Stop being such dicks to the rest of the player base.

Ever single thing that you play requires 100%.
If you can't do that then maybe step back from it.
There's a huge chance that your greedy playing style is holding others back from having a better game.