Just DO it!
How to Prevent Boredom During a LARP
There have been more than a few LARPs where I've seen, both as a
Storyteller and as a Player, other players sitting around griping
about how they've got nothing to do. How the Primogen and Prince and
maybe another faction have all the fun while the griper sits back,
bored. Typically, they blame the Storytellers or specific players
who "won't talk to them" and whine and whine. Chances are, though,
they're just as much to blame as anyone else!
In a LARP everyone has the responsibility to make the game fun
for everyone involved. This is pretty much common sense. That's why
you don't start yelling at people out of character or try to cheat
(which is insanely easy in a LARP of more than five or six players).
But most people forget that they've got a responsibility to
themselves as well, to make their own fun.
Now, some people set themselves up for boredom. They create a
"concept character," and expect to have fun. A "concept character"
is a character who is created around one plot device or character
hook which the player thinks is "neat." While the idea may, indeed,
be "neat," it may not be conducive to long-term enjoyment. Let's say
you've talked your Storyteller into letting you play a Diabolist/Diablerist?
Samedi Antitribu with Garou Allies. Neat-o idea, but chances are the
person who created this character wants more to rely on a specific
concept than a well-defined character. When the secret gets out or
the concept reaches fruition (usually in the first game), the player
starts getting bored, assuming he survives the night. A True
Role-player doesn't need an outrageous "gimmick" to have fun. All he
needs is a personality and some stats; he can then can roll with
what comes at him. He doesn't need to play some obscure bloodline to
"ohh and ahhh" the other players. Once the "ohh and ahhh" stage is
over, most concept characters are ignored because they have nothing
more to offer than shock value. Instead of trying to convince the
Storyteller to let you play an Abomination, try putting on a suit
and playing a Ventrue or Lasombra (depending on the context of the
LARP). Chances are you'll end up involved in a lot more that way, as
you snuggle up to the other members of your Clan, or betray them for
more power. Of course, there's nothing wrong with coming up with a
character hook, as long as you develop a detailed and interesting
personality around that hook. A Brujah who prefers subtle rebellion
amongst the corporate community to rabble-rousing is an interesting
idea, as long as there is a viable personality to go along with it.
One more important thing...if you come up with a concept, make sure
it "jives" with the World of Darkness or your Storyteller's concept
of the World of Darkness. Playing a Salubri who has the Clan
Affinity Merit with Clan Tremere is not only against the setting,
but it's stupid. Also, don't play a Nosferatu and think that having
an extensive information network in Europe is going to have any
affect on a game set in Chicago. Kindred are an insular bunch, and
the politics of one city rarely have a substantial affect on the
politics of another, much less another continent.
Other people come to a LARP thinking that the Storyteller has the
responsibility to make it fun for them. Most of these people don't
realize that any LARP of any decent size has 20 to 30 people in it,
and the Storyteller can't always be thinking about you. They find a
comfy place to sit and complain about who’s to blame for them
sitting in the easy chair. Some of the responsibility does lie on
the Storyteller, but much of the responsibility relies on the
individual player. The Storyteller didn't make him sit on the couch.
He didn't force him to avoid interaction with other players. If the
Storyteller hasn't given you an interesting position in the plot,
make one for yourself. Make an enemy if you have to, and start
spreading rumors about her. Buddy up to your Clan's representative
on the Primogen Council, or start dropping hints to the Prince that
your Clan needs representation, even though your Clan isn't an
"official" representative of the Camarilla. Stir things up, and
things will start getting interesting. If you've sat on the couch
all night and not tried to interact with others, you've failed not
only yourself, but the other players in the game. Now, sometimes,
getting involved can be difficult. Let's say that there are several
meetings of various levels of secrecy going on, and your Kiasyd
isn't involved with any of them. Chances are there is someone else
who's on the "outside" of these meetings as well. Strike up a
conversation. Find out their views on what's going on. Pry them open
for information. Make an ally or an enemy of them, as is appropriate
to your character. At the very least, when the secret meetings are
over, you'll have spent some time doing something besides repeating
the Generation X mantra on the sofa while munching potato chips.
Now, lulls in games are sometimes necessary, and even unnecessary
ones happen. The Justicar upstairs has set a Conclave for midnight,
and the entire Primogen Council is sitting downstairs waiting for
him to show up by 11:45. Do something. Anything. Keep in character,
of course, but act. If you don't like what's going on, start asking
around about others' views. Or take this opportunity to snuggle up
to a Primogen and try to get yourself known. Failing all that, sit
back and wait. But whatever you do, don't break character. And don't
rely on a Storyteller to stir things up.
Often, long-running LARPs run themselves. Meaning that, once the
major plot elements are out there, the interaction of the players is
enough to keep things going, and the Storyteller is relegated to the
position of rules arbiter. That's the ideal of any Storyteller. A
LARP is supposed to be self-running. If the Storyteller has to
continually come up with new and interesting plots that involves
every single player, he's going to burn out. The problem with this
is that many new players, or old players with new characters, may
not have a big event in which to show off what they have to offer.
Big events aren't necessary to involve yourself. In one recent game,
I saw an individual who, having never LARPed before, quickly became
a very active participant, while old LARPers were wandering around
wondering why they were bored. The character they created wasn't of
a strange or unusual Clan, and they had only a brief summary of what
their history was. But they were able to involve themselves more
than experienced LARPers who'd so burned out on LARPing that they
had to rely on concept characters to have fun.
Basically, LARPing is a group effort, more so than most other
types of role-playing games. If everyone isn't collaborating to make
the game fun, someone is failing miserably as a player. Converse to
what I've said above, other players also have a responsibility to
involve those who either can't or won't get involved. If it's within
your character, talk to them. Find out their goals. At the very
least, you're setting someone up for a Prestation debt. At the very
most, you just made yourself another ally. Now, that's not to say
that the Ventrue Primogen should go over and start up a conversation
with the Brujah Anarch boss, but if they see someone being bored
that they would, feasibly, talk to "in character", by all means do
so. Only the most die-hard Generation X-ers will refuse an
invitation to involve themselves.