The Sword
The Cabiri Chronicles
     Life of a History
     Under the Hood

     Balancing Act

     I was just acting!
     Lucifer as a Player
     Player Types Defined
     LARP Boredom
     LARP Survival

     Economics in D&D 3.5

     Sept 11, 2002
     Columbia Disaster

     A Letter of Vocation
     Evidence of Evil
     In Defense of a Reflection

     A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

How to Protect Your Primogen:
Five survival techniques for your Vampire: the Masquerade LARP

          Okay, so you've pondered over the various Clans and concepts, settled on something you like, and did some number crunching to achieve the character that you want to play in the next LARP. You arrive on time, get your information packet from your Storyteller, and start playing. Five minutes later, you're throwing a fit because the local Brujah didn't like the way you looked at him and destroyed your perfect creation.
          The natural response to this is to blame the Brujah's player, or the Storytellers, or whoever else might be to blame...but there's usually only one person to blame when a character gets axed, and that's the player himself. Maybe he didn't realize just how dangerous the game was, or perhaps he didn't take the necessary steps to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Or maybe he just wasn't in the right place at the right time. To avoid this situation, a player has many options.
          1) Never Walk Alone. This is pretty much the Golden Rule of Survival in a LARP. If you're not such a tough guy, find friends, quickly, who will back you up. Clan-mates are best for this sort of thing, as established characters have, most likely, already learned this rule, and most of the characters in a LARP are looking for another ally, regardless of his relative power. If you can't find allies that are willing to back you, or follow you around while you wheel and deal, then find ones that are willing to avenge your death, and make it well known that they'll do so. Often, the threat of retribution will keep others from eyeing you too greedily.
          If you can't find allies fast enough, stay in public places, particularly Elysiums. Most Licks don't like the idea of trying to start a fight in an Elysium, and the Keeper of Elysium will, most likely, either come to your aid or avenge your Final Death for you. The most important facet of staying around other Kindred is the fact that, unless you're under the Blood Hunt, you're pretty safe, as the Prince is likely to get upset if someone decides to take it upon himself to exercise the Prince's right to execution. Besides, most killers don't want any evidence or witnesses, and a room full of witnesses will stop him quite nicely.
          This can lead to another problem, though. If you ally with one person or group, you're most likely going to make fast enemies of someone else. That means that someone else has more of a reason than an off stare to ax you. But, if you keep to your allies, they should think twice about it. Most players will avoid a pitched battle with several characters involved on both sides.
          As a Storyteller, I've seen in more than a few games where someone walks right into a trap because they didn't bring any muscle along with them. If you're playing an information-based character, you've even more reason to make certain that you've got back-up, even if it's posthumous backup. And when someone comes up to you and asks to speak with you private, make certain that you are in line of sight with some allies, or, at worst, within shouting distance. If possible though, don't go off with anyone who wants to speak with you in a secluded corner, or who wants you to walk into a large group wherein you have no allies. Chances are high its a trap.
          Of all the in-game deaths I've seen, almost 100% were due to this rule being ignored.
          2) Don't Overtly Piss Someone Off. Unless you are confident that you can take someone and any allies they might have, don't go mouthing off to other characters. Subtlety is the key. If a specific character pisses off your character, start planting rumors among his enemies, or even among his allies, to weaken his position. Use your Influences to find out what his are and break them down. Then, when he's at his weakest and forgets Rule #1, axe him. More often than not, by the time he's ready to be killed, he's already not a threat any more. Of course, an enemy who's still living (or unliving) can still make a comeback, so you'll have to keep an eye on him if you don't want to remove him from the picture entirely.
          3) Tactical Relocation is a Good Thing. Okay, you've ignored rule one and two. The Brujah's player already has his hand behind his back, prepared for a fight. You're a Toreador who thought it'd be better to invest in Auspex than Celerity. Run. Fast. And shout a lot. If you don't have any allies yourself, run to your aggressor's enemies. If you've got Obfuscate, use it. The Fair Escape rule is there for a reason. Most often, you can see trouble coming before it hits you. If you've already been challenged to a fight, and don't have the Celerity or Obfuscate to escape, yell some more. If you don't think a simple "help" will work, shout something like "Oh my God, the Sabbat!" or something similarly meaningful. Chances are, if you're off by yourself, your attacker wants to keep your Final Death quiet. If you throw a wrench into that plan, he might give up himself.
          4) Blackmail Efficiently. If you've got something on someone, tell a Storyteller that you're putting the evidence in a safe deposit box, and give the key to someone else, preferably someone of power, like the Prince, Sheriff, or a Primogen. Tell that person that, if you die, to go to your haven, find the number of the safe deposit box, and look what's inside. Then go to your prey and make your threat. If you're subtle about the blackmail, and explain what he needs to do to get out of it precisely, and that killing you won't end his suffering, then he'll most likely go along with it. Never, however, give up all of your evidence. As long as he thinks you've still got something on him, he won't risk attacking you, most likely.
          5) Hide the Good Silverware. If you've got something that's a hot item, say a fragment from the Book of Nod, or ten pounds of C-4 locked up in your haven, move it. Put it somewhere where no one can find it, even the Nosferatu. Keep the fact that you've got the item to yourself until you've decided to whom you're going to sell it to. Make certain that the person you want to sell it to will be willing and able to buy it. Then, make the sale quickly. If someone comes threatening you with Final Death if you don't turn over the goods, tell them that you've hidden it, and that your Final Death won't get them what they want. If that doesn't work, tell them that you knew that they wanted it, and told someone important, like the Prince, that if you went missing, that he was the reason. It could easily be a total lie, but it may give the aggressor some pause, at least while he tries to confirm you're story. During that time, you can review the wisdom of the Rule #1.
          If you've got something that you can wear, but don't need it all the time, don't keep it on your person. If you've actually got a prop, hide it somewhere where people won't most likely look, and do so when they're not looking. It's always fun to show off a neat-o magic item or toy, but the more people who see the thing, the higher the chance someone will want it bad enough to kill your character.
          Now, there are times to ignore these rules, particularly when the rules conflict with the personality of the character you've created. If you've created a Gangrel who's nomadic lifestyle has made him abhor large groups, then you're most likely going to ignore Rule #1. If your character likes to "Showboat" his power, you'll most likely want to ignore Rule #5. And so on. Never, ever break character merely because you think, out of character, that you're about to meet Final Death. Never forget Cardinal Rule #1, which precedes all other rules: Stay In Character.