Everyone develops bad habits while playing any game. Do you even remember how you had to drive to pass your driving test? Ten to two and not crossing my arms over like I’m playing air drums? I’m not allowed to turn the wheel with the palm of my hand or forehead? What kind of madness is that? These sorts of bad (yes, those examples are bad too) habits creep into our everyday lives, and also while LARPing, and the difference between not changing the loo roll when it’s finished and LARP bad habits is that one of those is a contact sport, and there are other people to consider. Wait a minute, but both of… never mind. What I’m saying is that you have the potential to ruin something if you let your bad habits get in the way of the game.
So here’s five specific bad habits we know of that we encourage you to stop doing.
1. Not knowing the rules. Although I’d like to say that this one is a no-brainer, it’s surprising how easy it is to do this, and everyone does it from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something: How long do I have to chant for? Is the spell a touch or is it ranged? Do I need a phys-rep for this special item card? Sometimes common sense can’t help you out. The real problem is when you ask someone, or you yourself make an assumption about the rules. What you’re doing is being lazy, and not going to a ref, or checking your own rule book, and what does that lead to? Inadvertent cheating. And you don’t want to start getting known as a cheater just because you can’t be bothered to go and get an answer to a legitimate question.
2. Always being drunk. Now, I like being drunk. Most people like being drunk, and if we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of night-time LARPing is about wandering around drunk in the dark trying to make out shapes with your squiffy drunken night vision. Things are hilarious that way. No, it’s not the act of getting or being drunk that’s the issue. The real problem is when you are drunk all of the time, and we all know a few players who have this to an extreme. The problem of being drunk all the time, is that people don’t really know who they’re roleplaying with. Are they roleplaying with your character, who happens to be drunk, or just with you, who’s drunk at all times? Especially if you’re playing an antagonistic character – is it your character that’s like that, or are you just being a drunk arsehole? Drunk players can sometimes make for unsafe fighters too, especially if they’re never handling a weapon while sober. So try just getting drunk in the evenings, and have some sober roleplay times with people, at least the hangover won’t be as bad.
3. Not getting your weapons checked. I think everyone is guilty of this one. Sometimes, you’ve arrived at site, setup has been nothing but a pain and the last thing you want to have to do is trudge all the way across a field to get a specific person to poke and prod your weapons and shield to work out whether or not you’ll take someone’s eye out with it. It’s made of foam! There’s only a little bit of latex coming off, it’ll be fine, no-one’s been hurt before by it, so I’m sure it’s OK. Until, of course, the day you don’t have your weapon checked and you give someone a mild concussion because the core was actually exposed, and you just clonked someone (read: me) straight on the head. Twice. I would argue that 9/10 an unchecked weapon is most likely perfectly safe and will pass the check. It’s that 1/10 situation that you’re risking injuring someone. For the sake of walking across a field to get your weapons touched up by the designated weapon toucher-upper is a small sacrifice to making sure that if you do injure someone, it’s not due to your own negligence.
4. Being judgemental of other systems. Strange covered this in LARPScene’s first issue on ‘Strange Rants’ (and I think you should go and read it if you haven’t already, so click HERE for the link) but it’s important enough to mention in the five bad habits, because it’s a pretty bad habit to have. Everyone has a system they prefer, which functions as their primary system, and all others you attend will be less frequent, that’s a given, and is pretty normal. What’s not normal is when all your mates get together in that one system and crucify another system on the basis that your system is ‘better’. It may have a more sensible set of rules, or maybe more budget is in the set dressing, or more NPCs, or any number of factors that may seem to make one system ‘better’ than the other. Newsflash: We’re all playing pretend to have fun. Why waste your time slating other systems? If you like your primary system so much, help other players play your one! Don’t drag down one to elevate another.
5. Wearing OOC clothes IC. If your argument for why you’ve just walked out of your tent wearing jogging bottoms and a t-shirt with the Umbro logo on is something along the lines of “I can’t afford to buy IC clothing” or “I’m only going monstering”, then this one’s for you. Unless you’re playing a modern LARP where those items of clothing wouldn’t look out of place, go and get a plain long-sleeved top from Primark and some brown trousers. The same level of effort you put into finding those jogging bottoms and Umbro t-shirt is exactly the level of effort for finding IC clothing, you’re just using an excuse to avoid putting the effort in, which baffles me, because the act of getting to an event is time, effort and money, something you are already doing by the very nature of this hobby. So just go out and get some plain kit, and then sew some crap to it, that’s what we all do.
Do you have any other bad habits to add to the list? Drop us a comment below and let’s keep the list going and we can avoid those LARP downfalls! Don’t forget to subscribe if you like our content and want updates whenever a new post is published!