A good LRP will teach you things. A couple of years ago we went to a Phoenix LRP game. It was a small afternoon game with six of us playing for three hours. It was a based on a system that three of us had played as children. Those three could all still read the coded writing. They could read documents that were written in a mostly different alphabet that had served no purpose in their life for several years because they had done so regularly when they were young. This is probably one of the most useless skills they have picked up from their LRP experience.
I know a lot of people that know how to sew because they LRP. If you want kit that looks really special your options are to pay someone to custom make it for you, which is expensive because the people making it for you need to earn a living, or to learn to make it yourself, which is often still expensive because unusual fabric can cost a fortune.
When I started LRPing I couldn’t draw well. Over the last 13 years I’ve picked up so many practical skills that I’m running Mandala. I get paid to build costumes, props and creatures. I know about design, fabrication, materials and also about customer service and I’m fast learning about business management.
Creation is an important part of LRP. We create worlds, we create stories and we go and live in them. There is a lot of skill and experience involved in creating good, coherent, interesting games that people can engage with in a natural and interesting way. There’s skill in working out what your players will find interesting and in engaging them in ways that won’t open them up to paperwork, to metagame thinking and to boredom. If you give your players the chance to have a shit game, then at least some of them will take it. These skills are partially learnt through trying things. Some can be learnt from others experience, although there’s a risk of cutting out things that will work the way you implement them but didn’t work the way someone else implemented them. They’re important skills for running LRP games, but they also transfer nicely out of the game environment.
I know a lot more about history, about current events, and about myths and stories than I would have done if I had not tried LRPing (I suspect). I also have a much healthier set of social skills than I initially did, and have found the confidence to do things, and to stand up when I’m not happy about things. These are really important skills as well. They’re good for a healthy society.
I’ve learnt a lot about event management. It’s always important to have enough toilet roll. You need to keep people fed. I’ve learnt about licensing radios and about providing appropriate medical support and insurance. I’ve also learnt at what point to say no. I’ve learnt where the limits are for ‘My Responsibility’ and for ‘Not My Responsibility’. I’m not the only one. For some these are harder lessons than for others, and I’ve been lucky in that I’m part of an experienced team who did a lot of stupid things before I joined them. I have learnt the importance of their experience.
Most importantly LRP is a place where I am useful. Everyone wants to be useful. People are inevitably happier when they can help others.