I started writing this before the latest article relating to PD and their use of the Great Alne site was released. This is a pretty good look at that situation I would disagree with some of the early stuff about LRP being less visible. Small systems that play in public spaces still exist and the Internet also means that it’s hard to stop groups of friends and work colleagues knowing that you LRP. They’ve probably seen photos of you in kit.
LRP will never be a truly mature game until we are not embarrassed by what we do. I am proud of my hobby and the things it’s taught me and what it has enabled me to do. We can’t make things better until we’re willing to accept them for what they are. While some of the responses were balanced, others had the air of reacting defensively to things that hadn’t actually been said. Most of the article was about traffic and people felt that they needed to come out and tell them we’re normal. That’s not the sign of someone who’s convinced that what they’re doing is normal. We don’t need to excuse ourselves for having fun.
Almost everyone can see some level of attraction in LRP. Most people I talk to about it don’t want to because they don’t like camping, not because the idea of LRP is strange. A huge number of people look a bit wistful and say “That sounds like fun”. I am more than happy to take the game I am playing into a public space. Even to interact with members of the public while doing so. I don’t like special terms for members of the public. This pretty much only applies to low combat modern day games.
I have a lot of confidence in LRP and believe that people who LRP are probably better people than those who mock people who LRP. I also believe that most people have the ability to accept LRP. This is entirely irrelevant. A well written game can involve members of the public with them never really seeing that anything unusual has happened near them. My most common use of the public as NPCs when playing modern day games has involved buying food from them. They’re more than happy to NPC as catering staff. They even pay each other to do it, and as long as I use real money to phys rep money we’re all good. Most of the time they don’t even know they’re doing it. It does mean that the player playing a millionaire has to budget carefully or just never question the fact that he doesn’t regularly buy dinner for people to make paying the pizza bill simpler.
Public games can only ever apply to a small section of LRP. We’re unlikely to ever want to abandon sci fi and fantasy games. They’re likely to remain a staple of the systems that people run. Those games will struggle to be run in a public place without it interrupting the flow of the game. A game involving the public pretty much has to be set in the modern day and not include action that would distress the public, specifically for those parts of a game that the public are involved in. It’s also worth ensuring the police know you’re running the game and have an idea what you’re planning and a way to contact you.
We’re pretty limited for quality, dedicated LRP spaces, and the struggle to find a space is one of the major things that limits which events we can run. There are two ways of improving on this. We create new spaces or we find new ways to use the spaces available to us. I’m also a strong believer that violence is not the only route to LRP through and that making people consider real world repercussions adds to the realism of a small game. The major difference being that if they do decide to go down the guns in public route, the repercussions aren’t entirely in game and the game and characters need to be written to make that less likely.
Charlie wrote about the College of Wizardry quest for a castle, and I’d like to mention that again here. It’s an example of people running a modern day game and buying a new site to house it. Link to their campaign here. The rules specifically exclude magic at home, but it’s IC rules and does leave some space for player events. I’m not sure if player events (where players or crew at a system run an event set in the same world – also known as a sanctioned event) are a thing there. I’ve only really come across them in the UK, but then I’ve only LRPed in the UK so that’s not representative.
You’re probably all aware of my deep love of Slenderlarp and RedLRP games (Slender still have tickets available for their April event. Book now and join us in Kent. Also rumours are that there may be a sequel to Red Letter Day. These things make me very happy). I enjoy the way the events have a global play space. The difference between IC and OOC is minimal. We’re running a player event by being in Kent a day early and going to some historic sites IC. It’s brilliant. We’ve completely removed the ‘edge of the site’ issue and everything works. You can’t do that by hiding LRP in a box.
(Ed. – I really like it when Leah writes the post I was trying and failing to write.)