We spend weekends in the mud and the rain. It’s cold, uncomfortable, and we’re paying people to make our lives difficult. The toilets don’t work, the person in the next tent snores and the food is expensive and not that good. To top it all off the trains aren’t working and there are no taxis to take you back to the station
If you run events then you struggle to get players, you struggle to get crew. People complain because your event is not the one they want. People complain because it’s raining, the toilets aren’t clean enough and the food is expensive and not that good and when the game is over they stand around and get in the way while you’re trying to pack up.
It’s an utterly nerdy hobby. Not only do random members of the public avoid you if you tell them what you do, but other LRPers view you with suspicion because of the systems you play, the characters you like and the way you choose to spell LARP. You can argue for four hours over whether or not there should be photographers at events, whether or not the 15 rules are unnecessarily aggressive, and how violence should work.
I’ve been accused of being elitist. It happens all the time, and it’s a bit disappointing. I do separate LRPers into two groups, but the split is between useful people and others. I like people who do things that need to be done, and who solve problems for me. Over the last few weeks I’ve been told that I look down on systems, that I’m unreasonable in my expectations of what people sort for themselves, and that I wouldn’t like a system because it’s more basic than I’d accept.
I hope this isn’t true. I’m going to the LT event in July. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a system that has loomed quietly on the horizon of my UK LRP experience. There are a lot of people who on hearing that I’m going have responded by asking if I’m going to wear a metallica t-shirt or by why I would want to do that. I know a lot of people that play at LT. They’re people I enjoy LRPing with. I can’t imagine they would be so enthusiastic about a system that was as bad as is being suggested.
I try to criticise constructively. I was quite critical about CP for a while. It was usually very specific criticism of two particular areas, which they have improved vastly. One of those wasn’t related to the game itself. At Mandala the people we receive the most criticism from are also our biggest fans. They’re the first to book for pretty much every game we run, and yet they always want to tell us what’s wrong. It took us a while to work out that this was because they cared about the game we ran, but because it was our game they were asking us to make changes to make it better. It wasn’t quite the perfect game for them (we refused to change a few of their points because they were deliberately included).
I started LRPing with a university system, and while it was utterly basic, and often ridiculous it was something I really loved. The people I was with were amazing, and it was really good fun. I would do that again. We recently went to Phoenix LRP in Coventry and had an amazing afternoon at about £10 each following one of their adventures. It was old school, but that was what we were expecting. That’s often a major part of keeping people happy. If you give them what they’re expecting then usually your players will be happy. Exceed their expectations and they will rave about it.
There are very few things that will stop me considering a system. I wouldn’t even think about attending a system that promised far more than I know it can achieve for the price it’s charging, or that completely rubbishes everything that has come before it in it’s marketing. I’m fairly certain those have almost never run when they have been advertised, but they clearly show that someone doesn’t know what’s involved in running a game and isn’t willing to listen to people. Those are utterly obvious. I prefer not to have to do maths when fighting and I don’t go to anything with long spell vocals. It makes me feel that the mechanics are more important than the actual game.
I like LRP. I like the people (mostly) and the variety it offers. I can get enthusiastic about most things and I love how ridiculous a hobby it is.