normal Role-Play Epiphanies

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19 Jun 2018 11:35 #1 by Nalick (TheBardAbides)
Role-Play Epiphanies was created by Nalick (TheBardAbides)
The other day I made a post in the LARP Role-Playing Tips group (that I created and you should check out; shameless plug, link at the bottom) an epiphany I had about the character that I've been playing for slightly more than five years. I wondered whether other people in the community have had similar experiences they felt like sharing. In any event, here's mine:

Have you ever been puzzled forever and a day, and then realized the answer was staring you in the face?

For me, what had been puzzling me was how much easier it was to be immersed and in-character as a certain chap in overalls than it was for a Kormyrian lad with a deep and abiding fondness for being a decent human being.

What I did first, was study their differences. Chet had a DnD character sheet--since that's where he came from initially--and Nalick, being my first foray into the world of LARP, did not.

That must be it.

So, I drew up what Nalick's DnD sheet would look like, but the role-play didn't change or improve. I played him less often because I felt bad for not being able to improve everyone else's experience. The few times I was able to be Chet for the entirety of an event, were the most fun.

Chet's reason for coming to Travance each and every month was clear: among other things, he needed to unload some of the stress off of his Gangs of New York-esque shoulders. At the time, I didn't realize that I didn't give that to him before playing him. He fell into the role.

Nonetheless, before realizing that, I tried figuring out Nalick's reason for coming back to the town moon after moon. Small change, slight improvement, nothing fantastic.

"It started out with a [punch]; how did it end up like this?"

It wasn't your everyday punch. It didn't come from an NPC. No, Nalick learned the hard way that a good friend has a mean right-hook. That led to an IG and OOG train of thought that made Nalick and myself believe that we were focusing on the wrong things.

It literally knocked some sense into me.

Five years of playing the character and I still had the same habits and instincts from when a younger, shy Jeff (yeah, that was a thing) tried larping for the first time. I never sat down before going to determine just Who my character would Be and it was a few years into playing before I had a proper, written, approved (and rhyming, natch) backstory.

Nalick's relationships and dynamics with other characters were based largely on Jeff trying to entertain himself. For a WHILE, that became his standard operating procedure, fitting the bill of a bard so well that it earned me a trophy at the Award's Banquet a couple of years back (Entertainer of the Year).

But when I look back at the events happening in the in-game world, Nalick's feelings and reactions were spot-on. He had beliefs, but they didn't come through in his exchanges and conversations with other characters unless it was in writing letters or forum posts. You're on notice, Karl.

For years I had a loose framework for who he was and sure, there were some amazing, heartfelt scenes (insert "Damn it, Chris Zipeto/Ben Herman" here) but in between those moments, it felt like I did the character a disservice.

This past event, I finally de-coupled him from an earlier me's mistakes, and it was the most honest portrayal of the character in all the time I've played him.

"Who Will You Be?"

It was right in front of me the whole time. Who is your character? Obviously, allow them to change and evolve by their interactions with other people, conflict, and happenings, but there should be more than an empty shell for those things to affect.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

( www.facebook.com/groups/777569345712167/...nk/1334648386670924/ )

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  • Dennis Brand
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19 Jun 2018 12:45 #2 by Dennis Brand (Devin)
Replied by Dennis Brand (Devin) on topic Role-Play Epiphanies
Wow, Jeff. Thanks for this. I definitely think the hardest, but the most rewarding, thing a player can do for a character is let them evolve.

I feel a lot of people come from that DnD lifestyle where even though you've been playing in the same campaign for years only a matter of weeks or months have passed so your Level 20 is essentially the same person as your Level 1, just with newer skills.
At a LARP, it's real time. Characters don't "pause" between events. If you (as in the general use of the word) think how much you've changed as a player over the course of your LARP career, why wouldn't your character be able to change to the same degree as well?

I'm glad you could find your character again. I've always had great interactions with you as Nalick and hope to have more in the future. Cheers!

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19 Jun 2018 21:13 #3 by Caoimhe(Keeva) (tori.pringle62)
Replied by Caoimhe(Keeva) (tori.pringle62) on topic Role-Play Epiphanies
This is totally true.
I'm absolutely new to the larp scene, but I've been around in various non-live rp and related experiences pretty much my whole life, so I know how challenging it can be to try to play a character that you haven't really had time/haven't taken time to flesh out as a person.
Additionally, coming into larp, I was a bit nervous about this because I knew that spending so much time in character, this was going to come to a peak if I wasn't prepared.
Because of this, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was going to be and what the in-game world was like without actually being there, and I put off starting this larp for about half a year, scouring the rulebooks and trying to cultivate a character.

So I guess there are two sides to this coin. It definitely pays off to take this time to think about this sort of thing, but someone like me should probably learn to let some things go and just get a start on trying things out.
Ultimately, though, I'm glad I put in as much time and thought into my character before coming in, because it definitely allowed me to immerse myself much more and become a part of the universe much more quickly than if I had come in without that prep work.

Additionally, I think it's really fun to do this with another person. On the way back from Week in the Life, Ryan Castro and I had a conversation about a new character he was thinking about. I asked him anything from what his fears were, to how he talked to people in a bar, to what he usually ate for breakfast, and even though a lot of those questions seemed silly and remained unanswered, I think it was really helpful for letting him get into the headset of his new character and really explore who he was.
The question that was the worst received but I think was good, was whether or not the character slept in socks :)

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  • Nalick
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20 Jun 2018 21:49 #4 by Nalick (TheBardAbides)
Replied by Nalick (TheBardAbides) on topic Role-Play Epiphanies

Dennis Brand (Brand) wrote: At a LARP, it's real time. Characters don't "pause" between events. If you (as in the general use of the word) think how much you've changed as a player over the course of your LARP career, why wouldn't your character be able to change to the same degree as well?


As weird as this sounds--and it did to me initially--our characters are real people. They're not solely stick-jockeys with a vendetta, though they may show symptoms on occasion. Prior restraint--limiting what you say, write, and do--should be limited itself when you're acting out the life of someone who very much exists.

I'm glad you could find your character again. I've always had great interactions with you as Nalick and hope to have more in the future. Cheers!


I appreciate that and oh, we will.

Caoimhe(Keeva) wrote: Ultimately, though, I'm glad I put in as much time and thought into my character before coming in, because it definitely allowed me to immerse myself much more and become a part of the universe much more quickly than if I had come in without that prep work.


You were doing very well for yourself. If you hadn't mentioned being "absolutely new" to larping, I wouldn't have even known.

I asked him anything from what his fears were, to how he talked to people in a bar, to what he usually ate for breakfast, and even though a lot of those questions seemed silly and remained unanswered, I think it was really helpful for letting him get into the headset of his new character and really explore who he was.
The question that was the worst received but I think was good, was whether or not the character slept in socks :)


Those are important questions to think about. Our characters have thoughts, dreams, and desires much like we do. Actually, good note on the sleeping in socks. If Chet had it his way, he'd be sleeping on the grass against a tree, with his shoes still on and tied. I'm not sure I'm opposed to that, either.

Running through a list of questions like that and allowing the character to speak the answers aloud, should definitely help. I'm going to try that with Nalick at some point tonight, since I no longer have the need to think of his answers for him.

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  • CC Hahn
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30 Jul 2018 16:26 - 30 Jul 2018 16:29 #5 by CC Hahn (Corteccia)
Replied by CC Hahn (Corteccia) on topic Role-Play Epiphanies
Our characters are often made up of varying aspects of ourselves so it definitely makes sense for your character to grow and change as you do in real life. There are also times when you out-grow your character. That was definitely the case for me with Corteccia - I stopped playing her 4 or 5 years ago (or longer?). If that ever happens to anyone else, I recommend either full-time NPCing for a little while or starting up an Alt character to switch it up a bit until you decide whether they're still playable or if you'd be better off retiring them instead.

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Last edit: 30 Jul 2018 16:29 by CC Hahn (Corteccia).
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