Saturday, July 09, 2005

Horror Stories

In the wake of Origins, I have been thinking of starting a chapter of either the Camarilla or One World By Night. Having had an opportunity to talk to representatives of both groups I have come to the conclusion that they share one basic commonality. And this is, in effect, a tendency to ruthlessly and mercilessly slag the other organization at the drop of a hat.
Certainly, there are bureaucracy issues in each group and unfortunately, with White Wolf's new insistence on a subscription model for games that operate by collecting money. This muddies the waters even further.
Leaving aside WWGS's new PR fiasco for another time, let me simply address this. The OOC politics of both organizations is huge turnoff for those people who would otherwise join.
It saddens me that Larping is such an easy roosting place for loons, drama queens,favoritism,nepotism, Relationships fraught with ugly consequences, larp sluttery that exacerbates same, and whining and puling from seemingly every corner. I am deeply sickened by this because it hurts the state of the art. It makes people who would have something to give want to direct their energies elsewhere. Which is an even greater problem insofar as it leaves the playing field to those people I described above.

So what's to be done?

Rather than talk out my ass on this particular score, I'd like to try to come up with some ethical commandments for ST's and for players. Help on this score would certainly be welcome.

Sono Finito (for now)


At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....Sadly, closed membership has worked best for for me overall. Strict purging of buttholes, and extensive screening keeps things relatively angst-free.

.....I've sort of watched over the shoulder of my wife, who about a year ago REALLY got into several vamp and werewolf online games. And as it turned out just about every one of the most interesting games got torn apart by inter-player fighting. Kind of sad. San Diego by Night, in particular, was a classic example of this.

.....As to sluttery, that's what instant message tech is for, and as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with it! Lotta lonely folks out there, and you can't get pregnant or get aids via the internet! Just get a room, though, damnit! Some of us don't want to watch!

.....Short of quality RPG'ers all moving to the same city, there's little to be done. And who would screen it? The best thing you can do is try to educate the problem folks, then exclude them, and if the particular group is overrun, leave. Life's too short, and you just can't save them all!


At 7:08 AM, Blogger kinesys said...

The sort of larp sluttery i am talking about is the kind that is inherently damaging to the larp as a whole because of some girl or guy with self esteem issue and a lack of self control.

Don't get me wrong WE ALL LARP TO GET LAID at some level or other, but when start having a person fuck multiple persons in the larp and then create relationship dramas on top of it...It's a sure recipe for disaster.

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....Ah. In the deep south, you can get less reaction from girls by flashing them, than by telling them you play D&D! (Watch them run screaming, and expect a parade of evangelical callers the next week!) The few girls (like my wife) who will play, get pursued like crazy, and end up married in short order!

.....Then most try to get their man to give it up... Why should you spend your Saturday drinking a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and making Star Wars references when you could be building her some new kitchen cabinets?

.....The idea of a slut who screws multiple gamers and plays them off against each other is just too alien... Giving guys in this part of the world a REASON to fight is just crazy. They'll throw a fireball at Orcus every time!


At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Everett said...

You could always move to southern New England and try starting a LARP with me...

But seriously, my experience with table-top has taught me three things:

1) real people come with baggage. Just like realistic characters should have problems (I think this was mentioned elsewhere in this column), the people who play them do too. Grain of salt, etc.

2) you can train your players. It's like Pavlov; reward good actions and penalize stupid ones. The WoD XP system is good for this: it rewards player actions, not character accomplishments. Attendence, Role-Playing, Quick-Thinking, Goal-Setting and Heroism are all things that players (not characters) do. Using this very simple system, you can penalize meta-gaming (RP), favoritism (RP), non-participation (QT&GS), even being late to the game or not having advanced your character off screen (be creative). By stressing to your players that you do not reward killing monsters, and you'll penalize them if they waste your time durring the game, most will step up.

3) more possible players equals more loosers you can cut. It's amazing how deeply ingrained competition is in the human mindset. If you start mentioning (in a non-threatening way, over the course of a couple of months) to certain individuals that they're making your life/game a living hell and that if they don't clean up their act you'll be forced to cut them, most get competitive and improve. This works especially well if you offer constructive criticism (one-on-one works better than in front of the group). Those who refuse to improve stop getting invited, or get relegated to bit parts and chumping.

Not that acid reign is wrong about closed membership - and if you have enough quality players, it is probably a better solution for a 'serious' game. However, at one time you didn't RP either, and what would you be missing if no-one had invited you.

-caveat- I've never run anything bigger than a table-top, but nothing I've read about LARPs indicates it wouldn't work, albeit on a larger scale.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....I used to post master lists of XP earned back in the D&D days, and it led to lots of arguing, envy, lawyering, whining, etc. I then switched to just quietly putting the total earned on each player's new character sheet. (Printing was a HUGE time, paper and ink waste before the internet...) Some players will compare, but most like to hold things close to the vest. Thus, sometimes the player who spent the game on the porch chain smoking and listening to his ipod doesn't realize he got a third of what others got.

.....My little closed circle of gamers is pretty much high-school chums from the 1970s who are mostly married with kids, but are just too obsessed with role-playing to give it up! And we work, raise kids, tend to elderly parents, etc. We aren't too tolerant of time-wasting antics during our rare times we actually get to game!

.....Of course, one risks total stagnation with that attitude. One thing my wife is good at is spurring me to try new games. I grouse and complain, but there are always rewards for broadening one's horizons. Not only that, we older folk have a duty to indoctrinate the Playstation generation into REAL role-playing! Final Fantasy isn't the same...



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