(This week's guest post for Pride Month is by a wonderful writer by the name of Rose Jackson. Rose is is a writer, editor, and games consultant living in Brooklyn, NY. She writes for Dystopia Rising's Northern California game and is an inclusivity consultant for the upcoming campaign boffer game Encore: the Afterlife. In between … Continue reading On Writing More Gender-Inclusive Games
One part of being a welcome community to queer players is designing fantasy settings with a structure that normalizes queerness. You don't need to be making a specific commentary on queer stories to be inviting and open to queer gamers. To kick off pride month, we're talking about how to normalize queerness in your games!
For most of their lives, responsible and generous larpers have been told don’t be too much in the spotlight. Share the stage. Play to lift others. It’s not about you, it’s about EVERYONE. We spend so much time coaching generous play, it’s given most of us a complex around those times that we do enter the spotlight. However, every story needs a hero. Most good tales have main characters and supporting roles. Just because you are taking the spotlight in a story, doesn’t mean you can’t be a supporting role to someone else’s. Even more so, in a good larp, there are so many stories going on that there is room for MANY people to be in the spotlight at any given point in time. It’s important that we stop chastising ourselves for taking up attention while in scenes in at a larp. Spotlight play, done respectfully, can help enhance everyone’s game and not just your own.
As much larping goes in the direction of freeforms and one-shots, design documents have become an essential part of larp design, but still aren’t things discussed much in the greater North American community. I’d argue that EVERY larp could use a well written, ten page design document which sets up the basic play style, themes, player expectations, and any other must-haves. For those unfamiliar with a design document (and for the purposes of this blog because it actually could be defined a lot of other ways), I consider it an essential guide to any given game which introduces the players to what they should expect in the larp, how they fit in the game, how to interact with the world, and main themes of the story. A player should be able to click on a game’s website, open the design document, and know within a few pages if this game is for them or not.
Not many people are ready to deal with death in their real lives. It takes an incredibly strong, self-aware, and reflective individual to have prepared themselves for what we all inevitably face. Therefore, facing it in your hobby rarely creates a safe and enjoyable space for the person who has lost a long-term part of their life. No, it’s not the same as losing a friend or family member to the great beyond, but campaign characters are years-long fictional companions which the player has usually poured in a great amount of time, money, thought, and emotional space. I even wrote a piece about giving yourself the permission to grieve when losing such character relationships, but it didn’t really touch on how players and game runners design to better handle death. Frankly, it’s something a lot of games and player don’t handle well, so it’s worth examining.
This blog gives tips in operations/NPC camp management.
This blog discusses why it's actually good to play similar characters and how to create around your favorite character traits.