Monday, September 13, 2010

Breaking the Stigma: Public Service

On Friday, I talked about the ways that we can breakthrough to mainstream just like our video game cousins. I believe that the biggest hurdle we have as LARPers is the shame normally associated with our hobby. I figured it might be worth it to do a few posts on ways that we can work towards breaking that stigma.

Of course, this won't be an overnight thing. Hell, it may never break the stigma of LARPing on a national level. However, it could be very easy to break the stigma on a local level, which would help drum up support from local businesses as well as increase the playerbase.

So the first thing we can do? Public service!

LARP groups have access to one of the largest pools of free labor I've ever seen. I could easily get 10 people to help me for 4-5 hours in a soup kitchen if I offered enough imaginary points/experience/treasure/titles to those players.

Some groups (like Alliance Ohio) already do this on a much smaller level. Alliance Ohio holds service days for Lewis Arboretum where they do some work on the camp, and give experience to those who show up. This is great, and I encourage all LARP groups to do this. But this only improves our standing with the camp staff. We need to do more in the public eye in order to change this stigma.

Players: Try and arrange a group in your area to do some public service, and let the owners of your game know. Ask if they'll "sponsor" your work with character experience or some other kind of service reward. Dress alike, and ideally get shirts that show that you are a LARP group and the name of the group. Take plenty of pictures of what you do as proof of the work, as well as good PR for your game's site.

Owners: Support the players that come to you with proposals of public service. Work with them to publicize the public service. See about helping them get shirts, or even design a shirt for your organization (make sure it says LARP on there somewhere).

Hell, if we all wanted to band together in this project, we could get one basic shirt design with a spot for your particular group's logo. That way we could do joint service events and all the groups involved would get credit.

Just food for thought.

Anyone have any stories of public service within your LARP group?
Feel free to drop them in the comments.

Anyone got an idea for a public service shirt design?
Send it to me in an email at

No comments:

Post a Comment