Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Be A Mentor

Note: This is a guest post by Dave J. He's a player of both NERO and Exiles, and has some staff experience at both. Remember, the LARP Ohio contest is still accepting entries. Get your shot at a free game in Ohio.

I have broken Dave's post into three parts, as he's got three main independent points.

Bill and Tim, it seems, spend most of their time talking about either LARP theory (rules, playtests, mods, etc) or running plot. Although this is great info, I think it also behooves us to think about how we, as players, approach the game.

Naturally there are all the standard messages: take your hits, don’t cheat, blah, blah, blah. Not that those are bad things to hear, but I think we can all just agree that we’ve heard those before and have no need to go over them again. I did have a few ideas that don’t seem to come up too often.

Be a Mentor

This is a big deal, and important to the survival of the game as a whole as it ensures a continued player base. Everyone agrees that Plot teams need to run “newbie plot” but the responsibility for new players doesn’t end with them. I know; as a more experienced player new people can be frustrating because OH MY GOD THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. While it is true that they don’t know anything, in a way, it’s actually a plus. Someone who doesn’t know anything is someone who can be taught. As a teacher, let me tell you that people can be molded into whatever you want (shout out to B.F. Skinner! Holla’!), and in LARP we have the added bonus of a motivated person. Nobody comes to LARP saying, “Gosh, this game looks fun. I’m going to go, but my big goal for the weekend is to suck as hard as humanly possible.” New players want to be good at the game, they want to be involved, and they want to be paid attention to (really, those motivations can be applied to just about any situation). If we want to play with good players, we need to train good players.

If you see a few new players sparring among themselves, and it’s apparent that they take their ideas on combat from Japanese cartoons, take a few minutes to show them the ropes. Take a passel of new players modding and stand in the background while they push forward. Push them out of your circle and tell them to kill that 10-body orc. Talk to them out-of-game about costuming, role-playing, and character development.

Remember, if we don’t teach people how to play the game, we have only ourselves to blame when they don’t know how to play it.


  1. As a 17-year (off n on) player myself, I find the most fun at my 25th level not so much facing down gigantic spawn of (chaos/undead/dark fae/etc), but as a general and tactical leader for the first-and-few time players that come out. Being the voice of reason (as well as the last resort firebrand to pull them out if things go very badly!) has given me a new lease on the experience of the game, allows me to trade my knowledge of the game, and the "In My Day" talks that help establish the folklore of the local chapters. It's a really fulfilling thing, if your Plot teams will allow. (Some see a high-level backing newbs as an excuse to rachet up the stats, even if you've assured them you're only playing tactics and deus-ex-machina.)

  2. Mark Henry ~MariusJune 16, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Mentoring people is awesome, if you're not comfortable with that just be a better player.

    Your attitude is infectious whether you realize it or not. Once one person complains, everyone stars.

    Staying in character and roleplaying will also keep people in character.

    If you are more social, mentoring is great. It gets new people involved in the game and coming back.

    Note on the high lvl helping with low mods. I've seen it go amazingly well and terribly wrong. It depends on the high lvl person and whether they are truly there for the lowbies or if they are there to show off.