Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Are A Character IRL

So I've been doing some thinking since I watched Jesse Schell's presentation from DICE 2010. I'm wondering the best way to make a LARP integrated into the social structure, while still being immersive. This is a difficult task, but I think there's one way to achieve full immersion and social integration of the game.

Make a LARP where you play yourself.

I know that one of the big draws of LARP is that you get to be someone else, but you can make it so that you are still playing yourself, but you have more when you're in the game.

I was thinking about this, because Jenn and I both got each other the Supernatural Role Playing Game for our anniversary (God Bless Nerds). And that, like WoD Hunter, is something where your character can be you, but also be more than you.

Yes, you are a normal person. But occasionally you go on hunts, and you have skills and such that make you useful in those situations. That way you can talk about the game to others without breaking immersion. Hell, you can facebook about it, or check facebook while you're playing it, and no one would feel ripped out of the immersion.

This could also work with a number of other concepts, where there is some trigger where you can do more inside of another world. Maybe you're really a superhero, and when you put on a special mask you get powers that let you fight evil. But you're still you, and you can talk about it all you want to others without breaking immersion. And the mask thing explains why you don't go around punching zombies every day and still have to go to work/school.

Now, the obvious downside of this is that it dances on the thin line of being too real, and then you get the Mazes and Monsters effect, which looks pretty terrible from any outsider. You don't want people telling others on facebook that they themselves (not a character) is a wizard who summons the dead. That could go bad pretty fast.

What do you think? Would you participate in a modern-ish type game where you are playing yourself, except you have some means to special powers (think the rings from captain planet)? What if you didn't really have special powers, but you still did adventures and such, like the hunters from Supernatural?


  1. I'm intrigued. Except the thing is, I play myself all the time. Even when I play a character in a fantasy game, that character has a lot of "me" in it.

    I like the whole "playing me in a fantasy world" aspect of larps, rather than playing a "fantasy me in the real world."

    Do you mean integrating the game into real life, like going out onto the streets as your characters, like Osisris Sanction? Or more like developing a setting somewhere secluded? (which is pretty much how White Wolf live action is already played)

    -Scott Eerie

  2. I know a lot of people play characters like themselves, but I'm literally talking about playing yourself. Like I would be Bill, the guy who lives in Ohio.

    In my vision, it would be played in a secluded section for the most part (guns/fighting in public is tough), but roleplaying/strategizing could easily take place in public, as you are always in character.

  3. Its a great idea. WOD Hunter is a good basis for influence. You can even branch out into chapters quite easily.

    Are you aware of Osiris Sanction? I believe what they do is a fair approximation of what you are talking about.

  4. Actually, Osiris Sanction is pretty much EXACTLY what I was imagining here.

    Although maybe a little less clandestine. I don't know all the details of their game, but I'd want people talking about the game on social media sites. I could see that being limited if players are against one another or members of different factions. However, if the players are all really on the same team and you assume that the bad guys don't use social media (say, the monsters from Hunter or Supernatural), then it would be perfect.

  5. Actually, after reading more on Osiris Sanction, it is, without a doubt, exactly what I was talking about.

    Dear Osiris Sanction: Bring this to Ohio. You'll have people coming by the droves.

    And yes, I'm sure you were here for Origins. But I simply didn't know how much ass your game kicked.

  6. I ran a game in college that was similar. You played yourself (though you could earn special abilities and access special tech) when not NPCing. Each participant wore a green wristband when playing themselves and a yellow when playing an NPC. It was loads of fun for the short time it ran. It took place in a world like ours, but supernatural beings existed and aliens and other fun stuff.