At the event, sticking with your character

5 april 2017 Door Alexandra Hofman

First of all I want to thank you all for last weeks overwhelming visits. I don’t know if you all actually read my posts but at least I can say I had over 250 clicks to (and on) my blog. This makes me really happy and keeps me motivated to write.
This week I’ll be handing over some tips and tricks on what to do on an event. How do you stick with your character but keep it fun at the same time?
Continue reading!! Alexjuh

When you arrive at the event, the first thing you’ll find yourself doing is greeting people you know and shaking hands with people you don’t know. You make sure your bed is ready for the night(s) (or not, if it is a one-day event) and you head for the check-in. After this you might put up your camp and perhaps even help the organisation with some stuff. The moment the game will start is getting closer and you can put on your costume. You are ready, and probably exited, to go.
When the call comes and the game begins it is time to act and react. But this can be hard because sometimes you can fall back to out-of-game habits and thinking. How could you avoid or solve this and how can you stick with the character you’ve written?

Make sure you know your background and characteristics thoroughly

Of course, you are the one who has written it, how can you forget? But after a few years you will probably tend to forget some things, especially when you visit multiple events and have multiple characters. It can be useful to write a report or to keep a journal for your character so you can read back what happened. This also gives you the possibility to ‘get into your character’ before the event starts.

Make sure you know your characteristics. When you wrote your character you have written these characteristics and they will be your guidelines. There are probably some words that summarize these characteristics. When you know them you can react conform these guidelines and this will make sure you stick with your character.

How you create these guidelines is up to you. You can set many characteristics and limit yourself or you can use a few characteristics creating fewer limits. This depends on what you like and what keeps you going. When you don’t have many limits you can improvise a lot and in this way you write your character as you play. When you’ve set a lot of limits, you probably have a long background and a lot of it detailed.

Stick to your background as much as possible

This can be very though but when you are changing things all the time you’ll only confuse yourself (and others). Not to mention you have to write this down or memorise all this. Of course, when you really don’t like something or if it really doesn’t fit into the game, you can change it. But make sure that the parts you do change, are things nobody already knows about or they’ll end up getting confused. Only alter minor things. When you’ve written a solid background altering it shouldn’t be really necessary. It also isn’t quite desirable and something not many people talk about, but it happens.


Improvisation is one of the foundations of LARP. Since you don’t have a script you’ll have to make things up as you go. In real life you also have to improvise to do certain things, the same goes for your character.

Think before you act or speak

In real life, when you’re having an important conversation, with your boss for example, you also think before you say something, just to make sure you say the right thing. This also applies to your character when you are having a conversation with someone. When you have to act on something and you don’t know what to do, then take a step back and think. When able, take your time and if you really don’t know what to do, just act the way you deem right (or what feels right) and probably befits your character. It’s possible for your character to slip because in real life this also happens. Sometimes something happens and you don’t react like yourself because you are driven by emotions. The same applies to your character as well.

Falling out-of-character

It’s possible that you ‘fall out-of-character’, meaning you’re reacting like yourself, not like your character. This can have various reasons such as tiredness, a headache (usually by the lack of food or drinks), something on an emotional level or because someone is saying something funny or stupid. Try to fix the issue that is keeping you out-of-character. Rest, eat, drink, take a break and take care of yourself. The event should be fun and if you want to take a break and talk about real life, do so. It takes the pressure away and gives you new energy to continue.

When someone is saying something funny or stupid and you fall out-of-character, then you can try to hide that what betrays you’re out-of-character (hide your face, turn around, walk away, etc.). But when you can’t, just go with it. Even heroes and villains laugh and make snappy comments. Try to turn it around to something in-game and don’t get bothered with/by it to much. It might ruin your day and it happens to everybody once in a while.

In-game and out-of-game talk

Sometimes you might want to say something to someone out-of-game. Or someone says something to you out-of-game. But how do you do this properly without bothering anyone else?

Usually someone leans closer to someone’s ear and hush his or her voice when they speak. But be ware, people can still interpret this as an in-game comment. Sometimes it is easy to discern; when someone is talking with a different voice in-game for example. You can also use the rule that is set to talk out-of-game (which usually is putting your hand up in the air.) This is one of the many (but the most commonly used) ways to talk out-of-game. The most important thing is that you don’t bother other people with it and drag them out of their game.

When you want to have long conversations out-of-game than the best thing to do is find a quiet place to talk where you don’t bother anyone else with it. Some organisations prepare special location for this kind of conversation.

Some people have a natural talent for LARP, others have to learn; but remember, each and every one of us started with this hobby at some point. We all make mistakes, even the most experienced person. So don’t let yourself be bothered by little mistakes too much.

Sticking to your character is something we all strive for, but if you’re unable to do so, don’t push yourself. When you put a lot of time, effort and money into your hobby, you want to have fun. LARP is the same; we all want to have fun. Find your own balance in this hobby and enjoy every moment of it!

Special mention for this entry: Doomsday General. Thank you for reading the first draft and helping with translation, grammar and filtering out little mistakes.

Next week’s entry: at the event, what to do with information or plot.

Dit artikel is oorspronkelijk gepost op Alexandra’s blog (10 februari 2014) en is opnieuw beschikbaar gesteld voor LARP Platform.

Alexandra is momenteel actief met het organiseren van Dark Union, een unieke bad guy LARP in Nederland. Daarnaast is ze heel creatief meer leerbewerken onder handelsnaam Layers.

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