Game Authority Boundaries

Let’s imagine for a second, that you loved bowling.

You bought your own ball, your own shoes, and even your own monogrammed ball bag.  You dream about bowling with complex dance routines, strange imagery, and groovy soundtracks. 

You love bowling so much, you join a bowling league. 

You regularly get together with other people who bowl, you compete, and you go on the road to dance that sphere right down the alley.  You have friends who are bowlers, you talk about bowling, and you try all different variants of the sport.  You try candlepin, you try duck pin, you try teams, you try lights out, and you try every kind of bowling. 

Now years into bowling, a hobby you love very much, you get into it with another league member.  Things get heavy, and, shit goes down that is completely unacceptable.  There are ruffled bowling shirts, unwanted advances, cudgeling with bowling pins, and some severe un-Dude like behavior. Imagine the scenario where Walter Sobchak goes at Uli Kunkel, Franz, and Dieter. 

Also, as a note, if you do not know these names go watch The Big Lebowski right now.

So this massive, epic, blood, deadly tussle breaks out.  The cars are burning, there are automatic weapons, a chainsaw, and bowling balls being thrown as ballista on bowling league night.  And as the kerfuffle hits a breaking pitch, those involved in the ruckus (could you describe the ruckus sir?) run inside to discuss what is going on with the bowling league organizers.


You call the police, a deputy, a sheriff, SWAT teams, and MI-5 if you have to.  You get Barney Fife, Frank Columbo, Lennie Briscoe, Joe Friday, Hank Schrader, Olivia Benson and Chief Wiggums on the case if you have to.  You should probably also call a bunch of REAL police too.

Because, if the law is broken, the people who have to deal with that are the police, the constables, the Mounties, Feds, or whoever the hells jurisdiction it is under.  And if you do run inside to the person running the bowling league, all the league leader is going to do is call the police.

This mentality also applies to LARP, conventions, and any other social event (big shock there since this is a LARP and gaming blog).  If something happens to you at a LARP that is illegal, you should not be looking to the event organizers to be judge, jury, and executioner.  If you are a victim, GO TO THE POLICE.  Your game organizers and event organizers care for you enough that they want the professionals to make sure you are safe.  If you snapped your leg off you wouldn't ask (or shouldn't ask) the game director to stick ice in the open wound.  You should ask the professionals so that they can look at you and tell you what a bad idea it is to stick ice in the open wound. 

And don’t be stupid.  Don’t try to punish the individuals involved within the community with social games and manipulations.  In most instances, if it is a cut and dry case and there are witnesses and flying bowling balls, the person who broke the law would be out of league faster than you could believe.  However, it almost NEVER is a cut and dry scenario.  It ends up being a no witness, no collaboration, no proof situation where two conflicting stories come from two people who both claim different things.

Do you think a person who runs a game is qualified to determine who did right or wrong in that sort of situation?  Most of the time not a chance in hell, unless the person running a game also happens to be a judge.  So what happens is that the people involved in the organization, involved in the league or game or event, have to work completely on what they see in front of them.

 " Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

"Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

And what happens most of the time after two people conflict hard enough to make it so that the law needs to become involved?  A lot of verbal back and forth, accusations, and a fuck ton of drama.  This, this part right here, is the only thing many times that the event organizer can actually see and make reference to for making a decision.  The aftermath of a situation is often times the only visible part of the interaction, and the shittier people act, the less likely that the people who are trying to help out are going to be able to.  That bowling shop owner in the Big Lebowski had no clue what the hell happened despite the fact there was a burning car, a chainsaw, gun shots, and all sorts of chaos happening outside of the shop.  No clue.  Not a single clue. 

This is the reason why we have people who handle aspects of law and determining what is right and what is wrong.  We entrust our legal system and highly trained professionals to determine what is right, what is wrong, what is legal, and what is illegal in regards to a situation.  Game organizers?  Being a game organizer does not dictate any greater degree of knowledge or understanding of what is legally right and wrong.  So, game organizers involve the police when shit hits the fan.  Why?  Because it is what you are supposed to do.  A game organizer finds someone doing drugs?  Call the police.  Assault of any nature?  Call the police.  Real world theft?  Call the police.  Being held in a bathtub while nihilists throw a marmot onto you?  CALL THE POLICE.

Looking for vigilante social justice via the rumor mill, or asking for game related retribution, for REAL WORLD issues very much devalues the nature of the crime committed, and, is not the correct course of action to take. 

This sentiment is amplified  100 fold if your legal issue involves a member of your bowling league (LARP), but not while you are bowling. If Maria and Malcolm get to know each other at bowling, go back to Malcolm's place, and he attempts to sacrifice Maria to his slumbering lord Cthulhu Maria should not be looking for the bowling league to settle their shit. Maria needs the police, some black suited feds, and maybe some unwitting investigators to deal with the attempt on her life. Not the bowling team.

Just because you meet on the bowling team does not mean that all aspects of your life should be governed by the bowling ally.