In LARP (live action roleplaying), there’s a term that is used whenever two players engage in conflict with their characters: CvC or “character versus character.” A term that recently replaced PvP, CvC is usually used to describe one character engaging in physical conflict with another (stabbing, shooting, maiming, torture—you get the idea). But CvC isn’t just about physicality—it’s a lot more than that.
As a player, I absolutely love CvC. I like stalking people through the woods, socially manipulating situations, and receiving consequences for these actions as my character. In some ways, I consider it to be “hard mode” for the LARP I’m in. However, I do make it a policy not to engage in CvC with characters who aren’t already doing CvC actions.
With that said, CvC is broader than most people think. It’s not just about physically stabbing someone (though that can be fun, depending on how it’s done), it’s also about social manipulation. Because I’ve seen a few questions come up about “what is CvC,” I’ve decided to define it for all those LARPers out there.
Please keep in mind that this is largely aimed at people who play at Dystopia Rising, though many of these points are likely applicable for other games.
Without further ado, here are some versions of CvC.
When you beat down or physically engage with a character.
One of the most common and most recognized forms of CvC is physically beating, stabbing, or killing a character. This can include sneaking into a person’s room to use a foam weapon to stab someone, luring someone out into the woods for a good-old-fashioned fake beat down, stealing items from another character, or torturing another character with physical implements.
When you socially manipulate others to cause harm to another character.
One of the less-recognized forms of CvC is social manipulation. This is a broad category, so I’m going to take my time when it comes to this.
First, I want you to consider what social manipulation is. This can be as subtle as egging on other characters who may be more prone to physical CvC. It could be mentioning that someone “wronged” you to such an extent where you know there will be repercussions via other means. This can include sending letters, or ruining a character’s reputation through rumors or other means. It can also include spying and giving information to others so that they can better conduct physical CvC. All of these things are CvC.
In other words, if you talk shit then prepared to get hit. It’s still CvC, and not engaging in physical CvC does not allow you to be immune to consequences when you use social manipulation.
When you pay others to do your dirty work for you.
If you pay others to engage in physical CvC on your behalf, that’s still you engaging in CvC. Making it so your character’s hands don’t get dirty does not free you from the consequences of CvC if others find out you were behind it.
Economically or socially ruining another character.
This is perhaps the least known version of CvC, and actually doesn’t end in violence. This is spreading rumors about another character that puts them in a bad light, causing no one to want to economically associate with them, and other tactics that can effectively “wall out” a character from an existing community. Actively doing these things to another character is still CvC, and means that you have decided to play the CvC game.
With all of these forms of CvC in mind, it’s also important to note that you should follow the rules of CvC. If someone has created a happy go-lucky character who doesn’t enjoy CvC in the slightest, you shouldn’t bring them into CvC. Instead, let them play their happy go-lucky character who may be annoying, but is generally pleasant to everyone.
By that same token, if you engage in social manipulation or pay others to engage in CvC, you are absolutely in the CvC game and have raised the CvC flag (who else plays WoW here?). This means that you shouldn’t be surprised at retaliation in some form.
At the end of the day, have fun with CvC. It can provide unique challenges, unique roleplay opportunities, and can be an amazing game (especially if you have a fellow CvC player you’re competing against). Just remember to always check in with your fellow player when you're out of character after the game to make sure that they’re having as much fun as you are.
Game on, friends.