LARPs are constantly growing in length and in production. Alongside evening parlor LARPS & weekend long events are week long Blockbuster vacations that often blur the lines between RolePlay and Reality. Spending an entire week being another person is thrilling and incredibly entertaining. But it can also be extremely taxing.
This isn’t a guide on how to treat other people. For that I’ll always refer you to Whedon’s Law and our Community Standards.
This is a guide on how to treat yourself. When you neglect yourself, not only will you have a bad time --- you will create a bad time for those around you. When you take care of yourself you will have a great time. And you will help build a better experience for everyone you’re playing with.
Research (Research, Research -- it's worth repeating)
Start by reading up on the LARP you are interested in. Do they have a webpage with details on the event? Then that is the place to start looking. You may also find that there is a Facebook group for the event. Search the web and research where the LARP will be held.
If there is something that isn't answered online then reach out to the team that is hosting the LARP. Learn everything you can before going. What will the living conditions be like? Are you outdoors most of the day or indoors? Are you roughing it or staying in 5 star hotels? Is food included? What about drinks? Is there a set starting location or end time?
These might seem like basic things, but they will make a huge impact on how you prepare for the event. Since you will likely be traveling to get to the LARP, knowing what you will need during your time is important.
Remember That You’re Human
Whatever you might be playing, you still have to play in your real body. Taking care of it will greatly improve your experience.
Don’t be afraid to take a nap. Your body will thank you. Trying to be awake and alert every hour will be tempting. After all - you don’t want to miss a moment! But the cost of that is the amount of time you will actually enjoy. Yes, you might miss a good joke or a thrilling moment. That is ok. Because that isn’t the last one. And you will be able to enjoy the rest of them because you got some sleep.
Eat food that fuels you, not just food that is filling. If you attempt to make it through the entire event on deep fried mozzarella sticks & soda you will get ill. Make sure you are eating a rounded diet. If you need to supplement with vitamins or protein bars then make sure you have them. Stay hydrated and take care of your body. You will have more energy and focus to enjoy the game with.
Know Your Limits
Be ready to respect your limits. Take a break when you need one. Your LARP likely has an OOG game area or a signal that tells the other players not to engage with you. Use these things when you need to. When you take that break to step back, you refresh yourself to continue engaging in positive way.
You don’t need to break character to take a moment or an hour to yourself. But if your character is wearing on you, then take a break from them too. You can step back into the role you’ve made yourself once you catch your breath.
Tension, Conflict & Drama
At the end of the day this is still a LARP. There is a story for why every player is here. Some of characters will be working towards a common goal. Others will be working to intentionally undermine that goal.
Maybe you are playing an intentionally antagonistic character. Or the person sitting with you for dinner is. There will be conflict, drama, and tension throughout the event. All of this will build into the greater story that you are creating during the LARP.
What does this mean for a survivors guide? It means that you won’t always like the people you are spending time with. There will be times when you are frustrated or angry with other characters. There will be times when other characters don’t like your character. And that is part of the story. Accept it when it happens, play through the scene, and move on.
And Most Importantly...
Have fun! This is a Live Action Role PLAY experience. Go and play! Blockbuster LARPs are larger than life. So live big, enjoy yourself, and have fun.
If you’re interested in experiencing a Blockbuster LARP check out ROADTRIP. I was on the debut event this past summer and can’t recommend it enough. Got your own tips for making the most of a Blockbuster LARP? Leave a comment below!