I just read Rasmus Høgdall’s rant «How Bleed is Ruining Larp» in Playground #6.
So. I’m an old fart, and I’ve seen it all before. Especially this type of rant – I’ll dub it «Reactionary Gamer Rant Template #37». It’s a pretty generic template, and can be used against just about any phenomenon in roleplaying. In my experience, it seems to be pointed mostly at things that are:
– Seen as new or emerging
– Based on values that roleplayers like, only enhanced/sharpened (being creative! getting into the game! getting into character!)
Rant #37 goes like this:
These X are taking over! They’re telling us how we should play! They’re selfish! They think they’re so cool! They don’t play like they should! We should get rid of them!
For X substitute «immersionists» (if you’re a mid-2000ish Nordic larper), «larpers» (if you’re a late-1990ish Norwegian roleplayer), «roleplayers» (if you’re a late-1970s miniature gamer), «indie roleplayers» (if you’re a late-200ish American tabletop roleplayer), «bleed hunters» (if you’re Rasmus Høgdall).
Here’s my standard reply:
– The X aren’t taking over. They’re a subset of a subset. They’re not a homogenous group, just individual . You’ve made a straw man, some windmill to fight, and you’re wasting your energy.
– I and the other X I know aren’t telling anyone how to play. You, however, are telling us how we should play.
– In my experience, the X aren’t selfish. They like having fun, especially with others having fun the same way. Why not let them?
– Maybe the X think they’re cool. Possibly because they are. Mostly, they seem like fun-loving people who tend to share their fun a lot.
– Most importantly: The X are welcoming, and would love to play with you, but you seriously don’t have to, and they’re usually pretty good at telling you if their events will be fun for you or not.
More specifically, since Rasmus is writing about JALL here: I went to that larp. I bled heavily, to use that term. I also tried my very best to make sure others felt safe, supported, and stars of their own stories. Everyone I interacted with seemed to have the same attitude. In between acts, we discussed how to make cool stories and events for each other. We took care of each other when things got emotional. We had a lot of fun, we partied (with zero-alcohol beer), we made up interesting characters and stories, we portrayed and acted out. And we cried a lot.
I’m not taking over anything. And I sure hope I’m not ruining your larp experiences, Rasmus – not sure how I could; I don’t think we’ve ever played anything together.
(The interesting thing is that the people using Rant 37 are often not reactionary. They tend to be creative types (like myself, I mean, I’ve used this template) – who feel like they’re on the outside of something new. This happens to me ALL THE TIME).