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During the last a couple of years harassment and equality issues in larpscene have been taken more seriously, and these days it’s impossible to “publicly” shame those who say they’ve been harassed. So of course lot of bad mouthing still happens, but it happens more privately, not in the after game sauna between all players of the larp. The most common phrase that I still have heard occasionally is how those SJWs/people who are just looking for reasons to get upset (ammattimielensäpahoittaja in Finnish) are taking out all the fun from larping. For me this is one of the most obscure statements.

So the fun has been taken out from the larps. Let’s see what has been done, and how that takes fun out from larping.

  1. There’s talk about harassment so that
    1. People would realize and accept that harassment also happens in larp scene.
    2. It would be easier for people to realize if others might see their behaviour harassing.
    3. It would be easier for people who feel uncomfortable in a situation to say no / stop the situation.
    4. It would be easier for other people spot harassment.
    5. It would be easier for other people to intervene if they see something that is or might be harassment.
  2. There’s talk about minorities in larp scene so that
    1. People would realize how large part of larpers is part of some minority, and how easy it is to accidentally forget them in game design.
    2. They would feel welcome also in larps.
    3. GMs would be able to design larps so that the minorities would either not need any special arrangements, or that those arrangements had been thought over already before.
  3. There’s talk about equality in casting so that
    1. People would realize that not everyone gets the same opportunities in larps.
    2. Everyone would get to play characters they’d love to. Not maybe always, but so that significant characters were not cast to same players time and time again, but everyone despite their looks, age, experience, gender, activity in the scene etc. could have the experiences they’re looking for.
  4. There’s talk about alcohol because
    1. Alcohol should not be excuse for bad behaving.
    2. People shouldn’t feel bad after larp weekend because they did something while drunk they would not want to do while sober.
    3. Having it in larp of after party should be a reasoned choice.

So yeah, I’m having hard time understanding what has been taken away. It’s easy to say that “now I don’t dare to approach a person without being accused of harassment”-kind of sentences but truly, this has never been about if you have a right to meet new people, just respect their wishes when they want to be let alone. If you can’t see difference there, maybe it would be better if you don’t approach new people, specially if they’re younger, shy and alone.

If you anyways have players who are lesbian/non-binary/deaf/something else, isn’t it just clever to think about it beforehand so that they would fit into your fiction world without making them some kind of special snowflake. For instance it’s not really a big thing to describe if homosexual relationships are as okay as heterosexual ones, they’re just quite rare, or what ever. That way you can offer all aspects of your larp to those players who don’t want to play heterosexual relationship instead of just leaving them without love life. Those conversations teach us how to enable the experience as majority is already having to everyone.

Yes, I understand that for those who are used to play the central characters, or characters whose decisions matter in the big picture, it might be strange to have a character that doesn’t seem to be able to influence big events. How ever I’ve noticed that those people who usually play princes and arch mages, are also very capable to create great play/scenes, what ever they play, so I don’t really think they would even have a bad larp, if they’d be just one of the crew instead of being captain. Being stuck to the role of crew member (or any other assistant kind of role) from larp to larp, it’s much harder to grow to be that versatile player. And though I admit that there are usually some characters on each larp that GM would not give to a complete stranger, there’re always those somewhat familiar faces, that would probably carry it out just well.

It’s okay to have a drink of two, if it makes you more comfortable to do those things you would like to do also sober but are too shy or undemonstrative. how ever it should not lead to situation where judgment is left on the cloakroom and next day you regret what you did. It’s not that alcohol is all bad and awful, but one should always think beforehand, how to communicate the alcohol policy, and what to do is someone behaves badly or takes advantage of other(s) being too intoxicated. Also thinking of this doesn’t seem to me about taking all fun out when you design so, that people would not do while drunk something they’d regret next day.

Also this isn’t an anti-competition of who was the biggest jerk while they were 20, this is about how to make the scene more inclusive and FUN for everyone from now on. So if you have an insight how this all is taking fun out, please tell. 🙂

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