Apr 23 2012 6:00pm

LARP Insider: Exploring Me, Myself, and I

Above: A Business Admin, a Graphic Designer, and a Philosophy Grad Student dress as Half-Orcs at LAIRE, NJ.

Ok, so we’ve got what is larping covered, and we’ve got the pesky downsides — now what?

Let’s delve a little deeper into the creation of — and ultimately the enjoyment of — a LARP character. From the costume to the personality and mannerisms, there is a lot a player has to decide in order to get started. What happens moving forward, though, is anyone’s guess!

Everyone plays a role in the daily grind — at work, within social circles, as part of family dynamics — and we juggle multiple aspects of our personality on a daily basis! So how do we even start to create a brand new identity for the purpose of fun? In the beginning, wrapping my head around character creation and how breath life into fiction seemed impossible — even with my previous D&D experience. Now, after 3+ years of LARPing, I think I might have the hang of it. With 4 characters in the database and a 5th forthcoming, let’s discuss them in chronological order:


First character: Dana Aviv

As described in To LARP or Not To LARP, I did not write Dana’s back-story.

After spending my first game as an NPC (Non Player Character), Dana was handed to me on a silver platter — created out of one of the generic townsperson roles I had performed that weekend. As such, she has always been a reactionary character who surprises me every time I play her.

In the beginning, I intentionally played Dana to experience her emotions very deeply, something I don’t really do in real life (I mean, who has the time in New York?). Forced to adapt and strong willed (read: stubborn as an ox) in the face of despair, Dana is a warrior trapped in a rogue’s body.


Second character: Miska Dabrowska

Here’s a character that I haven’t truly gotten to flesh out yet. Born out of a severe lack of Gypsy diversity within our game — with only one really prominent Gypsy family around — a few friends and I thought we’d try to shake it up. Miska is intended to be a playful adolescent who is smarter than she looks, fiercely loyal to her family, and a dabbler in the arts of Tarot Reading (which I have begun to study in real life in an effort to do it justice in the game). Her companions include her cousin Natasha, famous for claiming that she is famous at everything, and Yana, her slightly deranged, tarot reading auntie. Miska only has about 5 hours of play time despite being created at the start of 2010. Still, I’m hopeful for the future that I’ll get to see more of her!


Third character: Lekar Bone Smasher

Lekar was created as part of a growing “half breed clan” founded by four friends of mine just trying to have a ball. The clan itself accepts Half-Orcs, Half-Ogres, Half-Trolls, and even has a Half-Elf or two. Our purpose? Carve out our piece of the world and stand tall against racism and prejudice! At least that’s the in-game purpose. Really we just want to have a laugh and hang out all weekend. I used her as my opportunity to build a 100% warrior, in response to my predicament with Dana (who thinks like a warrior, but I spent her points on rogue and mage skills early on — before I realized the character’s true temperament).

Lekar’s entire character concept is “You wanna rumble?” and she may have a little bit of a Napoleon complex.


Fourth character: Gavrielle Kera

Gavrielle represents my first attempt to channel my innocent, feminine side. She debued at the end of March and I was paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Thus far all of my characters have been based in some sort of selfish, abrasive, or confrontational motivation; Gavrielle has no concept of these — she is a purely selfless aspiring cleric. And... wearing a dress? Who does that? So far, all I have done is play characters with combative natures, and not one would be caught dead in a gown. I wonder what that says about me? I do have to say though, after running around all weekend with nothing but “the healing arts” — constantly chasing after her more thick headed, combat minded companions — it was a nice, very cheerful change of pace from my norm! I’ll have to do this more often!


What does your LARP/Table Top character say about you?

Michele Reznik is a marauder and messer who solemnly swears she’s up to no good! Graphic/web designer, social media writer/curator (Mediatronica, Kraken Rum, Hangar One Vodka, Three Olives Vodka), Public Relations/Event Production Associate (with Jeff Newelt AKA “JahFurry” for comics, film, tech, lit & music clients), Live Action Role Player, and hobbiest costumer. When she isn’t writing, designing, or LARPing, she’s usually catching up on comics and sci fi — one series at a time. You can find her at @DarthReznik on Twitter.

Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
My tabletop character says: "Oh god I haven't actually gotten to be a PC in years, why god why?" The curse of the Dungeon Master in full effect-- always a bride's maid, never a bride. My last characters have been...a gnome wild mage who was very Peter Lorre, a goblin wizard named Bogey, &...jeez, I hardly ever get to play!
Michele Reznik
2. DarthReznik
You're a good man for taking up the DM mantle, though! I almost took the plunge once, had no idea what I was doing and none of my players had ever tabletoped before. Needless to say that game never got off the ground.
Mordicai Knode
3. mordicai
Yeah, & I really find it to be rewarding on a deep level...but playing a PC! It is always so relaxing. All I gotta do up for game & get in character? All my copious background notes are just gravey? Man, being a player character.

The last 3e DnD character I played with a dwarf ninja/paladin in Ravenloft. Before that I used "Savage Species" to play an astral deva named The Spenta Mainyu. Before that, a half-orc monk named Hoxa Fourtusks who was a member of the Black Marionette Gangsters. Before that I played Skrim, the tiefling psion who went all the way to epic tiers & became the god of blasphemy.
Eugene R.
4. Eugene R.
My characters tell me something similar to what Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) learns in Tootsie: "I think Dorothy's *smarter* than I am."

Case in point: my current PC, Apollonios, is a Greek ex-slave, who has "visions". Infiltrating the camp of Spartacus, he tried to discover if the gladiator rebel leader was similarly "touched by the gods". Rebuffed in person, Apollonios tried to concoct a ritual to trigger his "enthousiamos" (divine possession). The dice and the cards (I use the Fortune deck from Everway) were less than kind, and the ref ruled that Apollonius's all-nighter failed at just the wrong moment, falling asleep and missing the sunrise, so no word from Apollo. I, the player, was crestfallen, having blown all my resources (Fate points) on the attempt. Apollonios, I realized to my surprise, was not in the least discomfitted - as far as he was concerned, he got his answer. It just happened to be "No" (i.e., Spartacus is not divinely inspired). So, there I am, frustrated, while my character is perfectly satisfied and happy to get on with other plans. Like escaping a camp full of rebellious gladiators.

mordicai (@1 and @3): I know how it is. I started out as a reluctant roleplayer and became a referee more out of annoyance than desire. And now, I've done it for so long that my ref muscles and reflexes are overly developed! It is more natural to me to act in ref mode than player mode (i.e., worrying more about game progress than character progress). Curiously, I find that being a ref is helpful in LARP events. Being "game oriented" and cooperative helps "unlock" a lot of the fun in LARPs that is otherwise blocked when players get too defensive/frightened/paranoid/secretive.
Eugene R.
5. Oakley Dispatch
The content of

Oakley Dispatch

this blog is very useful
Eugene R.
First, we love your posts.

Second, one of the most interesting parts of taking on a character is the ability to take on their emotions and make choices based the worldview of that character. It's a really interesting thing that happens in larps and I think one of the huge unsung reasons why people do it for a long time. It's absolutely liberating to make choices "as someone else".

Also, we featured your article on our larp weekly roundup!
Michele Reznik
7. DarthReznik
Thank you very much,! I'm glad to see that fellow LARPers are enjoying my posts! Check back in the next few weeks for more from me!

- Michele

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