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 Post subject: Some helpful hints
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:28 pm 
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:00 pm
Posts: 36
Hey gang,
A few people have asked me some questions and advice, so I thought I would put some hints, and other materials up here for everyone to take a look at.... Feel free to enjoy or ignore this post at your leisure.

Getting in Character:
Try a process of immersion not sure what the terminology is but essentially as you get ready to “take the stage” think of your characters background, and accomplishments since you have brought the character into game. Put a small collection of items together, and keep them with your gear. You do not necessarily need to carry these items around in game(probably better that you do not) But they should be available to you as you get ready. These items should be representative of points of import/impact/etc to the character. Before you go ‘onstage’ go through these items, and re-acquaint yourself with them and what impact they have on the character.

In my first larp I had a small red plastic bag that had a handful of knicknacks. A couple of spent shell casings, a broken pair of sunglasses, and a few other broken pieces of jewelry. The items I attached mentally to certain points in the characters background and as I was getting ready I would go through them, remember why “I” had them, or more accurately what those items represented to the character, then wrapped them up, and put them away.

RoC larping is easier because the costumes, and makeup are more elaborate, and immersive. So you probably can do this just by getting your garb on. Especially if your character has collected trophies, fetishes, or other things from previous events, or given/gifted from other characters. But give it a shot it may just help.

Try slowing your speech down, to help avoid such default phrases like “jesus christ’ ‘dude’, and other such anachronisms that can detract. We all get tired, and dehydrated which believe it or not causes a physical handicap for your brain. I don’t know about you all but rarely do I catch a good nights sleep before a game, I am usually up too late excited for the next game, or doing last minute prep, or both. So taking a second to formulate your thoughts before speaking can help.

There are plenty of Sci-fi, fantasy, and even just modern day words that can be substituted for common parlance use which will sound more period, less modern day at the very least.
Dan Abnett, and Gaunts Ghost’s novels are good, as are the books from the Ravenor, and Eisenhorn Series. Mr. Abnett will just make up words and they have a good feel to them.

Some of them are...

Feth, Fething, Fethwipe etc. This is a little less obvious than BattleStar Galactica’s Frak, Frakking etc
Gak, Gakking, Gakking fethwipe
Ninker, (not complimentary, moron, jackass,)
Mamzel (formal like Misses, Mam, Mrs.)

Also other languages have great words to use.
Sod, Soddening, Sod off
Bloody, Bleeder, Bleeding... Bleeding Ninker,
Bugger off you Soddening Fethwipe
Muppet (though funny this is one of those grey areas, as it makes us all think of the muppet show)

RP continued.

For those of you who may want to explore the noble/politics aspect of RoC

Some additional resources available courtesy of netflix is the series “The Tudors” While the series is a little graphic in parts, (HBO, and Showtime are in an age old struggle to outdo each other...) The interactions do a good job of capturing some of the noble interactions of the court. The first season is great, the second season has some good scenes in it as well. I have not made it into the third season yet, but am on my way. This series approaches some of the very high level noble machinations, and the dealings of rulers of separate kingdoms with each other.

For those of you looking for something a little more Rustic, The HBO series Rome is very well done. Complete with period graffiti. I do not know if that is available on Netflix, but some people may have access to the series. Rome as it takes place historically much before Henry VIII is a little bit grittier but does a really good job of capturing political intrigue with day to day life in a pre-medieval/medieval period. The noble interactions in Rome are a little more intimate mostly dealing with household politics, and smaller interactions internal to a kingdom/household/empire rather than external kingdoms with each other.

Other Movies and Series
Lone Wolf and Cub

Book Series::

Malazan Book of the Fallen
Steven Erickson
These books are a bit long, and wordy, but they are fantastic, the story can be hard to follow, but the author does a good job of building a believable world, (as much as high fantasy can be believeable), and makes no bones about including some of the day to day struggles that are encountered when living in a world without electricity, and indoor plumbing. The characters are loveable, even some of the villains are easy to love/hate, even the villains are very, very real, and have tangible motivations. Does a fairly good job of painting a picture of many different races that are incredibly different, in appearance, and size, living/coexisting/interacting with each other.

The Black Company
Glenn Cook
More for the mercenary, military minded characters, and the players who wish to explore this avenue with their characters these series are mid-to-low fantasy with the magic that exists in them being either minor, or ridiculous, but paints a pretty good picture of a medieval/dark-ages military unit, and how those within that unit interact with each other, and a land at war.

The First Law (the Blade itself, Before they are Hanged, Last argument of Kings)
Joe Abercrombie
Another low fantasy series in which magic is rare, and powerful. The story paints a pretty broad picture that is believable, and has some great characters in it. A darker story that covers political intrigue, scheming wizards, and character driven shenanigans... One of the many take aways from this story is that your life could be alot worse, you could be Inquisitor Glokta, or the King. If you read this series you will know what I mean. The characters can be tragic in places, but their interactions with each other, and the world are believable, as is the world. Paints a fairly good picture of what a fantasy/medieval city, and life within can be like.

Dan Abnett
Though this series is a Dark Sci-Fi series, the immersion with which the author is able to broadcast is really good. He has zero problems making words up, and making it plain to the reader what that word is for without trying to explain it.

The Silmarillion
J.R.R. Tolkein
If you can hack your way through it, this book is pretty tough to beat. The upshot is that it is made up of many
short stories from the middle earth mythos.

The lists above are by no means exhaustive, they are just some of my favorites, and or series, books etc, that I feel could be beneficial for more than just entertainment value. They are by no means required.

Now all this being said these resources come with the caveat that they are not novels or stories that exist within the world of Ith. They are merely suggested resources to those who may want to look at some materials to help them add some depth to characters, and understand how some of the fantasy, medieval, pre-medieval, dark ages, etc periods may affect their characters, and how their characters may affect the world, just by greeting someone, or snubbing another.


With every breath the air grows stale
Deathly cold winds howl and wail
Raging thunder pounds like drums
When something wicked this way comes

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 Post subject: Re: Some helpful hints
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:23 pm
Posts: 292
Location: San Jose
Great post.

I think for me (I'm bad but trying) I just need to meditate right before game, release all my real world stress, focus on my character, and then jump in. I keep forgetting to do that, but when I remember it works great.

We should openly remind each other and ourselves right before game the importance of this. If anyone remembers, please feel free to remind me, I'll be thinking about work at the time I'm sure; and I'll try to do the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Some helpful hints
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:45 pm 
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:02 am
Posts: 9
Thank you so much for this. My biggest problem by far is not being able to stay in character. And just not being able to RP well in general. I've got lots to work on. Thanks for the help!

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 Post subject: Re: Some helpful hints
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:19 pm
Posts: 579
What I do is sort of compartmentalize my brain. Think of your head like a house. Every character you play has a room, and the real you gets the master suite, of course. How does your character decorate their room? When you're in the character's room, you might hear snippets of conversation or whatever from other rooms, but all your focus is on what's going on in this room right now. When a character dies, you spend some time cleaning out the room so someone else can move in. All the information you collect is sorted into appropriate rooms. Yes, in the master suite there's a book detailing the entire pantheon, but in this room, I have a few little pamphlets about Jardan, Mordath, and a poster that says "Angels are Real".

You're still there watching TV in your posh and comfy room, but the camera is watching another room right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Some helpful hints
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:10 pm 
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:36 pm
Posts: 100
I always find a music mix that has the 'feel' of the character to listen to on the final approaches up the mountain to be super helpful in getting into character.

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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:27 am 
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:00 pm
Posts: 36
Thanks for the good feedback, glad this was well received.

Yes, the music mix Idea... can't believe I forgot about that. I had music mixes for my various Vampire characters when I used to play. I even made one for Krieger, for alliance. So that is a fantastic idea. The drive up to cutter allows for a good length of music.

As an additive....

The movies I suggested are also there for a number of different reasons. Not only are they medieval/shogunate etc. But they show a grittier feel for the world that our characters live in. Devoid of cell phones, traffic lights, pagers, internet, facebook, and mp3 listening stations. Also for the most part hot/cold running water. We tell ourselves that the showers are "hot springs", or Glytch inventions, which is fine, but keep in mind shit gets dirty. Those of you who have been to burning man have a better idea of what I am talking about. Getting dirty is inevitable, for those of us in combat, getting covered in the gore of our enemies is something very real...
But I digress... IronClad does an excellent job of depicting the kind of firepower a greatweapon brings to the field. The scene is a little graphic, but also fairly realistic.

As for staying in character, there were suggestions such as a music mix, items, etc. I think that as you get into character more you may find that some of the songs you listen to the character you would not catch yourself listening to normally...
Getting a good nights sleep the night before, and some meditation is a great way to go as well. Sleep deprivation is just another form of stress that impacts peoples ability to think/function. Bad nutrition/dehydration and the inevitable endorphin crash after a 4 hour combat do the rest. Eat well, drink lots of water. Even if there is hypothetically moisture obeying gravity outside. Stew is good, Energy drinks are oddly enough bad for your, and your body, unless you drink water (not soda) and eat right. But that is a whole other diatribe. Which I will write up and post in another section.

Back to staying in character....Much like Chinese medicine preventative maintenance is the best way to go however...

So assuming you have at least gotten a solid REM cycle of sleep, and eaten/hydrated halfway decently. Here are a few things you can do to help "stay in character"

Pick a new word that is old, and focus on using that, start off with a period swear word... like Bloody, or Sod focus your concentration on saying that instead of saying some of our more popular modern day swear words. Even childish words such as poop, and kaka, sound less jarring to the immersion.

DO NOT use SODA cans. Get a ceramic mug, tankard, from a salvation army, and use that. Pour your soda into that container and use that. Even a glass mason jar without the lid is less jarring than a vitamin water bottle.

Stash your obviously oog items into a bag so that you do not see them every time you walk into a cabin/room/tent.

When the people around you start to talk about something out of game, walk away, or call "three, two, one, lay on".
Everyone drops out of character from time to time, we all do it. We need the breaks etc. But we can also help each other out. A well timed cough, and a look, or calling a lay on can help to stymie a drop in character before it gets to extreme, and drags other people out of game.

If you are having rough set of scenes, go take a break, put on a white head band, and wander up to the parking lot. Much like a complicated problem at school, or work, if you slam your head repeatedly against the proverbial wall you may find yourself just getting frustrated, and not making progress. Often times with work after walking away from a problem for a time I will find that new fresh thoughts come to the surface that I had been too frustrated to notice/think of before. Your character is like this too. If you are having a hard time staying in character, and keep wanting to talk about Star wars online, or WoW, or whatever, go take a walk in the woods.... wandering through cutter by yourself will give you a good break/disconnect from too much stimuli, and let you refocus. In another game, myself and another player would go on "morning hunt" and just the two of us would wander about looking for adventure. Inevitably there would be a few minutes of oog as both of us cleared the sleep from our minds/bodies, but then the whole exercise became a super immersive in game experience as the two characters stalked there way through the game area. That would keep me super focused for most of the day/night.

The bag of items, or certain "trophies" etc can help bring you back into focus. Like in the original post where I talked about having a bag of items that represent accopmlishments, etc for the character if you have that bag, or something akin to that on your belt, or tent, or somewhere accessible... that could help too. If you find yourself drifting out of character, take a walk, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, brush your teeth, get comfortable... then take a walk to your tent/cabin/car, go through those items, "re=acquaint" yourself, then cruise back into game. Maybe just having one particular song is all that you need on your phone. Go take a walk, get comfortable, and get psyched on that song, put the device away, and carry on.

Find an acting/improv buddy. There is someone, or someones on the hill, that your character will jive with. It is going to happen. Talk to them, ig, then oog, during downtime, after the event, or better yet during the event. What does this mean?
What I am trying to say here is that even though you show up with a group of friends, there will probably be other people on the hill whose characters your character gets along with better than you may have thought. Sometimes these characters meet shoulder to shoulder on the field fighting side by side. Sometimes its a rather profound difference of opinion, (that is another story) The point is, is that we have a rather large community, and we can help each other to stay in character, and build on the community story that is taking place. We are mightier than the one. So in short watch out for each other. If you find youself in a conversation that is rapidly devolving into oog conversation about rules combinations, or WoW, be the person to suggest that you all take your conversation up to the parking lot. You don't have to be abrasive about it, but a gentle reminder is usually all that you need. Likewise if someone comes up and asks you something, that is clearly oog, responding totally in character can also help the other person without being super jarring. Someone curses and says "jesus christ" a response of "who?" can be funny, and help.

Props Costuming Immersion

This is hard work, but in short anything that can be done to aid in the illusion is awesome. Bringing an extra table cloth to hide the plastic tables... a soda can cozy so people see cloth instead of pepsi, wooden plates instead of red plastic, ceramic tankard instead of styrofoam, making sure labels are removed from clothes where they might show, no company logos'

With every breath the air grows stale
Deathly cold winds howl and wail
Raging thunder pounds like drums
When something wicked this way comes

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