Friday, August 3, 2018

Ask the Editors - Quest Involvement


I've been on a few quests now but mostly I find myself standing near the back and just watching people around me solve things. Occasionally I'll beat a monster and get something that looks important but someone else will ask for it, and then I don't know what happened with it. How can I better get involved in these quests so I feel like I'm not just a tag-a-long?

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Becky Baron, aka Kovaks, teaches a great class on essentially how to be useful during a quest.  I highly recommend talking to her about your specific concerns.  The main thing for me is remembering that our LARP really is about active participation.  If you feel you are standing around a lot, the first question you should be asking yourself is “What is there to do/ how can I help?”  Depending on your skills, you could be dragging bodies, getting food and water for people, working to support a fighter or a caster.  But the best way to get more engaged with the plot/ quest, is to go to someone you see as leading the quest IC and let them know you want to be involved more.  OOC, let the EH know before the quest that you really want to be involved.  Letting people know what you want, in combination to finding gaps and filling them, are some of the best ways to be engaged in every step of the process.

-Steven “Therian” Matulewicz

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Thanks for asking such an important question. Going to events and adventuring out on a quest is supposed to be fun, and not knowing what is going on can really put a damper on things. Here are some things you can try that will help you get your bearings and make you feel like a more active participant in the plot.

Gather information. Start by reading the event description before you head to the event. Some plot throwers even chronicle the history of their plot so you can get quite a bit of backstory before you even show up. When you get there, ask questions. Talk to those people who seem to know what is going on and ask them to give you the run-down so that you know what the goal of the quest is and some pertinent information you need to be helpful. Throughout the quest, don’t hesitate to ask questions, you can learn a lot just by asking and then, and this is key, listening to the full answer.

Find your niche. For years, I felt lost on quests. I was a middle of the pack fighter, not really engaging in the battle and not really interacting with the other aspects of the quest. I honestly thought questing just wasn’t my thing until I became a 3-path. For me, making that change improved my experience dramatically because I was able to both actively become a part of the combat encounters as a support healer, and engage with the various puzzles and thinky parts of the quest too. This is not me advocating for you to change your character build, but it is a push to figure out what part of quests you like most and participate in those specifically. Even when you are wearing a suit of armor, there is no law against you asking what everyone is huddled around and making it your business to help. (Side note, carrying a pencil and some paper is a great way to keep track of important details and is often super helpful for puzzle solving if that’s your thing).

Play nice with others. It can be tempting when you finally get that awesome drop off a crunchie that you painstakingly killed to want to keep it all to yourself--after all, it was yours. However, if you want to be more involved with questing in general, and you don’t know what the thing is for in the first place, your best bet is to share, while communicating your desire to be more involved at the same time. If you find a neat widget, and someone wants it, ask what is is used for, and if there is something you can do to help push the quest forward. Try saying, “I found this thing! I’d love to know what it’s being used for and help you do X.” Holding up the quest because you want to hang on to a critical component isn’t going to help you get more involved, and it’s not going to endear you to the rest of the party.

-Lani “Gwen” Jones


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So getting involved in Quests can be challenging for a lot of people. Part of it is on the Event Team, recognizing the engagement level of their players and helping them to get involved.

But there is a lot of it that just falls on the player. Being able to stand up for themselves and say that they want to be involved.

Advocating for yourself is a real world skill, that everyone needs to be able to do, but it absolutely applies to people when they’re questing. Even if it’s just saying “Hey, I’ve been fighting the bad guys with you the whole time, I need to know why, or what we’re doing?”

A lot of times you’ll hand something off to the player in the know and they’ll go get the job done, and just move on to the next job. So simply asking that person “hey, what happened with the thing?” is fine, they’ll usually let you know, and may even tell you what the next objective is.

Passing out information on a quest can be hard. Event Teams do the best they can, but when everyone it wandering around in the woods, sometimes you just need to ask and make sure you’re on the right page.

Outside of advocating for yourself, advertising for your role within the questing party can be good too. A person’s role within the party isn’t always apparent, especially with spell casting, and even more so with weird plot powers that sometimes arise. A person’s role can be challenging to play, if you’re trying to get involved in questing, I’d recommend a role that encourages team building--that helps the team, or other people in general. Everyone needs a healer now and then. Are you the guy with long weapons that likes a line? Or are you the loner off in the woods by yourself away from the quest entirely?

I know sometimes fighters have a hard time getting involved in questing because they tend to be too busy fighting the monsters that come along. If you’re getting left out on the details, you can take a step back from fighting. And if they try to tell you that you’re needed on the front line, that’s a perfect time to advocate for yourself and say that you need to know what the group is doing and why, first.

Advocate for yourself, know your role and play the part, be active; that’s my main advice.

As an aside, another easy way to get involved in questing, or plot in general, is to make choices that you know are probably dumb. Experience makes for smart choices, we’ve all read the stories, seen the movies, and heard the myths. We know taking the candy from the demon will end poorly for our character. But poor choices create conflict, create story, and they will get you involved very quickly.

That being said, you should probably have a hard line too. For example, don’t jump into the inky blackness, that event holder warned you was three tick doom. The only story that will guarantee to create is a new character. A quick review for the kids in the back; demon candy is okay, but Bedlam isn’t a kiddie pool.

-Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

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Start with what you're good at or what you like the best! Are you a fighter? There's usually always plenty of room at the front or sides of the questing party where you can help beat back the hordes of bad guys. The same goes for casters with offensive magic. One of the quickest ways to feel more involved is to feel like you are actually helping and contributing to the party's progress. So make a decision to get out of the back of the party and into the action. Just grab your weapons or props and get busy! Are you a caster? There are still plenty of things you can do to help the party and at the same time provide you with a more involved and interactive experience - whether it be healing, blacksmithing, providing potions, shielding with wards or CoPs, or casting divinatory magic, everything has it's place to shine at some point during quests.

There's also no need to watch people solve things. I know it is easier said than done, but a good way to get involved in solving the puzzles or other mechanics is just to put yourself out there and jump in when there's something like that going on. See a lot of people huddled around something? Don't be afraid to ask questions! Offer your help. Try to gather as much information as you can - many players carry notebooks with them while questing to write down important tidbits and information to reference later. Or if you have a friend or acquaintance on the quest who always seems to be in the middle of the action, see if you can stick with them to help draw you into things.

It's always a good idea to share drops from NPCs with the rest of the party, especially if it looks important. But that doesn't mean that you have to give it up entirely! Make sure you know who you give it to, if you do, and make sure that you continue to ask questions throughout the quest about the item and it's purpose. Remember, EHs provide the content, but it is usually up to the player to determine how much they actively want to participate in that content. You don't have to be relegated to the back of the party forever, but it might take a bit of effort or stepping out of your comfort zone in order to engage in what's going on around you.

-Jen "Areni" DeNardis-Rosa

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