Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Did I Read That Right?

 by Josh "Lako" Fitzgerald

This article is on an OOC basis any information given here should not be brought IC without it being specified.

So this is a bit of an expansion on my Normal Article of Did I read that Right? with other player perspective and stories added.

Almost every weekend many of us come together to play our characters and join in a world we know as the Realms. Many people come together to one event but many people come for their own reason, some for the fight, others to see old friends, some for the adventure, and others just for a place to be. Over the course of the weekend we all should be there as our characters and anything that happens over the weekend should be left to those characters, if you are ever feeling like you are taking things OOC revisit yourself and your character and find a way to seperate it. Below are the Rules concerning OOC and IC. At the bottom of this will be written examples of people's experiences as both an IC and OOC situations.

I know it's a lot to read, but these are rules we play by and they should be considered and respected as much as calling your shots and casting your spells correctly, to not follow these means you are still breaking Rules and are cheating in the Game.

I have Highlighted where I have seen people skirt the Rules or are unaware of them being there. I am not innocent in this either, but I will be making steps toward staying IC at all times I am able to.

Honestly as this is written if you aren’t IC at all times you are breaking the Rules of the game, needed OOC circumstances aside.

4.1: In-Character and Out-of-Character

Being In-Character

Generally, events officially begin after the safety rules, any specific site rules, and other special event rules have been read aloud to the gathered players.

Once an event has begun, you are expected to be in-character (IC) at all times. This means that you are playing your PC the whole time you are at an event. Staying IC can add greatly not only to your own event experience, but to those who are playing the game around you. When a companion of your PC is "killed" it adds to the tension and drama of the scene if they pretend they are dead, but it breaks the mood completely if they are laughing and making comments.

Your character may feel differently than you do about something, like slavery, magic, politics, or religion. You may be a pacifist, while your character is a bloodthirsty barbarian. If you can remain true to the character, despite your differences, you can make a memorable story for yourself and those around you. Sometimes staying IC is challenging, especially when you know something that your character shouldn't logically know, but you should try to remain IC when playing. Likewise, when the game is done, leave your character behind.

So this Section above I think gets overlooked many times when new or old players are reading the Rules or being introduced to them. I feel these rules might actually be the most important ones in our book, this not only defines when you begin and end as your character during the weekend but it also defines how we all interact in the game and keep it moving forward.

The below is my comment on this section:
I feel this is the most important part of our rule book this section is quite literally the base of the game we play and the world we all play in, without this we would just be playing a sport. Instead we all come together to Larp, we all come together for Live Action Role Playing.

We all must remember we are doing this for fun and that should be the first thing we think about, but it is also our responsibility to ensure everyone is having fun. Remember that sometimes your character will go through hardships, things they don’t like, things you don’t like you always have the choice about how you
react to it.

Sometimes getting into those heated moments with people or entire Nations can really add to the level of game we play. It can add really interesting points and situations. On the other hand while it isn’t for everyone and should only be done with all parties involved and understanding, having your character fall in love with another can also add some very interesting moments of character pull and decision making.

Breaking Character

Once an event has begun, breaking character should be done only when necessary. If you must do so, what you say should be prefaced with "Out-of-character," as in "Out-of-character, where is the tenting area?" That way, the person you are addressing knows that it is a real-world concern, and should be dealt with differently than a strictly IC concern.
Sometimes when players get really into character, you may begin to wonder whether animosity or other emotions are completely IC. It is acceptable to break character to make sure everything is in fact still IC and no one's feelings are getting hurt OOC.

The below is my comment on this section:
If you are ever unsure of a situation, whether or not it's IC or OOC, just ask. Never have i met anyone who gets mad at that clarification, seriously ask.

The rest is just to try and find ways to not break character for every day questions, instead of I have to go to my car you could say “I have to go to the carriage” I mean your character got to the lands somehow.

“I need to go to Dunkins this morning” you could instead say “I am going to run some errands before the tournaments today”

It really is about finding those things that pull you OOC and instead finding things that pull you more IC. It is the smallest of words and sentences that can really change your perspective between IC and OOC.

Out-of-Character-Only Terms
There are a few terms that should only be used when speaking OOC: “Hold” and “Medic.” Hold is only used in emergencies as it stops the game. Read Section 2.3: The Safety Rules for more information on the correct use of the word Hold. Medic is used when someone needs immediate real-world medical attention for any reason: an allergic reaction to a bee-sting, a twisted ankle, an asthma attack, etc. Do not call “Medic” for imaginary (IC) injuries. If you need IC medical attention, call "Healer!"
Out-of-Play Areas and Time-Out
The EH has the option of declaring portions of the event site as "out-of-play" for safety reasons or for NPC use. Never use these out-of-play areas as safe havens.
If a fight breaks out in an area that is unsafe to fight in or that is out-of-play, then the fight should be moved to a safe in-play area. If you are in such an area, you may be asked to leave said area for combat. If you refuse to leave the unsafe area, your PC is considered dead. After the fight, those involved can move back to where the fight "really" took place, and continue on.
An EH is free to create an in-game safe area if they choose. For example, powerful enchantments on the tavern may render weapons and hostile magic inoperable within the tavern walls. In this case, it is fine for players to hide there, since they will be taking advantage of an in-game effect.
EHs may also declare a time-out during an event for sleep, dinner, etc. While on an event site, if you are not acting as an NPC at the EH's request, or you are not in a time-out, a character is liable to be attacked, and their possessions open to theft.

The below is my comment on this section:
I think this section applies to not only how the character interacts with the world around them but also the way an EH can set up their sites. I have seen it at times that EH’s have set up OOC play areas for people who want to drop OOC for a bit or need to take care of some OOC situations. I did this for my event and it worked absolutely wonderful as far as I saw.

The Rest of this is less about being OOC and Ic and more about making sure everyone is safe during combat.

In short I believe these parts of the Rules to be very important and need to be reviewed by the Realms as a whole. We as people should not ever be OOC affected by IC actions but it happens. We should do everything in our power to understand we are all here for a game, if everyone stays IC and begins to play as an individual character then the game can only improve for it.

With that said eventually those who want to not play a character may begin to find themselves sucked in and find their own play on the IC side of things. We all play this game, we all love the community, learning to play as our Characters and join together as friends OOC will go a long way to bringing Realms into a better place as a Larp community.

I have asked a number of people to write up instances that happened to them IC and how they handled it both IC and OOC. Learning from them I think can be a great asset into how you yourself can separate IC and OOC.


I asked them how they are able to separate their character from actions and consequences their characters have.

IC (In Character) and OOC (Out of Character), these are two separate yet equally important groups. The character that you play and the person playing the character, These are their stories. DUN DUN DUN

Cal O’Leary/ Syruss
-Back when I used to live with Bobby Gryff we were on opposite sides of the Malaphas Demon plot that Mythguard was throwing, then we would often scalp, steal and try to thwart each other. We use to keep secrets for our actions but didn't allow that rivalry to affect our friendship or our living situation.-

-I try to ask the question does this make Syruss feel something or Cal feel something. Take for instance the murder Syruss is comfortable with depraved acts of that nature, Cal not so much. Somethings are tough recently Slavery was an issue in New Veri, Cal is not ok with owning people, Syruss would probably lean neutral. It is about comfort levels and knowing when enough is enough. Also I tend to draw lines at actions that tend to offend people or bother people on an OOc level-

Jordan Rollo/ Ivory
-I separate my IC personality from my OOC personality by trying to create an almost opposite personality for IC. For example i used to play a character named Ebony who was essentially dark and kinda an asshole with no honor. That (I hope) is not me. I do LARP to live a different life and try on different personalities. So separating IC from OOC is one of my main focuses. If I feel that my character begins to meld with my IRL self too much I try looking at situations how Jordan would react to it. And them compare to how i think the character SHOULD react to it and go from there.-

- Currently I am playing Ivory. Who tends to meld with my personality a bit. One big difference is Ivory is now in a personal conflict with Jack of Redwall so we dont get along very well. OOC I get along with Shane deshone great-

Adrian Cronin/ Cronin
-I can recall a moment at Feast of Blackwood where Cronin was asked how to spell “Norlund”. After discussing the plight of Ragnarok. I almost did it before remembering that despite being an accomplished diplomat, Cronin is quite illiterate. And so I responded with, “Draw my sounds... Norrrrrrllllluuuuunnnnndddd”. It got a bit of a laugh but I felt like it added a bit of realism to the conversation.-

- My character has a few quirks that I do my best to keep in mind while dealing with situations that help keep a clear division between OOC and IC. Cronin, though having values outside of his station that many would classify as “good”, is a tactician. With that in mind, he views things in terms of advantage and disadvantage, enemies and allies. So when twists happen in plots where enemies attempt to manipulate the party by arguing ethics Cronin is a bit stubborn about eliminating threats.

-Also Cronin is quite superstitious, and so when he encounters magic users beyond his understanding he usually gives them a wide berth during rituals etc. and even though as a player I am comfortable with the magic system Cronin retains a sense of wonder and caution when it comes to both the divine and the occult.-

Hannah Blood/ Nhadala
-In character I had something said to me with out of character context. It was extremely offensive, and ended up crossing back into IC consequences for the individual. It was hard for me to separate character feels and OOC feels, as it seemed easy for everyone else. I honestly just couldn’t talk to them for a long time, because I couldn’t sort out my feelings for it. I’m still salty about it (haha), but am able to interact IC and keep my feelings aside. -

-If on Facebook, I feel that I am always out of character unless clearly labeling IC before a post. I am posting as Hannah Blood, not as my character name. -

-During Questing hours, I consider myself in character, unless otherwise noted. If at a LARP my character doesn’t like someone, or disapproves of something, I try to mend bonds later. There was an event where I said some mean IC things to Thoril, and when I next saw him at Queen of Hearts I tried to OOC explain that is was truly PvP, and I admire his spirit in game.-

Tonya Pirrone/ Lyra/ Kyllthara
-Hmmm. Well Lyra is not that diffrent from me. She's an introvert, prefers to be on the fringe of a group rather than IN a group. She will participate when she feels she has something to add to the group but otherwise is more comfortable solo. With Kyllthara I try to be more socially confident and in the middle of things even though it takes me outside my comfort zone. She is more outgoing.-

-OOC I've been bellydancing (and hula) for a long time. Aside from a few accidents (jahovas witnesses and a meter man) nobody's ever seen me dance. Its something I do that's therapeutic, like meditation. I did not get into it to impress anyone or be sexy. I've been trying to get up the nerve to dance at an event. Kyllthara might be how I seperate myself from my selfconciousness long enough to do so. Being Egyptian it fits her character and cultural way of dress ect. So that is something I'm working on. The more I play her the more confident I get 'in' her. Does that make sence?-

John Rescigno/ Gordon
-For me separating my IC personality from my OOC is a matter of confidence and decision making. Gordon is much more confident than I am in real life and definitely more foolhardy. He doesn’t think before jumping into a situation as often and acts on impulse and positive emotion. I like to think of myself being more calculating and careful in real life-

Tom Gallagher/ Avendar/ The Spider
-At the beginning of every event I have a mantra I say to myself that switches me from Tom to the character. I say it 3 times, the spider's is eat to live, live to eat.
I intentionally make my characters have different aspects to they're persona than my own. This help prevent them from bleeding together. Avendar for instance sees the world in black and white and is very religious, while I do neither of these things.-

Dano Knobel/ Piper
-Making a distinct separation between myself and the character that I play is a little difficult for me because Piper often represents a version of me at the time that I began playing. Over the decade that I have been with the Realms, I have evolved as a player in a different direction than Piper has as a character. In order to keep the two of us separate, I do my best to keep OOC or meta knowledge separate. I do this by making a quick comparison between two courses of action that I could take. First, I think about the steps that I would take to tackle whatever situation has arisen. Then I think about what kind of knowledge Piper has in his current situation. I make a mental note of where the two diverge and ensure that I take the path that is more in line with staying IC. This often comes up with lore. Whilst I have played a lot of video games, read scores of fantasy novels, and have participated in a load of tabletop RPG's, Piper may not have knowledge of all the creatures, planes, and deities I have encountered. Therefore, I do my best to act without drawing upon my outside knowledge and use it as an opportunity to learn it IC.-

James Murphy/ Tao
-Because of character action I, as the knight commander, had to strip a knight of his belt. While I liked the person out of character I had to take real action against a friend IC. The other person did not take it well, and it took us years to be friends again in character. We had several long conversations about why I took the actions I did. We also talked about the actions they did to warrant the action in the first place. In the end we both understood the other person better. I regret the years it took to get back to where we are now, but the bond between us is now stronger then it ever was. This is a good example where ic/ooc brought us closer together now, but the years it took to get here I regret.-

John Jessop/ Trent
-So there was a day once upon a time that someone was motivated to hire assassins to murder beloved good guy of the Realms, Trent. Why anyone would want to see harm done to this kindly paragon of goodness, I can't say, however it did indeed happen.

There we were in the lands of Folkstone late one night when Trent was accosted on the road, not far from a gathering of his allies. At that point, yelling "Dead" very loudly was a thing that many people would have done in that situation, but it would have been the wrong thing to do so I quietly whispered "dead" and was scalped in short time by my assailants.

The next morning, or more likely afternoon, Trent's friends realized he was missing and found his body, scalp gone. Then I got to play Duke Devlin's Netherform Buttercupp while I got an inside look at my friends' detective skills. Let's just say the skills were pretty lacking, and I had many a chuckle as they walked by, and overlooked clues, and were talked in circles by people who may or may not have the perpetrators, and who may or may not have been covering for said perpetrators.

The whole time, I remained silent. Sometimes laughing, sometimes furious, most of the time thinking that Trent needed more competent friends. But I couldn't fault the effort level. "Trent" was eventually brought back to life, by way of Divine Intervention to the Kal en Dral. Trent's scalp was written of as unrecoverable and the Kal fashioned him a brand new one.

So the next morning, I decided that I would play Trent as a blank slate, as someone who could do basic things like walk and tie his own shoes, but didn't know who anyone was. As luck would have it, the first people I would run into were some people who may or may not have had anything to do with Trent's assassination. Trent struck up a conversation that was going quite well before Trent's old friend Nero "saw" this and dragged Trent away.

"I think those are the people who killed you" Nero told Trent as he was leading him away. "No way" Trent exclaimed in disbelief "they seem like good people." I then spent the rest of that event taking almost everything being said as 100% literal, as friends, enemies, and frenemies alike tried to mold Trent in the ways they wanted.

Seeing this happening, Vlad of Rathkeale called upon divine magic to fill Trent's mind with everyone's memories of him. So then I had to play Trent by figuring out what everyone's perceptions of him were. Trent became much more of a villain that day then he was previously.-

-So, to focus on the IC/OOC separation. I could have alerted my friends to the assassination at the beginning, as "die loudly" was a very accepted thing in those days. I then had to keep my mouth shut while my friends completely botched the investigation because obviously Buttercupp had no idea what happened. Once I was given a second scalp, I didn't just run off and play Trent like nothing had happened, I then chose to have pleasant conversation with people that Trent did not know killed and scalped him, and then chose to get into some very silly conversations and predicaments due to playing Trent as incredibly naive and very "moldable".

I then had to have some seriously weird conversations with people, and do deep thinking on how I should play Trent moving forward.

All in all, there were plenty of opportunities to take the easy way out, and at that point in the game I doubt anyone would have minded if I had, but I did my best to keep as IC and OOC as separate as humanly possible and was rewarded by having an absolutely great time at the event, and always having a story like this to share whenever anyone wants to talk about the value of keeping IC and OOC stuff seperate.-

Sara Jessop/ Zarine
-I think the most important thing is having an IC personality that is both clearly defined and something playable for you. For the longest time Zarine didn't have much of a one beyond my own OOC personality. It wasn't until I started writing my articles that I really found Zarine's voice, and then I worked out from there how it differed from Sara's. I try and make sure that I am always staying true to what I have presented her as in print. Mostly Zarine is a couple of my personality flaws taken to an extreme so it's fun and moderately easy for me to stick to, and because her personality is somewhat a part of my own I don't need to worry too much about completely separating them. I just keep reminding myself throughout a social interaction what things are different between us so that I don't trip up, and I try to only focus on the things pertinent to that specific interaction. Like for example, if there are kids around I try to remind myself that Zarine likes them where Sara isn't much of a kid person, or if a bunch of people are having silly fun that Sara would enjoy I remind myself that Zarine might look down upon it instead, or if i find myself worried that I might be hurting someone's feeling I try to remember that Zarine wouldn't care about that (but remembering to make sure I check on an OOC level with the other person(s) is something that I need to work on). But really I try not to overthink it because then I find myself not having fun and worrying too much, so my advice to others would be to make sure that you enjoy your characters schtick, making it much easier to want to play it up!-

Emily Murphy/ Kara
- I'm always excited when I get to develop Kara more, like when a lot of the yellow king stuff went down at TOC. I was very excited to explore how Kara would react to the madness call and act it out. My character on the other hand was very anxious about going into something where she knew she wouldn't always completely in control of herself.-

Toryn/ Torren
-Torren and Toryn are very similar people. Kind and thoughtful. Being a Faerie, Torren is curious and sociable, whereas Toryn is not. To play my character effectively, I need to step out of my comfort zone to make the experience more immersive and enjoyable for myself and those I'm playing with.-

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