By Charlie Paull
Every weekend game will include some time when you are rushing around with focus and pace ‘getting things done’. However it will also include some times when you are waiting for your intended victim co-conspirator to get back from someplace else, or it is not immediately obvious how to progress any useful plot lines, and you temporarily have ‘nothing to do’. What should you do in these downtimes?
Everything may have gone a little flat right now, but it is not the end of your game. Here are some thoughts on how to spend this time
Think of it as personal time:
Now may be a good time to take a rest break or visit the bar.
Think of it as planning time:
Sit down with a note pad and make notes on:
- Who you might like to talk to next and why
- What items / people / situations it might take to achieve some enjoyable event (it does not have to be a goal from your character
sheet). Plan how you might get these things to the same place at the same time. Would it help to involve someone you would not ordinarily be expected to know to deliver your event?
- How you will present yourself to the person you’ve been trying to talk to when you do next meet. Write in advance your next romantic appeal / tirade / monologue on how they’ll never get you now Mwahahaha.
- Do you want a big denouement on Sunday morning? Talk (out of character) to the person / people who might be involved in it with you. Design you big scene / triumph / show down / end together.
Look at your abilities:
Have you used them all? You will have more fun if you use what you have been given. If no one has asked you to use them and you cannot immediately see where you wish to use them in future, go and tell everyone (especially people your character sheet gives you no other obvious reason to talk to) what you can do and ask if they want/need/are looking for anyone who can do that.
Look at your personality:
Forget the goals on your character sheet for a moment and look at your background and character personality.
Who are you really?
What would someone like you do in this situation?
Given the way things are turning out, can you reasonably give yourself a new goal or three that fit your personality?
Look at who else is on their own in the room:
Go up to them and start a conversation.
As a character you might ask:
- What brings you to this part of the (wherever you are)?
- Have you heard anything about …?
- I heard … isn’t that interesting?
- Are you looking for help with anything?
- Can you help me with …?
- I have been looking for …, have you seen him/her?
- Did you notice x and y go out of the room together just now? What do you think is happening there?
- Is person / group z really trying to do …, do you think?
- We’re going on a trip / adventure / smuggling mission later, do you want to join us?
If your game is not going well and you are dropping out of character, as a player you might ask:
- I’m a bit bored, this isn’t going well, can you think of something I should do?
- I don’t know how my character would talk to your character, is there any link between us in game do you think? How would we make one?
- Is your game going well? If not, can I help you make it more fun?
Watch other people’s encounters:
This is after all sometimes called theatre-style LARP. Much of the action is not yours, but it is fun to watch either in character or out.
Above all remember, if you did not have any quiet times in a weekend-long game, you would probably die of adrenalin overdose before the end of Saturday.