In many situations it is super important to say “No”. And we need to have clear OC (Out of Character) boundaries as part of the game.
But this blog is about something else.
It’s about a method, a vehicle we can use in Larp. This method has it’s roots in improvisational theatre and it’s based on the principle:
First say “Yes”.
For example. Someone approaches you in game and says: "Hey, I have these very special stones here -I found them in the forest. Wanna buy one?"
You might look at the moss-covered rocks and think, "Nah, not really."
But instead of saying what you’re thinking you say "Oh, interesting! Let me see!"
Then you hold that stone in your hand, have a chat with the trader and the game is flowing.
In real life you would probably say "No" - and in many dodgy tourist areas, that is a wise decision.
But in LARP it's a lot more exciting when things happen. If we say "No", we stop the interaction and things are less likely to happen.
With a "Yes" you can create game potential - and give your counterpart a mini-scene. A little attention. A chance for more to happen.
Sure, there's a limit and no one has to say “Yes” all the time. This is all about game offers. You don’t have to buy the stone - but you've allowed game to happen.
If someone asks you: "Hey, wanna come to the slums?" Don’t think about losing your character, or that it would be unrealistic for your character to join. Instead, go with them, find out more. Be curious. Just do it.
Another example: A beggar asks you for some coin.
You could give him a coin and ask for something in return. Or you could spit on the floor and call the beggar names. That too would be more exciting than "just" a “NO”. It's about the chance - the game that could develop from it.
In real life we would neither "take advantage" of the beggar nor shout at him. But in Larp we can do so. Let's use it!
The player of the beggar might come to you on Sunday at the end of the game and thank you for your interaction: "Finally someone chased me away!" or "Nice game, remember all the cool things that have evolved from that… just because you gave me a coin and asked for information."
That’s what Larp is about. React to everything and don’t expect anything. It’s a great feeling when the other person plays the game with you and you both created a great roleplay moment.
This was just the beginning, we can always take this approach up a notch...
E.g. You're sitting in the tavern and someone shows you an old mirror:
"Look my friend, look in the mirror! It's a magic mirror - you see a person you once loved very much” they say.
You could say, "Hmm, I only see me." - BOOORING!
Or you ask: "Just OC- is this agreed to by the refs? Because my character has magic protection 5 and rust 7." Just NO! Please DON’T!!!
An awesome way to react could be….
“Ok, let me see your stupid mirror, I'll... Oh, no..."
And you stare into the mirror. Your hands are shaking.
"This can’t be... I thought you were dead!"
And then you turn the mirror around and hand it back to the stranger with a haunted or stunned look on your face.
If we allow things to happen, we simply experience more. We might discover new sides of ourselves. And most importantly we have given ourselves and others the chance for beautiful and engaging roleplay. Rewarding their ideas and hopefully they will reward ours in return.