6 Most Toxic LARPers, Part 2

(Part 1 here)

Salt is necessary for water retention, and you are as likely to suffer prolonged dehydration from lack of salt as lack of water: this natural desire for salt is, I assume, why the saltier my posts get, the more they are shared. Wednesday’s post, by measure of sheer view count, must have been salty enough to pickle an entire city’s population.

Image result for salt
I’m a literal lifesaver.

Time and time again, the criticism I see of my content is that it’s “too salty,” “too angry,” “too generalizing,” and “too acerbic.” And I will point out, as I have before, that just because you do not see a problem, does not mean it isn’t present, either in your LARP or in the hobby as a whole.

Some simple, blunt statements are in order:

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

The incredible reactions my posts generate are always a little worrisome. I talk satirically about extremes, about ludicrously cartoonish tropes, and then I watch social media explode with people accusing me of terrible, damaging generalizations. I create an extreme toxic outlier and call it a “Fabutante” and suddenly I am attacking anyone who costumes nicely and thus “penalizing” people for being proud of their roleplay.

This is not a rational response; it’s a defensive crouch. It says more about the fears of those who react most vehemently, and their concerns about how other people perceive them, than it does about the rational majority. The rest of us can distinguish between a good roleplayer who happens to like collecting items and keeping them organized, and a toxic dragon hoarder. It is the dragon hoarder themselves, or someone who enables this kind of negative gameplay, who is the most offended.

Image result for lady macbeth blood
Mrs. Macbeth has ASSURED us that there’s no need to be concerned.

I did not arrive at my conclusions alone.

The most amusing reactions I receive are the ones which accuse me of being some brooding loner, who has come up with all of this salty bitterness on his own, after a bad game. It must be much easier to write me off if I’m a statistical outlier; once my blog is written off, the status quo can resume!

Unfortunately, I am writing about emotions, opinions and experiences that I have shared with many others who have struggled to vocalize them, or discuss them publicly in their respective LARPs. This entire blog is devoted to giving those negative experiences names, and to find an appropriate language and forum for discussing them. The oft repeated criticisms of my salty rhetoric are tone policing, and the resulting enforced positivity doesn’t fix anything; it merely bottles up the problem and delays improvement.

Maybe the message is not for YOU

If you’re on top, if you don’t see a problem, if you’re cool, well-connected, and feel strongly that you’ve succeeded in LARP and earned your success earnestly, maybe my posts aren’t for you.

Rest assured, this blog is for many, many others. They are reading and taking note, and perhaps recognizing patterns that they struggled to make sense of before. They might realize there is more to their bad luck in LARP then they have been told.

There is nothing to fear or loathe here. I want to give you the tools to improve your games, find better ones, or found new ones.

Only those who embody bad practices and defend the indefensible need be concerned with my writing, and their reactions are always very, very telling.

Image result for batman scarecrow court
Mediocre movie. Really superb imagery.

For more terrible photo captioning, extreme-salinity hazards, and excessive preaching about a hobby we all take way too seriously, share this content on social media, and follow me on Twitter @the_larp_cynic.

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6 Most Toxic LARPers, Part 2

3 thoughts on “6 Most Toxic LARPers, Part 2

  1. Roland the Barbarian says:

    I find myself very conflicted by these two posts. While I factually agree with almost everything you say, I still fundamentally disagree completely with your message. I naturally expected cynicism, as anyone who visits this page should, but I find the tone throughout both articles to be very unsettling and discomforting.

    Before me is a copy of the D&D 4th edition dungeon master’s guide. Regardless of my opinions of the rest of the system, I find the section “the players” to be quite interesting. It contains descriptions of various player archetypes, with tips on how to provide an interesting game for them, and how to avoid them becoming disruptive. One of these is “power gamer”, described alongside a plethora of other archetypes. Now, compare this with your own articles. Rather than tips on how to cater to their desires without impacting the fun of others, you seem unrelenting in your viewpoint that their way of enjoying the hobby is something that should be stopped completely, and seem hellbent on “defeating” them.

    Why do you treat your fellow hobbyists like ‘the enemy’ so much? They might be jerks, sure, but they’re still people, not hurdles. They have their own ways of enjoying the hobby (apart from the abuser, I agree those are not the kind of people you want). Talk to them, or if that doesn’t work, talk to the game organisers. You provide a good guide to different types of troublesome figures you could encounter at a larp, but your solution seems to be ‘set in motion high-school politics plots’, and when called out on this, I feel you take on the same “defensive crouch” you accuse your critics of.

    Why are you so hostile towards your fellow larpers that you feel you should “defeat” them with backhanded plots, rather than talking to them?

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  2. Players should always follow the the normal avenues for dealing with bullying or drama first, and my recommendations are meant for those frustrated by the inability of existing systems to deal with such behaviors, or worse, when those systems encourage or shelter the problem players. Oftentimes I hear of people who are going mad, having exhausted existing frameworks for conflict resolution, only to find the issue unresolved, or worsened.

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