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Archive for the ‘Feminine Side of Larping’ Category

The Feminine Side of LARPing

Part 5b, Clicking with the Cliques.

This blog is in response to my earlier blog: Me, Myself and Cliques; Can you handle the clique?

I explained how to spot cliques and my experiences with them. Now it’s time to deal with them. There are mutiple ways of dealing with cliques; you can decide to ignore them, try to become included with them OR leave the game in search of greener pastures. There ARE games out there that do not have cliques and the player base is warm and welcoming. Don’t settle for something you’re not enjoying when these days some areas have multiple LARPs running and some might even be held at the same camp you’re at.

Some tips on telling from the LARP’s website if they have cliques so you can avoid them from the start:

  • Check the Forums and read the new players section, are only staff members welcoming the new players? And is there only one staff memeber saying hello days later? Or are players also welcoming the newbies?
  • Look for established groups of players that have attended for years and seem cold and unwelcoming to low level players. You can usually spot these on the Forums as well. Check if they have their own ‘rooms’ or a special saying in their signatures.
  • Read the highlights and lowlights of the events (on again on the Forums) and see what other players are saying.

If you miss the warning signs, are already invested in a game with cliques, or you ignore the signs and still attend there are some things you can do for damage control. If you ignore them keep in mind that this being a social game with you ignore certain power groups may effect your game play. Some groups have been with the game since the start and will have plot written for them because the staff are trying to keep them coming, if you’re ignoring them you’ll miss out on plot and if you’re missing plot what fun is that? If the staff memebers ARE catering to the older players this is another red flag, not only pertaining to cliques but pertaining to the entire game.

If you make the decision to join a clique, then go for it! Cliques are not ALWAYS bad things. Sometimes they can be the exact thing you need to get you involved with the game. But being a girl you have brownie points. You’ll have a better chance at joining a clique… and if you’re a supporting class (healer (HUGE bonus), dpser, gatherer, etc.) that will increase your chances even more. As for the guys, you’ll have a better chance at creating your own group. But then you’re just helping cliques become created. Just be aware that if you do make it into an established clique there will be a hierarchy already in place and you won’t be the boss. Atleast not at first ;).

As for moving on… you can do it. It’s going to be painful since you’ve most likely made friends, put some effort into a players and/or costume, and you’ve already overcome the ‘new to the game awkward phase’. But you’ve gained experience and that is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Plus those friends you made might be unhappy too so they should follow you and your character? If you tweak it just so you can most likely use the same character at a new game. So don’t be afraid to hop around LARP to LARP until you find something that you feel comfortable in. There is not a better feeling then really being involved with a LARP.

-tinamarie86

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Last night, I was just making mention of how much it bothered me that little boys get all sorts of cool movies about the boy getting to be the super adventure hero and how girls get films about wanting to be princesses.

Then today I saw this:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2009/06/dear_pixar_from_all_the_girls.html?sc=fb&cc=fp

Maybe most little girls don’t want to be action heroes…but is it because they really don’t want to be, or because there aren’t many examples in movies? There are probably at least ten movies about a boy who wakes up to find he is really King Arthur, but there are hardly any such movies for girls, especially in that genre. Females can be helpful/intelligent/alluring sidekicks, but never the main show.

What’s with that? If a girl doesn’t see examples of women standing up for themselves or making important choices, why WOULD they be any good at video games or anything else.

What I am saying as this pertains to LARP…..think about Xena, She-Ra, and all of those other “I’m so cool but I’m also a princess or I only have power because a man close to me is important” kind of ‘role models’ out there for girls. You can do better, and if you choose not to play ‘the game’ at a LARP, you can accept the social consequences and do something else.

Play the game–don’t let it play you.

(and also beware of using cut tags on WordPress. They seem to eliminate text.)

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(I apologize for the wall of text, but it really is a good read.)

So just as I was starting to think that no one really read this blog besides my cat and grandmother when I recieved an e-mail through my Myspace. It was from a fellow girl LARPer asking for some good ol’ advice. I realized how much our conversation would help other girls out there (or really ANY new LARPer for that matter) and asked permission to post our conversation, she agreed so without futher ado here it is:

*****

Hi Tina,

I’ve been reading the blog you contribute to (which is great, by the way) and was wondering if you could help me out with a chick-LARPing dilemma I’m facing. My boyfriend of 3months has been LARPing since he was 11 (9 years!) and I’ve only been to one event with him, but I totally love it. I’m a WoW player and generic female gamer, but the whole live-action thing is really overwhelming, particularly because he’s so experienced and I have no idea what I’m doing. Basically the question is, do you have any advice on how to adjust from gaming to LARPing, especially considering that my bf’s character is far more experienced than mine and therefore there’s not too much for us to do together at events? The whole ‘pecking order’ thing among the other girls is overwhelming too… Really I’m just looking for any kind of advice from a fellow-female-larper who knows what’s up.

Thanks!

*****

Hey there!

I want to commend you and your courage for trying out something so different that many people wouldn’t even consider thinking about. I also want to commend you for taking the time asking for advice since asking for advice really is the first step everyone should take when they begin LARPing. I’m glad you came to me for advice since I’m a female LARPer for the past six years and I’ve actually met my current boyfriend at a LARP. The funny thing is that my character at the time was more ‘powerful’ then his in the sense that I was going to the game longer. So now I can help you out with each of your questions.

My first piece of advice would be go in with a blank canvas. Luckily you have some experience with the whole fantasy/RPG feel because of WoW (I also play myself) but at the same time so many LARPers almost ruin their experience because they are thinking too much in WoW terms. Think of it as a whole new adventure. Even if you think you understand something because it sounds like WoW, you’re better off asking about it. Not only will you make new friends asking about it but you’ll become more immersed with the games rules. It’s like when I sold lotions and perfumes at Bath and Body Works… the better I knew the product the easier and more enjoyable it was to sell it. The better you come at understanding every aspect of the game the more comfortable you’ll feel playing it. Don’t rely on your boyfriend to fill you in, take charge and ask around. LARPers love to help new people! It gives us a chance to show off our superior knowledge of nonsense.

Once you go into the game with a clear mind and a motivation to ask other people for help you are taking a step in the right direction. Don’t become attached to your boyfriend’s hip, he has just opened a whole new world for you to explore! Not to mention when some of the more advanced players start to become involved, the newbies fall to the way side and are forgotten. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the staff and other low level characters. LARPing is a social event no matter which way you look at it. Networking with the other players, both male and female, will help you with the ‘pecking order’ that takes place also. They feel you out and you get to feel them out. You may surprise yourself and meet some new best friends, God knows I have.

Now that you are moving around and making new friends with the lower leveled characters you’re probably thinking that you wanted to spend this weekend with your boyfriend. And I understand completely, trust me. But this is the time when you start asking yourself the serious questions… do you want to enjoy the game laid out before you? Or do you want to feel completely lost all weekend as you tag along with your boyfriend? Do you even really enjoy tagging along with your boyfriend? Do you have the courage to meet new people? Everyone answers these questions differently but I’ll tell you what I’ve done and the outcomes. When I ventured off without my boyfriend and ‘established’ myself in the town, it changed everything. I was able to enjoy the game ten fold, I was able to meet new friends, I was able to actually play my character and in turn play the game. My boyfriend saw how well I was doing and I think it made us both comfortable that I was taking care of myself. He didn’t have to baby-sit me anymore and he was proud at how I was handling myself with this new geeky adventure. Then there were times that we both missed each other and just wanted to spend all weekend with each other. That is fine too and we did. But then again, this was after we’ve both established our own niches in the LARP. You can sleep together and spend time together but don’t be afraid to go on an adventure with some new people while he is doing high level stuff. One day you’ll be evenly matched and can crush together on the battlefield. It never fails that the game pulls couples in different directions just because our characters have different outlooks. You don’t want to play the demon hunting warrior and he doesn’t want to play the daisy picking healer.

Congratulations! You’re making new friends, starting to ‘own’ the game, and strengthening your relationship with your boyfriend by showing your independence, and *ding!* you just leveled! You are finally starting to see the invisible lines that are the LARPs hierarchy. You see the girl that all the other girls both love and hate and the guys swarming around her, either flirting or trying to be her best friend. You see the guy that all the guys respect and look to for advice and the girls are trying to be his number one girl. Those are the alphas… every LARP has it and it takes a practiced eye to see it. But sometimes it’s almost enjoyable to sit back and try to figure it all out. You then have the guy and girl that are everyone’s friends, they are comfortable with themselves and their positions, and those are the betas. The rest fall into other categories and when you become more experienced with it you’ll start to see what I mean. The bitch, the pervert, the stalker, the back stabbing friend, the honest one, the kind one, etc. If I were to see you come to my game with a boyfriend that would alter things. I would look at how pretty you are and how you’re dressed. (Just being honest here.) I’d then look at how much confidence you have in yourself. It’s a common misconception that if you go to a game with a significant other that you are excluded from the hierarchy battle. Wrong. If anything that makes the guys want you more and the girls ‘fear’ you more. Just take things slowly and I also tell my friends… never play the game until you understand the rules. You want to be confident (straying away from your boyfriend to let your character grow shows how confident you are both in your relationship and in learning the game), and yet you want to be nice. You never stoop to a low level and you carry yourself almost like royalty. You never ever become the bitch though. Keep the guys interested and yet become best friends with all of the girls. Don’t let anyone push you around. It really comes down to an almost animalistic behavior. You are new so you are a new threat to the current hierarchy. But now that you have an inside look that will help in making you more comfortable. You can either decide to try and attain Alpha status or become comfortable in whatever status is ‘gifted’ to you. And you can decide to completely ignore the game and look at all the crazy people trying to be big and tough. Although, if the hierarchy game is ignored most times you cannot gain access to those ‘popular’ circles of players which usually end up doing the most interesting things.

So what the heck have I tried to get across with this? Be comfortable with yourself and get ready to laugh at yourself often. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and humiliating to act as another character if you’re not used to it. Once you clear that hurdle you’ll be excited and exhilarated to be able to play a whole new enigma. You can be a bad ass vampire hunter or the ever curious priest that refuses to harm a single thing. You can really get into the character and not be looked at funny. Actually the more you get into your character the more people look at you with respect. It’s like acting. People don’t love Angelina Jolie because she’s a bad actress. No, she really gets into her roles and everyone loves it! They respect her and want to be just like her.

You can do it! I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with all of this, but as I mentioned above, us LARPers love to help out new players! We know how much fun our hobby is and we want to share with everyone that will listen. If you have another other questions, please feel free to e-mail me again. And I wish you the best of luck with your LARPing adventures!

-Tina

*****

Hi again Tina!

Thank you SO much for all of the advice! Definitely feel free to put this on the blog, there’s a lot of great stuff in here and everyone should see it. I honestly think this well help out a lot with my next event in two weeks; I’ll let you know!

Thanks again, you’ve totally eased a lot of my concerns and now it all feels really do-able.

-tinamarie86

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I am probably going to direct this blog more as a question or opening point to some of our other bloggers, but I wanted to make a brief note about physical fitness and LARPing.

Back in high school, physical fitness was mandatory. So I went. I hated gym class, but I went because I had to.

In college, I only had to take two gym classes over four years. However, I was always on the go, walking across campus to get to classes and toting lots of books as well as my guitar.

After college, I noted that I was gaining weight, but I didn’t want to give up my leisure time to work out, which seemed like a chore. Since I had a full time job, I had to choose between entertainment and my health, or so it seemed.

Then I found LARP. LARP was fun, and fulfilled my full-weekend need for entertainment. I noticed soon after LARPing that I had actually lost fat and gained muscle over my LARP weekends–it’s a great way to stay fit! I look forward to LARPing more since I could definitely stand to drop some weight that I gained mostly due to an injury and partially due to my relationship with two handsome men named Ben and Jerry.

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This is a response to the following,

https://larpers.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/women-larping-and-larp-social-groups-are-you-an-alpha/
https://larpers.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/women-larpers-do-you-have-what-it-takes/

As some of you know, our group went out this week end to LARP and we had a great time. I was forced to observe the whole “Larp Queen social circle,” and their etiquette. Frankly I think it’s about the most absurd thing I have ever witnessed and only exists in the mind of women. My advice guys is to ignore it. I have heard the women in my group complain about it and recognize how silly it is and yet perpetuate the system. And ladies, don’t fall into the trap, it’s very easy to get along with and have fun with the rest of the elements in the game. Unless you want to fall into the drama instead of enjoying to game.

What really takes the cake is that a few of us arrived at the LARP as couples as well as arriving within our own group of friends. It still appeared as if the girls were worried about how they were perceived and about the so called, “power struggle.” What the hell does it matter? We were there to have fun as a group who cares what the other LARP women think, or guys for that matter.

I can almost understand, and I emphasize almost, if a girl goes to the game as a social out cast and finds that they are fawned over by all the guy nerds… and a few of the ladies. It may go to their heads a little bit. But also keep in mind, sometimes the attention may be unwanted. Face it, some of the guys might not be that high quality either.

What’s my point? Well, do you want to go to a game, be mature, and have fun? Or do you want to go back to a social environment like high school and face the anxiety and awkwardness, seeking social acceptance from immature prom queens? For those of you ladies who may be new to the world of LARPing I say throw down your shackles and break the cycle. Just go and have fun and forget all that other drama and trust me, guys like a gal who just goes for the game and not to play games.

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I need my mommy. I just got back from LARPing this weekend. and Oww. The good Oww, the one you know that tomorrow will be ok. But Right Now you don’t want to move for 16 hours straight.

The event itself was great. We rolled in early with half the crew. And rocked the set up. When it’s a group of people that know what their doing set up and break down become a breeze. Got in to game quickly to, rolling up to the inn. I think some of the regulars there didn’t know what to think. Just to prove that it was amazing, battle wounds. They really make the difference. I have never Fawned over a Larp event that I haven’t completely destroyed one of my body parts. This weekend was my Hand. And Face. And my All-overs. Like I said, Oww, and I love every second of it.

 

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This is a link for all of those female LARPers/gamers out there–and the men who want to woo them. Very well-written stuff here.

Female Gamers

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