Archi pushed Relevar back against the wall, his fingers twisted in the neck of his long tunic. Relevar’s hand slid inside his spell pouch, wrapping around the components to a spell. Soon, the every one else in the room was on their feet, their hand reaching for weapons they had smuggled into the tavern. Relevar relaxed his shoulders, there was now way he could take down all six of them men and come out unscathed, he would wait for a better time.
Archi continued to stare him in the eyes, hate boiling behind them. Relevar just stared back at him, a sly grin on his face. It wasn’t considered a crime in these lands to murder a drow, even one that had defected from the empire and joined in the aid against them. According to the law, his plan would be considered murder, not justice.
A loud cough was heard from the door to the private room and the bar’s owner, a half-ogre that could wield the large club at his side with the same skill as even the most seasoned warrior made a motion as if to say, “Take it outside.” Archi pushed Relevar back one last time and stormed out. Relevar looked around the room at the man’s companions, trying his best to let them know that Krunk had just saved all of their lives, while silently thanking the ogre for saving his own before heading outside himself.
He crossed the threshold of the bar, passing into the mundane zone as he did so, and saw Archi waiting for him. “Dude, that was freakin’ awesome.”
Getting into the Moment
When you set out to role-play a character, you generally have one goal: to spend some time being someone other than yourself. Try as hard as we can, most of the time, we find ourselves just responding to the things going on around us as we ourselves would, without really thinking about how our character would actually react. You can spend all of the time in the world on creating an awesome character for yourself, but all of that time is wasted if you don’t at least try to give it life and form in the game.
Those times when everything does start to click, though, end up becoming legendary. Those are the interactions that are going to get talked about around the camp fire and at mundane get togethers. Those are the moments that people will remember for years. They are the moments that turns the simple stick-jock into the hardcore role-player.
They are few and far, between, however. How can we strive to make them happen more often?
Encourage the Role Playing
A lot of time at events is spent socializing out-of-character or just playing games to get some more fighting in. If you are really looking to get in the mindset of your character, you have to get away from the mundane and get into the game world. Get away from the registration area, or the mundane cooking fires and head out into the in-character zones. You’ll never get there if you’re not even trying.
When you do find someone out there that is willing to role-play, jump into an in-character conversation with them. It doesn’t matter how good they are or how good you are, like everything else, getting into character is a skill that develops with practice, so practice it!
Know Your Self
The more different from yourself your character is, the harder it will be for you to get there. Of course, the more challenging your character is to play, the better stories you’re going to get out of playing it. Keep to something simple in the beginning. If you’re new to roleplaying, than your best bet is to stay as close to your comfort zone as possible. Try starting out as a human warrior. Just about any game will let you change it later, and usually there is a grace period.
If you’re a veteran, or you feel confident in your ability to pull something off, go ahead and give it a shot. Get together with your story tellers and the sky is the limit.
Volunteer to NPC
Playing an NPC gives you a chance to practice roleplaying something different than your normal character, plus, there are never enough people around to be NPCs. Just by volunteering you are helping out the game. Most of encounters that take a great deal of skill are going to be passed on to players that have cultivated those skills already, but even if you do get put in the position of playing something you aren’t ready to play, no one is going to complain. After all, if they want to gripe about the NPC players skills, they could have volunteered to NPC themselves.
Don’t Sweat It
The best experiences come on their own, and sometimes when you least expect it. Don’t try to force it to happen, that defeats the entire point of trying to make it as natural as possible. In my time as a LARPer I’ve learned that the absolute best role play moments just spring up on their own. It isn’t the big plot points that create these special moments, it’s the players interacting around them that are really important.
It doesn’t have to be Big
The above story is from my own time in Eldaraenth. The entire conflict lasted only a few minutes, followed by myself and the other player giddily talking about how awesome it was outside afterward. It wasn’t even something that happened at a full scale event, but just at an in-character get together held at a player’s house. It is a story that is still told by both the players that witnessed it, and is one of my best memories from the past twelve years of playing the game.
That small moment also defined the character interactions between the two characters for years following it and had a pretty significant effect on the direction the two characters went from there. It didn’t seem like much at the time, just another argument between two strong opinioned, loud men, but it came to define a relationship and even a little bit of the story.
So, get out there and spend some time in-character. It doesn’t even matter if you’re good at it. When those intense moments come, even the worst roleplayer will suddenly have that perfect accent that has always alluded them, or that stare at just the right angle.
Just remember, it’s all a game, so afterwards, head back to the mundane area and revel in it for a while. Gamers in general, and LARPers particularly, can be some pretty dramatic people. It’s good to keep grounded.