The following is a transcript of the NELCO 2013 Series Question 3 video – What makes a good LARP Character?

See the video here.

NELCO 2013 Question 3 Transcript

Out of Character talked to theater-style LARPers at NELCO 2013. Each was asked 3 questions.

Question 3: What Makes a Good LARP Character?


Chris:  To me what makes a good character, or a great character, is the ability to feel fullness of the life that was lived. It should be something that I can either identify with or relate to. It’s something that I want to be moved by. I want to feel that I’m a part of this character’s journey in some ways. There’s some quality of that I’ve what I’ve seen that I can relate to and that, you know, that helps pull the emotional arc the story the character is in, out.

Michael: Well, for the purposes of LARPing a good character has a goal, and a reason for the goal. With more of a purpose, with a reason for the goal existing, then it becomes deeper and more effective.

Laura: And it doesn’t necessarily have to have goals, though for a lot of people that’s good, and they don’t necessarily have to have very long character sheets or very complicated feelings necessarily, but there has to be something that makes them an interesting experience.

Lily: The first part is – does this character want to be in this game? If a character has no reason to participate in the story being told and interact with the other characters that’s kind of a problem. And if they are an integral part of the story or can make themselves integral part of the story. And if they have strong connections to the other characters or forge strong connections to the other characters. Those are the hallmarks of a good character.

Andy: Somebody who has a motivation to talk to and interact with other people. Someone who has something to do and someone unless something to say.

Alex: In theater or in literature we often say that really interesting characters are made by the counterpoints in them – that they have often conflicting beliefs or motivations that they have to try to reconcile make decisions based on. And I think the same is true for LARP.

Kevin: For me the good characters are the characters who care about something and have something to do, and something that feels consequential

Sparrow: Sit in a room. Do not talk to anyone. Feel bad. Is not actually a role anyone wants to play for an hour or for a weekend or a campaign because you have nothing to do.

Kevin: And there are people who can enjoy games where they, like, spend a lot of time crying – off in a corner crying. And I… There’ve been times where I have enjoyed those games more and less.

Melanie: I think a good character is important to a LARP but is not quite enough – because you can have a fully fleshed-out character with motivations and people they know a background whole history, a mental state, romance and betrayal, and all those things that go into a character without having enough to do for the allotted time period.

Sparrow: Writing good character is hard because the characters I will enjoy playing and the characters you will playing are not an equal set – for any two people in LARP. So you don’t have one right answer for, you know, if I give everyone this character they will all have fun. We’ll have an all Batman game, and it will be great. Doesn’t really work. I liked the Other Other All Batman game , but that’s a sort of separate story.

Melanie: But if you are a character who is, you know, collecting the lost pieces the treasure map and you get to put them together and then, you know, you’re also the you know and mustache twirling villain there is definitely… character is a big important part of LARP.

Vik: A character that is “you are the villain,” to me just does not carry enough – I would not consider that a good character because there is really just the one dimension. And all the mustache twirling in the world isn’t really going to make you understand that character. And if I can’t understand the character then I’m not going to be able to really portray the character effectively.

Tory: A character who is going to come into game wanting something and doing interesting things to do it. Whether that thing is something concrete or something is abstract as, you know, I want to deepen my relationship with this other character.

Thomas: So if there are other characters that are interesting to interact with and have plot with your character, that have history with your character and it generates involvement and emotional involvement or otherwise I think that’s what makes good character