Please welcome Tammy to the Geek Girls Rule! family as well. She’s my resident LARP expert, having been LARPing for more than a decade.
I’m Tammy and I was asked to blog here to represent Live Action Role Play (LARP). I’m also a late blooming gamer. I wanted to game but as a teenager all the people I knew who played D&D were the kind that didn’t want girls in their game as anything but arm candy – and as the fat girl I didn’t qualify for that. I was very much a tomboy and often considered “one of the boys” but that didn’t translate to D&D. So I was all “fine then – I don’t want to play your stupid game!”
Long story short – I didn’t start doing LARP until I was nearly 31 and recently divorced. Yep, the crazy time. I was looking to make up for lost time and do the things I always wanted to do and the ex didn’t. I briefly dated a guy that was into LARP and he introduced me to it. I joined the Camarilla almost exactly 12 years ago. It was still a non-profit fan club at the time.
Yes, I know some of you hate the Cam and I’ve heard the the stories and even experienced some of the bad. I came in after much of the epic stupidity had passed. At this point, many of the problem children have been gone from the club for years. Get over it. Really, because I fail to think of any group or organization that doesn’t have it’s jerks. It’s likely the current local Camarilla game does not resemble your memories.
Now, when I was introduced to the Camarilla I didn’t have a great time at first. The player that brought me into the game wasn’t popular. We broke up after about a month and I did the unexpected – I didn’t leave. I struggled though. Part of the problem is that the player that introduced me had previously brought a string of girlfriends to the game who disappeared in short order after their break-ups, so people expected me to leave. That doesn’t completely excuse people for their behavior towards me though.
Frankly, I was stonewalled. I tried playing for a couple more months but I wasn’t getting anywhere, particularly in Seattle. Players would metagame – claiming their character wouldn’t talk to mine because of her age, etc. They gave me bogus reasons why their character would know details about my character and I didn’t know enough about the rules at the time to call them on their BS. I was also quite a bit more shy than I am now.
Eventually, I got frustrated and I took a 6 month hiatus until a friend I knew from another social circle joined the club. I scrapped the character created when I first joined and made a new one that was more suitable to my inexperience with the game and the rules and was easier for me to RP. I left the chapter I was in and moved my character to another domain (which later merged back with Seattle) and started over. I had a much better time from then on and have kept up with it.
One of the things that bothers me is that even though I’ve been doing this for twelve years, guys tend to assume I don’t know how to use my character creation points to full advantage and are often offering to help me with that. I smile and hand them my sheet and try hard not to smirk when they can’t really find anything wrong with it. They may question some of my choices but when I explain them they understand.
Now, admittedly, I’m more of a role player than a rule player. I don’t read all the supplemental gaming books related to the games I play in. I have neither the time nor the inclination. I will read the ones that are pertinent to characters I want to play and places I want to take them. I make well rounded characters and I *do* know how to min/max my points. When creating a new character, it’s typical for me to do 2 drafts – one is me thinking about my character and what powers and abilities I want her to have (and have the points for) and then I do a second run through to make sure I’m making the most of my points. I make characters based on the story I want to tell with them. If you’re a power gamer you’re just not going to get that.
Several years back I had a character who was killed during a game. It has been an intense scene that caused 2 other characters to lose humanity points. I’d cried a little – but it had to do with being in the character mindset and the intensity of what had happened, not so much that I was upset about losing the character. I could have avoided going to the game and cheesed her out of the situation. I chose not to. When another player asked me what was up and I told him my character had just been killed, he offered to help me make a stronger, harder to kill character next time. The thing is, because of the character’s history and the story she was telling, I had relented all the challenges. Had he asked me for more details about what happened I would have told him and he would have understood. Instead, he assumed I’d just made a weak character, and not on purpose…