This is a follow on to our previous article on including sex in larps and the discussion in episode 4 of the podcast on the same subject. The first article looks at rules methods for achieving this and the podcast turned into a more of a personal discussion. Here one judged ruled against it and two others judged that it could provide an avenue for more plot but also got very British. That is a bit squirly about anything to do with things involving sex.
Then the LARPBook Facebook page got this comment and it gave me an idea on how to better explore the concept. Let’s start with the comment. I’ll just give it some context. This takes place at a Fest Larp. That is a large gathering or LARPers over that takes place over a number of days. During that time people drop in and out of character as context and mood takes them:
Nah sex scenarios don’t work. Luke forgot the time we were at Mayfest. A harlot was trying to make her way into our group. We were sat around a fire pit and she locked onto Luke. Harlot: so you fancy coming away with me for a while? Luke: I’m not sure my girlfriend would like that? Harlot: It’s ok she will never know. Luke: Well, that might be difficult, she’s sitting right here. Me:HELLO! Hasty exit by Harlot. Giggles commenced around the fire pit!!
The comment was of course from ‘Lukes’ girlfriend and for me it illustrates one of the big Cons with including sex and larps. That is reality bleed. What we don’t want is fictional life having an impact on real life. A man (or woman), going away with a Harlot. That could really upset a partner. Especially if there is no structure to know if this is part of the game or the person playing the Harlot wants some err company. What we end up is with an uncomfortable situation that no one really wants. We’re back to the big reason why the podcast panel didn’t rule enthusiastically about including sex in larps.
But I also know there are places and games where it doesn’t just work but adds depth to the game.
Part of this could be to do with a lack “rules of engagement”. Any game where sex could become part of the game needs a way to firmly say “what happens next is fiction and fiction only”. In fact we’re trying to arrange some podcast guests to properly help us out with that problem.
For the moment though lets assume that we can achieve that, in our above example what does that actually do. Well in our example above what it does is open up plot lines. Here are a couple of quick throwaway possibilities.
- The Harlot needs to raise in game cash for an important reason that is part of her plot. Plying her trade allows this to happen. Is she raising money to pay a ransom? What happens if it isn’t paid?
- The character she is targeting is not going to get sex. He’s going to be taken away, drugged and interrogated. Later he will be found – worse the wear for his experience and now the questions are – what has been found out and by whom.
Clearly there are many options here.
Its also clear that the problem are our prejudices and our own attitudes on the topic. I’m not for a moment going to say all games need a sex mechanic -but is clearly a possibility on improving the possibilities of what can happen in Larp.
We’ll continue to look at this and see what eventual conclusions we can reach.
The image on this post comes from Flickr User: Frank Kovalchek. You can learn more about this picture and its licence here.