We started by talking about direct physical action in larp. Such as restraining someone, or manhandling them. Looking at this idea evolved into an article that considered things to think about if this is to be included. You can read that article here. This spilled over into the LARPBook show.

However I was aware that this is a complex issue where the value is in more than one point of view. I was also aware of the valuable differences between different game cultures. Both in terms of genre and nationality.

In order to learn more I asked the Facebook communities UK LRP  and Larpers BFF, These were quite intentional selections. LARPBook is UK based so I wanted to solicit more information from the UK. However we’ve always been about learning from other nations. So that it why I also looked at Larpers BFF. Its a good source of international discussion.

The original plan was to put both digests in the same post. However it soon became apparent that this would not work. Simply put there was far too much comment. Using a single post would have created something that was long, unwieldy and ultimately hard to read. Therefore we are breaking things down by group. What follows is the UK LRP digest.

From UK LRP

 

Ross Allan:
Much as I’m not adverse to a bit of grapplin’, it’s not something I think should occur in LARP.

Yes, we could wear some kind of signifier, perhaps a Body Dev like coloured ribbon, but the issue comes when people aren’t as skilled as they think.

I’m well versed in pratfalls. It’s a skill I’ve had ever since I was a nipper, and I’ve never broken a bone in my body (so far as I’m aware). So one could argue that I know how to land myself.

But I’m also 17 stone of muscle, bone, lard and stupid. If someone of a lighter build tries to grapple me and I end up landing on top of them, there’s only one outcome. That’s just not worth the risk.

So whilst ‘consenting adults’ might seem the rational answer, it’s not.

Example of it going wrong? I was helping to IC restrain someone according to the rules (three people needed), and wound up with my hand cheese grattered between two sets of chain mail.

Little lasting harm done, but not something to be repeated, even though it was all well within the established and accepted rules

Simon Brind:
I’m a massive fan of larps with proper violence. As long as there is a solid escalation and de-escalation mechanic in place.

EmmM Dewey:
As I had to explain to a couple of capable chaps who wanted to try some grappling at an event I was crewing. “The test is not, can you do it safely. The test is, can a brand new player see what you did, think it’s cool, and try it on a random bloke later that evening, after a beer or so. And say said random bloke has a bad back…” (I’ve had to first aid a bloke who grappled someone at a non-grappling event. His excuse that it wasn’t time in yet, and the target was a mate, didn’t stop the necessity of us calling an ambulance.

Gareth Farrant – Kit Goblins:
Honest answer bit of grappling if it makes sense is fine… but fake punches, or headbuts and expecting other player to fall unconscious is balls (especially if its some mage type swinging) and annoys me.

Reply: Gideon Lawrence Aww… I like fake punches… but I rarely expect anyone to fall unconscious I just like the rp aspect.

Reply: Gareth Farrant Yes, but you are normaly playing some fighter type npc when doing so.. its the wimpy, bookworm type plyers/npc who annoy me (who seem to think the world have glass jaws)

Benedict Walsh
Touch not, lest ye be touched harder.

Hemming Ross
Should not happen at all. It is injuries waiting to happen.

Jayce Antique – Manticore:
From a safety perspective it’s just down to the group your with.

If you know your crowd is skilled in handling themselves with the appropriate break fall techniques , happy to take a bit of bumping around and know when to use a safe signal (normally tapping yourself several times on the chest or arm is enough) and there are enough watchers to keep an eye. It should be encouraged.

But if the crew is learning and not had much form in breaking a fall or signals- just no.

Ideally no anyway because most LARP has such a diverse mix of skill level and where they are at… I wouldn’t

Reply: Jayce Antique Also probably take on board colour coding. Have been in games where there are people that have light blue or red ribbons to signal they are trained in some form of martial art so you’re ok to proceed in some fancy grappling or weapon work. But most of those guys already now it takes 2 hits to kill someone

Reply: Brian C – k It’s down to the organisers whether they except that on site or not, not the players regardless of what they agree among themselves. Mainly because the organisers are responsible for what happens at their event and insurance etc.

Reply: Jayce Antique That’s the be all and end all.

It’s all good to suggest it but the Insurance and safety procedures you need to have is nuts to setup but once your team knows how to handle it – it becomes normal

Morgan Wilkinson
I think the bar isn’t just consent, it’s knowing the other person well enough to be comfortable working with their limits as well as your own. So anything more than very minor physical contact either wants to be discussed beforehand or to be with someone you have enough of an OC rapport with to be more or less on the same page improvising, and know what they’re likely to be comfortable with and what’s likely to hurt them or freak them out.

That’s not something you can really legislate for, or control in anything beyond a very small system, because it relies on players trusting each other and being trustworthy, and that’s not something you can police easily.
Which is a shame, because a good bit of grappling among friends is generally awesome fun. But the fact that there are people I can trust to safely pick me up and throw me around, and people who can trust me to do the same to them, doesn’t mean I can or should do that with just anyone.
I think the bar isn’t just consent, it’s knowing the other person well enough to be comfortable working with their limits as well as your own. So anything more than very minor physical contact either wants to be discussed beforehand or to be with someone you have enough of an OC rapport with to be more or less on the same page improvising, and know what they’re likely to be comfortable with and what’s likely to hurt them or freak them out.

That’s not something you can really legislate for, or control in anything beyond a very small system, because it relies on players trusting each other and being trustworthy, and that’s not something you can police easily.
Which is a shame, because a good bit of grappling among friends is generally awesome fun. But the fact that there are people I can trust to safely pick me up and throw me around, and people who can trust me to do the same to them, doesn’t mean I can or should do that with just anyone.

Reply: Robert Davies I like the bar being I’m comfortable with this thats a good idea

Maximas Von Bracey
Please note, this is very common place at fest events in Germany, ergo Drachenfest.

Reply: Jayce Antique Let’s just face it- Germany is light years ahead in LARP than most countries are. Not to mention German mentality is so much different to that of the others. They have compliance and safety hard wired into them. Seldom do we hear a game with someone recklessly getting injured because of IC combat.
Reply: John Cattes Don’t you believe it. Drachenfest is a game of 5000 nerds with swords, drinking heavily. The injury rates are comparable to those at a UK fest event.
Drachenfest is also not really representative of German LARP. It’s very much it’s own thing tailored to be accessible to international players.

Paul O’ Neill To wade in with a slight variation on the theme of physical risk in LARP…
…what are community member’s feelings vis-a-vis an individual taking personal risks at an event? By this, I mean risks outside of combat – for example, someone climbing a tree to loose arrows at monsters …or, climbing up a building to get into a first floor window (etc.)… any thoughts from organisers perspective (e.g. insurance)?
Reply: Neil Gunfield If you do something outside of the bounds of the game and injure yourself, such as climbing a tree, I doubt you would be covered by the insurance. So, go for your life! lol
Reply: Paul O’ Neill 😀 awesome! You know I will ^_^

Neil Gunfield If both are willing then, in my opinion, go for it. BUT it’s always important to check first, rather than just randomly grabbing someone.

Reply: Paul O’ Neill …but if I were running a game, and several players started taking such risks, should I be worried and intervene? If so, what justification would I have? If they injure themselves (e.g. break a leg) and attempted to sue me/us/the game organisation… as adults in the eyes of the law, I can only assume that they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on – ha! (pls ignore the pun it is a serious question)

Reply:
Neil Gunfield If it were my game, I would risk assess each circumstance as it occurred and react accordingly. If my mate, the rock climber, decides to scale a cliff I’d probably be fine with that. If my mate, the student with zero upper body strength or coordination…See more

John Cattes Depends on the game. At a big mechanically complex game like a fest I’d just say no and maybe have a game mechanic to simulate fistfights.
At a smaller game if might be possible build workshops and safety training into the pregame window so everyone can be safe. This is quite common in continental larps but very rare in the UK.

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