Greetings fellow Nerdarchs! Today we are talking about larping and the spirit of the game rule. Now some of you may be wondering why such a rule exists, “Can’t we all just get along?”. That would be nice. Rather than put restrictions on roles one can play, the spirit of the game rule exists toinsure that it is actually fun to play. The spirit of the game rule acts as a shield for the compliant players and a threatening sword to players causing abuse.
For example, you are playing a game with four other people. One of those people doesn’t like you and attacks and taunts you at every gaming session, not because of your character in the game but because it is you. Well, eventually you would assume the other players would step in and tell the taunting player to stop it. The taunting player should stop. Right? What someone should or should not do is subjective when there are no base rules of conduct decided amongst players. People have different opinions and backgrounds when it comes to their understanding of what is right action.
“It is a roleplaying game and if I choose to play a taunting and nasty person then that is my right as a player.” — anonymous P.I.T.A.
As in the paragraph above, if there are no basic rules of conduct that everyone needs to follow, then there is misunderstanding about what is acceptable behavior. Like many esoteric concepts that use the word “spirit,” a larp’s spirit of the game rule is defined by broad statements that include many, but not all, of the possible violations. On to the heart of the matter. The overarching reason for live action role-playing is to have fun. Performing actions that destroy other players fun in an out of game fashion is, say it with me now, not of the spirit of the game.
Examples include cheating or deliberate character actions made with the intention of upsetting others. If someone wants to play a character who is generally aggravating and rude to everyone around them, I would recommend they not go to a larp.
If they have an issue with another player out of game, they are not to bring that issue into the game. Leading others to stray from the rules or divulging out of game information to player characters is breaking the spirit of the game rule. Such actions also violate other specific rules at many larps. It is imperative for new LARP organizations to have people who understand the spirit of the game rule and will abide by it in order to foster a community of like minded and passionate individuals who want to have fun.
Established LARPs need those people as well, but at a long running larp it is easier to deal with rule breakers as they trickle into the game. Too many people breaking the spirit of the game rule at a LARP can have a crippling effect on its player base. But enough doom and gloom. Find a LARP, make a character, get your gear, and remember to have fun.