Starting a new game or going to your first LARP can cause a lot of anxiety. Between the rules, people, costumes, and preparation, it can be very daunting.
It may seem like an insurmountable task to join a game, but I assure you, it is not. With a little preparation and understanding, you’ll be a LARP rockstar in no time.
Take a breath and follow these tips to conquer your New Player Anxiety.
Contact the Game Staff
Most games will have staff members that are there to help new players. These staff members are amazing people who want nothing more than to help get you into the game and see you succeed.
They’ll help you figure out your character, from backstory to rules. Ask them questions and they will answer them. Take the time to listen to what they have to say. The suggestions they make are coming from a place of expert understanding. By following their lead, you’ll get a character that fits the setting and will be useful to the game.
Consider NPCing your first event.
Games always need people to NPC (Non-Player Character) for them. NPCs are critical to the running of the game. Without them, there would be no monsters to fight, merchants to buy from, or townspeople to harass. If there were no NPCs, the game would be rather boring.
By NPCing your first game, it will let you experience the game without having to invest time and money in making a character. This will give you the chance to meet the other players and learn about the culture of the game in a safe, low-pressure environment.
You’ll also get to try out many roles and different skills as your NPC. Each character you get sent out as will have different abilities and personalities. This will let you sample a wide range of game mechanics, rules, and RP styles. With this better understanding of the game, it’ll be easier to make your first character.
If you prefer to only fight or roleplay, let staff know and they’ll be sure to only assign you roles you are comfortable with.
Don’t worry about knowing all the rules.
Games have a ton of rules. You don’t need to know them all. But you should be aware of the core mechanics and how they work. Most games will have a set of “Calls” the described effects. If you know those, you’ll be able to get through most things.
Start by learning the rules to all the skills and ability your character uses. Those are going to be the ones you need to know the most about. The majority of the other skills, while good to know, are not required. Most abilities describe their function in their calls.
If you don’t understand something, most games have a “clarify” call. This allows you to ask the other player (or staff) about an ability and how it works. Don’t be afraid to use this, it’s there to help you and even the most veteran of players use it.
Games will also have New Player training at the beginning of the event to help teach new players the rules. Attend the new player training more than once, over your first few games. Each time you go, you’ll remember more of the rules.
Your costume does not need to be perfect.
Don’t worry too much about your first costume. For many games, it only needs to be good enough to pass the “glance” test. As long as it looks appropriate with a quick look, most games will accept it. Try to avoid glaring things that break the theme, like sneakers, t-shirts and neon colors. (For a Fantasy Larp)
Remember your costuming can grow with your character. As they go on adventures and grow, let your costuming change to reflect those events
All you need is enough of a costume to feel like you fit in for your first event. From there you can improve it over time by adding to it.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even in the middle of combat. Between the rules, the lore and themes of the game, there is a lot to understand and remember. Asking questions is the best way to make sure you understand something. No one will judge you for asking them. In fact, staff and players would rather you took the time to ask a question than assume the wrong thing.
Be ready for not all questions to have answers. Sometimes, especially when it comes to lore, the answer will be something you have to figure out in character. But any questions relating to rules should all have available answers.
No one is judging you.
Everyone was new once. Everyone. They all went through the period of awkwardness, of not knowing the rules and being confused by the theme. They’ll understand that you are new and many will help you learn.
The game is a community and that community will help you get on your feet. Find the people you click with and they’ll help make your game an amazing one.
Join the community
There will usually be an online group or community for the game. Find it and join it. The people in the community will more than happy to point you in the right direction and answer questions.
The players are an invaluable resource and are willing to help. Don’t miss the chance to benefit from them. They will help you integrate into the game and make your experience all the better.
Everyone has been a new player at one point or another and the community is full of people to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t worry about not having the perfect gear, or memorizing all the rules. Get out there and have fun!
Tell me about your first game and how you overcame anxiety in the comments below!