Committing to an alt (alternative character) at your main game can be a scary business for several reasons. I’m preparing an alt for an upcoming LARP (live action role playing) event, and I’ve identified a few fears that others may share. Below are a list of these fears as well as my solutions or ways of coping with them:
I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on how I RP my main character. What if I don’t do as well as my new character?
The compliments I’ve received about LARPing were about my skill and abilities. While I am comfortable with my main character and have had time to portray her over time, the compliment is still about my abilities to act and react well. While it might not happen right away, I can translate those skills to any character I am comfortable with portraying.
What if others don’t love (or love to hate) my new character?
My character isn’t – and doesn’t have to be – the center of anyone’s attention. In fact, my main character is like that, and it’ll be a welcome break to play someone who puts more emphasis on helping others and less on obtaining a specific image or position while still holding others together.
Additionally, I already know about some of the PCs (player characters) with whom my new character will be interacting. Some of them would not have any reasons to ignore or dislike her.
I’m having trouble defining goals for my new character.
Part of the fun of exploring a character is uncovering goals. Right now her goal is just to help, pray and to be of service to her king. This can guide her decisions and the formation of her goals. Additionally, I’m a fan of playing characters who have chosen their roles/professions willingly. This means she loves what she does, and it’s very feasible that that can guide her or that this priestess character will pray for guidance frequently, giving me (and the character) time to reflect on where she will want to go.
I’ve learned that I love playing characters who are very deeply committed to a cause. Since that’s what I enjoy, I’m going to go with that.
What if my character accent and costuming aren’t up to my standards (or everyone else’s)?
Adequate preparation ensures success. I can also prepare by trying on the costuming and practicing the accent alone or with the help of another LARPer or actor. I am completely confident when I feel prepared.
What if I am so worried about portraying this character, I am unable to become immersed?
Sometimes immersion doesn’t happen for whatever reason. To me, immersion is like falling in love. The more you think about it, the less likely it is that you’ll find yourself in it! I need to remain forgiving of myself and enjoy the experience of playing someone who is meeting all of these other characters for the very first time.
What if I forget my skills, character background, or kingdom lore?
That’s what a character card is for. I’ve also made a prop that includes an easy way for me to reference the card without looking too out of game. I can also rely on help from others – and I intend to send my character’s backstory to a few who might know of her or find themselves directly affected by her in the immediate future.
Lore and pertinent information can always become part of the book that she carries in case I forget it. My dear characters should not have to suffer because I am terrible at remembering things.
What if something happens in the game that would affect my main character and she is not there to see it?
This is kind of a running joke for my friends and me and probably my biggest fear about playing an alt. This is also probably the biggest fear I have about playing a different character.
Truthfully, there are things I want to experience in the game that I’m not going to be able to see or do as my main character, and this character will fulfill some out of game desires or goals.
I’m not about meta-gaming, but I like to enjoy the experience of LARPing. If for whatever reason I feel like I’d be having more fun as my other character, I’m going to go ahead and make the switch. After all, the whole point of rolling an alt in the first place is because I’m looking to get more out of my experience at the game.
Lastly, I want to feel extremely comfortable with the character’s costuming and props before I head into game portraying her. I imagine her book is an object she’s read and maintained for most of her life, so she’d be extremely attached to it. Her sword isn’t something I’m used to using, so I’ve taken some time to practice fighting with it instead of the hammer I’m accustomed to using as my main character.
What are your apprehensions about playing an alt at a LARP and how do you overcome them? Please leave your comments below.