Always Stay in Character. Metagamers Need Not Apply

Unless WordPress is up to shenanigans, there are a lot more people who follow this blog that I suspected. At first, I assumed that there were only two or three of you checking out what is going on around here. It appears that there are billions of you. Okay, not billions, maybe a thousand. Now, while I may have this “following,” I have to say that only a few of you read this damn thing. Like, what? Maybe six of you. Who knows? In any case, I feel the need to celebrate! I will do this by offering you dear souls a full disclosure: I have been lying to all of you.

I bitch and bitch about never writing, or never being able to write, or yadda-fucking-yadda. The whole story is I write a bit more than I let on; I save a lot of drafts. I just never go back to them, or save them as “journal entries” because I think having a diary entry looks a little strange. Other people see a nifty title, I mean a title that makes you want to grab your schmeckel and prepare to let loose the hounds of spooge while you read this salacious bit, and then click on said title and having nothing to read because it is private. And then you lose your reader’s boner and return to Facebook. Or porn. It is like walking around a bunch of kindergarteners and saying: “I have got a secret!” and taunting the double Hell out of the poor little wretches.

But I digress. I was not even meaning to talk about that random crap up there. Since I bothered to do write all of that, I am sure it is relevant somehow. More than likely it is obvious only to myself. I really do not care if that is the case. I am a narcissist, you know. Now where was I..? Oh yes, my title. If you got what that meant, give yourself a pat on the back, fifty experience points, and fifty geek cred status points (or whatever geeks give out like victorious jocks doling high fives in a sweaty locker room). Be on the lookout for more point opportunities, give yourself what you think you deserve, I am a lenient, if not all power storyteller/dungeon master. If you did not get it, feel free to Google it while the rest of us wait. Do not pretend like some of you did not do just that already (we all know that some of you refuse to admit not-knowing anything about everything and Google shit before posting to message boards so just stop with it already). Is everyone back with the group? Good let us continue.

"I'm too sexy for this square."

“I’m too sexy for this square.”

Another confession: there was a time when I was an avid LARPer. I really, really want to spell that out but that just seems plain wrong on several levels. Levels that I cannot get into right now. A damn I used to run around in makeshift costumes and pretend to be a vampire. Typically, I chose to be Brujah or Ventrue…whatever. No, not whatever. I chose those two clans because I could always be pretty. There. I said. I am totally geeking out, so I need to refocus. Anyway, I was a LARPer. A damn good one, as well, apparently. Why? Because I participated in a LARP at GenCon one year and won “Best Role Player.” That is fucking why. I was a LARPing badass.

You know, there is a lot more to LARPing than people let on (those of you courageous to admit that the title up there totally befuddled you and chose to read on rather than be a Googling know-it-all will get to understand said title now…somewhat). It takes a lot of work running around pretending that you are some undead thing that you are really not. The key is to always stay in character.

A segue: I am phobic of caterpillars. I do not know the name of the phobia, but I am deathly afraid of caterpillars. It has to do with tent worms. To this day, I will burn a whole section of apple trees to rid the orchard of one tent worm. Caterpillars scare the shit out of me. If you taunt my fear and provoke me with caterpillar(s), I will probably do very, very bad things to you. Horrible things. Painful butt things. Never fuck with a man’s fears, home-slice.

Now, when you create your character, there are built in flaws and advantages. Letting others know these things can be positive or negative. Usually negative if it is a flaw. Every damn vampire I created was afraid of caterpillars. Every LARP session, I did something to flee a caterpillar. No one ever picked up that I had this issue except for one person during that GenCon. And she was one of the non-player, storyteller characters. She watched what I was doing, and at one point called me on it secretly. We played a wonderful scene. She made motions to go “out of game” (geek points!) to discuss the issue, and I refused. We had to play out the scene. Assuming she wanted to know what the score was, the scene worked in my favor.

No. I am not a vampire. I just like cemeteries. Really.

No. I am not a vampire. I just like cemeteries. Really.

After the LARP, she asked me about the caterpillars (see, in the scene I was spoked by a caterpillar on a flower). I told her I always had that fear in my characters. She pointed out that it was not on my sheet. I responded, no, but I would have treated it like any other phobia if called on it. If someone caught me acting and gambled, then it was all good. That is kind of how life works, no? She asked if anyone ever caught it, and I said no because most LARPers are so caught up in the “story” to add nuance and curiosity. I told her that I did not want to go out-of-game because one should always stay in character. She liked my bit.

Staying in character keeps the metagamers at bay. Every game has people who know so much about the game that once they find out a small detail out about you, they exploit that to there advantage. It is like playing “Street Fighter” with some asshole who traps you in the corner and abuses you with Chun Li’s lightning leg, or some ten-year-old who only knows how to jump kick, and has to actually jump when the fighter on the screen does. You people who remember arcades know what I am talking about. Metagamers love “out-of-game.” Somehow secret details from the break area enter the game; you can call foul, but you cannot unring a bell. So, always stay in character and you can avoid the metagamers. Damn. That was anticlimactic, even by my hack standards.

Another thing, and perhaps the most important thing that metagamers miss, is the very thing that they not only seek out, but proves to be their very undoing. They look for the endgame, know what it is, plan for it, and wait. They are always successful…at least in that perspective. However, since they know that, they tend to avoid the rest of the game; they miss subtle changes that show that endgame is not coming. No, for them, that has played out already and they are now simply waiting for the deathblow which has ended the game for that LARPer.

It is strange to admit that I find myself currently a metagamer instead of the consummate Ventrue who totally dominated the “Masquerade” at GenCon years ago (2d20 experience points if you get that first reference, major geek points if you get all of this). I have been waiting for an endgame scenario. I waited too long and missed it.

8 comments

    1. I did my Tremere time as well. However, there is a certain appeal to the fighting academics/philosophers and the elite class. Yeah. Besides, they Tremere are all dead now, right?

      Yes. Very painful. Excruciatingly so. Pleasant “butt things” are reserved for friends and strangers who have not messed with a man’s fears.

  1. *blinks at you innocently* I know of no fear… And I most certainly am NOT dead. I am simply hibernating and waiting for the time to rejoin my clan.

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