Here is something I’ve been re-drafting for over a month trying to find the advice to give. It is a dress up rant truth be told. While still not perfect this was never meant to be a place of polished final thoughts – more an explosion of ponders in progress.

So I fight, week in – week out with some of my favourite people on this earth. I spend my holiday going to systems so I can do it some more and when I have some spare time I am normally using it for a knock about. Also I have my uni system which I was born and bred in. I had a a bit of a crisis a few events ago: I was good enough. Not to say perfect – I botch shots, miss blocks and mis-step often enough but I had the amount of practise that lead to a solid performance.

Now normally that is the point where you start enjoying something more. However larp fighting is a tricky one for that. When your good people start press ganging you – sometimes sword but often with magic. Magic in larp is a consensual yelling match. Someone calls out ‘by the power of magic I freeze you’ and you are compelled to stand in place . Likewise when people can blast and bolt you to obliteration from 30ft you can see the issue. It’s not that this doesn’t come at a price – people will spend their magic points in some way for the pleasure.

So starts the cycle: Monster spawn in, you prove yourself to be important/hard to kill/ look tough/ looked at them funny and they are likely to expend their force to stop you. Monster respawn so magic point preservation is not as high on their to-do list as fucking up the people they peg as problems. Likewise when I’ve been a monster in a magic system where magic points regen with time people save their magical face rippers to cosmically implode people they know will be a threat. What’s worse they make sure to catch their breath before they see you again.

Hard skill is anything that you generate out of character; think running speed, sewing, singing talent and swordplay. Meanwhile soft skill is something you are statistically able to do; here I mean spells, immunities and hit numbers. Sometimes there is a cool blend – my favourite being by blow effects. You need to have the skill to hit the person and then you get the boon of the call. Also Sympathetic magic is really cool: to freeze a person in place you must also be frozen. However, a lot of systems have range magic which seems to have been a weakness of my characters for as long as I’ve been playing.

Now! I am not saying I should be impervious – far from it – then I’m just waving a plate armour wang at people. However, I am a believer that you should have a chance to mitigate everything. Soft skill beats soft skill when character progression is normally a case of time spent rather than effort ventured I sigh. Hard skill seldom can beat soft skill as once you’re frozen in place there is not a lot more to do than stand still and enjoy the latex massage.

I’m always going to love this hobby. I love it a lot more when I am stood doing it rather than eating the fourth helping of dirt. I’m a war leader who fights like one and can’t counter ranged spells – all told being able to rationalise why I spend so much time in a fight respawning or on the floor doesn’t make it suck less.

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That said this is an advice blog so let’s move onto that now:

So when your hard skill or party importance is of the kinda level you become a target what do you do? Needless to say if you are expecting to get kicks by having a prolonged fight every time you will be disappointed. Your options come in as follow

  • Sweep the flank. Obviously this depends on your role as a monster or player but focusing on the distant sides away from the main core of the party generally means you pick off stragglers. Also this way you can satisfy yourself with the idea you are shaping the battlefield. So – be effective without being seen.
  • Back off. Chill in the second rank just out of sight until the need arises. Hell if you are having this problem you probably have the crunch to be a panic button. Wait for the crisis, fill that gap and be the difference when it counts.
  • Draw fire. If you know your weakness make it your strength. Need to buy your mates some time? Run left while they run right. While this is not a well know survival tactic it is one hell of a story. Also – grand stand. Draw they eyes of the 4 bigs ones while your allies prepare that flanking maneuver.
  • Go on the defense. If you have a big enough system people won’t know your potential until you super nova on them. Bide your time and wait for the right time to strike. Make the difference when it counts but while you wait be the rock the people beside you need.
  • Buy more soft skills. Sadly they are a very good answer. Immunities are your friend.
  • Suck it up. This will be a healing drain for your friends but weigh that against morale. If the line will splinter without you and you soak 50 bolts for the pleasure of holding assess if that’s the right cost.
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