Before I even let people touch a sword I say this to them:
There is an order you fight in: Fight safe – Fight well – Fight to win.
And if you don’t obey that order I don’t want to fight you.
Kill the character not the player otherwise your swords are less durable, people might avoid fighting with you – oh – and you might hurt someone. The basics of fighting safely are:
- Never stab. Sure, there are stab safe weapons out there. Unless you are 100% sure that weapon is stab safe, you’re in a stab safe system and you have been run through how to stab safely: never stab.
- Aim for the silhouette. Strike for the outside line of your opponent’s body (Not between the legs – lad’s care about things down there).
- Pull your blows. Connect with the weapon on the silhouette of the guy you’re aiming for and just before you hit them start to pull the sting out of the blow by pulling back. The easiest way to do this is with your wrist. It is much better to pull so much you miss than twat a guy unsafely.
- Not the face! The head is a valid location in a lot of systems and there is nothing wrong with safely dropping a shot down (Think crown of the head) but the face is important – leave that be. If in doubt do not connect.
- Foam not fist. Don’t body check people. This is running into someone because you have misjudged your stopping distance. (See ‘Breaking the line not the player‘)
- And something important and overlooked: this is a fucking contact sport!
- Now, if you hit me too hard I expect you to say sorry and I expect me to take it with good graces. (See ‘How to say Sorry’)
- I expect you to always apologise even if I did duck into it (and for you to give me some constructive feedback after checking I am okay)
- I expect me never to lose my rag at you not matter what you did. If I’m unhappy I will inform a ref, or if not possible, approach you in a chill and courtesy manner.
- I accept if I am wearing nothing but a tee shirt on a cold day that you might not be hitting too hard – I might be dressed poorly.
- Larp fighting is a social contract and a contact sport. You don’t have to embrace violence to enjoy it but you might have to breathe through the odd bruise with good graces.
Now, I often get queried why this is above win. I do not want you to be the guy who swings his sword like a badass then gets shot by Indiana Jones. I want you to be a sportsman.
- Take your hits. If you have fucked up counting and we’re duelling – tell me. If in doubt – fall over. If you don’t know what an effect does – fall over and get it clarified asap. I’d rather be a loser than a cheater.
- If a friend falls over check they are okay. You don’t have to take long and you don’t have to let them get up. You have to know they are okay.
- Help others. If someone is asking you for advice or a spar then do your best to oblige. They have taken the time to recognise you and have the humility to ask for help: you show them courtesy – if you can you give them your time.
- You can IC brag and brag in jest but do not actively bitch about how awful someone is. Find a way to be constructive or shut up.
- Rule 7: a Larp staple – don’t take the piss. If you need to move a fight for safety reasons do not take advantage of this to put yourself in a better position. Suck it up.
Fight to win!
Give it you’re all. I remember when people used to make a game out of hitting me in a certain sequence because I was laughably bad. I was an actual joke to our community. No lie: it was shit. If you’re going to fight me let your passion for our art rip me apart – that is not an insult to me but a testimony to you. (Thankfully one of the piss takers saw I wasn’t staying down and trained me – if someone is doing this then prove resilient and improve until they have to take you seriously.)
Also! Remember we’re roleplaying! Fighting to win can be to hold a point, to protect a target or to escape. It can be fighting at half speed, fighting with bestial intelligence or hero fighting. This can often mean Larp fighting to a lesser extent than your ooc capability. That is fine to tell a story. If your brief tells you to specifically do a thing – and you do it – you are fighting well.
Finally: fighting to win does not mean you should aspire to murder for murder’s sake. People invest in those characters. If you are PVPing, are briefed to murder them or bad fortune lead a bleeding body to be a corpse then that is cool: that is for the sake of the game and is very different than to scratch your own itch.
So to summarise: fight safe, fight well, fight to win and I’d love to fight with you.
Tune in later this week where we talk basic stance 😀