Tips for Starting and Running a Local Larp Community

Today’s post of tips on starting local larp communities comes to us courtesy of the Local Larp Manifesto authors. Check out the manifesto here, and the explanation of the manifesto here.

Be tactical about how you offer events

  • Announce events a couple weeks in advance. That way people with busy lives can make time for you.
  • Having a regular event–for example, a larp meetup at a coffeehouse once a month on a regular day–helps build community. Having multiple people who can host such an event is a really good idea. If someone is traveling, another person can fill in.
  • Be explicit in event announcements. Let people know what they are signing up for and what will be required of them if they attend.
  • Do your utmost to avoid cancelling events. If you must cancel, offer a substitute activity. People will be more likely to come if they trust that it will happen.

Community vibe

  • Be solution focused. If something doesn’t work, we won’t moan about it, but will try to find a way to fix it, or move on and create something better.
  • Be gracious and grateful to both organizers and players for their time and energy.
  • Involve the community, including players, in running events so that the community feels ownership over events.
  • Many hands make light work. When there are more designers and organizers, you win.
  • Encourage people to take action on their ideas. Lower the bar for their participation.
  • Run other people’s stuff and ask them to run yours.

Welcoming new community members

  • Be patient with newcomers, and dare to learn from them. Give newcomers challenges, and trust them to play and design.
  • Don’t put down other larp styles or communities to raise up your own.
  • Explain larp terms without all the jargon.
  • Work towards a mix of seasoned and new players at your events.
  • Get people on the mailing list, Facebook group, or other venue for communication so they hear about new things.

Encouraging new designers and organizers

  • Be explicitly, intentionally friendly to new designers and organizers, providing them mentorship, support, and collaborators when possible.
  • Have a set of standards that people need to meet to run larps, posted publicly. That way, everyone knows how to participate.
  • Share community resources such as list of places to run larps, folks willing to offer rides, a collection of free larps.
  • Be friendly for playtests. Just make a note that it is a playtest.
  • Rotate responsibility periodically, so that new people will have a chance to lead and the old-timers don’t burn out.

Representing your community on the web

  • Have a photo policy/privacy policy so people don’t worry about how they are portrayed.
  • Taking photos after the larp produces images that look just as good or better than pictures taken during play.

Safety and inclusion

  • Be dedicated to the individuals who make up your community.
  • The people are always more important than the success or failure of the larp.
  • Make a publicly available harassment policy. Don’t be afraid to use it.
  • Incentivize self-care for participants and organizers.
  • Ask players if they need accommodations for disabilities. Be honest about what you can and can’t accommodate.
  • Listen when participants–particularly participants from traditionally underrepresented populations–make critiques of your scene and do your best to address them.
  • If you have politics, wear them on your sleeve. This helps establish who the community is for, and who it is not.

Whatever gift you offer the community, be proud and keep offering it.

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For more about community-building here on LeavingMundania.com, check out “Building Larp Communities: Social Engineering for Good.

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