Diversity at LARP
Diversity is one of the most important things to be aware of at LARP. People who LARP come from all different backgrounds and ways of life, and have a large variety of lived experiences. We ask our players to be respectful of everyone, both in and out of game. You certainly don't have to like everyone at game, but you do need to respect them and the differences that we all represent.
Diversity comes in many flavours: neurological, ability, socioeconomic, racial, spiritual, political, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. We want to hold each other to a high standard of compassion and respect for others. As such, we expect our players to avoid making jokes at the expense of minority groups, to show care and respect for those around them even if they don't like a particular person, and to be mindful of microaggressions they might be committing.
That being said, NO ONE IS PERFECT, or even good at this all the time. We expect players and staff alike to make mistakes, but to try their best, and to learn from mistakes made. We also expect others to call us out on those mistakes, when they feel it is safe for them. We want our players to use LARP as an opportunity for growth, and to acknowledge and move beyond mistakes that they make.
There will be NO retaliation from staff or other players tollerated for those who call people out on problematic behaviours.
Equity at LARP
LARP is inherantly a game that isn't equal access for all, unfortunately, which is why having an intentionality about equity is so important. While the game is highly physical for most players, we do have the ability to play non-combat or limited-combat roles (see our page policy). Likewise, the game requires a lot of rules memorization in order to be able to play effectively, and can be a LOT of reading. We're in the process of working on making some videos and shorter packets that can be used instead of reading the whole rulebook, and you can always NPC to learn the game from other players first, but none of these solves those issues - they just try to create alternative pathways. That isn't optimal, I know, but it's the best we have right now.
BUT, we have a lot of flexibility in our current ruleset to help! If there is a modification you need in the game to help you play it and enjoy yourself, PLEASE reach out to our diversity coordinator! We will do our best to work with you to ensure you have a fun, safe game. This isn't a guarantee - we really can't have service animals on site, for example (it's not fair to the animal) - but we will do our best to make the game as enjoyable a place as it can be for everyone.
Inclusion at LARP
As owner and head of plot for one of our campaigns, inclusion at Refuge PDX is something that occupies a lot of my thoughts. I want people to feel welcome, safe, and happy playing our game, even if their characters are sad and miserable. I want people to feel like they belong. I want people ot feel like they want to return. As such, I've made it a personal mission to improve our game's culture along this axis. (I'll note, it wasn't like this was a problem before, but this is a pet project of mine right now.)
I plan to accomplish this goal by...
- Making Monster Camp a comfortable place to ask questions and make mistakes. No one starts the game knowing how to play it. NPCing should be seen as a viable way to learn the game, and as such, we must emphasize that it's a place of learning. Our Guildies should be prepared to take leadership on answering questions, and plot should always be accessible and ready to take time out of their day to help out. We should give NPCs the tools they need to be successful and happy while playing, and feel like contributing members of the game.
- Ensuring that PCs have the resources they need to be successful and comfortable in game. PCing is also a reasonable choice for a first-time player. PCs who are new should feel empowered to ask questions of their peers and marshals, know how to answer some basic questions about their character and skills, and understand at least a little of what's going on in game. For the first part, that means that PCs need to know who to reach out to in the case that they have questions. For the second, it means they need the rules that they need to know explained to them simply, concisely, and well, so that they can take that knowledge and feel confident with their understanding of it. Finally, they need NPCs who are willing to grab them, sit them down, and explain what's going on. They also need resources like regularly updated notes on what's happening in game - both from an IG and OOG perspective. Plot and Guildies should take ownership of this idea and run with it.
- Giving all players the tools they need to be safe. New player mods on Friday night are incredibly important for this, as are mod days and game days. All games should probably have new player mods, if there are new players present at the game (which we hope there will be) that give basic instruction on combat and safety. From how to be safe OOG to how to be safe IG, players need to feel cared for and helped by our experienced players.
But any ideas you have for doing so would be awesome too! Feel free to reach out to our diversity coordinator to let us know what you think would make the game more appealing and welcoming! You can also leave your feedback in our post-event feedback forms to ensure our plot teams see it too!