We have three metatechniques to help you calibrate your play and make sure your boundaries are not crossed. Vampire larping can become quite intense and because of this we have chosen to use the following safety mechanics.
You create your own scenes and go as all-in as you want, but be prepared that everyone plays differently. When it comes to exploring story with other players, a set of rules is a good thing to have. We want you to be able to clearly communicate your limits and set the level intensity of play towards yourself without breaking the flow of the story.
Opting in and opting out means choosing to participate in something or to not participate in something. Your character can always choose not to enter a scene or a situation. But sometimes you may be playing in a scene that takes an unexpected turn. There are two mechanisms that create space to leave easily in the middle of a scene.
The Tap Out
Use if someone comes on too strong in their play, or the play goes in a direction you’re not comfortable with. To perform a tap-out, you tap your co-player’s arm or another convenient part of their body twice, and repeat this action as many times and as hard as you need to get their attention. (Typically, once and quite softly is enough.)
They will tone down their play, giving you the choice to stay and play on, or to walk away. (It is always OK for your character to turn their back and walk away. Walking away can express arrogance, or defeat, or rebellion, or panic, or any number of dramatically appropriate emotions.) If someone taps you, step back and act in a manner that gives that player the opportunity either to stay or walk away.
The Lookdown is used when you cannot tap out or you want to extract yourself from a scene you are uncomfortable with. Place your hand over your eyes to cover them but only so much you still can navigate. Out of the room or scene.
These two techniques are to help you play hard but not harder than you are comfortable with. ‘
The OK Check-In
The OK Check-In is a tool allowing for players to communicate with each other out of character about their well-being without pausing the flow of play around them. If during the larp you’re unsure whether the person you are larping with is crying for real or pretend crying you can use the OK Check-In. This way you will be able to continue playing without having to wonder if your co-player is ok or not.
The way it works is:
One person makes the “OK” hand sign at another one. This indicates the question “are you ok?”
The other player responds in one of three ways:
Thumbs up – means they’re OK and play can continue.
A level hand – means the player doesn’t quite know how they feel, or that it’s neither very good or very bad. This should be treated as a thumbs down by the person doing the asking.
Thumbs down – means the player is actually not OK, and should be extracted from the situation.
When you have gotten a response you either continue playing (if you get the ok) or you help your co-player.
Playing a Pervasive Larp
When participating in Parliament of Shadows you will be larping in public locations and on the streets of Brussels. This means you will be interacting passively or actively with non-participants as your character. This places specific demands on how you play.
Random people you meet have not chosen to be part of the larp. You are enforcing this on them without their consent. So please treat any non-players you meet with respect.
Do not make them scared
This is kind of a part of Show respect. We just want to be extra clear about this. Even though the World of Darkness is a scary place it should only be scary to you and the other participants of the larp. So please don’t talk openly about murder on a bus. Or run screaming through a hotel lobby. You will get into trouble.
Don’t break the law
Even when the larp is the most intense and you need to get across the city in 10 minutes before the inquisition stakes the vampire you swore to protect, don’t break the law. Real world rules and laws will always trump the larp world.
The Masquerade provides a handy in-game justification for keeping a low profile in the larp. Basically, your character knows that horrible things will happen if they attract too much attention. The Masquerade is the one law even these characters cannot break without severe consequences.
We’ll provide information on what can be done safely in our various locations in the forthcoming location guide, but the European Parliament merits extra mention in the safety rules. We have no control over Parliament security, so it’s best for everyone if you keep up the appearances of being the lobbyists your character are!