Today, I wanted to take a (few) s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ minute(s) to talk to everyone about something of critical importance, New Players and how we approach them.
—–The TLDR version of all of this is going to be: It is everyone’s job to include New Players into your IC activities, regardless of personal character quirks or other IC considerations. Reach out to them and bring them in to your activities. Spend time with them. Make the IC and OOC connections that keep people coming back on their First game, because without them, most people never play a Second.——–
New people joining are the lifeblood of any LARP. They bring in new ideas, new perspectives and new energy that prevent a game from stagnating and getting old better than anything an ST’s can come up with. They increase the number of people we get to play with, and replace those who had to step away do to life outside of game. They are a vital and necessary part of our community and our shared experience. That’s why we put so much emphasis on attracting and keeping new players.
In general, people have been doing an OK job at welcoming new players into game and being polite, but there is something I need us all to work on doing better. Making new players part of your group.
In the end, what keeps people coming back to this crazy thing are the friends and connections we have with each other. It’s those bonds we need to form with new players right away. That means OOC, take time when you see someone you don’t know before game on or on your NPC shift to introduce yourself, say hi, ask them about themselves, talk about their character, and so on. In game, try and bring their characters into your IC groups and exploits. Include them in everything they want to be included on. If you find out they are a fighter, ask them to fight with you or go on a mod with you. If they’re a crafter, ask them to do a project for you, or help you with yours. If your hurt and they are a healer, ask them to help you, if things are reversed, heal them. Ask them to join your Trade House, or mercenary company or rag tag rouges gallery sitting on the couch. I’m not saying you have to give them things for free, but you can find ways to arrange “favor exchanges,” which just form more connections. The key in the end is spend time with them IC and OOC. They are likely out trying something new and scary and what most want least is to be left alone in an environment they don’t understand.
We have tried to provide a couple of IC incentives and explanations for why characters might do this, and will keep trying to add more, but in the end this is one of those things that if need be you should just do, even if it’s not completely in keeping with your character. Find an explanation, work an angle, heck decide to use the new blood as pawns and patsies, as long as you are including them in your personal stories in game, it will help bring them in. A note on this, we provide New Players with items and information every New Player mod that are based off of a combination of things they need and things established players/character want. Please, do not descend on them like locusts just to separate them from the choice bits and then leave. Instead, if they got a blueprint you want, consider letting them keep it and making an arrangement to borrow it or introduce them to people to copy it, or better still ask them to help you get the supplies and eventually make it. Ask them to help you figure out whats going on with that plot item. Drag them along with you as you look for the rest of the scrap to go with the named scrap they got and so on. Anything that means interacting with them more is better. I promise, the opportunity to acquire that print, or scrap, or plot item will come around again.
You may say, “But Jed, we want to get to know people before we invite them into our IC groups, we need to carefully vet our membership to ensure only the right sort of character’s join.” and I get that. The problem is, with the vast majority of New Players, unless they came in already part of a friends group, you will only ever get one shot at them. Most new players only play 1 game and never come back, so if you don’t hook them now, there won’t be a latter. So invite them in, even if its only as a “pledge” or “initiate” or “Tenderfoot”. Worst case scenario, they will play long enough for you to find out their character is the wrong sort and you can kick them out of your group, it’s just more great fodder for RP.
So, include them, actively. Don’t leave them behind because their characters don’t have as much xp and you are worried they might get killed. Try and get them to join your IC group ASAP, before they get snatched up by someone else. Or in the end, just spend time with them IC & OOC because thats what most of us would want someone to do our first time with a bunch of strange people in a strange place.