Everyone, meet Jynx.
Jynx was the very first PC I ever made for Alliance.
The problems with Jynx are common problems that aren’t really talked about much when new players come into game.
Let’s go through these problems together and how, in retrospect, I would have changed her so that I wouldn’t have ended up retiring her early in my LARP career.
Mistake Number One In Creating Jynx
Yup, I didn’t create Jynx.
You see, I had been LARPing as an NPC at my old home chapter [Traverse City] for a year or so before choosing to travel to South Michigan for the first time.
The Non Player Characters I was playing up north were mostly made for me by someone else, and I just went along with what I was given. That’s not a bad thing. I wasn’t on the plot committee, I wasn’t writing the plot for the game, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and I was happy doing it! I mean, look at that handsome man up above! Later I would write some of my own NPC’s, but even then they didn’t have to have the immense characterization a PC does.
Jynx was my first Player Character. I was paying to play this PC and I was gaining experience each event to level her up. Your first PC is a very exciting thing! Many people who aren’t familiar with LARP don’t realize when they let someone else make their first character for them, that they are commiting themselves to a character that they might not be capable of playing.
Jynx was definitely someone I was not capable of playing. I didn’t feel connected to her enough and eventually that is what lead to her early retirement.
What I should have done:
I should have sat down and thought about who I truly wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, my best friend made my character for me and he knows me pretty darn well. But it’s hard to make someone else a character. I should have taken a part of me that I wanted to base my character off of and amplified it. After that, I should have built my character concept around that certain characteristic. Only when the concept was done should I have begun picking her class and skills. Jynx was built from the class that was chosen for me and given a personality later. Which leads to the next mistake.
Mistake Number Two:
Jynx was made into a rogue.
Playing a rogue can be fun when you are someone who genuinely wants to play one. Yet, for some reason it seems to me that when a lot of guys make a character for a girl, they either make her a rogue or a healer.
This happens often when a boyfriend makes a character for his girlfriend. I’m not going to get into the discussion of sexism or anything on that note because I don’t think that’s the issue. I think that a boyfriend thinks about their character first, and builds a character for their girlfriend that compliments their own. (A girlfriend could also do this to a boyfriend. I speak only from what I’ve seen).
Unfortunately that leads to a lot of the same feelings I felt about Jynx, and no one deserves that. What’s worse about this particular situation than the one I faced, is that not only is your significant other forced to play a class they might not want to, they now have to completely cater their event to making yours better.
I must make a note on the point of making your significant other a healer character. Let me try to tread lightly as I explain. Pushing your significant other to be a healer can be selfish and can hold them back from their full potential. Is choosing to be a healer in our game stopping you from playing just as well as anyone else? Of Course not! In Fact, my current character, Collette, is a healer. She’s a damn good one who even serves as a damn good back pack sometimes for my significant other. But the thing is, I completely chose to do that. It can be exhausting constantly playing your game on the battlefield catered to someone else. I do it when I choose to. But when you let your significant other, or anyone for that matter, push you into that position and into that obligation you are ruining the game for yourself.
Both of these points are heavily based on the idea of pigeonholing yourself, or letting yourself be pigeonheld into a position you don’t want to be in.
Back to Jynx.
A rogue compliments a lot of guilds, especially when that rogue is small and fast. Now there’s a lot to be said about some bad ass rogues who absolutely do not fit that description that I’ve seen, but I’m talking generalities here. The issue with playing a rogue when you did not choose to is it is much different than choosing a rogue in a tabletop game. The skills have to translate physically.
A rogue in LARP needs to often act independently on the battlefield. Instead of fighting from behind her team, or in a line with them, often times the rogue is looking for every opportunity to get behind their enemy. That can be a really difficult play style for new players and it should be understood before committing to that character that your damage is dealt effectively in that matter. I was a terrible rogue because I always wanted to fight from the front. A really skilled rogue in our guild did her best to teach me and I just let her down constantly I’m sure.
What I should have done:
Jynx should have been a fighter. I fought with two weapons and I have the had the habit of facing monsters head on as fast and aggressively as I could. I didn’t ever sneak around or look for openings. I was excited and I acted impulsively and fearlessly by attacking immediately from the front.
Characters take time to gain experience and level up, don’t waste time not being who you want to be. The whole idea of LARP is to be everything you want to be, and who you can’t be in real life. Don’t play who everyone else thinks you should. Make your own decisions.
Mistake Number Three
Jynx came into game already part of a guild.
I know a lot of new players will read this and think, “Why would you not if you could? Start off the game with friends and people to protect you” Let me be really clear when I say that I truly believe this was the worst mistake of them all.
My guild was great, every single player who remains in it is a fantastic character. A lot of them are really great friends of mine.They were always nice and welcoming. I started in this guild because my best friend knew I struggle with social anxiety. He thought it was perfect to just have me come in as part of his guild and honestly I wasn’t brave enough to come in any other way.
What I didn’t realize is how badly it completely stunted my growth as a LARPer on an out of game level. Here’s why:
- I had to pretend I already knew the characters in my guild. I cannot believe I let myself skip the part of entering into a town for the first time not knowing anyone. Sure it can be scary, but by not doing so my relationships with these characters felt cheapened and almost fake at times. Because, well, they were fake. Jynx didn’t naturally meet them and become friends or allies.
- I never took the time to meet any other adventurers . I simply went along with what my friends were doing. I’m not saying it’s bad to be a follower, some people are comfortable with that. However, I never made any decisions for myself because I simply didn’t spend time figuring out anything about our world.
- I never took time to think about who Jynx truly was and what she wanted out of life. We were already so involved with the Guild’s goals. The guild would ask me what I want to do, but because of not letting myself have experiences as a young adventurer I really didn’t know what Jynx wanted. She never had to make any decisions for herself.
- The guild I entered was one that had been established since Alliance was. Actually they may have been even before that at another LARP. Needless to say all of my companions were not level one, and their character sheets were nowhere near “15 build.” Here’s the thing about higher level characters, they often have accumulated magic items that they don’t use. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it wasn’t wrong for them to think to give those items to their lower level companion.
- I’m just so mad I used them constantly. I never learned how to level up and build a character. I never got to feel scared fighting Kobalds. I never had to fight without armor where one hit would surely kill me. I missed the part of adventuring where new adventurers learned how to adventure. This isn’t because my guild WANTED to hold me back, in fact they really thought they were helping push me forward and not leave me behind. It really happens out of kindness. But everyone deserves their first LARP experience. Don’t hold your friends back from that. Don’t hold yourself back from that.
What I should have done:
Pretty simple here. I should have gone in as a new character, found some other new adventurers, and gone and risked our lives fighting squishy Kobalds.
I don’t regret playing Jynx.
I am thankful for my friends who tried their best to help me. It is no one’s fault that their kindness held me back. All the mistakes were made out of my fear of discovering my own place in the LARP as my own character and allowing myself to be coddled.
The thing is, you can’t make mistakes when you give it your all and YOU choose a character for yourself. Players have that learning curve, you just have to give yourself the chance to learn. I didn’t give myself that opportunity once in the two years I played Jynx.
I now play a character named Collette. Though I didn’t make these mistakes when I created her, she went through a whole different journey of creation. (That was pun but only half of you will get it). I’ll share more on how you can make a throw away character to run the tavern, into a character with people she loves and a town she’s attached to another time. You can meet Collette in “Mistakes I Made Making My Second Character”
I’m just a girl, standing in front of the world, gluing on her elf ears and brandishing a foam sword.