First off, let’s establish that by agreeing to be a PC noble you’re creating a contract with the Plot team. You have a responsibility to play your Character in a manner that doesn’t drive people away from the game. This doesn’t mean your Character needs to be loved and adored by your fellow Players, but since you have the potential to have an outsized impact on the game you have a responsibility to your organization to be a good Player and a good representative for the game. Conveniently, there are a few things that your Plot/GM team can do to help you be a good representative.
In many cases, Plot will be looking to the PC noble to resolve smaller disputes between the Players so that Plot can focus on larger issues. It’s important in this circumstance that you know the laws of the setting, including know what laws it is your Character’s job to enforce and what you should be passing up to your liege. Plot can effect with this situation by setting out laying out clear laws with defined consequences or can leave things more loosely defined. In either case, it is best to understand what Plot expects of your Character before a problem arises. Once you have that expectation, it will help you define the actions your Character takes and does not take. It also allows you to create a harmonious relationship with other Players. If someone is worried that the local PC Knight can execute their Character at any time without reason or consequence it is much harder to build a good relationship with others. If Plot knows that your Character is corrupt and susceptible to bribes, they can be prepared for the uprising that the Players may plan against your rule.
PC nobles can also help Plot when it comes to keeping an event moving smoothly. On the Plot side, the PC noble can be, for lack of a better term, Quest Hub for the Players. The best uses of this technique come when the distribution of work comes as a natural part of the PC noble’s interaction with their own liege. Creating a situation where the PC noble is challenged to find enough solutions to the land’s problems or decide which problem need the most attention makes the PC noble more than just a walking list of quests. On the PC noble’s side, as your fellow Players begin to organize their goals for the event you can serve as an early warning system for Plot so they can better prepare for what you and your fellow Players want to accomplish.
Remember: Plot is not your enemy. It might seem like fun to “surprise” Plot with an attack or tactic, but in many cases that just means that Plot has to redirect their limited resources to represent the results of your actions. Giving Plot a heads up that the adventurers are planning a sneak attack on the Severed-hand Orcs means that Plot can be ready with NPCs in orc makeup, it shouldn’t mean that the orcs get wind of the PC’s plans.
Finally, it is important to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. PC nobles and their Plot Team need to clearly understand their relationship and while Plot may provide the Noble with resources to address a situation, they are also responsible for making sure that the noble does not appear to be getting special treatment. There is a lot of interaction between a PC noble and Plot and a lot of opportunity for other to perceive that a PC noble is abusing their position, both IG and Out of Game (OOG). PC nobles have authority over other Players, possibly resources to enforce that authority, a particular connection to Plot, and likely extra information others haven’t received. Avoiding even the appearance that you’re benefiting from this situation in a manner that bends the rules or directly favors your character is important. Yes, you will have certain advantages because of your position, but its important that you (and Plot) make clear that those advantages come with responsibilities and burdens.
Being a PC noble can be a great experience and can greatly improve the Players’ experience at your LARP. My next posts will touch on some of the specific IG challenges of playing a PC noble, starting with enforcing the laws and dealing with your fellow “adventurers”.
Matt spends his time running the business side of the Alliance South Michigan LARP and chips in when it comes to making props when he can.
He’s proof that 20 years of LARPing is not guaranteed to make you good at LARP fighting.