The FOG LARP: Will It Be Rolled Back

by Ilina Konakchieva “Hellen”
As our fanciest definition attempt goes, The Fog is a “guided open world”. Long story short, PCs enjoy a considerable freedom of decision making, which results in a large amount of game content generated by the players themselves. Still, there are boundaries to that freedom and the history does remember a few cases of events that have been rolled back by the GMs, or GMs consulting with faction leaders out of game to decide on a specific course that the story should take.
So, the question is where exactly are these boundaries; how does a player decide, if in doubt, whether a certain action is ok and how do the GMs decide when to intervene and when not to.
There are two simple criteria that should be considered to that end:
1) Does the action deprive other people of content?
2) At the end of the day, will there be happier people or upset people?
What we want at the end of the day is content for more people and more people to be happy than upset. It is as simple as that.
Criterion 1 is less important and less strict.
Any action that is good or interesting to you, or you and your direct counterpart/s, is ok, even if it does not generate content for more people. You are not obliged in any manner to create content for the entire LARP; although if you did, that would be more than commendable. Whatever you do, however, is ok, as long as it does not deprive other people of content. What does depriving others of content mean? An example: you are the leader of a faction; it is perfectly ok if you have any kind of personal drama with the leader of the opposing faction, with which you are at the verge of war. You can have numerous and intense tensions related to – for example – former loyalty of current passion. It is good and interesting. You should definitely explore that. Go for it with no hesitation. However, it is NOT ok if you, based on those personal reasons, made peace and prevented the conflict between your two factions from blooming and ending with a massive war – because it would deprive of content all the other people in the respective factions.
And think about it again – it is better for you if you did not make that political choice based on those personal reasons. It is so much more intense to have that personal drama in the midst of a war, than being important for five minutes and make peace.
What would the GMs do? In the case of failing to satisfy criterion 1 GMs could come and talk to you to prevent such course of action, but they are quite not likely to make a rollback due to such action.
Criterion 2 is crucial. It is of an utmost importance for our joint experience. It is closely connected to the most important rule ever – DON’T BE A JERK.
When planning or doing something big, you should always keep the metagame thought about what feelings would that provoke in your fellow players. No, we are not creating safe spaces. What we are doing is protecting a community of friends and preventing bleeding. Think about it – all Fog players are, to a different extent, your friends; people you have beers with. Furthermore, you want them to return, because if they don’t, there won’t be walk-ons in the great story of that character of yours. Caring for others’ feelings is also caring for yourself.
So the most important question you should ask yourself is whether your action will leave happy people or upset people. And, mind you, we are speaking out of game here. If you screw them too much ingame, that would be such a glorious moment for your character – or at least you will think so – but it would make you a low person. Remember – dont’t be a jerk! Triumphing ingame is ok. Achieving it at the cost of your fellow players being upset is not.
In the case of justifiably upset people, there is a considerable chance your action is rolled back. If there is the slightest shade of doubt there has been any meta-gaming, it will be rolled back for sure. We care much about that “justifiably” part though. If someone is upset because she was stupid and you killed them – this is not justified.
To summarize and make it simple: you should ask yourself the following questions about your ingame actions: Does it potentially deprive people of content? Am I being a jerk? If the answer to any of these is “yes”, or “I don’t care”, sooner or later not only the GMs, but your fellow players would make you feel not welcome.
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