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Vampire the Masquerade has a lot of abilities to abuse other players, especially via disciplines like Dominate and Presence. Obfuscate can be used to appear as literally anyone, which might be used to violate consent. There are rules for blood bonds that pretty much force someone to love them and that is only the tip of the iceberg on how one can literally force a character in the Vampire world to become a literal slave to another.

Recently, I was asked by an organizer if I would like to step up and take over a leading role in their initial meetings of a game. This role comes with a package that contains quite some of those contentious powers and a position that by itself puts that role quite above others. In fact, it might be the one role in the game that is exempt from being under the formal (IC) oversight of the Prince, who is played by someone of the organizer group. Think of someone that is bound to the rules of the Inner Circle, not the Prince of a city, given a specific task to get some of the plot rolling.

However, as powerful as that role is, I would like to make sure that I don't overstep and put players into a position, that triggers behavior or fears. I know how to physically keep other players safe as a player, but how do I best make sure I don't harm them mentally beyond what they are prepared to deal with, especially in the Mind Eye Theater setup, where I don't know all of the gaming group and only get some abbreviated form of notes on the characters, but not necessarily the players?

Caveat - or LARP isn't your Table!

Due to the nature of LARP and the MET, many tabletop tools (lines and veils, X-card) can't be applied in the fashion they are used at the table. One of the biggest problems is the sheer size of the group:

  • A typical LARP doesn't happen with less than 20 people as to allow play between the people.
    • This means there are people interested in a wide variety of depth on a single event: Some people don't want to be in the limelight at all and coast along at the sidelines, others might enjoy getting neck-deep into trouble and suffer the consequences for being the focus of other people's intrigue or actions.
  • While players often have known peers in those groups or might even have interlinking characters from the start (and know the person behind the character), it's best to assume that all the people at the event are total strangers.
  • People on a LARP move around and don't interact with the same group continuously.

For example, Lines and Veils can't accommodate for such a large player pool that is changing over the course of an evening (as people move between locations) and in between events. Making and handing out dossiers on all players to people that the players don't even know and might never interact with is very intrusive and disqualifies even suggesting such.

Please remember, that you need to back up your answer!

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How do you implement safety tools without the active participation of the organizers and your fellow players?

You don't, because you can't.

Safety tools are not some prophylactic that you use to stop yourself from endangering other people. How safe someone feels is not up to you, it's up to them.

Safety tools are ways for other people to tell you how safe they feel. In the minimal case they give people a way to communicate that they don't feel safe, but many tools also provide a way for people to reassure you that their negative reactions are part of gameplay and they do feel safe. These tools developed for Nordic LARP, for instance, let people send positive or negative signals.

Because safety tools are ways for people to communicate their internal feelings of safety to each other, you need buy-in from everybody at a LARP to use them so that everybody knows how to tell other people they don't feel safe, and everybody knows how to watch for other people saying they don't feel safe. This means they need to come from the organizer level on down.

You shouldn't feel hesitant to ask your organizers to implement safety tools. You are concerned enough about hurting people that you aired those concerns to random strangers on the Internet, who are motivated by nothing more than a general well-wishing toward common humanity. The organizers of the LARP have a much more direct interest in how much people who attend the LARP enjoy themselves, and should be at least as open to your concerns as a bunch of Internet randos.

The organizers should already be considering some elements of participant safety. Heaven forfend, but what if someone has a bad fall and sprains or breaks something? What if they have an asthma attack, heatstroke, an allergic reaction? There should already be plans for out-of-game areas and out-of-game means of communication to deal with concerns of biological safety. If nothing else, psychological safety can make use of the same pipeline.

If your concerns about safety tools are ignored or dismissed by the organizers, just walk away. Not gaming is better than bad gaming. You don't want to hurt people, but the people in charge don't care about stopping you? Then they don't care about stopping other people from hurting you, either. Just walk away.

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