We all get LARPspiration from TV, and books, and films. We can’t help it, and also we shouldn’t help it. There are some fantastic characters floating around, and some of them translate wonderfully to LARP. However, there are ways to do it which are excellent, and ways to do it which are less so. And that is what I would like to talk about.
One of the potential problems with taking all of your inspiration from one particular character, is that it will end up as immersion breaking for other players. If you are playing a masked vigilante, and talking in a Christian Bale Batman voice, whenever another player interacts with you, they won’t be thinking about your character, they will be thinking about the fact that you are doing a Batman impression, and lose focus on the game. If you are taking inspiration from a particular character, be careful not to make it too obvious. A few hints, and gentle nods, won’t be galling, but an exact replica of the character is going to frustrate people and be hard for you to develop into their own, interesting character, with an arc that is distinct from the one from the media.
That brings me onto my second point about doing this. If we take a character wholesale, from film or TV, and insert them into a different setting, that character is likely to lose some nuance. Things from their backstory will have to be different, things they would say might have to alter. What you are likely to get is a slightly 2-D, parody version of the character, rather than the rich and interesting personality you were wanting to play. A better way, I find, to deal with character inspiration, is to study the character carefully, and figure out exactly what it is about them you want to play. Don’t say “I want to play Harry Potter”, say “I want to play an orphan who had a miserable upbringing, and then discovered they had magical powers”. That way you can build an interesting and unique character that *isn’t* just harry potter in a different setting, but still takes inspiration from him.
Third and final point. If you are taking inspiration from fictional characters, remember that LARP doesn’t work the same way as written fiction. Aragorn is a fantastic written character, but if you’re at a LARP and you sit in a Tavern with your hood over your eyes, all brooding and mysterious, plot isn’t just going to fall into your lap in the form of 4 quirky hobbits. There are some characters that *just* don’t translate well to LARP, so have a think about how it’s going to work in uptime before basing your character on something you’ve seen.