So you’ve got your character with a background, you’ve got to site, got your tent up and got into costume ready to go, what do you do to get into character?
With my last character the thing that always helped me was to grab my wizards rod and gesture with it like a swagger stick once I was in costume, always helped me jump back into the characters head.
This current character it’s a mixture of getting into costume, putting my accent('s) on (warning accents not mandatory, should only be attempted by people with little sense of shame) and also sitting around chatting as someone braids my hair.
What kind of things do you do to get into character?
Tristan will be my first Empire char and I havent played him yet (Not til E2)
However I have quite a few things already . An in character song book for my poems and songs this was a gift from a friend whos designed it to be an IC gift from Tristans parents.
Im also going to be writing an ic diary
I have found LARPing for me my costume makes me feel IC . For Tristan i have his personal blue doublet . Once ive put it on I will (I hope)be in Tristan mode
I also do the accent thing. Jakobs accent is very different to my own, purely because doing so provides a barrier between IC, and OC things when I speak, and think.
(I truly admire those players that play their characters so well that Don’t have to do that, but that ability is beyond me)
Next is getting on Jakobs kit, the most important part is the last bit, pulling on my ratty old archery glove, it never comes off at events, and is my… I suppose you could call it an “anchor”. A constant reminder that Alex got left behind in the car park and Jakob is here now.
Finally IC small talk. Talking about the weather, enquiring as to how someone’s crops faired over the winter etc… It eases my mind into the setting, and settles any nerves carried over from mundane life.
I adopt Vespasian’s Naga sssssibilance…also as there’s often a skirmish to go on shortly after time in I find putting my armour on helps get in the right mindset.
Similar to other players above, I find putting my costume on helps the most. Watching the Medicis or the Jeremy Irons Borgias series also help me to find the right headspace.
(Bold of you to assume that I drop character between events…)
Seriously: Vyshyvanka and magic cloak goes on, Druhain has arrived - but on the drive up I review what I’ll have done since last time and condense it into 20 seconds of What I Did On My Holidays, and plan what I want to do with the Summit in detail, having written it all down the week before. This inevitably goes to hell the second boot hits field, but it’s nice to have goals.
These days, I actually find it a bit tricky. At recent player events, I’ve found myself just sitting there, feeling like myself in a costume. I need to work out a character ritual!
For my last character, it was easy. I had a rule of ‘I’m not IC until I have my horns on’ which I repeated to my banner so I didn’t feel harried if I wasn’t quite ready at time in. That ended up working in my favour - as soon as my horns were on, I felt like Iris.
No lineage this time, sadly.
I review all the details of the weapons instruction syllabus I wrote up and rehearse the content as I warm up for fighting myself.
My character almost has a ‘pose’ - the particular way they lean on their staff, with their other hand on their hip (as a bonus add in an annoyed glowering look!) which instantly gets me into character
I put on my rings, remembering what each one represents, and I start to feel like Leandro. I recently added a mana crystal to my earring, which makes it swing and move in a strange way that is part of Leandro but not me.
None of my clothing is quite the same, it doesn’t feel the same. Leggings in place of jeans, riding boots in place of trainers, a shirt and jerkin in place of a t-shirt, a cape in place of a jacket. And then I add a sword, I add a wide-brimmed hat, I add my gloves. There is a mask around my neck most of the time, my beard is almost always re-styled the night before the event and then shaved the evening after, there is a ribbon in my hair.
So many subtle things conspire to change the way I walk; wearing a sword, wearing boots, even walking on a field instead of pavement, will all affect my gait. With no pockets, my left hand naturally rests on my sword-hilt and my right gestures more, giving me a different physicality. There are also the prop-based actions which are so natural to Leandro and yet impossible for everyday me; I can throw my cape over my shoulder, I can half-draw my sword, I can remove my hat to bow with more of a flourish. When I lean into these things, allow them to become habit, it gets easier to change my persona.
More than anything else, I think the best roleplayers are the ones who don’t care about looking stupid. They will wear the biggest codpiece, affect the most ridiculous accent, and jump in with both feet; they never stop to worry how they look because they are having too much fun. This is easier when you have a mask, but I think our costumes are all masks of a certain type anyway.
Morien has a mental to-do list, for main events this is mostly sort of sitting down with the winds of war and fortune and as I (I in this case is more and more Morien as it goes on) read them running through, do I care? how much? what do I need to do? How do I break this down?
Then adding that to how do I achieve Morien’s general objectives? what rituals am I likely to need to do?
If the list feels like there is no way I can achieve it all in a weekend, at the point I can ignore that, and just focus on doing, I am probably ready to play Morien.
For social player events this is often done by reviewing the guest list and trying to work out the same.
When I played my draughir character the act of putting on my make-up and my contacts in was what helped me get into character.
Now I’m playing a human it’s a bit harder, but I do still find putting on my (minimal) make-up helps. My character has a large scar on his face: putting on the collodion is sort of my getting IC ritual.
I feel like everything I post on this forum somehow ends up being ‘groups are great’, and yet here we are again.
My group tend to gather before time in in our IC tent, gradually coalescing over the afternoon. From 5pm most of us start to put on our final bits of costume (rings, pouches, masks, elf ears etc) and we have a chat about what we are going to do in the event. That is great for us not only getting our own final touches done, but all helping each other to feel like we are in the right headspace.
Being a creature of ritual, my final touch is always the same - I put my IC notes into a bag that was gifted to my character a few years ago and hold it, which is the final touch that signals to my brain ‘you are [character] now.’ It symbolises his IC job and obsessions, so reminds me who he is and what he has to do.
I check through the stash of IC documents I have gathered or indeed written over the time I’ve played. Setting fluff. Songs. Stories. My notebook of annotations and rituals and similar. And then I run through my healing spell vocals in my head (30 seconds each…), thump my staff on the ground, and glare around to check on my group who will likely ALREADY have found some way to injure themselves…
I’ve got playlists for the character, for the Spire, and for some of the other characters that my one will have grown up with. These have been listened to on repeat as I’ve been dealing with kit, writing up some of my prop pieces into my IC notebook, and cutting accidental gouges into my fingers whilst doing some stamp carving.
Partner who’s already played at Empire and I have been chatting back and forth in character for a bit, testing stuff out and seeing how certain things would work between them and everyone else…which means I’ve now got an idea of how Tiresias would behave around folks they’ve known for a relative forever, both prior to the whole Briar thing being apparent and afterwards.
…It also helps that I’ve got an idea of how my character holds themself and argues (“not argue, engage in rigorous academic debate”) when faced with certain things that they’ve got used to dealing with daily
Make up helps as well- not hit Empire proper yet, but when I’ve previously LARPed having a face full of slap with all my varying bits and bobs of character props on me has always helped.
(Which did lead to the awkward situation where I was playing one half of a pair of twins…not having the opposite player with me was always so clunky as I didn’t have someone to play off and the character was a lot more ‘bitey’ than he should have been)
Think about how I’m standing. I slouch a bit, but my PC either drapes himself over the furniture or moves with purpose, like he’s been sent to curse someone’s face off.
Roll my shoulders, loosen up my body a bit and roll out like a slightly drunken cat. I decide how the PC moves and speaks early on, and when I’m doing the walk and the voice of all fits back into place. He’s usually quieter and slower in his speech than I am.
I have a perfume I only use for my character, smell really helps trigger the headspace
I’m working on adding more things to my character ritual, particularly as she gets a bit more fleshed out and develops depth, it helps that I’m more sure of who she is now
I like to do some IC affirmations in a mirror, using my IC accent once I’m kitted up
Scent is a good one! I’ve got an orange scented prosperity perfume that I bought at my very first event as my character, so (when I remember to bring it) I dab some of that on myself and my clothes. That and the smell of leather on my satchel and this fairly strong… I guess it’s like a fabric or linen sort of smell? that a bunch of my kit pieces have really helps me get into character.
On top of that there’s the walk - a sort of lumbering swagger, like I’m walking around with purpose but haven’t quite gotten used to being all proud and straight backed. Always something in my hand, too - a flagon of beer, a ciggie, my satchel strap… my guy almost always has something in hand.