Roleplaying for a Beginner/very nervous person


I really adore LARP, and have loved creating a character who’ll hopefully be able to be an asset to the Empire (or not, I’ll see where the winds of fate take me). However, as a newbie and someone with a lot of social anxiety and issues with social interaction, especially with people I don’t know, I’m very nervous that I’m going to ruin the immersion by being awful at roleplaying. I’m very bad at improv, and I’m scared bits of me will peek through the character. Any tips from experienced roleplayers or folks who were in my situation?

Thank you so much in advance, everyone on here so far has been lovely!

1 Like

I ma also fairly bad at the improv bit, I’m mostly playing me, just with bits dialed up to 11, and that’s been working for for the last 7 years!

There are also badges for people who find starting conversations with new people difficult, and things like that, someone was making them for free, which makes it easier for the rest of us to know to be gentle.

There are also several tents on site that are happy for you to take a breather and cool down in without being disturbed if it all gets too much, not to mention player welfare who will be happy to help too.

Mostly to say, not the only one, and we do understand!

1 Like

Welcome to the forum and Empire!

We understand - there’s so many people, and so much information available that it can definitely feel a bit overwhelming. I’m also bad at improv, and found one of the best things to do is as @CharlieP says and play a character not too removed from myself. Especially since you’re literally inhabiting this character for a whole weekend, it can make roleplaying a bit easier.

A lot of people recommend finding a group when you arrive, but walking up to a group of strangers to introduce yourself can be tough. You may want to see if you can make some friends in your nation in advance, even if you don’t fully “join” a group. This can give you a bit of safe haven to retreat to if you need it, plus people who will be aware of you finding it a bit difficult. If you’re on FB, I’d recommend posting in your nation group - there’s always plenty of players who are happy to make new friends!

If you’re worried about bad roleplaying, here’s a few tips:

  1. Very few people there will know you out-of-character (OOC). They won’t be able to TELL if bits of you are peeking through the character :slight_smile:

(“Hey, that’s a great job you’ve been doing role-playing as a grumpy old man!” "Geoffrey, I’m normally a grumpy old man… ")

  1. If in doubt, or at an awkward moment, ask a question. Here’s a few:
    “You said you were an X. What is that, exactly?”
    “What the Virtues was that thing that just went past us?”
    “Tell me about your home province, I’ve never been there…”
    “I’ve got this useful resource, any suggestions what I can do with it…?”
    “Where can I get a drink…?”
    This allows others to explain and tell stories and chew the scenery, and may provide useful information. Also, as a person new to Anvil, you’re wandering around asking questions? Spot-on roleplaying.

  2. “I’m new to Anvil…” this phrase is code for “I’m a new player”. Use it, and people will explain, make no assumptions, be very forgiving about any slips, and likely try to sell you tea and cake…

  3. You are not alone. Ask around, there are tents for going to have a quiet moment, there are many others who have anxiety issues (heck, doing an improv play with a thousand experienced strangers, no wonder…)… I’ll get a link to a guy who’s worked quite hard on this, and made several youtube videos about it.

  4. As suggested, make some friends or contacts first. Even if it’s just someone to hang around the same tent with, having a place to go on the main field will help you feel a lot less lost and rootless. Even if you don’t do anything with them, being able to say “I am X and I am camping with the Y, in nation Z…!” will help.

  5. There are new player meetings and Q&A sessions. Go to those and have a go, they’ll be full of other nervous new people. You probably won’t emerge as a badass sage, but you’ll have met many other people and leanrt a few things, someone else will have asked the dumb questions, and no-one will have expected you to role-play yet :slight_smile:

  6. (I keep trying for 7-fold answers. Can you work out why?) No-one is perfect. Everything is aspirational. There are many experienced and skilled LARPers who still swear by the wrong deities for the system, or have trouble remembering the details of their in-game life, or are totally floored by questions like “Join me in a drink?” (“No, because I’m driving back to Oxford tonight… aaargh…”).
    Do what you can. :smiley:

EDIT: Here’s the video. Meet Rick the Van Man, as he starts LARPing…


I’m a bit socially anxious myself. I’ll echo some of the above. The new player briefings are great, definitely go to one you’ll pick up loads of tips and tricks, and you’ll also get to meet your nation’s egregores. I’d also say check out the public speaking workshop that’s held at 1pm in the military council tent on the Friday, I’ve found its a good way to loosen up before the game starts.

I tend to struggle a bit with the shear volume of in character info on the field, reading the winds of war/fortune before the event really helps with some talking points. Also visit some teahouses. Teahouses are generally quite relaxed (well at least mine is), the proprietor will usually chat to you, which I find helps me come out of my shell a bit. They’re also good sources of ic gossip, which you can spread around Anvil to your heart’s content.

Another thing is people will look busy, constantly running around the place. Don’t be afraid to flag someone down to ask them something. I know it’s easier said than done, I struggle a bit with it myself. Just use the magic phrase “I’m new to Anvil” and they will stop and help you.

Use your egregores. They are there to help and to make sure you’re not miserable. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.

Don’t worry too much about dropping out of character. I think most of us do it from time to time. Also don’t worry about taking too long to respond to something, improvisation takes practice and we were all new once. I’m not great at it, but I’m finding I improve everytime I set foot on the field.


I’m not a great role player either. I initially came as part of Urizen but kept trying to shake hands with people because that’s the habit of a lifetime. (Even with the Captain of the Sentnel Guard - oh the shame!) It just wasn’t me. So if you’re a bad role-player like me, choose a nation where you feel can be yourself and be comfortable. If you’re not having fun, there is no point!