I was at a Dead Dog (a dinner after a LARP or a con is over) for some Intercon gone by… couldn’t have been the first one I attended (Intercon G)… when I found myself trying to list all of the LARPs I had been in up until then. A fellow LARPer (who is now the con-chair of Intercon L) saw me doing it, laughed, and commented that after a while, there was just no way to keep track.
For a long time after that, I just kept a running list of all the LARPs I’d ever been in. And then several LARPers in my community started creating their own LARP resumes. (There’s even a website for just such a thing now- http://larpresume.boldlygoingnowhere.org/). So I started a Google spreadsheet and began what proved to be the rather time consuming process of combing through several years of old emails, tracking down each LARP I’ve played in. Emailing a few GMs and checking old con websites helped complete the list.
Currently, I have between 80 and 90 entries on what I like to call my Master List of LARPs. (It also contains a section of LARPs that I was involved with in some capacity other than as a player, ie as an assistant GM, an NPC (non-player character), and as an artist. And for one LARP, as a writer- 10 Bad LARPs: C-Section. I wrote a 10 minute LARP combining colonoscopies and a parody of the Space Opera genre.)
Beside the name of each LARP, my spreadsheet contains the name of the character I played, the location of the LARP, the date, the length, the genre, the author(s), my costume, a rating of the overall LARP, a rating of my character, and lastly, a section for comments.
The public version does not contain the ratings, costumes, or comments.
This might seem like pointless obsessing, but it’s actually comes in handy fairly often. The most obvious example is when deciding what to sign up for at conventions where there are several LARPs running at the same time, and I’m having difficulty picking one. That’s when the authors column in particular comes in handy- I can quickly search and see if I’ve played in any games written by the authors of the LARPs I’m deciding between. If one option is an unusual genre, I can look back and see if there are any LARPs I’ve played in years ago of the same genre, and remind myself what I thought of it.
The second most obvious use of the Master List is as a reference for filling out character questionnaires. I used to put on all my questionnaires that I strongly preferred good characters. But after being cast a few times as the bad guy, I looked back over my List and saw that actually, I’ve given a fairly high rating to most of the evil characters I’ve played. So now, I’ve started asking for more evil characters on my questionnaires. Similarly, it’s pretty useful when questionnaires ask how I feel about weird or obscure traits and plot types. I can quickly search through my list and see if I’ve ever had a particularly positive or negative experience it with it in the past. And when questionnaires have those essay type questions and I blank on what my favorite characters in the past have been, or what I’ve enjoyed about LARPs in the same genre, the Master List makes it so much easier to come up with the answers.
The costuming column is probably only useful for those of us who spend a little too much time on costuming- it helps me see which pieces I own get the most use, so I know what’s worth replacing, or if it’s worth getting something similar to costuming I already own.
I think the dates, lengths, and locations might be mostly about bookkeeping.
The other common use for my Master List? Whenever I get into a discussion about LARPing, and people say something like, “well, have you ever played a LARP by So-and-So?” or “well, how many times have you actually died in a LARP?” or “How many times have you actually enjoyed a widget hunt?” it’s pretty easy to come up with an actual answer.
And sometimes, it’s fun just to look over and reminisce.
I’d recommend keeping one.