Casting Questionnaires Made Easy

I overheard two friends of mine, hard at work on their next LARP, Devil to Pay (a dark historical pirate LARP) discussing how best to make up their casting questionnaire. I liked what they came up with.

Only slightly joking.

They’re joking, of course. But only slightly.

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About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
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10 Responses to Casting Questionnaires Made Easy

  1. Nat Budin says:

    Serious reply to joke: if that’s the casting questionnaire, better be prepared for that dot to be placed anywhere on the graph.

  2. JakeG says:

    Can I plot my response as a sine wave rather than a point?

    • Fair Escape says:

      If it were my LARP? Hell yes. That has some fascinating implications. The actual writers of this LARP, however, might strangle you for it.

    • Fair Escape says:

      Actually, this is an interesting insight into how even the simplest of questionnaires don’t necessarily generate the simplest of answers… which maybe just means that the question of “what character do you want to play” can’t be oversimplified.

      • JakeG says:

        Right on. Now I’m envisioning a game wherein pointlessly complex graphs and diagrams are the whole basis for character creation. Like, if this graph had a third axis labelled “obviousness of mental issues”: now plot a character as a 3-dimensional solid.

  3. By picking a point, or line, or region, I’m collapsing all of the possible outcomes into a very limited set – and I don’t have the information needed to do that. The GMs may also not have the information needed to interpret my answers, and I could be wrong.

    When I filled out my app for “Intrigue in the Clouds” a long time ago, I was in a bad state. I told the GMs that I needed “an easy win”. I wanted a “simple character” that didn’t have to work too hard to accomplish something positive or negative.

    Fortunately, the people casting me looked at my requests, laughed for several minutes, and threw away my suggestions. Not only did they throw me into the most challenged starting position in the game, they threw me against some of the sharpest players I know. I was so screwed, and there was nothing easy about the entire game. I scrambled for hours, with the outcomes entirely in doubt for the whole duration. Things were constantly changing, usually for the worse. At one point in the game, a character I hadn’t dealt with came up to me, said a few simple sentences, and changed the entire perspective of the game yet again.

    It remains one of my all-time favorite parts. It was what I needed, not what I asked for. There’s no way I could’ve suggested the role from public information and the casting questionnaire, based on the complexity of the game.

    • And, for the record, that game was the second time that day I played against Brian Williams, who was at his first Intercon. As a result of the intensity and fun we had playing opposite each other, especially in “Intrigue”, I invited him to come visit us at Intercon XV. More Brits have followed since then, which has been a very good thing.

    • Fair Escape says:

      It’s mostly a joke these two GMs were making at their own expense- really, the comment is “the primary distinguishing characteristics of all of our characters is just how terrible they are and how much they sleep around.” (Notice you can be “neutral” at best, but not actually a good person.) It’s kind of their trademark, I think- Redemption, Al-Ashtara, and Venezia all had a strikingly high percentages of “douchebag” characters.

      There’s another potential joke here- I’m not positive it’s what they were going for, but I wouldn’t be surprised- which is that they’ve been trying to perfect questionnaires since their first LARP, and players still manage to fill them out in ways that make casting particularly challenging, like giving contradictory answers. So finally, the only thing to do is to refuse to give them any options beside plotting a single point.

      We pretty much never have complete information- it’s the nature of the beast, and as your story illustrates- we also don’t know what mood we’ll be in when we actually play. One of these days I’ll ask a GM who knows me very well and I trust to just cast me wherever they want and/or think I’ll enjoy.

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