What’s in a Name

Few random thoughts about this blog… specifically, its name.

Before I started the blog, I spent a long time thinking about what to call it, and eventually settled on Fair Escape because it’s a LARPing term, it has a nice ring to it, and it’s almost a play on words, as females are sometimes poetically termed “the fairer sex” and… well, I’m female.

I have a few major regrets regarding this choice. One, the term “escape” brings to mind the stereotype that we LARPers use LARP as an escape. I’m not saying there aren’t any LARPers who do, I’m just saying the stereotype comes from an offensive place- that we’re losers and our lives require escaping because they suck. I take personal offense at this and often find myself compelled to loudly disagree when it comes up.

Two, the term is not only unique to theater style LARPing, it’s entirely contradictory to the boffer LARP mentality. The term refers to a mechanic whereby a player can declare “fair escape” and walk away from whatever situation they were in, and cannot be attacked (typically, by whomever else was involved in the situation, often combat.) The exact wording of the rules may vary somewhat from LARP to LARP. The idea is usually to discourage running, since a lot of theater LARPs run in locations that either don’t allow it or highly frown upon it (such as university or hotel function spaces.) This just doesn’t happen in boffer LARP- the closest rule in Accelerant LARPs is usually something like allowing people to “go to spirit”- i.e. make it impossible (or highly unlikely) that a monster will be able to interact with you.

But usually, if you want to escape a dangerous situation and you need to run, you run.

The fair escape mechanic is also a method of dealing with limited game space (typical in theater LARPs given one or two rooms, highly atypical in boffer LARPs, which tend to take place in large outdoor spaces.)

But I explicitly didn’t want to alienate any type of LARPers- I take some small amount of pride in being one of the LARPers who enjoys both theater and boffer, each for their respective strengths. Not that I think a name will alienate someone reading… more like, stumbling across this name randomly online will instantly tell many theater LARPers what the blog is about. Unlikely to do the same for a random boffer LARPer.

Ah, well. At this point, there’s another point in favor of the name- momentum.


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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12 Responses to What’s in a Name

  1. Ivan Zalac says:

    Like you, I enjoy two styles of larp – boffer and nordic. Though here there’s not always such a clear distinction – it’s more like a spectrum of genres, gear used, methods. It’s a blend, somewhere more sporty and competitive, somewhere focusing on having a good time, otherwhere more artsy, but commonly a blend – overall most larps are trying to offer something unique.

    I do not find the term Fair Escape offensive or alienating. Although the mechanic itself would be something alien in the larps I play (and I certainly didn’t recognize it when I saw it), I actually think the name is nice. Without knowing what it meant, to me it sounded somewhat dreamy and overall positive.

    I stumbled here because of the content of one of your articles, and articles do tell people what your blog is about (not all names need to be descriptive – after all, Google also works without being called iSearchTheInternet).

    • Fair Escape says:

      I’m glad you like the name! There are definitely some LARPs that fall on the spectrum between theater and boffer, though I find most of what I play falls squarely into one category or the other.

      Out of curiousity, which post was it? I think a lot of people found this blog after the guest post on boffer lessons for theater.

      • Ivan Zalac says:

        I think it was the “Accoutrements of a Steampunk Devil”. I was looking for steampunk inspiration at the moment 🙂 Then I took a look at some of your older posts, I believe the earlier post, “Five fingered discount” was the first one where I replied to. After about a month I subscribed to your RSS feed. “Boffer Lessons for Theater” was also an excellent read 🙂

  2. Ivar says:

    Looking for just the “right” name, sometimes, is the greatest challenge we have to face when putting something together (a company, a blog or even a LARP scenario). For my own personal blog on LARPing I decided to use the equivalent of “drawing board” in my native Portuguese, since the site is supposed to work as such for the LARP ideas, props, and reviews I come up with.

    I never found the name “Fair Escape” offensive or misleading; I knew the phrase from my days of Vampire: the Masquerade LARPs, since it’s part of the core mechanics. As for “escaping” real life… well, I guess everybody has their own escapist tendencies with whatever they like, be it watching (or playing) sports, reading, eating or… LARPing. Which means, we’re as normal as the guy next door 🙂

  3. JakeG says:

    Name bonus: when I start typing “fa” into my URL bar to go to facebook, this site pops up from my browsing history and thus I am reminded to check for updates.

  4. Aaron says:

    I didn’t know what the term meant until you explained it, so thank you. I found this because you commented about the Wyrd Con Companion Book, and it was linked to on that page.

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