In response to some of the discussions following Odyssey, which wasn't my favourite event ever but I'm getting over that now.
My name is Simon, and I am a nerd.
When I was at school I was overly intellectual - I wore glasses, I did well in exams and I hated sport. I remember vividly enjoying cricket because I could sit and read a book in the outfield, and when playing rugby was never quite fast enough to catch the person I was chasing and have to tackle them into the mud.
Formative experiences like these stay with you for years, so when designing Odyssey one of the early decisions was to look, wherever possible, for areas of the game where the 'fat kid' (as I referred to myself from those memories) wasn't left out. The most obvious examples of this are the arena and quests. In both these cases more champions are useful - it's not about choosing between one champion or another, or picking the best team - everyone gets a fight or a quest so the more 'fat kids' you involve the better it is for your nation.
This means that inclusion is built in from the foundations. It's about producing a game where people are encouraged to bring their friends and make them feel welcome, where the social side of the game sits alongside combat, puzzles, gods and politics.
Inclusion means characters and players. Character inclusion is more straightforward - they are created to serve a purpose and the choices in character creation are clear signals to the game organisers and other players where the players would like to spend their time. Inclusion of players can be more complicated. Superficially it is simple - events are public access and as such anyone can attend; but my problems start when one player's behaviour makes another feel excluded. This might be because they are fat or thin, bald or hirsute, straight or gay, male or female, tall or short - all manner of reasons. But whatever the issue about the player that can be mocked - and whether it is meant in jest or all seriousness, this kind of behaviour is unacceptable in our game.
There are plenty of ways to insult peoples characters rather than their players; to enjoy roleplaying without it being offensive roleplaying; to keep it fun.
We tried to build a game where everyone who wanted to be in could be, whether they were the lead batsman or the outfield bookworm, so behaviour that makes any player feel otherwise is not welcome.
Tags: de-, lrp