Older larpers

Seen on Facesuck: notes from a discussion at Knudepunkt 2019 on older larpers:

I’ve noticed some of these issues myself, especially discomfort in playing younger roles / romance with younger players, and physical comfort levels. And I’ve had to worry about typecasting when writing games.

(Possibly of interest to @Hannah, @Brent, @mundens, @Wulfen_David, and I guess everyone, since we all plan on keeping on larping, right?)

I personally don’t have many issues wrt comfort levels, or physical exertion. I sometimes enjoy playing a young adult, though I’m sure it makes suspension of disbelief more difficult for others involved, but inside I still think of myself as young - or at least not old. I tend to be very tentative in romance plots, as I am very aware of my age and do not want to be in any way creepy, not only for the other player directly involved, but also for anyone else present. I do not have too much of an issue with stereotypical casting - it makes sense to cast me as an older character to make the immersion aspect better for others, for example, it is difficult to pretend to be the child of someone who is half your age. The only line in the summing up that resonated with me was “We are still people and not different in wants and needs just because we are older”.

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I’ve never been comfortable with romance plots so that takes away a huge potential snakepit of weirdness. I’m also very, very happy that I’ll never have to go through puberty again.

I do accept that I can no longer play twenty year-olds and that’s okay. Young and inexperienced doesn’t mean the same thing, after all, and you can e.g. completely be a recent graduate at, say, 40 or 50. It simply means that you got round to university after you’d done some other things that tend to come later for people that do life in the standardised order.

“We are still people and not different in wants and needs just because we are older”.

This, but I’d personally modify it to “not different in all wants and needs”. I’m definitely not the same person I was even ten years ago and that’s just part of a normal process.

But a conversation I had with my mother not long after she retired has stayed with me. “Everyone thinks I’m old now,” was her assessment of what had changed the most, “but I don’t feel any different.” So as long as your body plays along it’s worth remembering that age is basically a state of mind and not much else.

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That’s one thing I’ve noticed about writing older characters - you have more history to fill in and you can’t fall back on the “callow youth looking to make their way in the world” trope.

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Maybe not but what if you were married the whole time and just got divorced recently? What if you were looking after someone that dosn’t need your help anymore for whatever reason? What if you’re hitting one of those good old midlife crises that make you buy the Porsche and run off with the secretary?

You might feel like you’ve got some catching up to do then, and a lot of that could well look veeery similar to the “callow youth looking to make their way in the world” trope.

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I agree, all those ideas work. You just have to have been doing something for the past n years

I like the following quote from the Independent (from the cover of Margaret Atwood’s Stone Matress)

By a certain stage of life we’ve all got at least one person we would really like to kill

Although I hope this would apply to characters more than players

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Heh. It definitely applies to me. Multiple times. Although none of them is another player, at least! :smiley:

About this, though:

I agree, all those ideas work. You just have to have been doing something for the past n years

True… Out of interest, though, would leaving that to the player work? As in, ever? The specific case I’m thinking of is a role that was written for a youth but you find during casting that you’ll be giving it to someone older for some reason.

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Yep, almost anything can work in the right situation. There’s no reason a character sheet can’t begin “Last week you decided to…”. In part it will depend on how detailed other character’s backgrounds are and whether the characters have pre-existing relationships