Lone Wolves

Certain players, often called “Lone Wolves” do not join teams or parties. There are many possible reasons. To name a few–

  • playing a loner character
  • being new to the game and not knowing anyone yet
  • no teams are recruiting
  • feeling shy or antisocial
  • don’t know how to get involved
  • “does not play well with others”

Lone Wolves are different than “Social Butterflies”, who move between groups and know tons of people at a game. Lone Wolves are difficult to involve because they don’t get included when a group goes somewhere. They hang out at the sidelines, rarely experiencing the spotlight.

LARPs are social games. And they’re more fun when everybody is involved and interacting. It’s not necessary for everyone to be friends – in fact, the atmosphere is more dynamic if there also are rivalries and tensions between the players. But Lone Wolves miss out on this by not being as socially invested. This gives them fewer opportunities to get involved – a self perpetuating cycle that often ends with the player simply not coming back.

So how can you get a Lone Wolf invested and engaged? Here are a few ways…

  • Extend him an invitation to a guild or other public group
  • Give him control of an important resource like a map, password, NPC contact, or special information about a plot line. This should be something that other players will return to so they must regularly seek out the Lone Wolf’s company.
  • Cast members (recurring NPCs) could converse with him to learn more about his character concept, motivation, and background. They can then introduce him to similar characters and suggest cooperation.
  • Give him a task, quest, or mission which involves learning information from other players. This forces him to seek out and meet others.

Keep in mind that ultimately, it’s not the LARP Director’s job to play babysitter. The players of a LARP are largely responsible for its society, and micromanaging their relationships is generally outside of the scope of plot. If you feel you are forcing a situation, it was probably not meant to be. Then again, many great friendships are unlikely pairs.

Lone Wolves may enjoy the isolated role they’re playing, but often they’re just people who need a little encouragement to get involved. Use your best judgment about how much of a hand they need.

  1. #1 by Daniel Burke on July 7, 2009 - 1:58 pm

    Cannot say enough how much character histories help with this particular situation. There have been some isolated characters who a few simple trap mods brought them out into the game by providing a sense of accomplishment.

    There are others who when asked OOG will blatantly tell you they want nothing to do with plot, personal or otherwise, and really just enjoy the game the way they play it.

    Having those details on record makes life a hundred times easier for people trying to staff a game. If plot understands your motivation they can help work with (or against) you towards it.

    To address another concern I’ve heard from this style of player in the past, “If I submit a character history plot now has a legitimate means to mess with my character”. Some players are very invested in the ‘ownership’ of a character and feel a degree of fear over someone else influencing or exerting control over that relationship. Personally I would rather see histories submitted with a stamp at the top reading “do not use for personal plot without prior permission” but I do not know how feasible it is, or if that just defeats the point of a plot by letting someone know that it is coming.

  2. #2 by LaRoseNoire on May 7, 2010 - 9:49 am

    When I first joined a medieval combat group. I was kind of shy. I was teh kind of person who was quiet. But once you got me talking. I either couldn’t shut up or went quiet again. Anyways there are ways to get a lone wolf involved. Personally when I had a loner or lonewolf as it were. I would find ways to get them involved with the group.

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