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.