This page contains some of the game's policies on topics such as Inclusion & Sexism, Cultural Appropriation & Racism, Auto-Bans for Hate, and Cooperative Play aka How to "Win" at LARP. We illustrate these here to assure players of all types that they are welcome at our game. Please feel free to contact staff if you have any questions. The rulebook contains our full list of rules on conduct.
If you witness someone acting inappropriately Out of Character, we encourage you to call this out. Staff's recommended phrase is, "We don't do that here." Players are expected to be able to educate themselves on how to behave as adults in a group setting.
Should any in-game roleplay make you uncomfortable, or should players be dropping out of character inappropriately, feel free to say, "The Sultan would not approve of this conversation." This is a universal symbol to either move the topic of conversation (if In Character) or to please resume playing (if Out of Character). Respect this phrase and do not use it trivially. Anyone who fails to respect this rule or abuses this rule to harass another player will be spoken to by staff.
Inclusion & Sexism
The world setting of Kishar is deliberately one in which characters of all genders have equal potential. The staff of this game acknowledges the incredible diversity of real-world gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexuality. It is always our intent to make players comfortable no matter their gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation, and players should never feel that their personal characteristics in these areas, or those of their characters, prevent them from being a full participant in our make-believe world. If an NPC on screen portrays sexism or gender discrimination, expect this to be presented as a negative characteristic.
We acknowledge that there are characters of all types (including bi/pan and trans characters, both of whom are often invisible even in fantasy genres) in our genre, and that gender should not be a consideration when it comes to a character’s role or abilities. While a leadership position may be held by a male NPC, by a cisgender NPC, or by a heterosexual NPC, this should never be construed as a suggestion that non-male, non-cis, or non-het characters could not equally occupy these positions. Inheritance is gender-blind in the dominant society of the setting, as are military service and membership in the clergy.
We have made a distinct effort to feature egalitarian, non-traditional marriage and family arrangements. Players are welcome to portray their characters as having non-traditional relationship and love models, like polyamory – these are acknowledged as existing in the world setting. As well, we have provided two PC races that are (by default, but to varying degrees) genderless for those who wish to explore or portray these concepts. This should not be taken as an assumption that other races could not be played in this manner. We do not expect to be able to represent every aspect of real-world variance on screen, but we want all players to understand that they are welcome and we will be happy to tell stories with them.
Players are invited to become part of this conversation by helping us find ways to make the game more inclusive. We have made an effort to strip strict binary or cis-normative language from this book, but we may have missed something! Please let us know if you find any problems.
Cultural Appropriation & Racism
Kishar is not set in the real world – it is inspired by works of fantasy such as One Thousand and One Nights (aka the Arabian Nights), the Mahabharata, or Hēi Àn Zhuàn (the Epic of Darkness). In the same way that many international LARPs have taken their guidance from The Lord of the Rings, Arthurian mythology, or other similar ‘Western’ fantasy, we have created a world of magic and myth that simply draws from other popular sources. We have Sultans, but they are not historical figures.
No one in Kishar is portraying a character that is meant to exemplify (in any way) a real-world culture. There are no samurai in Kishar, no one is from China, and there are no Arab peoples. Although players may be required to represent having green skin (to be a half-orc or waterborn) or blue skin (to be a water aetherite or dragonkin), no one will ever be using makeup to attempt to represent a member of a real-world people. We take a strong stand against racism in regard to real-world peoples, and it will not be tolerated in any way at our games. Additionally, there are no real-world deities or sacraments that are used in this game. A character might be a holy warrior or serve a god as a cleric, but they may only use one of the invented deities from our world setting. Symbols for these deities are drawn from traditional fantasy symbolism, and none are intended to imitate or evoke deities of any real-world culture still found in present times. We support a vision for gaming as an inclusive hobby.
Any player who attempts to violate these standards by creating a character that serves only as a poor caricature of the history, peoples, or cultures of other countries has failed to understand the purpose of our game, and will be asked leave our events until they change their behavior.
If any party wishes to speak to us about the game in this context, we are happy to engage in dialog.
Auto-Ban of Hate Groups
Kishar is not a business - we're a social club of like-minded people who get together to have fun with a fairly niche geeky hobby. No one profits from your money here - it just enables us to organize the group and put on events. Our rulebook already lists (among many other things) hateful behavior as something that will get you sanctioned or expelled from the group.
Staff does not need to see an incident of racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc at game before we act. Credible evidence that someone is or has recently been a member or supporter of any hate group (including, but absolutely not limited to white nationalist or white supremacist movements) will be enough to get that person permanently banned from this group.
Cooperative Play (Mudita)
With enough players, intra-player conflict seems inevitable at times. Some of this comes from clashes in playing style, interpretations of genre, conflicting IC goals, OOC personal issues, and lingering conflict imported from other environments. There is a very reasonable place for player conflict in LARPs, but in a game whose focus is not PvP, we see that place as being story-enhancing cooperative conflict. Conflict can produce fun and interesting story that would not occur by default, but conflict should be between characters, not between players. If conflict develops spontaneously during play, it’s still appropriate to check in with other players involved during the next OOC time. Kishar is a different game than your average fantasy LARP. We offer a non-traditional setting, with non-traditional setting elements and unique plot lines. We offer the opportunity to play atypical characters, who might be corrupt, selfish, vain, or arrogant. The setting itself is not a world where good always wins. We try to offset the negative aspects of this by providing a unifying theme in the Adventurer’s Guild, which is a required element for every PC. Additionally, the mechanics of the system strongly encourage cooperation – every class benefits from things provided by other classes, and no PC can craft everything their character might want.
When we LARP, we should strive to have fun as well as to enhance others’ fun: to make people laugh, to make them sing, to make them cry if something dramatic happens. We especially want to make new players feel welcome. The best word we’ve found for this approach to gaming is Mudita (मुदिता), a Buddhist word for unselfish, sympathetic, altruistic joy. It’s being happy when others are happy. It’s something that is easy to do for people you love, or people you’re close to, but hard to do for strangers, or people you don’t always get along with. It’s a mindset that enables a community in which people come together and have fun with each other, not in spite of each other.
Often, we might be friends with some players but not others. It is very tempting to focus on making the game fun for the people you know best, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. When taken to extremes, it can lead to cliques, impressions of favoritism (or actual favoritism!), and the bad parts of faction-based play. So spend some time thinking about how you can enhance the game for everyone, not just the players you know. Does that player’s character need an ally, or a mentor, or a student? Do they need a partner-in-crime, a love interest, or a rival? Do it, or find another character and play match-maker. Is there some interesting way in which your character’s backstory could be combined with theirs? Talk to the player and find out! Maybe that scoundrel who stole your character’s family inheritance is also the other character’s hated uncle! Now there’s a significant NPC who could show up in game to give your characters a reason to cooperate. We encourage you to write story together.
Most of all, work to make each other enjoy the game! We sometimes see people who want to “win” at a LARP. In Kishar, you win when other people are happy to see you show up to an Event. You do not win by being highest level. You do not win by having the most Influence. You do not win by having the most coin. You do not win by being able to kill any monster. You do not win by causing other players to suffer, to regret coming to game, or to like you less as a person because of how you play the game. You do not win by being antagonistic to people who don’t want to be on the receiving end of that.
Good players show up with Mudita on their minds. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the game, but come to game because you want it to be the best game it can be, for as many people as possible. Be a net positive. We promise you we will all win together.