The Negative Impact of Gatekeepers on the LARP Community

Live-action roleplaying games (LARP) like Myth offer a unique opportunity for individuals to immerse themselves in the fantastical worlds they love while forging meaningful connections with like-minded enthusiasts. However, the LARP community, like many other niche hobbies, can sometimes face the challenge of gatekeeping. Gatekeepers are individuals who take it upon themselves to determine who is “worthy” of participating in a particular activity or community. 

The Problem with Gatekeeping

Exclusion of Newcomers

One of the most significant issues with gatekeeping in the LARP community is the exclusion of newcomers. When gatekeepers set arbitrary standards for participation, they discourage those who might be interested in joining but need more prior experience or knowledge. This exclusionary attitude can limit the growth of the LARP community and prevent new players from discovering the joys of live-action roleplaying.

Reinforcement of Stereotypes

Gatekeeping perpetuates harmful stereotypes about who “belongs” in the LARP community. By insisting on a narrow definition of a “true” LARPer, gatekeepers can unintentionally reinforce the idea that the hobby is reserved for a specific demographic or type of person. This mindset can deter individuals from diverse backgrounds from participating and limit the richness of experiences and perspectives within the community.

Creation of a Toxic Environment

The presence of gatekeepers can foster a toxic environment in which competition and elitism overshadow LARP’s collaborative and creative spirit. Gatekeepers may engage in behavior such as mocking or belittling others for their choices in character, costume, or playstyle, which can lead to a hostile atmosphere that detracts from the overall enjoyment of the game.

Stifling Creativity and Experimentation

By enforcing rigid expectations about how LARP “should” be, gatekeepers can stifle creativity and experimentation within the community. Players may feel pressured to conform to specific playstyles, storylines, or character archetypes, hindering their ability to explore new ideas and develop their unique voices as roleplayers.

How Myth is Combatting Gatekeeping

Promote Inclusivity and Diversity

One of the most effective ways to counteract gatekeeping is fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity within our community. We encourage the participation of individuals from different backgrounds, skill levels, and interests and create spaces where everyone feels welcomed and supported.

Offer Mentorship and Support

Myth has mentorship and hosts workshops to help newcomers feel more comfortable entering the Myth community. By providing guidance and support, experienced members help break down barriers and create a more accessible environment for those new to the hobby.

Emphasize Collaboration and Storytelling

Shifting the focus of LARP from competition to collaboration and storytelling can help dismantle the elitist attitudes that can fuel gatekeeping. We encourage our players and NPCs to work together to create engaging stories and remind them that the true joy of Myth lies in the shared experience of immersive roleplaying.

Encourage Open Dialogue

Open dialogue about the gatekeeping issue is crucial to raising awareness and promoting change. Discussing the topic can help community members understand the negative impact of gatekeeping and inspire them to work towards creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

Gatekeeping is a destructive force in the LARP community, discouraging newcomers and perpetuating stereotypes while fostering a toxic environment. We can combat gatekeeping and create a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming community by promoting inclusivity, offering support, emphasizing collaboration, and engaging in open dialogue.