This guide is lengthy and will be split into a few parts. Part one starts at the very beginning of organising your game.
Most LARPs are run by people in their spare time. They aren't professional LARP companies or even professional event organisers. Hopefully they are doing their best to make a game that people can attend and enjoy.
My personal view is that not every game suits every player. There are so many different genres and play styles there are going to be some that don't suit you. As a game organiser it's ok to recognise this and not try and make a game of all things to suit all people. However, you should make sure that you aren't exclude people based on things they can't change such as disability, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Having a good equality policy in place is important and should go some way to making your event accessible to people due to race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Being accessible to people with disabilities (including temporary disabilities, chronic illnesses and invisible disabilities) can take a little more than a policy statement.
I also know, as an event organiser and as somebody with a disability, that sometimes budget, venue availability and other factors may limit what accommodations I can make. This doesn't mean I can't try. Even if the ideal solution isn't available to me, we can still aim for ideal and make what accommodations we can given our circumstances.
In general terms:
- Include disability in your equality statement. Let people know that ableist language and prejudice will not be tolerated.
- Recognise that the perfect set piece in your imagination may not be possible if it isn't accessible to your players.
- Remember that accessibility is about more than wheelchair ramps and can vary person to person.
- Keep things confidential or on a need to know basis. Your crew may need to know that a player is unstable on their feet but they don't need to know why. Limit private health information to key organisers, the first aiders and (where necessary) caterers.
- Ask your players questions and listen to their answers. They know best what will help them enjoy the event and what accommodations they need. Encourage them to contact you, ask them questions and work with players to make an event accessible.
- Accommodations are not about making the game easier for disabled players. It's about making it no more difficult than for other players.Some accommodations can be open to all players – scheduled meal times for example. However, giving a mobility impaired player a head start doesn't work if all players have the same head start.