Playing the Quota: guest post by Julian Lynch

First post I’ve seen from the player perspective.

“So, the Quota… it was a very interesting experience. Type 2 fun indeed.”

“For those who don’t know it was a very Nordic lrp based around being in an immigration detention centre trying to get out of an economically and politically collapsing England and into Wales. The organisers had a former prison to run the event in, so it was every bit as bleak as you might hope.

The only bit I’m going to focus on here is the OOC struggle of playing my character. The character was the archetype ‘the bully’ – parts of his personality and background game from the organisers, parts from me. He was essentially a fairly low-key asshole. Arrogant, selfish, aware that he was better qualified than almost anyone else in the centre to get into Wales and essentially uninvested in their lives and suffering. Mocking and dismissive to the other inmates, obsequious to the staff. I’m very happy that I nailed that portrayal.

The bleed issue is that I did that essentially just by playing on the worst parts of my own personality. My character was in many ways just me with the self awareness turned down a little bit. I left the event very concerned that I just looked like an asshole to all the people at the event I had never met before. The price of playing not a cackling villain, but just someone who makes the lives of everyone they meet a little worse. That bleed is ongoing. I also have a lot of ‘survivor guilt’. My character got into Wales. He got in essentially because he was the most privileged person in the centre. Morally though, he was pretty low down the scale. I feel enormously guilty for all the far better people who ended up stuck there. Which is a credit to the game’s immersion when after all everyone has now in truth gone home.

For all that, I would highly recommend this sort of event to people. I would love for the organisers to run it again sometime – I think it would get better each time, and I’d like to try it out from crewside. A lrp can never really reflect the experience of detention, but I do think it gave SOME appreciation of the issues, and I’m going to try and take those to my work and political life hereafter.”

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