In the world of 1970, a great deal of prejudice was commonplace that we would find unacceptable today. In the larp, we are going to represent these historical prejudices where they are important for the themes that we wish to evoke, and the stories that we wish to make: but we will exclude other areas of prejudice that are not relevant in this way.
There are three levels possible, broadly speaking:
- The prejudice does not exist in the world of Allegiance
- The prejudice exists in the wider world of Allegiance, and forms part of the backdrop of the story, but must not be played upon during the larp.
- The prejudice is ok to play on during the larp.
Details relating to particular axes of prejudice, are below.
It’s important to note that any expression of prejudice must be clearly about the character – not about the person playing them. Personal characteristics of participants must not be played upon in any way.
It’s also important to be clear that playing a character who is likely to be a victim of in-larp prejudice is entirely opt-in – it will be stated in the character description that this is such a role, and you will not be cast into it unless that is a type of play that you are keen to experience.
The social scene in which the characters move is generally a polite one. Diplomatic functions, meetings, etc, are not situations where any kind of prejudice should be expressed or made apparent – that would be rude, and would reflect badly on one’s own country, and on one’s career. In private gatherings within one’s own embassy, or at select parties with one’s friends, it may be different.
Likewise, there is little reason why the existence of prejudices should lead to bullying: situations where that would be a natural consequence will be rare.
In the wider world, there is xenophobia – hateful and harmful opinions about people from other nations, cultures, etc. We would like participants to avoid playing on this. Instead, we encourage playing on a more light-hearted competitive nationalism, arising from characters’ loyalties to their own nation and their experiences of others, perhaps taking the form of stereotyping.
This does not exist in the world of Allegiance. We are operating in an alternate history in which women and men have equal careers, wages, respect, and so on.
We want the players to have the same possibilities in the larp, regardless of gender. That’s why we have communicated that gender roles is not a theme for this larp. However, equality rights and feminism is an important part of politics in 1970, and something many of the characters are concerned with.
We DON’T want sexual harassment or characters who respect other characters less or more based on gender.
We WANT feminism to be a subject for discussion and concern.
The world of 1970 is strongly condemnatory of homosexuality. The community depicted in the larp are aware of this, but they are sophisticated and tolerant people and do not share the prejudice, So, this prejudice is not to be played on between characters in the larp – but homosexual characters, of either gender, are aware that to be exposed would be disastrous for their career and for their wider reputation.
In the diplomatic career, promotion and responsibility are generally gained gradually over a long period, and age is generally correlated with respect. Older characters will be expected to have more authority and better judgement, (Of course, there may be exceptions.)
In the espionage career, the same is true, except that characters on active duty may find that they come to be thought of as too old to be on the frontline.
Younger characters may find that they are expected to be patient, and that their opinions may be dismissed, etc.
The diplomatic service is generally populated by members of the ruling classes (even in those countries that supposedly don’t have a class system). The same is true of espionage, except for ‘muscle’-type roles.
Allegiance does allow play on class prejudice. Characters of a lower social class may be seen as outsiders, less trusted, kept away from the places where the real decisions are taken. Prejudice expressed in play should be dismissive and patronizing – not abusive.
Prejudice against rival political and social systems is very much part of the world of Allegiance, and will be represented within the larp. Characters may perceive each other as ‘filthy commies’ or ‘capitalist jackals’, etc – although, in the diplomatic world, it would be outrageous to express such opinions publicly.
We do not want any play on prejudice about body type, appearance, neurodiversity, religious belief, physical ability, or any other axis.