A “Love” Letter to Murderhoboes
Sometimes it is easy (or just simple and convenient) for players to view every NPC (non player character) they encounter as an adversary to be defeated and looted, regardless of the NPC’s intended purpose in the story or setting. Sometimes this fault lies with the gamerunners for failing to set expectations and standards, other times, it can simply be the culture that players come to the game with from their experiences or preferences elsewhere.
In tabletop RPGs, gamerunners typically have a lot finer control over the narrative and more tools & techniques to work with, not to mention how much more practical it is to have a frank discussion with a small handful of players. However, LARPs tend to be larger and the story tends to unfold in real time and in first person. While it isn’t impossible to have a sideboard about the tone of the game with LARP players at this scale, below are some brainstorming on how one might approach it from within game play. Most of these are aimed at creating empathy and showing that not every “adversary” is a nameless loot box on legs. Not all of these may be suitable for every setting and group. In particular, consider which topics and themes your group may be sensitive to.
Furthermore, select the NPCs that “drop” these items carefully. Having these potentially emotionally powerful items on every NPC defeats the purpose and might come across as punitive and actually create more problems. For example, in most cases these would probably not be suitable for mindless undead or constructs, but perfect to find on the bandit that was cut down while legitimately trying to surrender.