A check-in is a type of safety mechanic used by participants during a larp to assess or gauge another player's state. It can be used at any time if one is concerned about another, but it is typically used to determine if another player is OK and wants to continue playing. Most commonly, check-ins are employed in situations where you are unsure if the other person wants to continue a difficult or intense scene but, for whatever reason, may be unable to convey their wishes or feelings directly.
The check-in mechanic essentially asks another player, "are you OK?". Unless you get a "yes" from the other player in response to the check-in, you are supposed to Cut and talk the situation through.
The check-in mechanic can be bespoke for a larp design, and can consist of any code word, motion, or combination that the community agrees upon, practices, and uses.
A commonly used check-in method is the "OK Check-In," developed in 2016 and debuted at New World Magischola, a Nordic larp held in the United States. It is now used in many larps, as a way to ensure all parties are "ok" and to signal a need for negotiation or care.
The OK Check-In Procedure:
- Player 1 flashes the “OK” symbol — with the thumb and index finger touching in an “o” and the other three fingers extended upward — to another player and establishes eye contact. This gesture means “Are you okay?”
- Player 2 responds to the signal with one of three responses:
- Thumbs-up, which means “Doing fine, no need for follow-up.” Play continues without interruption.
- Thumbs-down, which means “I am not okay.” Player 1 should respond by taking the player aside and saying the agreed-upon words.
- Flat hand, which means “I am not sure.” Player 1 should still respond by taking the player aside and saying the agreed-upon words.