Creating LARP Rules Pt 2

Should the skill stay or go?

Ultimately, this is up to you and the style of game but please remember that every mechanic adds an extra layer of complexity to the game. It takes brain power to remember the mechanics, identify the signifiers that the mechanic is coming into effect, and then respond accordingly.

If the skill is super intuitive (I shoot you with a NERF gun and if the pellet hits you act like you’ve been shot) than the brain power needed is less than if it’s unintuitive (I shoot you with a NERF gun and if the pellet hits you than you are super hungry for Weetbix if the light in the room is green or chocolate if the light in the room is red).

Mechanics that interact with each other also requires more brain power (typically). A red light means there’s gas in the area? Okay, I can deal with that. Wearing a gas mask protects me from gas…. Yep, that’s easy enough. But wait … my species can also affect how long I can survive in gas? And how that gas affects me? So now I have to remember both that red light means gas but also how that affects different creature types.

Handy Hint: Lore can help with this. Give players a reason WHY this impact happens and it can sometimes make it easier to remember. A species known for living under water or in planets filled with dangerous gases could intuitively hold their breath for longer which will make it easier for players to remember.

If you can put up infographics in appropriate spots, such as a healing poster by the med-bay, or an icons-on-the-name-tag-means-this poster in the larger social areas, you can help people remind themselves of the rules without sending them straight back to the rulebook.

Mechanics that affect numbers are harder to remember than mechanics that affect roleplay. It’s easier to pretend cough in a poison gas while fighting than it is to subtract 1 health point every 10 seconds in a combat where you might be taking damage from other sources.

Tracking progress bars also takes up brain power (and a lot of it) so if you can find a way to externalise it (will ring a bell every hour to let those poisoned know to advance their symptoms) it will really help. Having to remember to check a clock every hour is a lot trickier, especially in a LARP, so if it’s essential to try and have a few clocks around or put an hour glass near the object that requires a timer. Another option is to let your players know that they’re a rule of thumb so they can simply go with what feels like an hour.

If it’s a super strict timer, it can be best to keep it relatively short so players can literally count it down without too much trouble.

You can certainly run a complex rules system and some players will adore you for it. Just try to come up with ways to help people

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