Creating LARP Rules Pt 7

Typical Rulebook Progression

Naturally different rulebooks are designed for different purposes but typically there will be a flow from general knowledge to more specific knowledge. So if there’s information *everyone* needs to know, it should typically be put at the front. If there’s information only some folks need to know, or which will be rarely spoken about, you can put it toward the end.

For a rules heavy LARP this might commonly look like:

  • Safety Rules / Costume Requirements / Equipment Requirements
  • Lore Vital to Character Creation (i.e. local area, local groups, game play supported).
  • More detailed information on Factions and Species (if required).
  • General Mechanics (i.e. health)
  • Classes (if required)
  • Skills
  • Magic
  • Equipment

For a rules-lite LARP this might commonly look like:

  • Safety Rules / Costume Requirements / Equipment Requirements
  • Lore Vital to Character Creation (i.e. local area, local groups, game play supported)
  • More detailed information on important groups
  • How-To Guides for specific forms of roleplay (i.e. running classes, investigating crime scenes)
  • General Mechanics
  • Equipment

The key rule to follow is to think about how folks make a character in your system. If magic is something that only certain classes have access to, then they need to choose their class before selecting their spells so put Class before Magic.

Where information must be repeated, such as if you need to know some of your skill choices in the class section but the skill selection is so large it needs its own chapter then you could include a really descriptive skill name or brief description of relevant skills in the Class section and then details on how it actually works later on in the Skills chapter. This reduces the amount of flipping back and forward between chapters.

Compare and Contrast

Take a look at several LARP rule books, both within and outside of your style and genre, and pick a few that you like and a few that you loathe. Go over each and figure out what works well and what works poorly for you. Can you easily understand the rules in the ones you like? If not, why not? What is it that draws your eye there then? Is it just aesthetics? A particular layout? Something else? What don’t you like in the rulebook?

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