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Getting Your Hands On Plot

One of the most common complaints in any LARP is how to get your hands on more plot. Plot being defined as compelling connections to the greater world or the overarching themes or wider narratives of the game. It involves being able to make a meaningful connection to how the game plays out. Being involved in plot is a two-way dance between GM creations and player actions and if you want to become more tied within the weave you can take some of the following steps.

First check if you have any plot.  You don’t have any plot?  Are you sure?  Sometimes it’s worth checking with the GM if you think you have no plot as you may be surprised at the large plot hooks that your character may have which you may have forgotten about or overlooked.  Significant chunks of time between sessions can often leave key facts by the wayside.  Seriously I’ve seen players overlook massive game-changing information and connections they had because time had obscured its relevance.

If you really don’t have any plot, contact the GMs (ideally between sessions) and ask them if there’s anything your character could be connected to or even suggest certain plotlines you’d like to be tied into.  Your best bet is to be relatively vague about this because GMs will be trying to find ways to connect you to existing plot even if in an unexpected fashion rather than create something entirely new.  If they create brand new plot for you, great!, but they might not be able to do so in a way that is immediately relevant.

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Saturday Godegian

Once my Cregan was dead, I went to dress up as a Godegian alongside the person who had played the wannabe defector. We decided to be sisters, and to be the cousins of Jack, who had thus far spent much of the game being beaten down and tortured. We then entered the game by sneaking around the back of the buildings, trying to get to chapel where we thought we would be safe. I made it up there without being spotted but she was seen, and two of the Cregans came up to fetch us. I had a little dagger but it was easily knocked from my hands.

We were forced to kneel and then sent into the restaurant with the others.  We then had an Out-of-Character break where we could eat dinner and chat for awhile with plans to re-establish our character ties and then set the game one week later.

My character ended up the pet of the new Cregan pyromancer.  She continued to act skittish and insane and utterly broken, hoping to use that to survive.  I also forged a lasting tie with another character who was my best friend in youth.  We were both thugs in youth though mine preferred to distract with magic tricks while she did the coshing.

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Saturday Cregan

We woke up early shortly after dawn and though several of us wanted to sleep in, as one rose so did others until there was a chain reaction of everyone getting up barring the Alpha and the Arvan slave. We were out before the Godegians were up. Dmitri, a trueborn Alpha who was more powerful than Rhaegar, arrived and we Cregans scrambled to keep him happy. He told us to awaken Rhaegar and so we did so.

Dmitri accused Rhaegar of being a weak dog, challenged him to an honour duel, beat him and then left him alive — taking him as a slave!  Unfortunately Cregan slaves could still hold their original position so he remained our Alpha.  My Arvan slave had made Dmitri a glorious silver greatsword which he used for the battle — he then broke off part of the crossguard and quietly gave it to me.  He instructed me to kill Rhaegar should he kill any more Cregans or too many more villagers.

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Friday Night Cregan

Evzenia’s story began on a dirt road, representing the path to Lilydale, with the rest of her pack while the villagers were searching for a local woman who had killed her violent husband.  Our Alpha, Rhaegar, sent Evzenia and the Pup (a brand new Cregan who had yet to achieve his first kill) over to scout around to find out how many fighters were present.  We were spotted almost immediately by a Godegian who was standing on the stairs to the chapel and who put out the call that Cregans had been spotted.

We legged it back to our Alpha, and then stormed the village as a group, striking down the guards.  In order to assert dominance over the villagers, Rhaegar pulled Jack’s wife (a character doomed to die) to the front of the group and butchered her brutally before Jack’s very eyes.  He then took the defiant Jack in chains and disappeared with him for more interrogation while Evzenia looted the remaining Godegians of their jewellery and coin and other Cregans threatened to kill them if they didn’t remove their necklaces quickly enough.

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Occupation of Lilydale Overview

Occupation of Lilydale revolved around two main factions — the Godegian villagers and assorted traders who lived and moved peacefully across the land and the Cregan packs and rangers who were trying to occupy it by force. The titular Lilydale was the village we were focusing on — the village we, the Cregan pack, were occupying.

The original Cregan pack included a wildly hedonistic Rhaegar, half-born Alpha who had killed the full-blooded Alpha in his sleep.  Alphas in this world was not only a role — the head of the pack — but often referred to a bloodline which gave rapid regeneration and incredible strength.  As a half-born, Rhaegar was still terrifying compared to the average Cregan — but he was not unkillable if enough attacked him at once.  His rapid regeneration was demonstrated by his high health points (10 which returned over time, though we weren’t told at the time what his actual health points were) and his strength (he could permanently break a weapon or limb by hitting it and saying Break).

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Drifter’s March Preparations

Over the past month we’ve gone over the plot overview for Drifter’s March and the kind of events that went down over the course of the game. Now we’re going to talk about the preparations I made for it in the first place.

Firstly, the rules.  The rules were something I’d been working on for over a year.  I literally read dozens of different LARP rule books before finally coming up with my own and I slowly amended mine over time as I thought up different scenarios or realised their flaws.  My rules needed to be fairly independent of the Game Master and to be based around accessing information or objects rather than new combat techniques.

I ran a playtest to stress test the bad guys and tinker with the combat / healing rules a little but unfortunately the playtest couldn’t really test most of the rules since most of the rules were based around things like lock picking and reading people.  Not exactly easy to do in a separate playtest.  We also did a workshop to help reinforce character ties and help people better understand the rules.  We had a pretty good turnout to both.

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Drifters March Lessons Learned

Drifter’s March was the biggest LARP I’ve ever run with 40 players and 11 cast members portraying NPCs. We’ve gone over an overview, some events that occurred during the game and the kind of effort that went into preparing for it.

Now I can talk about the various lessons that I learned from the event so that you can learn from the mistakes and successes I’ve made.

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Moments at the Drifter’s March LARP

So last fortnight we discussed a basic overview of the Drifter’s March LARP event we ran back in August, covering off on the different factions and meta-plots included. Of course it’s all well and good to know about the basic set up of a game, but what actually happened during it? What did the players actually *do*?

When the game began, a few of the rangers were injured in a firefight with the robots and their leader was badly wounded.  One of their lead scouts (an NPC or Non Player Character who was doomed to die) managed to open the door to the inn and call for help before being shot in the back of the head from the robot on the other side of the river and dying with a walkie talkie held in her hand.

Those in the hall leapt into action and a bunch of them headed out to find the rangers and provide support.  They could also hear a pair of reporters pleading for help.  One had her leg caught in a trap and needed someone who could disarm it.  (Each character had five skills which could include the ability to disarm traps, pick locks, or shoot guns, among other things).  They managed to get around the robot and move into position but they didn’t have much time to evac the ranger captain before they were attacked.

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Drifter’s March LARP Spotlight

Drifter’s March is a post-apocalyptic sci fi game set on an alien world that has only been colonised for around 200 years. Seventy years ago a terrible incident occurred which led to the nanite-infused Wastelanders occasionally becoming quick healing animalistic cannibals called Zed-Synths. The robots that were sent out to kill them could only tell a wastelander apart from a Zed-Synth due to a special beacon implanted beneath the skin … but then the robots were reprogrammed and now they will attack anybody.

Setting is really important. As you can see, a lot of the elements described above will have a really big impact on how the game plays out. Of course, the player factions were equally important so we had several choices that players could make which would affect their goals and alliances.

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10 Ways Props Add To Your Game

I’ve always been a big fan of props and have strived to make them wherever possible, in both tabletop games and in LARP. It’s part of why I absolutely adore Call of Cthulhu games because some of their props are truly stunning.

There are so many great things that props can do for your game! Here are just a few examples of the ways they can enhance things.

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