The 10 Balancing Acts of Horror

I have always been fascinated with the horror genre. I think its the queer mix of humor in the face of adversity, the strain of watching others in jeopardy, the fright factor of scary concepts, and the grittier ker-thunk of wretched realism which takes a look at just how bad a certain something can be. Since I’ve always loved horror, I’ve always wanted to run it.

The trouble is that a horror game is bloody hard to run.

After all, a horror game is a tight rope walk between opposing concepts, some of them intrinsic to the genre and others to the format of role playing. So to help wrap my head around what to do and how to do it, I’ve written up a series of articles on how to deal with the issues of balancing the various needs of the game to bring out the most horror potential.

Please note that this series of weekly articles is focused on both LARP and tabletop games though the monster article has a focus on LARP.

Horror Tips 1: Personal Investment

Horror Tips 2: Dealing with Dread

Horror Tips 3: Pacing

Horror Tips 4: Monsters (focuses on LARP)

Horror Tips 5: Playing Environment

Horror Tips 6: Threatening Nature

Horror Tips 7: The Flow of Information

Horror Tips 8: Props

Horror Tips 9: Death vs Continuity

Horror Tips 10: Scaring the Players

13 MORE Tips On Being A Better LARP Player

There are some things you can do that will especially help out your Game Master in running a fun game, maintaining a good relationship with their venue and keeping the players around you happy and involved.

These focus on out-of-character behaviours that can really help the game experience. If you’d like to read the earlier article, check out 13 Tips on Being A Better LARP player.

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Managing Bleed Through Game Design

Bleed is a LARP term defining emotional crossover between a player and their character. It’s not a bad thing. The rush of excitement on finding an important gadget and the satisfaction of an in-game job well done are also bleed. Bleed can also occur when our experiences affect our character’s behaviour such as when a player’s exhaustion leads to their typically free-wheeling character becoming quiet and withdrawn.

Other emotions such as fear, guilt and sorrow can also be entertaining experiences in a LARP that help us feel immersed.  There are plenty of players who will specifically attend a LARP that is designed to invoke an emotion that we may typically avoid in real life.  How many people attend horror LARPs for the possibility of feeling, just for a moment, a whiff of actual fear?

The problem arises when these emotions overwhelm us or when they persist over time.¬† It is one thing to feel sad during a character’s funeral and it’s another thing altogether to be crying over a fictional death a few weeks later.¬† Yet just as events in a television show can affect us long after we have stopped watching, so can a LARP continue to affect our emotions well after the scene ends.

Continue reading “Managing Bleed Through Game Design”

Welcome to ARC Inc.

We started the Adelaide Roleplaying Community Inc. in 2014 so that we could bring a range of different games to fruition in Adelaide. We began with a single Vampire: the Requiem LARP campaign slated to go for 1 1/2 years and now we have murder mysteries, tabletop days, political games, sandbox campaign LARPs, terrifying events involving zombies and other horrors and games where you dress up as elves and hit each other with foam swords.

We’re hoping to put together as much information on various gaming organisations and meet up groups in Adelaide in one spot so that local gamers can find games more equally. ¬†Hopefully we can also help people set up the games they want to run so we will also be posting weekly articles on local events, locally developed roleplaying games and simple advice articles filled with handy tips on roleplaying games both in tabletop and LARP form.

If you’re interested in contributing to this web-site, please contact us at adelaideroleplayingcommunity@gmail.com