LARPer’s Basic Needs

There are a number of basic needs that need to be considered when you’re planning out your LARP.  These might not be the most exciting of tasks, but they are essential.  The first logistical issues to concern yourself with are what aligns with a participant’s basic needs: warmth, thirst, hunger, shelter, trash collection and toileting needs.

Warmth: Is there some kind of temperature control?  Or a shelter to stay out of the wind and rain?  If not, make sure to inform participants beforehand so they can dress appropriately.  Consider providing access to hot drinks like tea, coffee and cocoa to help folks feel warm.  If it’s going to rain, see if your volunteers or participants could bring a couple marquis if there’s no indoor space and presuming you’re allowed to erect such structures.

Continue reading “LARPer’s Basic Needs”

GM Cost – Benefit Analysis of Effort

It’s important to effectively use your time when creating entertainment in your LARP.  Your time before game is limited and your time during the game even more so.  This means that the larger the game to game master ratio, the more work each of you have to do and therefore the more people you need to entertain with each ounce of effort.

Are you doing something that could easily be done by someone else?  For example, perhaps you need to set up a laboratory space and you have a cast of NPCs available who can do just that. Simple things can be done by players who arrive early such as putting drinks in the fridge.

Continue reading “GM Cost – Benefit Analysis of Effort”

The Sign In Experience

Your player’s first encounter with your game during their very first session will be with the sign in desk.  This section of the game experience is overlooked despite its importance in setting the scene for players – especially new players.  Will they feel welcomed and refreshed?  Or confused and frustrated?  You can make this process smooth or onerous depending on how well you resource the desk and how many volunteers you get.

Each LARP will have a different selection of tasks that need to be completed during sign in.

Continue reading “The Sign In Experience”

Creating LARP Rules Pt 5

Memory Tricks With Rule Creation

Standardise it. The easiest trick with this is to standardise where possible. If green lights means radioactive than I’m sorry but all your green glowies now emit radiation. Nope, you can’t use a green light to show that doors are locked / unlocked. Use a green image instead but don’t make it glow.

Poster it. If you have a mechanics’ work station where all the engineering feats occur, you could frame a somewhat in-game poster describing how the engineering skill works. This way folks can easily see what they need to know at a glance. This can be especially important with mini-games with lots of moving parts like an alchemy station where the ingredients matter. In fantasy games, you could go with parchments, scrolls and small tomes.

Continue reading “Creating LARP Rules Pt 5”

Creating LARP Rules Pt 3

Advice for writing rule books for LARP systems.

When crafting a rulebook think about how the player is expected to design their character and position the chapters in such a way that the player can build their character while going through the rules. If they have to jump around between chapters, perhaps find ways where box outs containing summary information can plug the gaps and allow for a smoother progression through the chapters. If you’re unsure how to proceed, turn to someone who has read a lot of rulebooks for assistance.

When double checking if your rule book is easy to read, see if there is someone who is willing to help you who has difficulty reading (even if simply due to lack of time) and pay close attention to what they have to say. When people check rule books during games they are going to be tired, stressed and in a hurry so their experience will be a closer match to players on the day.

Continue reading “Creating LARP Rules Pt 3”

RULE NO. 1: Don’t Diminish The PCs! 

This rule is the most important but the hardest to follow through considering the limited resources available to a Game Master. It’s also tricky because the players are often moving through a complex world and there’s always going to be entities, groups and even individuals who are far more powerful than them.

Encourage interactivity.  Always.  If you can find a way to make something dependent on player actions, go for it.

Share the spotlight.  This is where skill variety, character ties or factional connections can really shine.  Find a way to keep everyone involved and connected in the story.

Even when NPCs are talking to each other, player involvement should matter.  If two NPCs are going to have at each other, keep it short and snappy and let PC interactions dominate the discussion.  If they throw out a few comments here and there, make those comments matter.

Continue reading “RULE NO. 1: Don’t Diminish The PCs! “

Encouraging Players to try a New Game

While some players are eager to try new games, others are pretty happy with what they’ve got and don’t really want to try anything new. There are new rules to learn, new techniques required to succeed, and they just not be jazzed about the genre. So what can you do when you’re really excited about trying a new game and one, or more, of your players aren’t?

Firstly, sit down and have a chat with all of your players both individually and as a group about why you want to run the game.  Tell them what excites you about it and how long you’ve been thinking about it.  Most players will be sympathetic if there’s a game you’ve been yearning to run for years even if they have no personal interest in it.

Once they understand your enthusiasm, find out what they think about the game you’re offering and what kind of game they prefer.  See if they’re willing to at least try the game and offer to let them play without having to learn any of the rules.  Let them know some of the most useful techniques in that style of game so that they can feel confidant playing it.  You want to set the entry barrier as low as you can.

Continue reading “Encouraging Players to try a New Game”