Friday, 14 November 2014

Writing for the real world

Good sites are hard to find. Finding interesting and innovative sites that are set up be used requires hours of work. My own personal limits include no site that doesn’t have water and I’m not hiring toilets. I suspect I would break the second one for the right location.

I’m lucky to be with Mandala, we have facilities for catering for large numbers of people and a generator as well as tents. We’re set up to be able to run in reasonably basic locations. We also have people stupid enough to try it.

Running modern day events either involves looking at the standard hostels, campsites and hotels or finding a building that’s abandoned/between uses, but that hasn’t degraded to the point of being unsafe/not having water and toilets. That’s actually a fairly small window. I’ve done bat surveys in buildings that have been empty for only 2-3 years and they’re already falling apart in ways that would make them unsuitable for living in or around, which we need for our events.

Events don’t have to be based on one location. As long as you have enough transport for the number of players that need to move between sites you’re okay. We’ve never tried this. The games we’ve run haven’t suited it due to genre (there’s been talk of locking people into the back of a van dressed as a shuttle, but we’ve not done it). However, games I’ve played have. We were all taken off to a tea room from SlenderLRP to talk to the staff and find out more history of the location we were in.

I really enjoy LRP being merged with the real world. Modern day LRP gives you an entirely functional economy (although you’re a little limited in the range to which you can phys rep a rich character, for example), it has the largest number of NPCs you’ll ever have. Players have a huge world to explore (as long as you can safely lose them).

That last one is a point. If players have the entire world to explore you need to work out why they would stay in the places you want them to stay in, or whether it matters if they do. For example, you’ve put them in a building filled with ghosts and murder. Why do they not just leave? You can lock the building down, or you can accept that they will need to play characters that will choose to stay. You’ll need to ensure they find reasons not to run. Most players will work with this.

Visits add realism. Giving people targeted locations that they can go and explore adds to the depth of a game, and makes things feel much more real. Also car journeys are pretty good for interplayer communication and giving people a chance to catch up on what’s going on. Plus I have been to the Northwest three times now and not made it to a beach. I want to LRP on a beach (You heard me!).
Sunset over marshes

Using multiple sites also allows you to look at the those sites you couldn’t use (because they’re museums during the day, utter ruins with no toilets, don’t have anywhere for people to sleep etc) and find ways to build them into your game. You can take a group around a stately home looking for information - it’s an increase in the ticket cost, but it adds value, and gives your crew a chance to rebuild the main location.

If you’re running a real world game, then your major advantage is the real world. It’d be a waste not to use it, and any character you’re playing would have to get by in the real world in order to manage normal life.