Friday, 30 January 2015

Crewing and Monstering

In my experience the vast majority of LRP game worlds are populated by the player characters and by NPCs (None Player Characters). The second group are played by some form of crew. At some games players are encouraged (or required) to take time out from playing in order to fill this crew role. Other players do the same for them. Sometimes crew are dedicated, and NPCs can appear briefly, or be regular recurring characters who are there as often as players are.

ladybird on a nettle leaf

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Talking about LRP

The best exchange of LRP ideas happens face to face. For me this normally ends up meaning in the workshop. Good conversations happen in places like pubs, at events people are monstering, and anytime you put a group of LRPers in the same place and they’re not actually LRPing.

This is a massive benefit of the LARP awareness party. It gives us a chance to talk about what we’re doing, and to look at the different opinions that are out there. Talks run throughout the weekend, from a wide variety of people running different systems and sites. A whole host of traders are present talking about kit options and exchanging ideas, and a large number of systems advertise there. It gives you a chance to talk to the people running events that you might like to play or crew.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Player Types

Every player is different. They like different things, they’re at the event for different reasons and you have to cater for all of them.

The first thing you can do to make your event easier is pitch it accurately. The players that will enjoy a physically tough action game may in part be the same players that want to sit around and politic for three days, but some of them won’t be, and even those that are will feel cheated by having prepared for one game and getting another, and while it is possible to run an event that offers an engaging experience for both groups, it would probably require a large and equally varied crew, and it would take a lot of experience to work out the compromises involved. I tend to leave that to fest events where they have the people and background to run that level of stuff and focus at being the best at whatever we’re running this week.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Guided Do

This post leads on from my earlier posts covering Tell, Show and Do encounters.
I spent a few days last week discussing scenario design for eLearning, and the Tell, Show and Do encounters were discussed there as well. They also had a Guide category.

Each encounter can be put into a category. A plot is made up of a number of encounters. The lowest value are Tell encounters - which is someone turning up and telling you something, or receiving a letter (or putting a document in a pack). Show encounters are where the players are shown something but can't actually do anything. Something happens to them. Do encounters involve the players (predictably) doing something.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Coherency - part 3

The things that happen in the world you create have to make sense. Maybe not to the players, but you have to understand why things happen and what the likely repercussions of your players actions are.

 You can change things after the time as long as you’re careful. I generally work to the following rules in most cases:
  • Death should be final - even if you made a mistake. Once players are dead they are dead. Unless you had a built in mechanism that all players knew about it’s not worth the damage that undoing death will do. If necessary, admit you made a mistake, but apologise and move on.
  • Acknowledge your players actions. There should be results for their actions. They don’t have to be the results that they wanted, but acknowledge their effort.
  • It’s your game. Decide what’s important to you, lay it out clearly and stick to it. Accommodate players ideas, but within your structure. It helps you to stay keen, and it helps the game to have an identity. It’s fine to say no to people.  

UK LARP Awards

UK LARP Awards.

In recognition of the UK LARP Awards I am spelling LARP incorrectly. This is to enable you to find it when you search for it to nominate your favourite events.

The LARP Awareness Party is happening the same weekend at the same location. It’s worth getting involved. It’s a good weekend and making it better represent UK LRP is good. A wide range of systems promote there and it’s a good chance to talk to other LRPers about what’s going on, buy or order some new kit, listen to the odd talk, and talk to people you normally only see in fields.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Finding Events

The UK has a wide and varied LRP scene. There are a wide range of small games of different styles that happen across the country. Most of them I will never hear of.

The UK LARP Awards run annually (along with the sister event, the UK LRP Awards which runs in the same location at the same time but with more accurate spelling). They’re fun. It’s a chance for a host of LRPers to get together, chat, and heckle each other. They’re also biased towards certain groups of LRPers. They only represent the people that get involved with them. A lot of UK LRPers won’t really have heard of them and it probably won’t occur to them to attend. When you get to small systems, if only 30 play a system and none of those are people involved with the judging at the LRP awards then they will struggle to decide which system wins (especially if they only have a locked Facebook group and no webpage, which is pretty much standard for the very small systems).

Monday, 5 January 2015

R&R characters at fest games

At Mandala events our crew get 4 hours sleep a night and have to hot bunk. We do feed them and keep them hydrated and we ask them to do ridiculous stuff. They come back because they enjoy it, and this is what we expect of our crew at Empire. We want people who are committed to crewing because it’s what they enjoy, not people who see it as a way to pay for a free ticket

These are fairly small events (up to 60 players) and we know we’re at the demanding end of this. We do run through the night. We work shifts. We have people queuing up to crew our events. They enjoy crewing our events and we have a very high quality, independent, reliable crew.


Set Dressing

You can run an event with almost any setting. Your event will be better if you can phys rep the setting in which you are aiming to run your event. I take this seriously. It's something that can really make you up your game.

It applies to everything - to the world, to the rules, to the costumes, and to the technology. In my opinion, if you're having to tell people what they're looking at you're doing it wrong.

We love SciFi events, and we try to do them well. We're pretty good at making the inside of a building look fairly futuristic, but we'll be the first to admit we struggle with dressing the outside of a scout site. We can do pretty cool looking set pieces, but we can't cover all that 'England' with something more blingy. 

The inside looks pretty sci fi

Friday, 2 January 2015


For the events I want to run I would like my players to be able to do things that they can't do in the real world. 

The players are reacting to a story. Even in a heavily Player versus Monster game you're relying on your players to interact and get involved with the world you've given them to make the story. Intense moments can come from putting players under stress and making them have to work to achieve things in difficult situations This tends to be a large part of games we run. Examples include the basics such as trying to rescue an injured comrade while people are trying to shoot you, and clearing a building knowing there's a good chance something bad is hiding in one of the rooms through to trying to replace parts for the power system whilst lying in a tunnel that's barely wider than you are in the dark with only one arm and a glow stick, or balancing meds on a critical patient and fighting to keep them alive.