Additives to previous posts
Last week I said that I’d write about ‘creating a race’, unfortunately this took longer to write due to it’s complexity and will therefore be posted in more than one entry. I’m sorry for everybody who was eager to read ‘how to create a race’, but I didn’t want to rush through it and forget things.
Instead this weeks post will contain comments and tips from people who responded on my previous posts. My guides, tips and tricks for LARP aren’t only made by me, but made by every LARPer. I’m the one who collects these things and puts it on a blog for everybody to read. So, if you have a comment, a tip or something you want to share, please do.
I’m sorry but I hope you still enjoy this! Alexjuh
Tips written by: Brian
Your entry is especially helpful for picking an event for the first time when you don’t really know what you want from the hobby yet.
As a more experienced LARPer, I rarely look at the ‘setting’-type when considering an event. I can enjoy any setting as long as I can get that which like from the event.
I find that the first thing I look al when considering an event is whether or not the organization want the same thing from the event as that I want. To me, this is most visible in the Rules. It’s my experience that after a while you start to see signs in the Rules that can tell you whether or not you will enjoy the event.
-When I see an event with little to no rules, I’m fairly certain that the organisation is going for an event with a strong story drive but less focus on immersion and game challenge (consistency and ‘fairness’).
-When the rules include things like “NPC contacts, monthly money income, political influence and downtime options”, I’m almost certain that the organisation values immersion and realism very highly.
-Whenever I see easy rules for healing and little consequences for falling below 1HP, I can conclude that combat will probably be frequent and jolly fun but frivolous.
When I read the Rules for an event, I can get a good idea about what kind of environment the organisation is trying to create.
Of course, a lot of people find the people with whom they are playing the most important thing to influence their choice. They’ll either visit events where their friends are playing or where people with the same interest in LARP (Immersion, story, challenge, battles, costumes etc.) play, because their ideas are similar.
Although I don’t care one bit, I know a lot of people who base their choice on fellow players or, at least, what kind of ‘crowd’ is common. For some people this can certainly help to make the choice a lot easier.
Getting through the rules of a LARP event
Tips written by: Brian
Your entry is very focused on ‘boffer-type’ events, but this is only one type of event. Although it is probably the first type people encounter and so makes for a good focal point for your article, but I wish you’d mentioned it somewhere.
Some things I missed especially for sequential events are:
Downtime; Certain events have rules that detail what happens to your character and the world when there is no event going on.
Advancement; Most rules will detail how your character grows from event to event.
Other event-types might break down their rules differently, for example:
In this type there are usually little to no rules. People act and respond to conflicts in ways they deem realistic or that drives the story to a better conclusion. Their goal is realism or entertainment in itself.
These rules usually talk about improvised theatre like saying “yes” to situations or how to safely enact physical violence with consent from the other players, etc.
These events sometimes still use ‘boffer weapons’, but you don’t have hit points or something similar; you just react to blows from a weapon the way you think your character would (e.g. Dropping to the floor and screaming for your mother).
in this type combat isn’t enacted ‘live’ with boffer weapons, instead the game is paused when people enter physical conflict and the players then take turns hitting each other. Sometimes conflicts are being resolved with a deck of cards, or rock-paper-scissors, or sometimes even with dice.
These rules usually tell you how your skills influence the odds of these types of combat resolution and what exactly you can do in a turn. These rules can tell you that you can take a specific amount of steps during a turn. Sometimes the rules also talk about what props represent actual in-game items.
This rarely occurs, but does exist. Some LARP events don’t feature physical combat at all, and thus don’t need rules for it. These LARP events usually revolve around social, mental or other forms of conflict.
Their rules usually detail the (social) hierarchies within the game and how players can climb or fall in these hierarchies. These rules can be quite complex and abstract, but usually they are actually quite simple and small.
LARP rules are very varied and depend highly on what sort of experience the organisation wishes to convey. This list is far from exhaustive and even within these types there are organisations that don’t follow these lines. But this list should include the most common LARP events people usually start with.
Tips written by: Diona
Think about the goals you want to achieve with your character. If you want a lot of interaction with other players it is a bad idea to write a character that is a shy, unworldly, fearful and has no vocal cords.
Tips written by: Brian
This entry seems very focused on Fantasy LARP events, which is probably fine but most examples you give should be easy to transfer to other settings. I’m missing two incredibly important things in this post though.
This is one of the pillars of your LARP character in my eyes. A goal or reason for being where you are will affect any other action and choice you will make during the game. Some organisations will give the players a unifying goal, but most (especially large) LARP- events won’t.
At a certain moment your character will realistically ask itself “why am I staying in this dangerous situation? Why wouldn’t I just go back home?” (Probably somewhere right after the first attack.)
Give your character a goal to achieve, something that isn’t possible in the first few minutes of your first event. Or give your character a goal that can never be fully completed but that he/she can continuously work towards.
Give your character a goal to achieve that isn’t achievable in the first few minutes of your first event. Or give your character a goal that can never be fully completed but that can constantly be worked towards to.
For example: “I want the most complete rare herbs collection ever.”
Or give your character multiple goals to complete. If need be, think of new goals when the old ones are completed or happily retire your character (*gasp* Heresy!) when you have completed your goals.
A side note: LARP characters tend to have grisly endings… or players just stop with the hobby. Rarely does a character say: “Hey guys, I’ve gained everything I wanted from this gathering so I’m going home. Farewell everyone and thank you for the adventure.” Before living happily ever after.
Tie yourself into the setting.
If you write your character correctly you will never be able to use him for a different LARP within the same genre without re-writing things.
A few examples: A well written Anne Rice Vampire might have a strong opinion about any other vampire that possesses the ‘fire gift’ (“They are all hotheads”), which wouldn’t work in the White Wolf vampire settings because the fire gift doesn’t exist. A well-written LOTR orc has a certain degree of loyalty towards Sauron and/or Saruman but might have a fearful and secret admiration towards warg-riders. These characteristics would be really weird for a Warhammer inspired orc. A well-written Game of Thrones bannerman might be a secret spy for another royal family because of his disbelief in the white walkers, which wouldn’t fit in any other setting.
Make sure your character has an opinion about things, people, politics, religion and/or places; contacts with people, companies or places; possesses things, etc. within the setting. It will give you an instant tie to the other characters when something overlaps and an instant opponent (if only in good mannered conversation) when something contrasts.
Bonus points if one of your goals is tightly connected with the unique points in the setting.
One last thing, You wrote that the way you write your background is up to you, but this really depends highly upon the organisation. Most of them will have their own preferences published in the rules or on their website. I personally don’t mind it at all if your background contains 15 pages, but I would hate to read character backgrounds written in a form of poetry.
I advice contacting the organizers and ask about whether or not they have any demands for the format, length or content of your character background, if they haven’t published it. They‘ll appreciate the initiative.
Writing your character, part 2: picking your skills
Tips written by: Danny
What I’d like to advice people is to take skills with which you can interact, or so called ‘role play’. In my opinion you can better start with a level 1 spell of a certain type of magic or start with a craft rather than taking more Health Points (also a very expensive skill and only a sort of ‘life-insurance’).
Tips written by: Brian
Not all LARP events offer skill point gain (or even skill points during character creation) most do, but it might be wise to note that some don’t.
You wrote: “But also when a skill doesn’t require a tutor, you can search for one. It gives you something to do at the event”
I highly advice against this in most realistic settings. Most LARP events revolve around a crisis situation which is not the time to start learning new skills. For most LARP events it personally feels really weird that people take that specific day to start teaching each others the basic of magical theory or reading and writing. You can do that when you are safely back home, not while defending the heart of the multiverse from imminent orc attacks for example.
Some LARP events actually force you to practice skills during their events with a tutor if you want to learn them, so obviously this is only my opinion.
Special mention for this entry: Doomsday General. Thank you for reading the first draft and helping with translation, grammar and filtering out little mistakes.
Next week’s entry: creating a new race, part 1.
Click here for the previous post: Writing a character, part 2: picking your skills.
Dit artikel is oorspronkelijk gepost op Alexandra’s blog (27 januari 2014) en is opnieuw beschikbaar gesteld voor LARP Platform.
Alexandra is momenteel actief met het organiseren van Dark Union, een unieke bad guy LARP in Nederland. Daarnaast is ze heel creatief meer leerbewerken onder handelsnaam Layers.