Thursday, January 9, 2014

Considering a LARP of my own

A few years ago I ran a pretty successful low-key LARP involving about fifteen pals and acquaintances in a free city venue under the banner of the Adelaide University Roleplaying Something or Other. It was a lot of fun but since it was a pretty closed group the membership dwindled away over two years until I had five regular players whose characters didn't get along.

Now I've gotten the itch again

So naturally, I start thinking back to how much fun my previous vampire LARP was. I mean, sure, you always get some kooky players with some kooky character concepts, but so long as the majority work out then it's fine. If the characters don't get along due to innate differences ... great! They can perpetuate their own stories.

Plus the end of my last campaign introduced a neat concept involving manifestations out of the shadows themselves that was inspired by Alan Wake (though most assuredly different from it too). Why not take that same Adelaide court, leap it thirty years in the future, get some new players and characters to populate the ruins of the old court and go from there?

Of course, everything seems a bit more complicated now.

I can no longer simply register is as part of the university gaming club, which means either seeking out Public Liability insurance and Incorporation *or* paying the higher venue costs and risking greater personal liability. These two elements create a barrier of several hundred dollars.

Since the majority of gamers are either broke or cheap and enough players aren't exactly kicking down the door to pay an up front membership fee of $25 plus session fee for an untested game that doesn't exist yet, it puts me in a bit of a bind. I decided to create a three part semi-standalone series of historical sessions to try to raise money but on further examination found that I'm likely to raise only a little more cash than the cost of the events.

The last time I ran a Troupe Vampire LARP, there were plenty of people looking for a different kind of experience to that presented by the Camarilla (less political, more of a gilded cage, less paperwork - which is an essential part of a global game). However most of those players got what they sought from my campaign and scratched that itch *or* they found my game style wasn't for them and left. This means that I don't have a ready cast of players.

While the rules aren't so much an issue, trying to balance the characters which have been submitted with an eye to creating a fun and coherent game is tricky. It's not that *I* particularly care about a custom ability or a potent combat wombat, it's more what it could do to the game. If one person sinks loads of dots into combat, then anyone who has a mere 3 & 3 (rather than 5 & 4) can end up feeling (or worse, being treated) like a joke. Custom mechanics can also affect the themes of the game in a way that the other players might not like, especially if it unfairly makes one character seem way more special than any other from the get go.

Trying to explain how someone's funky concept or highly focused stat lines could actually shatter immersion and ruin the game for other players is ... well, suffice it to say, it's often kinder to just spout some banal line about "It not being a good fit," and making it sound like I'm being a precious ST trying to protect my own artistic credibility.

So yeah, a lot of complications here. I'll have a chat on the upcoming weeks about the work I've put into it thus far. A Glimpse Into The Life Of A Start Up LARP Organiser.

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