Thursday, February 27, 2014

A rambling rant on one shots, vampire and my social calendar

I'm getting a real kick out of planning for this one shot. Enough of a kick that I kinda want to run a couple more rather than going with another persistent campaign just yet. As I sit here and go over the various details, little ideas for other one shots keep rearing their heads. Imagine setting up market stalls for a Changeling Hedge Market? Or a Call of Cthulhu archaeological dig? Or about a haunted house? All kinds of ideas....

Plus this article over here kind of sums up my concerns about persistent vampire. My last vampire campaign only lasted two years and that one was full of hope and sunshine, comparatively, with some pretty high humanity vampires run by players who used to declare that they loathed politics and its divisive nature (bit of burnout from an Elysium LARP they had once played, methinks).

Don't get me wrong. Vampire persistent LARPs are a lot of fun and they are relatively easy to run as a Storyteller because the players largely take care of themselves but they also require a delicate balancing act between external troubles to liven up the place and allowing space for internal strife. Plus, most players don't take public humiliation well and that's a really good tactic to use against a political enemy. Add in the kind of character investment you can only really get from a few years in-game and ... yeah. A recipe for some rather painful situations.

So I'm not so sure about running a persistent Vampire campaign. I want to pinch a bunch of ideas from the one I was going to run and maybe use that for another persistent campaign in the future as vampire does lend itself marvellously well toward persistent campaigns, in general, but I'm not sure I want to run vampire, per se.

It also helps that while I have players curiously watching the developing of the vampire game, I don't have much excited banter. This could be because the interest just isn't there but, knowing folks in Adelaide, it's equally possible that they're all nattering with much fervor and speculation among themselves but just aren't relaying it to me.

Even if you're an Adelaide person, you may be sitting there going .... "Right, I'm sure that's it." (Poor girl, how delusional ... why would people keep silent about something they like?)

I don't know if it's tall poppy syndrome or just excessive courtesy (best not interfere in what another person cares about), but past experience has told me you can't just an Adelaide crowd's excitement by its silence.

I almost cancelled my last Halloween party as my every attempt to talk about it either on the Facebook Event Page ended in me talking to myself with maybe one or two comments from people in total. Attempts to talk about it in person fizzled out quickly into an awkward moment or a hasty subject change even though I was only broaching the subject and hadn't talked their ears off in the past. Naturally I figured that for some reason everyone was either disinterested to an incredible extreme (I've had chats to my friends about incredibly dry and boring topics before) or were experiencing some kind of negative reaction to the party.

So I figured that I might either cancel it or, alternatively, just not put in the effort. I already had purchased a stockpile of sweets from a month ago so I figured that rather than bake anything or worry about decorations, I'd just lay that out. Best not to make a big deal of it.

Two weeks before the event a friend confided in me out of the blue and without provocation that *everyone* was talking about the event, that my Halloween parties were considered the big social event of the year in our group, and that some of my friends were eagerly awaiting it. NB: Halloween is normally quite a small, generally nonexistent, event on the social calendar that's just now coming into vogue - likely due to zombie movies and the zombie walk craze.

Cue a quick trip to buy decorations and more supplies!

Twice as many people actually attended that party than any other I'd held.

Now I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back and say I'm awesome. I'm not. If an American came down to see my Halloween party, they'd just smile to themselves and think it lacked a certain amount of effort and appeal. I just happen to be the main host out of my friends with a real love of everything creepy which means I dress up my house more than most.

The moral of the story is more that it's really hard to judge the hype of anything in Adelaide as people have the annoying tendency of expressing their interest and excitement to everyone except the key parties involved! This cultural trait may also be why few others in my social circle host much. No one expects accolades pre-event but knowing if folks want to come is a help.

Anyway, long story short ... I may have drummed up heaps of excitement for the persistent vampire LARP just off my Facebook page alone. Or not. I'm not sure. But the fact that I'm not bombarded with eager messages and comments means that they have given me the opportunity to consider my desires in an unpressured environment - which is probably the cultural intent of that habit. We wouldn't want to impose, would we? We're way too laidback for that.

And in an unpressured environment, I don't know if a persistent PvP and competitive game is what I'm really after. I'm yearning for more collaborative affairs that foster a team environment. I'm also a heavy plotter. I'm no LARP Director, don't get me wrong. My players have flexibility in how they handle things but things *will* have a habit of needing to be handled. That's just who I am.

And that works in vampire one shots but maybe I should be turning my eye to a different type of persistent game.

And maybe I should be gaining further experience in different genres through one shots before doing that at all.

What do you think?

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