When I initially planned my LARP back in January, my plans revolved around an expectation of between 25 - 35 players. I don't know why I was so ambitious. I suppose because I knew I had a ridiculous amount of both interactive and decorative elements and I knew that hundreds of folks in my home city have LARPed before over the years. If they had gone to LARPs that had fewer (sometimes even no) props, phys-reps and interactive elements that you could touch and discover, surely they would be eager to come along to my LARP simply to bathe in the ambiance if nothing else.
No such luck. Whether due to LARPer burnout or a lack of interest in vampire, or the shortcomings of free advertising, we ended up having only 12 tickets purchased.
Or should I say, loads of luck ... because this ended up being a really awesome LARP and it could only have happened with a small but wickedly awesome bunch of LARPers, first timers and experienced.
Sometimes things work out for the best when they don't go according to plan. After all, a 30 player adventure-style game is difficult indeed, especially when you're using dice and therefore going more down the path of murder mystery style clues than boffer weapons and swinging traps.
Still the realisation that I had fewer players meant I couldn't put all my reliance on simply giving a bunch of players opposing goals and letting them "have at each other" for 6 1/2 hours. A dozen players can easily make amends or choose to quietly hold a grudge after a couple hours. While thirty folks will get in each other's way often enough to make peace (or at least a new status quo) hard to grasp, a dozen individuals will get enough time to resolve their differences if they need to.
And yes, this is a vampire game, but without crazy levels of escalation, you also run out of things to do. There's only so many folks you can give a rumour to and so many ears to whisper "Don't trust him" in before you've done it all.
So I needed a plot framework *and* I needed a capstone ending.
And I only realised I needed these things two weeks before the LARP began.
Naturally I only discovered what the framework would be on the Monday before game and I only discovered the ending on Tuesday. And yes, yes, I've heard that you don't need to come up with endings in LARPs because the players will all mystically come to a fitting conclusion that is mutually satisfactory and needs no GM involvement and HOGWASH I say. Pure hogwash.
Creating a game with no ending in mind works for *some* LARPs but not for *all* LARPs and it certainly would've rung a death knell for this game which was otherwise great but really needed something to keep it from trailing off into speculation and confusion. But I'll discuss that more tomorrow.