Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Possible LARP Benefits of Status

The following is something I am considering for my vampire LARP to make the status game a bit more interesting and give people more incentive to either increase their own status or decrease another person's status.


·         The high status characters must delegate, where possible, duties and dangerous actions to the low status characters, because High status characters are better informed about various plots and so if they do not delegate plot solutions, it is more difficult for low status characters to stay involved.  This is further emphasised by the general differences between the experience point pools of those who are high status and thus generally older and those who are low status and generally younger.  Luckily those who are high status are, by default, allowed to delegate.

·         Those who refuse to accomplish any delegated actions without payment and act as though they are high status are welcome to do so but they will be under the same plot restrictions as those who are high status.

·         Those with more status gain more feeding grounds and thus gain free dots in that merit equal to their Status -3 to reflect the number of blocks they have been assigned.

·         While the Low have plenty of reasons to hide their actions from the High, the High have plenty of experience and a fair amount of reason to sniff out those actions.  Thus those with High Status may ask simple Yes / No questions about other characters that reflect the kind of insight gained from gossip, body language and information one might gather from myriad conversations over the week.   This can be avoided by avoiding all other vampires but they will be told if you do that.

o   Each character has a certain amount of Insight Points equal to their Status - 2. 

§  Valued characters have 1 Insight Point.

§  Respected characters have 2 Insight Points.

§  Admired characters have 3 Insight Points.

o   Asking a question about a target costs a number of Insight Points equal to the target's Status.  

§  Respected and Admired characters cannot be queried in this way. 

§  Valued cost 3 Insight Points per question.

§  Recognised cost 2 Insight Points per question.

§  Acknowledged cost 1 Insight Point per question.

o   You can spread your questions among several characters, or only one.

o   You may spend insight points on NPCs who are part of the vampire court.

o   Insight points may only be spent during downtimes or coffee hour.

o   Insight points don't stack.

o   GM has the right to veto certain questions.

o   Answers will never be precise and generally range from:

§  "Probably."  Whether intentionally or otherwise, whether it has already happened or is likely to happen or is currently happening, your question reads as more than likely to come to be.

§  "Maybe."  Basically it's uncertain.  The possibility is there, being floated, but the character hasn't truly committed to it.

§  "Probably Not."  It's highly unlikely to happen or they just haven't thought of it yet.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Musings on a possible Shadows Left Behind LARP

Being inspired by Alan Wake, Silent Hill and even Forbidden Siren and Dead Space has inspired me to consider how I might create a horror LARP.  Now these are tricky things to run as immersion is key, and even harder things to recruit for as most players understandably want social intrigue, crazy exploration and to indulge power fantasies of being incredibly capable in their hobbies.  Which is fair enough, we never get to be the hero in real life but we do get to be anxious about our shortcomings.

Of course, one can always draw in a bit of a comedic element in a horror LARP like with a Brooklyn Nine Nine against a back drop of Silent Hill but there's oodles of risks there if it veers too far into farce.

Anyway, such a game would encourage a sense of unpredictability.  The rules of the game would change.  One day they might come across hiding from the mist that rolls in from over yonder while another session could involve staying out of the dark and wielding light as a weapon.  Defiling normalcy by setting events in businesses, supermarkets and cinemas can make for interesting (if hard to prop for) locations.

Being trapped and unable to escape the region would certainly add an element of suffocating claustrophobia great for any occasion.  Warping minor reality cues, like cold steam filling the air in a particularly wet fog or certain sounds being amplified, warped or reduced can also occur.

Of course, thinking up a setting is easy.  It's the practical considerations of rules set, immersion factors, character guidelines, advancement and what precisely you do during the game sessions that are the hard part.  Still it does bear thinking about.

I know that whatever I use will have to be simpler than the vampire system I'm currently utilising which has an inherent basic complexity rivalling Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons.

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Own Fears

I'll be this isn't what you were expecting when you took a look at this article.  I'm not talking about my fears to do with work or running games.  Oh no, I'm talking about those bits and pieces that creep you out that can empower your own horror games.

  • Something bad doesn't notice you so long as you don't notice it.
  • Paralysis in the face of danger.
  • Someone else's fear / incapacitation / pain.
  • Isolation - either physical or emotional.
  • Things under the bed.
  • Certain movements / shapes that are unfamiliar and alien to us.
  • Crossing the bed boundaries will attract the bogeyman's arms.
  • Inability to see things clearly - possible threats everywhere!
  • Escape routes being routinely blocked off, locking you in with the threat.
  • Exposure to an unseen threat.
  • Inability to hide.
  • Fear of contagion (especially using mundane vectors similar to disease or radiation)
  • The classic Death, Mutilation and Helplessness trio
  • Dying in agony
  • Witnessing a loved one die in agony
  • The ordinary slowly warping from the threat in a setting / location manner
  • Betrayal and realising the one you love has been corrupted by the Threat
  • Feather of mutilation, especially having to self-mutilate to survive
  • Having to do something awful to stop a greater threat (sacrifice one for the many)
  • Being near safety but unable to reach it, getting caught so close
  • Being near a rescuer but unable to call out, getting grabbed or falling down
  • Being the subject of misinformed vengeance (i.e. not my fault)
  • Something that only moves when you look at it.
  • Or the flip side, "Don't blink".
  • Betrayal by your own body.

Session Titles

There's nothing like a Session (or rather, adventure) title to keep you on track and help you create sessions with a definitive beginning, middle and end to give your games that cinematic appeal.  Naturally you shouldn't design the ending, but having some idea of possible closure such as "solve the murder" or "deal with the thieves" are good ideas regardless.

Anyway, off the tangent and on to titles.  I've recently come across a bundle of them I'd put together for a Demon: the Fallen game set in Adelaide which include:

The Pied Piper
Catching the Midnight Train
Divided Loyalties
Sentient Specimens
Blanchetown Blues
Hotel Hisil
The Dame in Blue
The Bus Never Came
The Ravaged Thrall
Wanted: Damned or Alive
The Tithe of Humanity
Love For The Fallen
The Haunting of Saint Claire
Return to Eden
The Chinatown Web
Bodyguards at the Circus

I'm quite proud of myself for those names and suggested adventures, even though I didn't get to run many of them.