LARP Writers' Workshop 2011 Point-Form Minutes
- Bee, Berndt, Andrea, Jo, Lara, Philip, Rudy, Rolf, Jeremy, Desilu,
Simon, Adrianna, Camilla, Justin, Roxy
Types of LARPs
- Boffer LARPs
- Theatre-style LARPs
- Gamist (plot driven)
- Immersionist (understanding what it's like to be a particular character)
- Dramatist (player objectives different to character objectives)
- Murder mystery dinners
- Campaign LARPs
Overview of a LARP-writing process
- Idea phase (often long; variable in length)
- Black Coffee Blues started with an idea for one character.
- Consequences came from the idea for a setting.
- Historical research can be a rich source of ideas.
- Revenge of the Yak had a giant spider diagram.
- Using Fiasco to generate characters.
- Co-writers are very useful for shooting down ideas.
- If you're writing alone let ideas simmer for a week—if it
still looks good it's probably a good idea.
- Selecting number of characters.
- Gender flexible characters are very useful.
- Subtextual relationships.
- Allies are very powerful effects in LARPs.
- Small LARPs become implausibly connected.
- Small LARPs can be more emotionally intense.
- Selecting setting:
- Historical settings.
- Established fantasy settings.
- Homebrew setting:
- Situation and containment:
- Official events.
- Exploding collars.
Comparing LARPs to other forms of storytelling
- LARP writing can be beneficial for other writing forms because it
emphasises character construction.
- Writer has less control—tight plotting is more difficult.
- Only medium where player embodies a single character.
- Collaborative—you write characters and then give to other people
to see what they will do with it.
- Comparisons with Improv:
- Could possibly workshop characters.
- In LARPs the players are the audience.
- LARP has simulationist aspects
- NPCs who die early.
- NPCs who are pseudo DMs.
- Silly LARPs can get great use out of cards.
- Power limit LARPs.
- A bit like designing a small card game.
- Need to define what telepathy is.
- Lots of DM work.
- Unconciousness or anything that take people out of the LARP is tricky.
- Limited resources are good.
- Can write numbers on people's name tags or on objects and let
people open their correponding numbers when they see the
- Useful for conveying information that is trigger by events.
- When writing mechanics think about whether they require a DM.
- Players shouldn't be asking you over to talk ask about their
characters—that should already be in there character sheets. DMs
should only be called over to handle unusual situations.
- Insane characters:
- Insane asylum LARP:
- Red objects behave differently for players and for non-insane NPC
- Food can be used as a gimmick:
- Race specific food.
- Characters bring food into the LARP with them.
- Setting specific food.
- Tricky because food is both in and out of character.
- Underlying world rules:
- Important to make these things clear.
- E.g. does a small mask constitute a disguise.
- Being able to call in outside help.
- Size of venue can make a big difference:
- Rock, paper, scissors works nicely.
- Nice idea: rolls can't kill you—players have to explicitly decide
to kill another player.
- Having non-combatants be able to influence combat, or be emotionally invested.
- Keep them short.
- Enforce them properly.
- Use distance moved as time ticks rather than fixed amounts of time
(in order to discourage running / sprinting).
- Character sheets completely in-character.
- Keeping two groups separate and then mixing them.
- Ships, Islands, Space stations, Submarine.
- Masters, servants, merchants (layers).
- Can be soft barriers to interaction, hard barriers are not good.
- Character changing:
- Suddenly losing all your goals / progress for the last hour is not fun.
- Romantic subplots.
- No real guns or knives.
- Characters who have amnesia.
- Finding people takes time.
- Formal negotiations take time.
- Collecing M out of N requirements.
- Resource contention.
- Players being able to delegate to other players.
- Having to interact via intermediaries.
- Broad-opened goals:
- causes, kleptomania, dependents
- Dramatist LARPs can be tricky for new characters.
- Check each characters motivation in each of their plots.
- Check difficulty of each goal.
- Mentally cast the worst person in each role.
- What would happen if you ran the LARP without each character.
- Check allies and enemies:
- Evil == minority position + self interest.
- Allies being blackmailed won't help you when you're down.
- One real ally is a good idea.
- Minions are allies.
Writing character sheets
- Memorable, pronouncable names.
- Titles are really helpful!
- Short forms of names are realistic and useful.
- Some people like double-spacing others don't.
- Some people like two-column.
- Name, single line archetype plus age, life history, recent events,
summary of people you know, equipment and special abilities.
- Good production—images, nice format, booklets.
- Which information is widely known, which is secret.
- Get proof-readers.
- Preferrably not one of the writers.
- They can help DM the playtest.
- Stick blurb at front of general background if you want people to read it.
- People's first encounter with your LARP.
- Have it spell-checked. Show of your LARP.
- Mention style of LARP, seriousness.
- Writing style infuses character with personality.
Running a LARP
Writing solo vs with co-writers.
Many characters vs few characters.
- Book: Nordic LARPs.
- Roxy is writing a LARP about historical figures from the medical school.