Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Live Action Role-Playing Part Two

Last week I posted about the beginnings of our little Alliance LARP. Just a bit more about this one and some of the things we are doing!

So once December rolled around we had most of our racial "packets" ready. These are the backgrounds for each race that a person can play. And there are a lot of races! Elves, Dwarves, Hoblings, Saar, Ogres, Orcs and more. Each one has its own package that when a player build their character they get emailed to them. This one was always a mystery to me. Why after? Well there are some specific reasons for it. Some races are a mystery after all. An Orc will know thier heritage, but why would they know about a Saar's? Some races have some "secret" background information that only they would know (or care to share) and others will have to learn that In- Game (IG).
Now for the PLOT. We spent (and still spend) hours and hours building up our story. We have built an outline for the next 6 years of story. Mind you it is all "entry and exit" points for our story arc. But as JP always says "You have to start with your ending and work backwards". That is a pretty solid writing statement (go ahead, use it! You're welcome!) and it always takes me a bit to remember to do this. I'm kinda a "point a to b to c" guy and starting at C and working your way back seems so.... wrong. But it's not and I just have to learn to do it (learning is FUN kids!).

So with our 6 year arc prepared (and completely ready for PCs to throw a monkey wrench into it) we started with our Monthly PLOT and events. Again, this takes hours of work, even for something as "simple" as our evening events that we are currently running until our weekend events start in May.

We have so far run 2 events, a tavern night and our Masquerade. Although that sounds fairly simple, it isn't. We have PLOT meetings every 2 weeks to keep ahead of the events. Tavern was full of games so players can intermingle with new characters and get to know one another. So we had to design a few games, grab a couple off the shelves and figure out how they played into the night. We had to create NPCs (non-player characters for those that have never played a RPG before, give them a reason for being there and how they will interact with the PCs. So each NPC needs a back-story, some rumours to pass along and understand the other rumours that we are spreading to get our PLOT moving.
So currently we have several "core" NPCs. Myself, JP, Andreas, Kristen, Shauna, Abbey, Dayna and a few others. For the Tavern I was a big Ogre:
Gwen built me the vest and the hammer was all MINE! That thing was awesome. Over 5' long. Luckily, with the foam head on it, the impact is not as bad as if it was a solid piece (Gwen will argue that point.) Talk about taking one for the team, that yellow paint took me several showers and nearly a box of baby wipes to clean off. Needless to say I am testing out other paints from other suppliers.

So my NPC was an ogre who was not happy with the King, not realizing that the king was present (but in disguise...ooooooh). We had a gypsy fortune teller, a couple of orc NPCs and a Home Guard recruiter.

The culmination of the night was the storyteller (Andreas) regaling all with tales of King Ulric claiming the throne of Calandonia. Meanwhile, I, as the Ogre who hates the king, heckled the storyteller and made references to the King's sexual exploits and prowess. JP of course countered. Lots of improv between us and Andreas. Then the final fight was staged. I tossed JP over a table (one I brought from the store just in case it was damaged). That got some gasps from the players. We had our fighting routine choreographed and it went well. We fought, I died, and the crowd went wild. My cohorts (Abbey and Kristen) jumped to my defense and died as well. Fun was had by all.
Our Masquerade was in February. This was an important event as both the 2 "prominent" casters in Calandonia were present (The Archmage, me, and the Fatespinner, Gwen). We get to hate each other as the Archmage is technically in line for the throne should something sinister happen to the king and Gwen is the head of the Healer's Guild, whose rise to power "upsets" me.

As I entered the Hall, Dayna, playing the Home Guard Sergeant, announced me incorrectly as the "High Mage". Infuriated, I "Prisoned" him (a high level spell that completely freezes the player) and loudly corrected his error. Apparently that set the tone for my NPC and everyone was afraid to approach me for the evening. I was wondering why, and found out later. It gave me a good chuckle at any rate.

Our event ended with the death of the King's nephew, being poisoned, TWICE. Man someone really did not like him. Andreas really played up the nephew as a pompus self absorbed mama's boy. I'm fairly certain most will not lament his death. Shauna, who was playing his mother, has a great plotline that has sprung from the events. As well as Kristen, our "wench" who suddenly has another NPC that has a plotline emerging from her brilliant portrayal and she really brought the NPC to life.

Players truly drive our plot. The things they do completely affect where PLOT goes. They do things unexpectedly and that is what brings people back. Knowing that what they do shapes the world bit by bit. Now that is not saying that we just sit back and see what happens. Far from it. We just had a 2 hour PLOT meeting last Sunday where we worked out the April tavern and how that leads into May, June and beyond. I love the creativity and hate all the work! But when you create something and you get such a great response from the PCs that really makes all the work worth it.

LARP is taking the US and Canada by storm. What once was only thought of with that horrible "Lightning Bolt" video (google-fu or Youtube-fu it) has become more mainstream and accepted by the geek sub-culture.