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Author Topic: Differences in writing 'adventures' for LARPs vs. Tabletop.  (Read 18638 times)
sean2099
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2006, 04:09:58 PM »

Hi all,

All of you have continued to make good points here.


In a table-top, there is always some player plot, but often the players are guided or hanging by what the ST has created for them to defeat, go after or need to accomplish. While this is true in a L.A.R.P., this factor actually can hinder the game very quickly!

The best L.A.R.P.'s that I have seen, will give way to player plot over storyteller plot. In a good L.A.R.P., a storyteller will still introduce plots but be willing and MUST be willing to allow that plot to be completely screwed over by player plot/interaction.

The only things that must be absolute before you begin larping; is the world properties/definitions, the potential abilities, interactions and changes, and the rules of which they all operate. Are there NPC'S that will always exist? Evil, Good, Tangible, Interactive from the start? Have a set of absolutes, and then have things that can be altered.

These absolutes are things that players cannot alter, or would have an extremely hard time altering. (never say never...)
Then, write up a loose plot, watch your players and go off of their playing cues...If they get lazy, throw them some wild cards; if things are frantic; toss in another kink or a moment of rest with a well timed NPC.


I agree with your points but they teeter over the edge from plot to ST style.  I guess that leads to another question:  When you design adventures for others, how much attention do you pay to "ST style."  Do you just present the plotlines, rules and a list of facts/events or do you include a primer on play style? 

Right now, I have the former.  I have a timeline of what can happen if events are left unchecked but I have left the task of "teaching roleplaying" to other people.  I have my list of rules and etc.

Indeed! Sesere (a see-sense-reveal system described on my labcats blog, which I link to upthread) is intended to be a different way to make bangs appear in play, but especially in a longer game, you don't usually want to rely on this all being done by the players without any prompting at all.


I need to take a peek at this before making any comments.

Thanks,

Sean

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IndigoDreamer
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2006, 07:42:57 PM »

Quote
I agree with your points but they teeter over the edge from plot to ST style.  I guess that leads to another question:  When you design adventures for others, how much attention do you pay to "ST style."  Do you just present the plotlines, rules and a list of facts/events or do you include a primer on play style? 

Right now, I have the former.  I have a timeline of what can happen if events are left unchecked but I have left the task of "teaching roleplaying" to other people.  I have my list of rules and etc.


ST style matters, but more so does the length of the game matters and the intentions of what you are basing the world/game environment upon.  As for primer; it's just important to realize that some styles of storytelling just won't fit well with certain styles of writing or larp environments.   By acknowledging this; you don't set your game up to fail by forcing it into a format that doesn't really let the game shine like it should/could; so I don't think setting an example of playstyle is a bad idea at all.  If anything, it is a way for the potential storyteller to 'know' if the game is right for them; or the best way to storytell the game.

If you have a timeline, you have to debate how long to extend this timeline.  If it's a set line of events; when those events happen determines for everyone the length of the game to an extent, depending of course on if you're adding extentions to the game or leaving it open ended.

The way you have it sounding; there is a closed ending with a time frame?
Personally, I love games that Have an end that is timely; but then again if you really enjoy a game; you want it to continue or find a reason to play it again, even though now the time and even factors can't be duplicated without already knowing it all.
Those are things to keep in mind with a larp as well.
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sean2099
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« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2006, 02:49:30 PM »

Actually Indigo,

When I am writing this, I know I am splicing hairs and perhaps I am restating the obvious...I started this thread because I have a game I am working (imagine that... :)) and I wanted to add some scenerio suggestions to it and I have never worked on adventures for LARP style play (I feel like my rules are 'open' enough for that style of play.

In other words, the 'adventure' I wrote isn't the game en toto.  I have the rules available as well as the scenerio I wrote based on those rules on my website.  I should have more free time in about a week, so I can really work on tweaking the game and scenerio.  I want to add more scenerios as well work on another project.

Thanks,

Sean

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IndigoDreamer
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2006, 12:33:54 PM »

My thoughts were that when you do give the scenario as a possible storyline, perhaps suggest a plausible timeline?   Some storytellers are better than others at "time management"  He he...

I'm a staunch supporter of tabletop games turned larp and honestly, and imo, the biggest difference is just the 'chaos' and player interference factor that larps bring that tabletops cause less of.  (due to sheer amount of people playing!)   Everyone knows there's a million ways for a small tabletop to 'rain' on the storyteller's parade, and in a larp, that's just magnified.  I've seen S.T's practically pull out hair when their players cause the st's plot to completely wash.

So therefore, the solution to the biggest problem is considering every possible way that someone might try and react to the timeline/story and make sure that it can do no more than delay or slow things down, or speed things up.  (depending on what you want to happen in the story)  -possibly get some friends to screw with your system and help you figure out ways to break it?)

Will you be posting progress and how the story is working out?  (playtest, how it's working out, and the like?)

I'd be really interested in seeing how someone else goes about the transition.  (I'm doing one myself)
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sean2099
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2006, 04:24:51 PM »

....................

Will you be posting progress and how the story is working out? (playtest, how it's working out, and the like?)

I'd be really interested in seeing how someone else goes about the transition. (I'm doing one myself)

I'll post my findings in the playtesting forum.  While I don't consider this a playtest, I did talk to a friend about the scenerio. 

1.  I decided that I needed to add a character prompt dealing with the nature of priest-worshiper interaction.   He imagined hearing the prayers but feeling a bit overwhelmed at the number and nature of the prayers.  We talked about how would he use mortals without making into automotons. 

2.  I also need to aid ST via prompts on the city.  With the right details, the scenerio could be set in any time.  I'll add them but I am not sure about the level of detail needed.  I am sure the tone of the game would change if the events took place in a small town versus a metropolitian city.

3.  Right now, I have power limitations on high-low use but not on how often?  As it is, once there is a base number of mortal worshipers, you can use powers at level x or lower.  I could use some people to go through the power lists and see what could happen if (let's say) level 3 or under powers have unlimited usage.

4.  edit the link for rules...http://agesgaming.pbwiki.com/f/divinity.pdf
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mneme
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2006, 06:29:00 AM »

So therefore, the solution to the biggest problem is considering every possible way that someone might try and react to the timeline/story and make sure that it can do no more than delay or slow things down, or speed things up.

Sorry, knee-jerk, but...

If they can do no more than delay or slow things down (or speed things up) you're doing something wrong (or, more accurately, playing a game I like less than other games).

The players' actions should make a difference.

Also -- I actually think it's more important that the GMs have control over timing -- be able to kick things into overdrive or slow things down so the game doesn't end too early -- than that they have control over -plot-.
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sean2099
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2006, 12:26:49 PM »

So therefore, the solution to the biggest problem is considering every possible way that someone might try and react to the timeline/story and make sure that it can do no more than delay or slow things down, or speed things up.

Sorry, knee-jerk, but...

If they can do no more than delay or slow things down (or speed things up) you're doing something wrong (or, more accurately, playing a game I like less than other games).

The players' actions should make a difference.

Also -- I actually think it's more important that the GMs have control over timing -- be able to kick things into overdrive or slow things down so the game doesn't end too early -- than that they have control over -plot-.

Hi everyone,

IMHO...

I think Indigo was talking about story pacing while Mneme is talking about plot...related but different my gut tells me of this point.  I do think one could add to pacing "Put a complete monkey wrench into everything, bringing everything to a screeching halt or making the story change direction."

My belief is you should have a "mutable baseline" for the plot and be prepared to adapt to plot changes, which may end up speeding up or slowing down events.

Sean
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mneme
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2006, 02:18:13 PM »

Actually, I addressed both -- that the GMs need to have a lot of control over pacing (because in the end, the site needs to close on time), but not so much over plot, including the big arcs, once the game begins.  But I may have misenterpreted Indigo.

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sean2099
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« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2006, 04:41:02 PM »

Hey Joshua,

I wanted to apologize publicly for my incomplete posting of your points.  You were including plot and pace while Indigo was focused on pacing...again INHO. 

Speaking of what to focus on...is it just me or do you find yourselves concentrating on the "macro" when thinking about LARP and on the "micro" for tabletop.    I guess it's obvious but how much disparity in detail level is there?

Thanks again everyone,

Sean
 
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Lisa Padol
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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2006, 12:16:20 PM »

Yes, players have to adjust from Act to Act as they get new information about what happened and what they did. Our players seemed delighted by the surprises. The mechanism is designed to protect pacing of the revelation of the various background plotlines so that a player doesn't resolve everything in Act 1.

Warning: Opinions Follow.

Ghod almichty, I hate, hate, hate that. Note that I have played in one larp of this style. It was a Girl Genius larp, with guest appearanced by Phil Foglio. I was playing Von Pinn. So, I was having fun.

In Act Two, I was accused of making a play for Adam, Lilith's husband. Indignantly, I denied it.

In Act Three, I learned it was true.

I would have made my denial completely differently if I had known I was lying.

Yes, I consider this different than players and GM (if any) in collaboration saying, "You know, maybe your PC is lying. Can we go with that?" I'm part of the retconning. Here, I just felt -- well, not shafted. Not betrayed. Just -- very, very dissatisfied.

Quote
What about all the retconning that, you complain, destroys role-play? Imagine a Dogs tabletop game. You go to town and learn from Brother Enos that Sister Constance is cheating on her husband. You and the other Dogs confront her. Now, for the sake of argument, I as GM do something I'd never do in a real Dogs game: I tell you that your character is the one sleeping with Sister Constance.

I find it telling that you'd never do it in a real Dogs game. I submit that there is a reason for this.
I also think that if I am playing the Dog in question, I'm a) playing with people I trust, including a GM who will take it back if I really don't want my character to be sleeping with Sister Constance or b) making a deliberate decision to play with people I don't know as well as my gaming group specifically because I am choosing to open myself up to this kind of risk. I choose. I choose in a way that I did not choose to have Von Pinn lie.

This was my first larp of that type. I had no warning that my character would change on me in ways I had no control over -- and not no control in the sense that I get from some of the interesting edgy indie games I've bought. There, it's "Well, you're doing X, and I think Y would be interesting, so we're collaborating on the spot." In the larp, it was, "We've decided start to finish what this character is."

Sure, I know other folks enjoy it, and I've no desire to tell them to stop. Why should they? But man, it's not fun for me. It's neither a larp as I do larps nor a play, and has for me the worst features of both.

This despite my not having a dreadful time -- in fact, despite having a reasonably pleasant time.

-Lisa

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Lisa Padol
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« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2006, 12:21:57 PM »

Speaking of what to focus on...is it just me or do you find yourselves concentrating on the "macro" when thinking about LARP and on the "micro" for tabletop.    I guess it's obvious but how much disparity in detail level is there?

It varies. When I plot out an arc for tabletop, I am thinking macro.

When I write what I think is a wonderful detail for a particular larp PC -- or when I hit my stride, performance flow kicks in, and I'm thinking the character's thoughts as I'm typing them -- I am thinking micro.

When I say, "I'll put X in for Josh's PC to react to," I am probably thinking micro.

When I look at five character sheets to figure out exactly what the story behind, let's say, a murder is, I am probably thinking macro.

Does this help?

-Lisa Padol

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Adam Dray
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« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2006, 12:58:04 PM »

Yes, I consider this different than players and GM (if any) in collaboration saying, "You know, maybe your PC is lying. Can we go with that?" I'm part of the retconning. Here, I just felt -- well, not shafted. Not betrayed. Just -- very, very dissatisfied.

That's exactly what we do, Lisa. We tell the players up front that The Truth will be revealed in pieces and that some of the facts on their sheets will be carefully constructed lies. Every player knows how it works up front. We even give them cards to use to get out of answering stuff in case they don't know the answer yet.

Quote
I find it telling that you'd never do it in a real Dogs game. I submit that there is a reason for this.

Yeah. The Dogs rules strictly prohibit it.

Quote
This was my first larp of that type. I had no warning that my character would change on me in ways I had no control over -- and not no control in the sense that I get from some of the interesting edgy indie games I've bought.

So the problem isn't the rule mechanism that changed your character without your control. The problem was that you hadn't consented to that. This is a breach of social contract, not a broken game design. The problem is higher up the stack. Don't focus on this as a bad rule. Focus on the bad communication.

Quote
Sure, I know other folks enjoy it, and I've no desire to tell them to stop. Why should they? But man, it's not fun for me. It's neither a larp as I do larps nor a play, and has for me the worst features of both.

Have you ever played in such a larp when you were told in advance that what your character knows will be revealed to you over three rounds? That is, explicitly? If not, you're not talking about the same game I am.
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sean2099
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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2006, 03:53:25 PM »

Speaking of what to focus on...is it just me or do you find yourselves concentrating on the "macro" when thinking about LARP and on the "micro" for tabletop. I guess it's obvious but how much disparity in detail level is there?

It varies. When I plot out an arc for tabletop, I am thinking macro.

When I write what I think is a wonderful detail for a particular larp PC -- or when I hit my stride, performance flow kicks in, and I'm thinking the character's thoughts as I'm typing them -- I am thinking micro.

When I say, "I'll put X in for Josh's PC to react to," I am probably thinking micro.

When I look at five character sheets to figure out exactly what the story behind, let's say, a murder is, I am probably thinking macro.

Does this help?

-Lisa Padol

Yes, it has helped me some.  I don't think you can completely get away from plot in a LARP.  I know this has been mentioned before but willingness to change in mid-game is important.  You can plan ahead, even on a minute level, especially if you know what type of characters everyone is playing before (i.e., they had to submit a completed sheet or concept for your approval.)  However, you can't plan for everything.

You run into the debate of the advantages and disadvantages of preplanning vs improv. at this point.

Again, I know my posts are not profound...They're my attempts to process information.

Sean
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Lisa Padol
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« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2006, 03:07:11 PM »

Have you ever played in such a larp when you were told in advance that what your character knows will be revealed to you over three rounds? That is, explicitly? If not, you're not talking about the same game I am.

We came in about halfway through round one, and we were given a printed set of explicit rules. I don't recall if it said explicitly that we might discover something we thought we'd been truthful about might, well, not turn out to be the case, but everything else was there in black and white. No blame to the gms.

And, I did not have a terrible time. I had a nice, broad, stereotype of a PC, one I could jump right into. It is just not my preferred method of gaming.

-Lisa
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IndigoDreamer
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« Reply #44 on: June 30, 2006, 12:49:06 PM »

So therefore, the solution to the biggest problem is considering every possible way that someone might try and react to the timeline/story and make sure that it can do no more than delay or slow things down, or speed things up.

Sorry, knee-jerk, but...

If they can do no more than delay or slow things down (or speed things up) you're doing something wrong (or, more accurately, playing a game I like less than other games).

The players' actions should make a difference.

Also -- I actually think it's more important that the GMs have control over timing -- be able to kick things into overdrive or slow things down so the game doesn't end too early -- than that they have control over -plot-.

Hi everyone,

IMHO...

I think Indigo was talking about story pacing while Mneme is talking about plot...related but different my gut tells me of this point.  I do think one could add to pacing "Put a complete monkey wrench into everything, bringing everything to a screeching halt or making the story change direction."


This interpretation is the closest to the truth.   My statement came after establishing if he wanted the overall plot as an absolute or something that can be changed.

As stated in my earlier posts, I prefer changeable plots myself, but there are plenty of games where some plot things WILL happen, even if other things do not.  This is where I was entering in with pace.  Tabletop or Larp,  My favoriate expression for a storyteller has always been "Prepare for dissapointment."  Because sometimes, that idea, the plot twist that you fostered and crafted so carefully can be shattered five minutes after you introduce it.  It happens, and unless you take the time to see all the ways it CAN happen, you might not get the satisfaction that you want as a writer/storyteller from it.    That is where I was introducing pace and asking what the overal intent is.  I personally -LOVE- it when a storyteller doesn't even have to write the plots, because the player plots have taken over as far as 'focus'.   The comment though was based on the storyteller part of the plot and how much he wants 'enforced' or 'changed'

Perhaps I was mistaken when I was posting?  I had gotten the idea that part of what you were looking for was things to watch for when adapting your writing and potential pitfalls you might encounter so that the overall story could be played out.

That's where I had gotten into explaining how 'big plot, little stories", which I had thought of as working really well with what you seemed to be looking for.   An example is, "The world is going to end."    Call this the "big plot". This part might be made to be unchange changeable, however, everything leading up to it, or things around it might change, be changed or alter the perception or outcome of that 'big plot".       Since to me, it had seemed you wanted a certain aspect of the story to be played out in the end, that sort of plot would make sense.   So...that's where that had come from.

I hope I make sense...I have a habit of being abstract when I talk, I'll work on that :)
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"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."

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