25 October, 2014

Designing a Boffer LARP System (Part 29)

This series has touched on all sorts of elements relating to a LARP system.

From the basic mechanisms of hit points and actually hitting people with foam latex weaponry, through to character development, gathering people into factions, rules that bring a degree of safety and interact between the physical world and the fictional narrative.

The one thing we really haven't touched on at all is the system of performing actions outside the confines of combat. Since we're focusing on a game akin to an Australian Freeform, then dice are undesirable, but I'd still like there to be some kind of failure chance when actions are attempted, especially when it comes to things like picking locks, crafting items or concocting potions, tracking or trying to research occult and arcane forms of lore.

On the other hand, I'd like there to be some kind of economy where players can choose to invest extra effort into specific tasks that are more meaningful and dramatic to their stories.

But here's where we start getting into that whole can-of-worms about creative agendas in role-playing experience. One of those revolutionary concepts that seems to have become a source of much controversy in some circles and hatred in others. It also poses a few questions...

Does a purely random action system really reflect reality? Does it produce a dynamic narrative, or simply increase the chances of disrupting a building tension (either by allowing certain tasks to succeed early, or preventing other actions from occurring when they should)?

Can a certain system be "gamed"? Is it a good thing to allow a player to manipulate the system to gain advantages for their character, or a bad thing?

Regular readers of the blog will know that I'm a big fan of the "otherkind dice" system, where you simultaneously determine two or more results (typically by rolling dice, but possibly by drawing cards), then allocate those results between different elements that determine the outcome of the action. If there are three elements to the task, you invoke three randomisers then distribute the results according to the parts of the task you think are most important.

I used this system in FUBAR, but I'm womdering how well it would translate to a live context.

I've been thinking of the *-World engine as well, I guess the whole notion of live play suits this. You set up a situation where you can invoke a set of rules, and as long as the GM agrees, you go into a mini-game that will in turn reflect the narrative.

This can be worked into the existing system of techniques, where a player simply works the narrative toward a specific scene where the technique becomes suitable and the mini-game occurs.

More to think about...
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