01 November, 2014

Designing a Boffer LARP System (Part 35) and Other Stuff

35 posts...this project has stronger legs than I thought, but I think we're getting to the end of the run.

November is almost upon us, and that means it's the time of year for NaGaDeMon.

NaGaDeMon is the time of year to stop theorizing and start designing, it's also the time of year when university study winds down. So I'll probably take a bit of time away from the blog (maybe posting every two or three days rather than daily).

I really want to get stuck into the "Other Strangeness" game I was considering earlier in the year, but I also really want to get a finalised version of this LARP system happening while I'm motivated on it.

Let's see where things head.

But for the moment, let's pick up where I left off in the last Boffer LARP post...Maps.

I've played in  few live action campaigns where maps have played a focal role. Most have been based on the city of Sydney (which has led me to draw up a 1.5m x 1.5m scale map of the city and it's surrounding environment...a prop that has seen many years of use), some have been based on more fantastic settings.

For this game, we're looking at something a bit different.

First a basic map of a strange island. I'm working off an idea where some kind of mysterious asteroid or supernatural/alien phenomena has broken up on entry into the atmosphere (or maybe broken up before then). It has hurtled into the surface of the planet laving massive craters and left a pierced hole in the crust which has developed over centuries into a volcano. This gives us an interesting island shape to work with. There are probably some similar shaped islands (or maybe atolls) nearby, if the game needs to expand.

It has been an unspecified time since the impact (possibly millenia, certainly before recorded history), forests have grown up over the island and the volcano now stands in a state of semi-dormancy. Three towns have grown up since the arrival of colonial/imperial forces. The central town in the middle north of the island would be the capital, dominated by imperial/church groups (with settlers on the outskirts), the other two towns might have limited colonial/imperial presence but are mostly filled with privateers, settlers and pirates. Farmlands between the towns are sparsely populated by settlers and natives, forests hold a few hidden native encampments.

This is a mysterious place, and while this island has generally been explored, there are plenty of mysteries to unfold over the course of play.

The next task is to divide the map up into territories for factions to claim (and fight over). Towns would be divided into several sectors, due to their sheer number of people, their strategic importance, and the difficulty it would take to maintain control over the entire enclave. Specific locations might be highly sought, thus increasing their value per and area (and thus reducing their size accordingly), uncultivated land is generally less important and have thus these territories are larger. I've also made sure to keep each indicated mine on it's own sector.

Which basically finishes us up with a map like this...

...it might change later, but suits our purposes for the moment.

Next, I'd add something special to various sectors. Roughly half of the sectors would have some kind of bonus that would be granted to a faction who holds the territory, and half would increase bonuses gained from abilities when a character spend their time in this territory for the down time between games sessions. It wouldn't be a case where each sector gains benefit A or B, some sectors might gain neither and some both (these would be the most highly sought sectors in the game, typically in towns).

This gives us a new reason to have factions fighting one another, they seek to claim dominance over territories and gain the physical or spiritual bonuses associated with these lands. We might declare that a faction needs to spend points to claim a sector/territory, or maybe limit them to one territory per faction level. More coherent reasons to initiate conflict lead to more varieties in the available stories. It also gives interesting terrains for conflicts to occur in...fighting on a beach is quite different to fighting in a forest. Also, if a game campaign is divided into alternating sessions of roleplaying and battle, then the battle weeks might be used to define who maintains control of a sector when two factions declare their intentions to dominate.
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