14 October, 2016

The Fundamentals Underneath

I basically know how my character string is going to work. There will be fixed elements of the string that are common to all charactes, and there will be variable length elements that will accomodate themselves to the specific character in question. In total, a starting character's string will have around two dozen glyphs in it, while an experienced and heavily laden character might have up to twice this number.

One of the ideas feeding into this project was an online method of keeping track of LARP characters, and the larp system I developed for a new group (Southern Highlands LARP) has been lingering in the back of my mind. The group in question end d up going with a less complicated rule set, based heavily on previous games in the region, but this rule set of mine has been an ongoing evolution of ideas, stretching back to the work I did last year on the Darkhive, and echoing back through earlier work over the years.

Characters have 4 core attributes:

  • Combat - which basically covers fighting skill and physical activities
  • Influence - which basically covers diplomacy, social activities, and doing things behind the scenes
  • Knowledge - which basically covers intelligence, and most non-combat mundane activities
  • Magic (or Mysticism) - which basically covers anything magical or supernatural

Characters also have skills and edges. Skills are things they've learnt over the years, they open up access to specific pieces of equipment and edges, and provide bonuses when they are applicable. Edges are more distinct in what they provide, often in the form of weapons able to be used, extra hit points, spells to be cast, combat techniques, ways to specifically manipulate people socially, etc. Edges are associated with specific attributes and typically require prerequisite levels in those attributes, along with possession of specific skills (and/or othe edges) before they may be acquired.

This set up is fairly common among the existing LARPs running through Sydney (and it's surrounds). The point of difference is applying a "warhammer-esque" career progression system to the whole thing. This system is made up of discreet "paths" each with 6 levels, at the end of every game (or month, or whatever) a character in the LARP would automatically improve a level in at least one of their paths.

Each path follows the progression:

  • Lvl 1 - first skill selection from the 6 options normally associated with this path
  • Lvl 2 - edge selection from the attribute edges most commonly associated with the path
  • Lvl 3 - increase in the attribute used for the edge selection in level 2
  • Lvl 4 - second skill selection from the 6 options normally associated with this path
  • Lvl 5 - edge selection from the attribute edges less commonly associated with the path
  • Lvl 6 - increase in the attribute used for the edge selection in level 5
  • Special Edge: while a character is currently following this path (or once they have mastered all six levels in the path) they gain access to a path specific edge.

As an example:

Town Guard
  • Lvl 1 - choose a path skill
  • Lvl 2 - choose a Combat edge.
  • Lvl 3 - +1 to Combat Attribute
  • Lvl 4 - choose another path skill
  • Lvl 5 - choose an Influence edge
  • Lvl 6 - +1 to Influence Attribute
  • Special Edge: Town guards may carry manacles to imprison other characters, and may issue bounties on characters designated as criminals (maximum bounty = guard's Influence attribute x10 gold).

All characters begin with 3 paths, one racial (defining the genetic heritage of the character), one cultural (defining the upbringing of the character), and one occupational (defining the character's job when they start play). All characters start with 6 levels that they may distribute across these three initial paths, then for each game they play, they may add a level to any of their paths, or may switch to a new path (as long as they have met the requirements of the new path...which may come in the form of minimum attributes, required skills/edges, or completion of an in-game quest).

From the LARP perspective, attributes don't provide any inherent bonuses of their own, instead they merely open options for different paths to be followed and more potent edges to be acquired. From a browser game (or augmented tabletop RPG) perspective, attribute might need to take on a more significant role.

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