landicine: (tinkering)
[personal profile] landicine
To Be Continued, the campaign larp I worked on, ended last weekend with three final days: a plot-light prom, final session, and wrap party. It was the first larp I ever GMed or wrote, and I think I underestimated how much work it was going to be. I wrote more than 190 thousand words for it, and two of the GMs, [livejournal.com profile] darkoni42 and [livejournal.com profile] staystrong62805, wrote more than I did.

With game behind me, I can talk about various things like plotting and mechanics without fear of spoilers. Some of those will probably fill their own posts, where I can go off on long tangents about balance, pacing, modules, and worrisome widgets. I mostly wanted to get the big ideas down here though:

The game was big, probably too big. The game had ~45 player characters initially and also various NPCs stopping by, and while there was some player attrition, there was also GM attrition that made the workload never really decrease, especially since the format pretty much required sending a new sheet to players before each event. I think this created a lot of problems: getting floor GMs up to speed, having the writing GMs on the same page, lost plots, etc. However, I also think it made the game more interesting. "Tag-along on someone else's thing" worked for some players as a way to get involved in plots.

I think we produced a pretty good game for about 90% of our players, but this still left 4 to 5 players we never did right by. I feel bad about that, especially those I was responsible for. I do think there was a difficulty with identifying the exact problems and then solving them. Some of this was due to lack of information, and some of this was my own lack of experience.

I don't think the game's format was easily sustainable. There was a moment where more than a couple of us realized the game had an expiration date, even if it took longer to finalize that decision. I do think we picked the best way to end the game, jumping forward the plot a few years, and doing a longer session than normal. We managed to make an imperfect ending work.

Beyond the stress, I really did enjoy working on the game. One of Kurt Vonnegut's rules on writing is "Write to please just one person,” and our sheets did that. I enjoyed getting to know better the players I was writing for and getting out of my comfort zone.

I also enjoyed tinkering with mechanics and modules. Some of my experiments went well, but some were less successful. Strangely, I think some of the modules I did the least work preparing ran better than some I spent hours preparing. The massive tunnel module still sits in my binder, mostly unused.

In closing, I am grateful for the opportunity to try my hand at larp writing and my fellow GMs’ patience. I also hope our players had fun. I also really appreciated the card from the wrap party.

My original 8 characters:

Laura Roslin
Thor Odinson
Death
Alfred Bester
Henry Jekyll
Asha Greyjoy
Jadzia Dax
Veronica Cod

Later I picked up:

Andrew Ryan
Parker Halliwell
Topher Brinks

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February 2015

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