Season 2 thoughts

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Season 2 thoughts

Postby Ger » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:53 am

So I've been thinking a lot about season 2 and game design recently. HASEP seems to have been a success, people who like that sort of game seemed to have loved it, people who don't seem to have appreciated it as a good example of what it is. To make it work I had to make a few changes in terms of rules and basic assumptions of how a game should run, this has got me thinking about what i want the 'norm' to be for Season 2.
I've really enjoyed playing 'No Rest' but that's largely down to the players, The characters in this game are so varied and interesting that its been great fun to role play with all of you. Not to say anything bad about the games themselves but mostly they are not 'my' kinda game.
So i'm going to post my thoughts on what I'd like for Season 2. If you want to respond with your ideas that's great but please keep things constructive and not make this a stich and bitch. Similarly there are problems with S1 but they are a result of people trying their best so lets not play the blame game.
Lastly, i'm going to seem very critical of 'parlor/pub' larp things. This isn't an attack on the IOD players or the IOD, I just think there are a number of concepts and norms that have their origins in 'Parlor/pub' Larp and I dont think many of them are appropriate in 'field' larp, I'll go into this in detail later.

1.No such thing as bad larp, only poorly advertised larp
So this excellent quote comes courtesy of Sally and I think its spot on. An issue the current season has is its tried to please every one and as a result has annoyed everyone a wee bit. So we need to decide what kinda game this is and stick to it. If that means some aspect of the cannon don't turn up then that's fine. If that means that some people cant play certain hings, that's also fine. 1S was described to me as Pirates of the Caribbean in Space. But it has also been described as a highly political down time focused power and influence game. Now both of these ideas are great but in my opinion they don't mix all that well, after all ruthless machinations and derring do are at odds stylistically. In my opinion 'Space Pirates' is more fun than V:tM in space so I'd like S2 to get back to that brief but no matter whjat we decide we should stick to it.
2.Up time beats down time. Every time.
Do you know why I know this? Because Larp exists. The fact we spend thousands of pounds on costume, props, weapons, travel, SFX, venues and all the other trappings of larp proves this to me. If downtime was better than uptime then we'd all be playing Tabletop games. So what does that mean? Well there should be an uptime focus, the game should be structured that DT is there to flesh out time between games and create uptime opportunity. Major plot should NEVER be resolved in DT. Players should not be significantly disadvantaged by not playing the Dt game. I still think there should be a DT game but it should only be there to compliment uptime game
3Its a Field larp
It is. Field larp and Pub larp run in very different ways. Pub larp is very restricted in space and in what can be practically/convincingly phsyrepped. As such pub larp has a strong character interaction focus, its all about inter personal relationships. This is good, we should take this idea but remember that because there is more going on at field larp they are part of the game not the point. Its hard to physrep a lot of stuff in pub larp so we get used to a lot of St description of things, or props that we have to imagine look like what they represent. This is fine in pub larp but in field larp it feels half arsed, lets stick to HARD phsyreppign where we can. We should look to other field larps to get ideas of what runs well and what doesn't. Pub larp tends to have a kitchen sink approach to the source material. cant phsrep black tentacles? its ok its pub larp we are used to st description. Cant physrep a Crinos werewolf? thats fine, just imagine im 8 feet tall. I feel we should cut aspects of the game we can do justice to. (Sorry this one is a ramble but I don't want to just bitch about how much i hate pub larp for 3000 words)
4Danger, death
So as you can tell, I like my games dangerous. Now I don't think every game should be as dangerous as HASEP but I do feel the game us currently a bit toothless. Character deaths add game. Even 'shit' deaths add something. Sure they suck for the people they happen to but they lend weight to the setting and scare the fuck out of everyone else. We're playing Warhammer 40K, death is par for the course even out here in the Space Caribbean so we should be prepared for that. Ask your self: are you really a space bad ass if you've never been in real danger?
PVP, those three scary letters. I am used to PVP. My first larp experience was Glasgow Pub larp V:TM. That was political and physical pvp galore. Now I don't mind if a game has PVP focus or a PVE focus, so long as its well advertised and consistent. S1 has pvp coded into its DNA. Competition between crews for prestige, influence and loot mean that it will ALWAYS be there. Now I don't think thats a bad thing but lets be clear, pvp escalates. I think the idea that violent pvp is a bad thing and the attempts to stop it are misguided and are based on some pretty big misconceptions. People seem to think that violent or lethal pvp is bullying other players, Trying to force PVP to be downtime only victimizes small groups, individual players and just makes the player with the biggest down time stats the bully. People think that non lethal physical pvp is dangerous enough that no one should resort to killing characters. If I beat some one up in real life the experience is horrible, they will be left with long lasting physical and mental effects and will likely to be scared of me in future. If i beat some one up in larp all I have done is made an enemy who will hurt me in some way later. You cant permanently damage some one and if i'm doing pvp I do everything I can to not be rough with people. So the only viable form of defense for an uptime focused combat character is if you fuck with Brad, he'll end you. Now I don't mind that dynamic so long as I'm allowed to respond. because that creates game. You need to be smart about pvp, you need to make alliances, you need to think. If I mess with Brad, I need to make sure I have back up. If I am a Dt power house but have no combat stats I need a body guard. Lastly a lot of people think PVP death is a bad thing. I don't I think it creates a lot of game for everyone involved. The only thing i'd say is don't pvp people who haven't 'opted in'. If you have opted in don't bitch if you 'loose'. On the whole I feel that if you include pvp in your game then you should let players off each other if they want, if you want it to be hard or discourage it, put in IC reasons to make it harder or have consequences.
6.Keep it simple stupid
Its a Game, not a story. The only Story that players and refs should care about is the one the players make for them selves. Having NPC's who are yup to things and a general idea of whats going on and whats going to happen is great but keep in mind the players will see very little of the big picture and understand even less. Players should drive the events of the games, players should drive the events of the over all campaign. Players come first second and third. Refs should write a lovingly deep and complex setting with lots of stuff for the players to go poke. They should write in depth NPCs so that players can interact with them. Refs should have events happen so that players can involve them selves. Refs should write themes, not narratives. Narratives tend to lead to NPC theater and railroad plots.

That's enough for now. I'll probably post more later.
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Re: Season 2 thoughts

Postby Maakeff » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:08 pm

WRT point 6 - the value of a sandbox to play in is indisputable, but I find that relying on players to dictate all directions of a game within a sandbox can often result in a directionless game, as some players are more comfortable with driving things than others... and I don't feel that these two elements have or even ought to be mutually exclusive. :-)
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Re: Season 2 thoughts

Postby Snarfeh » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:22 pm

Kinda have to agree, especially regarding Lethality and PvP
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Re: Season 2 thoughts

Postby Jodikat » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:14 pm

1. Kind of agree, but I have really enjoyed that different No Rest Events have had different feels. In my time here we've had events that were primarily politics and alliance, events that were swashbuckly, and the action-horror of HASEP. So long as there's something to do for the fighters at the politics event or the nerds at the fighting event, variety is awesome - and I feel like while I've been here NR has been good at having something for every spec at every event (and our OOC and IC organisers are very good at making sure those characters get the opportunity to go to the stuff for their archetype).

2. Well, I totally agree with that one, but I would, I don't play characters with DT-heavy concepts. Would be interested in the opinion of someone who does. I do think DT should be waay simpler, because atm the only way for most of us to participate in DT is to get in a group with someone who actually understand how it works and have them do it.

Agree that we are a field LARP etc, but I think we are also cool with a bit of description and suspension of disbelief, because there are practical and budget restraints. Like, between having to imagine a big guy in a suit is an 8 foot werewolf and never getting to fight an 8 foot werewolf, I'd probably go with the guy in the suit, you know?

4. Agreed that the ideal rate of character death is probably somewhere between HASEP and a standard NR game. We have an environment and player base that is very supportive about helping people get back on their feet and back into the game after a character death. However, we do need to work on a few things that disadvantage new characters, to make it easier to deal with a PC death because it's easier to get back into stuff. The catchup xp was a good idea, waiving some of the 'you can't have this at creation' rules because everyone has a cool weapon now was a good idea, there's just one or two other things I would suggest, namely:

There were a few issues where new groups were not immediately welcomed into the Iron Star Consortium and talk of having to pay to get in or whatever. I understand that this was IC justified, but ultimately, it's not cool. The Iron Star Consortium is the metaplot of the game, and all characters, no matter where they came in, should have access to the metaplot of the game without question. I'd suggest that next time if there's a similar setup for the metaplot, we give thought to how new groups coming in will be handled in a way that feels more welcoming.

There are groups - right now I'm thinking of the Inquisition - where we got to a point of saying too many people are playing this, no more people can play this. This if course means if you just started playing or just died, you don't have access to that concept. I would recommend that if, in the future, we have a group that is oversubscribed in this manner, we have an ST thing that says:

Being in (x group) right now is super dangerous; you guys are being targeted because you have become so powerful. If you want to leave because of the danger, we'll work with you to make that happen in a way that doesn't fuck your character. Otherwise, if you choose to join or choose to stay, you are accepting a higher chance of PC death than if you were not in this faction.

This creates turnover, meaning more people get a chance to play an (X faction) character - if, perhaps, not for that long.

5. PVP I actually think NR has been really good about PVP. It very rarely happens for good IC reasons, and when it does happen it seems to be taken in good humour OOCly, and does not spiral into endless revenge killings because PCs take action to prevent that. To take a specific example, I think if Dexter had not died, he would have received a nonlethal spanking for killing the PC he killed, stopping that from going further into revenge killing cycle.

6. Have not run this type of game so cannot provide opinion. I don't feel super railroaded though?
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Re: Season 2 thoughts

Postby Yoda » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:17 pm

You can run a LRP for 1500 people with not a single bit of directed narrative where the players responses to the plot hooks they're given drive the narrative for each game and player decisions shape the direction of the entire game.
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