Post LARP post

Well i’m sure you’ll have noticed that all’s been quiet on the Red Dice blogging front for the past few days; that’s because i’ve been indulging in the other aspect of the roleplaying hobby that I enjoy, namely LARP. For those of you who may not be aware of LARP (or LRP as it’s sometime’s called), it stands for Live Action Role-Play and is basically a group of people who act out or physical represent the action of a roleplay game (to some degree or other depending on the system). Now I first remember hearing about LARP when I was reading the second edition Vampire the Masquerade rulebook; it talked about the possibility of acting out some more conversational scenes but didn’t really include any rules or much in the way of suggestions how to do that so I didn’t really think much of it.

The next exposure I had to LARP was when I was mooching around my FLGS Spirit Games and heard someone discussing a Minds Eye Theatre Vampire game that was going at the nearby station hotel; being really into the Masquerade at the time I went along and for the duration of that game I enjoyed playing various vampires, first in a Sabbat game run by a good friend of mine and then later in other various games. Mind’s Eye Theatre is a game where you act out what your character is doing but whenever combat or anything occurs there is a system (normally based on rock-paper-scissors) that takes over; this is a bit of a compromise and puts MET halfway between tabletop and LARP to my mind, the advantage being you can run it in much smaller surroundings and more cheaply without having to worry about insurance or anything (since it’s none contact) but on the other side games (especially combat heavy games) can get really bogged down and it can take ages to resolve a large combat.

That’s not to say that MET cannot be enjoyable, I still play in a Werewolf: the Apocalypse game that I very much enjoy and have run a Hunter: the Reckoning game in the past where I tried to bridge the gap between contact LARP and MET, I don’t think the experiment was without it’s flaws but the people who played in the game seemed to enjoy it.

I play in a couple of contact LARP systems, the Outcast system (which I help crew and very much enjoy) and the Lorien Trust system (where I play a type of fey known as a redcap); these systems actually have a contact based combat system where foam latex weapons with solid cores are used. The Lorien Trust runs four main events in the UK, two in May and two in August, i’ve just got back from the second May event, known as the Great Edrejan Fayre (previously the Heartland Games); the premise for the event is basically a fantasy world version of the olympics where the various nations of the fictional world gather together and compete in different games. I’m not really into the games themselves TBH personally, although I certainly don’t begrudge the people who enjoy them, so the GEF is normally a fairly quiet event for me, sort of a “rest event.”

This event got off to a fairly slow start but on the second day everything to get much busier; I few of the highlights for me were:

  • Oberron king of the Fey visiting the mortal plane.
  • Getting to do some more diplomacy (my character being a diplomat for our faction).
  • Swearing fealty to Arcadia and the two newly elected fey princes (one seelie, one unseelie).
  • Accompanying a group back to my IC home the Everwood to locate a mute fey’s missing memories.
  • Having another player redcap fill me in on what he has found out about our races history and being able to potentially help out with that.

This brings me to one of the fundamental conflicts I have when it comes to contact LARP systems, by nature i’m not a particularly physically active person and to a great extent contact LARPs rely on your OOC abilities (for example: i’m not a fast runner so i’m never going to play some incredibly athletic character); given that I don’t have enough money to do LARP and other holidays, live-action events double as my holidays so I at least want to relax a little bit. I do normally come away from events feeling like I enjoyed it but that I could have done more during the event if only i’d been a bit more awake or more motivated.

That said, i’m working on motivating myself more and had an excellent time at the GEF, i’m part of a group of beastkin, urucks and fey called Squad D, and I always enjoy hanging around with my friends, also really enjoying my redcap character; hoping to start delving a bit more into the racial background of the fey as time goes forward.

I also tend to die a lot at LARPs and so i’ve always got half an eye to my next character, currently I have two in the pipeline, a dwarf and a dark-elf but i’m hoping to survive for a while as my current character since i’m really enjoying that at the moment.

Perhaps I just need to take more energy drinks to LARP? ūüėČ

Writing a Werewolf Downtime

One of the things that appeals to me about version 2 of the¬†NWOD Werewolf: the Forsaken is that the emphasis of the game has been placed squarely back on the hunt, something that i’ve always seen as being essential to the werewolf mythos, after all what’s the point in RPing someone who turns into a predator if they then don’t behave like one? Even in books/films where people are struggling against the curse of lycanthropy the struggled is normally spurred on by the damage inflicted during moonlit hunts.

I’m also playing in an¬†OWED MET Werewolf: the Apocalypse¬†game (helping me to cram in as many acronyms as possible) that my friend¬†Dave¬†is running in Derby at the moment; since i’m a bit wooley on the OWOD werewolf background (being more a fan of the NWOD iteration) I went for a¬†Red Talon¬†lupus ahroun.

Red Talons

The Red Talons are the claws of Gaia; they are her rage at the human race given form, or so they believe. The Talons come almost entirely from lupus stock; only in the last few decades have they even accepted Metis that come from Talon-Talon matings.

Lupus Garou

A lupus is a Garou who was born as and raised as a wolf. Many lupus are familiar with Gaia and bear a strong grudge towards humans for their tampering; this frequently extends to HomidGarou.

I did this for a couple of reasons, one was because I didn’t have a lot of free time to be creating detailed backgrounds and meddling around with influences (something i’ve always seen as more appropriate to¬†Vampire: the Masquerade than werewolf anyway) and also because I didn’t want to get too enmeshed in the OWOD werewolf cosmology, I wanted to focus on playing the part of a predator and enjoying the RP that lead to.

Writing the Downtime

Of course I still do downtimes since they add a lot to the game and allow you to get things accomplished between monthly game sessions, but that left me with a quandry, how could I create a downtime that was actually meaningful whilst still keeping the essential character of the wolf-like lupus hunter?

The answer I’ve found is to try and view everything as a type of hunt; I do this by breaking the downtime down into three stages which I have nicknamed¬†hunt, capture¬†and¬†kill.

  1. Hunt (stalking stage)The hunting stage is all about discovering what you want and working out the best way of going about obtaining it; get the scent of what it is that you want to achieve and then make a few quick darts at it to determine the best course of action.Example: If our werewolf has decided to kill a vampire, follow it for a while, then follow who it speaks to, possibly make a few attacks or feints at some of it’s servants to see how the creature responds; when you know how it behaves then you can move onto the next stage.
  2. Capture (closing in)In the capture stage you’ve decided on your best method of approach and begin to carry it out; once you have decided on an approach commit fully to it, throwing all your resources and abilities into it.Example: We’ve discovered that the vampire has a servant that it particularly values, our werewolf stalks the servant and then captures it, leaving a visible sign (possibly a severed limb, some blood or perhaps a note for the more squeamish) for the vampire to find letting it know that it’s servant is in danger unless it comes to the abandoned warehouse at the docks.
  3. KillThis is the climax of the hunt, once you reach this stage continue to commit fully to bringing down your quarry or achieving your aim, however, a wise hunter does not entirely lose their head; look for ways to maximise your chances of achieving your aims but also leave yourself a get-away.Example: The servant is restrained and left in the middle of the warehouse, whilst our werewolf lurks nearby in a spot overlooking the building so that he can see when the vampire arrives; if he has access to such equipment then he may have rigged the area with explosives, if not then simple home-made devices will do. When the vampire approaches he is allowed to rescue the servant (the emotions of the moment will distract him) and then bombarded with explosives designed to weaken/confuse him, the werewolf then closes in to finish the kill personally.

I’ve found that this approach to writing downtimes allows me to still get a reasonable amount done without the character just becoming a human with fur.