Ever hear of LARPing

So, this is a brand new experience for me. I’m not sure if anyone who’s reading along has ever heard of LARPing but if you haven’t I’ll give you a crash course.

LARP stands for Live-Action Role-Playing, you can generally add the word game on the end. Where traditional RPG’s are pen and paper, sitting at a table and slinging dice a LARP is very much live action, think impromptu theater in the park. There are two major forms, if you are familiar with LARP’s it is likely with Boffer LARP’s where you craft foam weaponery and armor and fight with said weaponry. This is cool, and really hard, but looks a little silly if you aren’t involved. It is also very much a physical activity. The second kind are… I don’t know if they have a generally accepted name but I tend to think of them as “Mystery Theater” LARPS. You take a character and put them in a situation, a lot of the time either a cloak and dagger political style situation of backroom deals or a murder-mystery deal where you are gather/hiding clues and evidence.

Up at Witt we try to do a Potluck “Mystery” LARP every semester. The reason I bring this up is because this semester I’m running the game. Which means first I have to write the game. I’ve got a little less than 4 weeks. You can’t see it, but I’m making a terrified face ;).

In reality it shouldn’t be that hard. I set up an opening conceit, perhaps plan a single twist to re-invigorate things after the first 2 hours of dancing around each other, and make sure I write 20 or so compelling interconnected characters. I’m a writer, this shouldn’t be that hard. Of course, I have no idea who is showing up yet, need to hear from people first. Then there is the fact that people will inevitably back out at the last minute, forcing me to re-write, combine or cut various plans on the fly. Then of course, there is the problem of will people have fun and interesting things to do.

Hence, terror.

Of course, when doing something like this for the first time, the best plan is to follow the K.I.S.S. idiom laid forth by many a intelligent individual. Keep it Simple (insert preferred S word here.) So, I’m sticking to the modern day, less research, less concern about historical accuracy, much more material to draw upon. I need to gather a large pool of individuals into the same space and force them to play nice together. Parties are great for that, especially high-stakes parties held by very rich people.

Now, I could have a murder or some other inciting event, but that has its own problems. Either everyone is going to be connected, or some people will feel secondary to the plot. So, why not keep it simple?

So, I’ve crafted the following so far: John O’Murchaidha is a multi-national, multi-billionaire with a reputation for playing both sides of the legal fence. He has a long standing presence in the Black Market as well as being a Criminal Informant for many different Agencies, including CIA, MI-6, and Interpol. However, he’s gotten old and decided to retire to a private island of his, away from the world and all his meddling. Not one to leave the world stage with a whimper O’Murchaidha has decided to host a retirement party and invite all his friends and colleagues, from Wealthy Debutantes, CIA agents, and Drug Lords.

These individuals will be my players, O’Murchaidha will have left for his island before the party began, and they will have various goals either making deals for land, money, or contraband (all in code) or attempting to investigate and crack those same deals.

Two characters I’m excited about are going to be O’Murchaidha’s illegitimate child and one of his top servants, both of whom will be trying to prove their cunning and ability to the old man and inherit a large share of his fortune.

I’m also thinking of having a “Con-man”, an “heiress” looking for excitement and possibly a spouse, straight agents and arms dealers, as well as the desperate who’ve lost the majority of their wealth and seek to regain it.

I don’t have too many details yet. I can’t build characters without hearing from the players and I’ve only gotten one player to date, and they want to play a non-corrupt law enforcement agent. By next week I hope to have a list of characters starting to develop.

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Ever hear of LARPing

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