This is an attempt to explain something that has gone into the LARPBook Facebook group as part of the discussion around or LARP rule book. What I’m looking into for the next update is the removal of points to control damage inflicted on a character. The theory is that is we remove the points basis then there are heading more deeply into a set of rules that works with what a character is rather than relying on an additional later of abstraction.
My idea was to describe this in terms of strength, with the inspiration coming from myth and legend.
Some characters can be described as having the strength of 10 men. Meaning that they are exceptionally strong. What if we extended this to their ability to sustain disease and or physical damage?
If we say most people (male or female) are similar in strength or toughness then we can say the average person is 1 man. We can then in our game universe work our what it takes to injure or kill 1 man and that is the common metric all combat events are measured by.
Now we hit a heroic character who is not exceptionally strong but is exceptionally tough. A good example might by John McClane from the Die Hard films. This character just keeps on going even when he should by all rights stop. So we could say that for damage purposes he is as strong as 4 men. Meaning unless some kind of coup de gras occurs he will keep on going with 4 times the injuries of the common man. He is tough.
Taking this into physical strength we could have a powerhouse of a barbarian adventurer like Conan. How strong is Conan? Shall we say 10 men. As Conan really does seem to be far beyond the realms or normal human strength – so for lifting, pushing and also hurting people he has the output of 10 men.
My third example is a combat one. What of the trained fighter. The boxer or marital artist with a knockout or killer punch. We could say that such a person has the strength of 1 man for most things – except in unarmed combat where he strength of many. How many times more powerful than an average person would be Bruce Lees punch? I’d wager quite a few.
Putting this into practice there is no need for a complex character sheet. Everyone one has a normal strength for their time. We only need to note down when someone is superlatively strong in someway. Instead of a list of stats we now have a description that perhaps sounds a little more like the description of a character in a book or film than in a video game.
Tracking damage is also easy we just apply common sense. Or give a set of examples for the world itself to act as guidelines for people. Players now know how strong their characters are and can play according to common sense or said guides.
What I don’t have yet are a set of calls for allowing one character to know they are about to be hit with above normal strength. I’d love to hear your views on that.
The image used in this post is Hyboria 3 by Flicker user Yan Renucci. Please follow this link for more information about the picture and its licence.