I’ve been designing a new larp and that has taken me down the route of thinking about the world that it runs in. These are some of my thoughts on constructing a world to run a larp in.

Why World Build ?

Players are critical to any larp; and they need to know quite a lot. They need to know how to costume in a way that creates an consistent feel to the game. They need to know how much things are worth, and what are the social norms.

In any larp we need to find a means that help players tackle these questions. That’s the point of detaling the game world. It allows everyone involved to contribute in way that improves the game for all.

Describing the Big Picture

Talking about a fictional world can be intimidating for both the writer and the reader. So we need to take it in steps. First of all do you know enough about the world to be able in a few seconds to give someone and idea of what it is like.

If you can; then that is awesome – as you have a clear idea of what you are creating.

If not then go back and think some more. Make notes of a few ideas. This way you should be give people your idea with clarity.

Decribing “The Edit”

First some context, The Edit is a larp under development. This is the current state of the Big Picture description.

The Edit explores what it is like to live in world changing in unforeseen ways. The population has crashed. Nowhere is safe. It has become dangerous to live in one place for too long. Bands of people are figuring out how to survive. Disease and disfigurement are everywhere.

A simpler description is that The Edit is a post Apocalypse Horror Fantasy

What do you think of these descriptions. Do they make the world worthy of exploring. If you think the answer is yes then The Edit is looking good.

Develop The Look and Feel

Players are going to need to know how to costume. They need to know what kind of equipment their characters will have access to.

In order for immersion to work well the players must all be developing their ideas from a common base. Make sure you have answers to questions that include

  • What does clothing look like?
  • What does armour look like?
  • Do characters have makeup or facial markings?
  • Are there any taboos towards certain kinds of dress?
  • What are common technologies emoployed by people?

This isn’t an exhaustive list; but not a bad start. Here are some things that can help.

Use a Mood Board

Mood boards are collections of images that set the tone and the feeling of what you are trying to achieve. The easiest way to do this is to use Pinterest.

Use Fictional References

Tell people which films, TV Shows or books best illustrate the world you are trying to create. If possible provide links to items on YouTube, Netflix or Amazon to help people get there.

Do A Photo Shoot

Get a few people together with a photographer and shoot a gallery of images that shows what you are going for. This will help to solidify your plans.

Applying Look and Feel to The Edit

The edit takes place very soon after the fall of civilisation. A plague is resposible for the fall. Dress is whatever you can get. Most people will wear their normal preferred choice of clothes. Some are wearing protective gear. Some are grabbing practial outdoor or military wear. Its not the full on Mad Max stlye apocalypse gear yet. It is the worn out modern day with some people taking precautions; while others are practical.

Its expected that a mood board will be established for the game.

The LARPs Rules

You may not see the rules as being part of the world, but thing of it this way. Your rules describe how people interact with things. How they achieve things. And if your larp involves conflict; who wins.

Your rules are a key tool in describing your world to the players.

This is never more true than in the case of character creation. The building of characters is an expression of how people live in your world.

Remember this about rules

Terms like no-rule or high-rule are explain complexity but in themselves don’t model the world.

Create your rules as needed to let people understand how the world works.

The Edits Rules

The plan here is for as few rules as possible. Combat should be brutal and terrifying. The combat rules will reflect this by making it easy to be killed.  Character generation will be descriptive. Based upon building an archetype. The archtype comes from previous employment, interests and hobbies.

As you can see the rules are not finished. But I do have goals.

The General rule is Iteration

This means that your world won’t be formed first time. You’ll go back and edit and revise ideas. Each time improving things for yourself and others. Like the real world it should be a living breathing thing that never stops changing.

Your Players Understand Things

Never forget that your players are a fantastic resource. How they respond to things will teach you how people interact with your world. Always listen to them. They are a mine of ideas.

Update: The Larp Building Sereis

Since the release of this post we’ve started a series on creating a larp. It includes a section on world building. Follow this link to the World Building Post

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