You have noticed from the two badges that today have appeared on the site that we now have channels on Twitch.TV and YouTube.
I’ll just talk about these for a moment to let you know what is going on. Ever since we started the Podcast earlier this year our presenters have felt that video would add something to the presentation (apart from being able to see our faces). It would let us show and do more than we can on an audio only broadcast. That said the Podcast is staying and we aim to make sure that always works when you are listening to it. Listening offers much more flexibility than viewing. We also want to be true to our Podcast listeners.
So over the last couple of months we’ve been testing different ways of adding YouTube and Twitch. We’ve also had a good long look at live audio streaming too. Live audio hasn’t happened yet – but live video has.
Our first experiment was on Sunday May 31st – with one presenter limping in from a LARP event and another ducking into view whilst trying to avoid unpacking his car following a holiday. Despite this the show was fun and the format seemed to work. We will of course try to improve things in the future.
These channels will be used for the current podcast and any other Larping related shows we can come up with. There is also the possibility of one off videos on the YouTube channel – and this would allow us to add custom video more easily to the website.
So looking to the future lots of talking, writing and video to come your way.
It’s time to talk about the continuing developments in LARPBook, and I’ll start with the podcast.
The podcast seems to have a dedicated following and so we’ll be continuing to add episodes and to make it easier to download or stream.
We’ve just added Soundcloud on as a distribution point for the podcast. You can find us at:
At the moment we have 2 episodes available on Soundcloud and we’ll make sure that all new episodes are uploaded as and when they become available.
Now it’s time to talk about the LARPBook website. Regular readers may have noticed a decrease in the rate of posting recently. This has nothing to do with any lack of commitment in case you are worried. It is far more to do with the fact that I am looking to write longer and deeper articles for the site. The knock on effect of this is fewer articles. When I say trying to write bigger articles that does not mean to say that we’ll not be doing quick videos, comments or events. All of these things are very important to LARPBook. It just means that there will periods of low activity and periods of high activity. I hope the result if pleasing to you. If not please let me know via the feedback forms or Facebook page. One thing that myself or any or the editorial team will always do is listen to our readers and listeners views.
We are still hoping to encourage more writers. So if you’d like to write about LARP please get in touch. We have a section on the website about writing for us at: https://larpbook.com/contribute-to-larpbook/ if you’d like more information.
I’d also love to see more event information. If you have an event you’d like to plug please use our contact forms at:
https://larpbook.com/register-event-details/ to register a larp event with us
https://larpbook.com/crew-call/ – if you are running an event and looking for more crew
We have decided to open a Patreon account for LARPBook. You can find it at:
Over the last few months we have come to realise that there are a number of directions we want to take LARPBook in. These include
- Improving the Websites Layout and functionality
- Increasing the audio quality of the podcast
- Adding outside recording possibilities for both Audio and Video production
- Creating new shows that will practically help LARPers
All of this will take resources – particularly money. So we’ve decided to look at funding opportunities and one of these is Patreon. If you’d like to support us (and no amount is too small or too large) then we will plough it back into doing more.
That is our pledge – the more we raise the more we can do.
Let’s see where this takes us.
In part 1 we looked at getting the core concept of the new LARP written down and agreed on. This is our foundation that we need to build things on. Part 2 looks at how the game starts to take shape.
I’ll start with character details and casting. This post is about a game in which the players get a supported character creation process. They are free to create characters that they would like to play with few restrictions. Support is provided by the referees to make sure that the players are creating characters that will work with the plot. It’s a small event so this high degree of ref / player interaction is possible. Support works through channels such as email, messenger and telephone possible. On the day there is only going to be limited time for character briefings so helping out the players now makes a lot of sense.
On the NPC side the characters needed are being listed and also grouped by scene. Grouping by scene is an organisational tool that helps with a Crew shortfall. Should on the night we get a crew shortfall we can immediately with NPCs should be in play at any time, and should help if we need anyone to double up on roles. Since doubling can be confusing to players we’d also need to make sure that these characters are visually distinct.
Character grouping is not a character so the next stage is to create a working of description of who the NPC characters are and what their objectives are. This document has play notes on the types of activity and style of play we need and also goals for these characters. We are now ready for casting.
Casting our Non Player Characters is really important. We have to marry up the right combination of sex, looks, playing experience, relationship to other NPC players and also the kind of characters this person plays well. Its a lot to think about and it is critical to the success of the game. For this game we had a meeting to discuss our crew and what they should be playing.
At this point we have the characters coming along.
Its now time to think scenes in more detail. We already have a basic list from earlier but now…
Games are like a story with beginning, middles and end(s). Although with a LARP things are a lot looser and events can swing a long way from a plan. So the trick is to make sure you can get all the elements you need in play, preferably in some sort of order. You also need to make sure that dramatic impetus, villains and other plot drivers all arrive in a timely manner that the game runs at the right pace.
The right pace is the one that will allow the players to complete the game, not get bored and not feel hopelessly over loaded either. Once again it is a balancing act.
The earlier mentioned scene list is used for this. For each scene I add more detail about what I know I need to introduce and which NPCs are involved. In other words its revising the core list of planned moments for the game. By the end of this there is a working document that explains each stage of the game. When the game is running the crew will be able to refer to this document, look up every stage of the game and know what is expected. One person cannot realistically run a Larp alone and having a central ‘Bible’ for the game allows everyone involved to chart progress whilst it is running.
Working out scenes for a larp is a bit like a cross between writing a book and editing a film.
By this point in this second phase of writing we should information about the NPCs and game structure that puts us very close to being able to run the game.
The image for this post is called Trough the glass and comes from Flickr user Angelo Amboldi. To learn more about this image and it’s licence please click here.
Right now I am engaged in the process of getting a game ready for the end of March. It’ll be played by Twilight Realms at Oakraven Field Centre in the Forest of Dean. I’m fully into the writing groove and I thought it might be a good idea to share the process; that for me is the birth of a LARP.
It started with a confirmed date for an event and the realisation that we needed a new LARP for the Friday night. We seem to be establishing a tradition of a short modern day / horror game on the Friday and a much longer low fantasy game on the Saturday.
This gave me the first parameter – the game would start somewhere around 8pm (give or take). This meant it would be a short game (around the 2 – 4 hour mark).
I also need to mention that I am not writing this on my own. There is a team putting this scenario together. The other members are Liz and Keith. Liz is our overall organiser – she puts in great ideas and also makes sure everything we do is practically achievable. Keith is an awesome ideas man – so we plot and plan together then I write things up.
From this starting point we had a couple of rough ideas. I had an idea, that went via Liz and Keith. This caused some refinement and from this I created a 1 page outline of the LARP.
This one page version is really important. It lets everyone involved see the structure of the game in a succinct version.
Following on from this Keith and I had a brainstorming meeting where we worked out a few ideas. Thought through some problems and solutions to them. In doing so the overall nature of the changed. I’d like to say refined. I took these ideas to Liz. She had a few more ideas and also started to list out what we needed to make this work.
I now had to write 2 more documents. The first is a longer version of the outline that encapsulates the ideas of the game and some of the key events that will happen within. This is broken up into Beginning, Middle and End to give us a story structure. The second is the start of a kit list; what equipment, props and costuming will we need to make this work? It’s a good idea to get this started early. The last thing you want is to realise with just days to go that a key prop will simply not be possible.
That’s the start of writing the game. My next tasks are to
- Create documents outlining the key NPCs
- Get into a bit more detail key points in the second document – as it contains a number of questions that need to be answered.
Once these are done myself and co-authors will need to look at the characters submitted by the players and to write pre-game plot for each one of them.
As you can see this is an iterative process. Each step leads to greater refinements until we have something that is in a fit state to play.
I’ll continue this account – probably in a few weeks when more work on the game has been completed.
The image for this post comes from Flickr User: United States Mission Geneva
For full licence details and more information about this picture please click here
I’d like to just take a moment to wish all of LARPBooks readers a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for all of your support.