Friday, October 23, 2009

LARP Plot Tips: Failure != Death

A common misconception in writing LARP modules is that the only way the characters lose is if they die. This makes me feel like I'm playing Dynasty Warriors, where the victory objectives get very monotonous. Mix it up a little bit, and make other failure mechanics.

Say character A has a contact that they tend to use a lot. Put a crisis on that contact, forcing character A to do some sort of quest in order to save them or recover the contact's trust. You don't even need to make the contact die, so if the character fails they can continue to try and gain their contact's trust back from over several events.

This also gives plot a means to make a difficult situation without overscaling a module. Make modules that the PCs can lose without massive consequences (everyone dies). That way people will actually go into modules wondering if they can be successful instead of the normal faceroll-or-decimated results that come from standard module design. With less on the line, you can put strict time limits on fights and actually create multiple levels of success. Add in some excellent roleplay elements, and you can have people talking for years about the module they lost, but still had a great time.

And don't make it so the PCs can't win. That's not what I'm endorsing. Just don't be afraid to challenge them to perform at their best, and if they don't take it seriously (since they may know it's not life or death), then they might not be successful.

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