Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Scheming the Plotting

So now I've started thinking about plot.

In LARPs there are two basic forms of plot; the linear and the social. For the uninitatied, a linear LARP is where the plot moves in a linear fashion, like a TV show, often moving the players physically as well, setting up events along a pre-determined trek through woods, for example.

Social LARPs, on the other hand, are very diferent in that they are mostly static. Instead, the plot is created by players choosing what goals they wish to pursue and then interacting with others to achieve their goals.

I had wondered about finding some way of shaking things up though. Rather than just handing out goals it would be nice to find a way of randomising things without them becoming so random that they become silly.

One idea that I like is to provide major and minor goals and award Victory Points when these goals are met. The idea is essentially to create a dynamic political situation, whereby factions that excel will find themselves altering the balance of power. Obviously this will not really affect the first game beyond providing a 'winner', but if the game is to continue, it will need to have this mechanic built in from the start.

This is what I am thinking of:

The LARP rules cover for a system of contracts which allow parties to enter into binding agreements. These are described by levels, with the agreements becoming more epic with every level. I was thinking of simply stripping out the reciprocation and using the contract level as the goal's level - and value in VPs. I was also thinking of putting them into categories, so that some could be random, while others would be fixed. For example;:

Caste Goals: These are for the good of your caste (Nobles, Guildsmen, Priests) and involve playing the Great Game against the others in order to bring about your caste's vison of the galaxy (neo-Feudalism, Republic and Theocracy, in that order) These are high-level goals, like 'destroy the Prince's godless advisor's credibility so that the Prince will again listen to his Confessor', or 'stop the Church from clamping down on radio sales'.

Faction Goals: Unsurprisingly, these focus on your character's specific allegiance within their caste (Reeve instead of Guildsman, for example) and are more concerned with the day-to-day stuff. These might be a Battle Brother may seek to dissuade the Synod of the need for an Inquisitor to investigate his Chapel, or a Decados might be trying to find a Hawkwood's vice in order to gain control over her. These can be against any other faction they struggle for supremacy within their caste.

Personal Goals: These would be optional, randomly selected little goals concerned with the character's personal life - romance, marriage and other, little mysteries. Maybe a letter has been misdirected to you and talks of a conspiracy, or a friend wishes for you to approach a woman on their behalf, just to show that life isn't all plotting and scheming.

I shall have to think further...

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