A brief summary of

‘Live action Role-Playing, the game, the drama and the experience’

At this moment my book ‘Live action Role-Playing, the game, the drama and the experience’ is only available in Dutch. This book contains 99 insights in the medium Larp and the organisation of Larp events. I wrote it for everyone who is involved in Larp, whether organising, writing or playing Larp events. But I meant it also for game designers who want to use aspects of the Larp medium in their own designs (e.g. escape rooms looking for immersive experiences).

On this page I’ll give you a brief summary of the contents of my book, focusing on the highlights. It will be hard to make an extract of the 400+ pages, which not only contains insights and considerations, but also practical examples you can implement at once.

Framework

The structure I’m using for categorising my insights has the form of a piramide.

The medium Larp and it’s dimensions are central. At the base the organisational aspects of Larp events are clustered: without this foundation the medium doesn’t come to live. At the background you’ll see the aspects of the theme of the Larp. Because every theme is unique, you’ll find more on wiki pages of the theme, then you will in my book. The medium Larp is surrounded by the three playing styles: the gamist, the dramatist and the immersionist. Players and organisers aren’t often that black-and-white, but for understanding the different way players enjoy Larps it is crucial to distinguish these playing styles. In the styles you see other disciplines that support the medium Larp. Puzzles for instance have always been a part of traditional Larp (opening gates, solving mysteries). Extensive knowledge of puzzles help you to create more interesting Larps.

Inspirators

I would like to share with you main inspirators for my insights. First of all, my own eyes and ears and my own experiences. Next is Floris Koot, my former colleague at DOL Drama on Location, who has taught me early on importent stuff about (impro) play and dramatic scenario’s (1999). The book ‘As Larps Grow Up‘ (2003), the first collective work of the Nordic Larp scene, made a great impression on me when I discovered it just about 5 year ago. When reading Huizinga (1938) and Caillois (1961) I realised for the first time that a lot of what I was considering already has been explained in literature. Last but not least, there is the book Rules of Play, the bible for game designers (and almost impossible to read, but so valuable).

Let’s not forget the organisers, writers, set dressers, players, NPC’s, their actions and their creations. And the discussions I had with them while searching for understanding this bizar phenomenon that was addicting to me and still is.

99 insights

Below you’ll find the titles of all 99 insights to create the best experience in traditional Larp. Traditional Larp is the opposite of progressive Larp. Most common progressive Larp you’ll find in the Nordic Larp tradition. Traditional Larp usually has its roots in table top role-playing games, like D&D.

Behind each insight several arguments, suggestions and stories are hidden. Unfortunately I can’t add them to this page. I can however answer any questions you have or give a verbal presentation taking your specific interests into account. Feel free to contact me.

Play

  1. Conditions for play
Workshops
  1. Pre-game workshops really help
  2. Workshops as an integral part of your event
  3. The need for post-game workshops
Drama and impro
  1. Status play
  2. Say ‘yes’ to an offer for play
  3. Dare to loose
  4. ‘Say yes extra’: everything what is been said during the game is true
  5. The participant must have the impression that he or she determines the outcome
  6. All participants must have influence on the whole
  7. Dramatic impulse: the ‘Why’-question
  8. Dramatic impulse: contradictions lead to drama
  9. Create recognizable situations
  10. Play emerges only by walking along the abyss
  11. Game flow
  12. Never solve a weakness during a game by creating new structures
  13. Let go is possible: organized chaos
  14. Play is a social thing
  15. Give each other real attention
  16. Feel the emotion you act
  17. Rituals: the theatrical moment of you Larp

Game system

  1. You’ll find the game where there are no rules
  2. The importance of a good game system
  3. What makes an economy system great
  4. Dealing with the death of characters
  5. A play creating rule: the Red Cairn
  6. Never use rules that interrupt the play
  7. Conditions for good rules

Game World

  1. The importance of a game world
  2. NPC’s let the game world come to live
  3. Let go of 21st century values is hard
  4. NPC’s are also living creatures with their own culture
  5. The scenario takes place within the boundaries of the game world
  6. Facilitate the need for an administrative organization

Scenario

  1. And the writer of this adventure is…
  2. Types of adventures
  3. The ability of choosing is central within a Larp
  4. Complete a plot line before you start playing it
  5. Vary with plots
  6. Cooperation as a solution of het plot
  7. Objective of a plot and its encounters
  8. Inequality and imbalance are a good thing for drama
  9. Time controlled plot
  10. ‘Metagaming’ and scenario
  11. Mind the interests of women
  12. Hunting for Easter eggs
  13. The staff in five pieces
  14. Better well nicked than badly thought up
  15. The main story
  16. Don’t forget to guide your players through your story
  17. Player tend to stack plot
  18. Timing is everything
  19. The power of groups
  20. The Common Enemy
  21. Four in, Three out
  22. The story doesn’t always need to end well
  23. A scene to remember for ever
  24. Mind available play time
  25. Influencing players

Scenario (continued)

60. Casting of NPC’s for the scenario
61. Play with the characteristics of the surroundings
62. Play made by players take precedence over play from scenario’s
63. The game and play won’t come to you
64. Prevent predictability
65. Reuse scenario’s
66. Points of attention with puzzle plots
67. Touch players emotionally at the intersection of two plot lines

Players

68. Classification of players types
69. The right player for the right game
70. What drives players
71. A player is only a ‘customer’ when paying the right price
72. Conditions for a good designed character
73. Attune (the personalities of) the characters
74. The value of the background story of characters
75. Character ‘Alignment’ (good, neutral, bad) doesn’t exist
76. Immerse in your character
77. Keep in game secrets also secret out of game

Game master/game guide

78. The role of the game guide
79. Communicate the boundaries of the game
80. Players know less then the game master thinks
81. Solve out of game problems out of the game
82. Organising in game takes a lot more time then out of game
83. Work with negative or positive feedback loops
84. Playing during ‘down time’: preferably not

Production

Marketing and volunteer management

85. The 5 P’s of a Larp game
86. Take Larp seriously, then others will do that as well

Administration

87. Administration, a job you can learn
88. How to prevent the volatility of Larp
89. Make a review of a game

Law, risks and insurances

90. Provide an ‘Emergency Brake’ and an ‘Emergency Exit’
91. Safety on a Larp event
92. Play with taboos
93. Your rights and your privacy on a Larp

Costumes

94. Costumes contribute to a better experience

Pros, set dressing and special effects

95. ‘What-you-see-is-what-you-get’ (360 degree experience)
96. The added value of theatrical effects and decoration

Catering

97. Food and drinks in the theme of the game improve the experience

Location

98. Make the proper arrangements with a location

Organise and control

99. Manage a Larp like a project

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