Sunday, 7 June 2015

Putting Some LARP in Your RPG

Today I went to Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg and played Amtgard, a rule set of Larping. As per usual, it was very fun, running around hitting people with sticks holds a lot of charm. And it also holds a lot of potential for inspiration.

The first few hours of every day are taken up with Battle Games. Generally different variances of games like capture the flag, move the bomb, heavy object and, caravan raids. All of them have different objectives and different ways of arranging the player classes in order to get the most out of the players.

One thing I have come to realize, is that communication during a Battle Game is chaotic at best. Impossible at worst. And this is with foam weapons and no real risk to ones self. The extra stress of combat with real weapons in a real life or death situation would make communication, planning after engagement and, team work incredibly difficult.

Also, the strain of combat with foam weapons does begin to tell eventually, especially on those who are not in peak physical condition. Those of use who are athletic can play all day, though after 4-5 hours we also begin to slow down. Combat in Full Plate with a sword and shield, or a giant axe, or even the repetitive drawing of a bow would cause fatigue extraordinarily quickly.

The final point I would like to make here is the amount of thirst generated by running around a field. In 4-5 hours of play I generally drink 3-4 litres of water, ans should probably drink more. When was the last time a lack of proper hydration made a difference in any combat you've run? For me, it has never happened.

Now, what I want to do from here is find a simple, yet elegant, way of making these three things matter in RPGs. More difficult communication, a better representation of fatigue, and a better representation of how dehydration quickly becomes a problem would all make the game a more exciting endeavor, so long as the rules don't get in the way of things.

Over the next week or two, I plan on trying to tackle these problems in my Pathfinder game. I will have three constraints on each set of rules,

1 - The rules may be no more than 350 words long. Like I said above, the rules can not get in the way of play. For every bit of depth you add you also add rules, and the trade off must be worth it.

2 - There can be no more than one thing to keep track of during game play. As above, simplicity is the key here. I will decide upon a single thing to keep track of, preferably the same thing for all of them, most likely combat rounds, though maybe not.

3 - No more than one die roll and one calculation. Quick and easy is the theme here. Preferably, it will come down to just a die roll and no math, but I need the lee way to put a single calculation in just in case.

Having written the above three constraints, I have decided to actually use them for most/all of my house rules in the future. It will help things from becoming to unwieldy, and will test my problem solving skills more.

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