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When setting out to write/manage/run a system, like with anything else, one should have a defining objective or mission statement for the system. This should form a Golden Concept which can be used to inform or make all other system decisions.

This article is predominantly written from an Larp point of view but it can be equally true for a table-top or CRPG.

 

Path01
A clearly defined route in game development and running...
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Introduction:

These are the notes I wrote for a talk at Nerdeast 2016 on running small science-fiction LARPS. Rather than spend a chunk of time to reformat this as a standalone article I'd rather publish this as a it stands and then cover the areas I'm particularly interested in as separate pieces. As it stands there is a reasonable pre-amble about science-fiction and general Larp theory to give a foundation to some of the later topics.

It's also written from a UK point of view so our rather 'keen' control of imitation firearms is addressed from that regards. 

Hopefully the document as it stands will be still of interest to people.

They are reasonably complete for talk notes but there was some additional conversation which isn't captured here.

Anyway...

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 Originally Published: 22 February 2016

Sometimes GMs/Writers of table-tops/series feel the need to broaden continually the range of NPCs encountered. Sometimes this is natural, when travelling to new locations or doing new activities. However other times they’re artificially crowbarred in -maybe the plot felt like it was going too slowly, maybe some information needed to be unveiled or the GM/Writer felt bored (or worried that the players were). 

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Originally Published: 15 March 2016

 

In previous shorts, I've covered the importance of identifying characters and how this affects the narrative, but I wanted to highlight the value of a good antagonist. Something that I've noticed to be overlooked in some games is the importance of a strongly identified villain, CRPGs and other video games tend not to have this problem, it more common in table-top and live games – possible reasons I've covered briefly at the end. Though when I mean ‘villain’ I don’t necessarily mean the end-boss…

Often the villainous organisation or group is clearly identified, but this in itself doesn't lend the same depth and draw to the narrative. If the villainous organisation is small or really strongly defined, then this is less of a problem, as the group itself achieves a level of personality against which the player characters can react. However, it is generally better to provide a single individual antagonist against which the player characters can rail. It is human nature to compete against other humans - when the competition/challenge is posed by a non-personified agent, then the sense of competition is diminished. This is particularly true when the opposing organisation is only loosely defined, a nation, race or species – they’re orcs so they are bad doesn't give the players much room to explore or imagine the foe they face.

This antagonist does not need to be the head or public face of an opposing group, but their actions should be reflective of the group’s aims and motivations as a whole. They are a personification of the group, their character and method of operations should show this. The antagonist must also be apparent, if not visible, to the players. It must be possible for the players to fairly regularly be updated on the progress of their antagonist.

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Originally Published: 17 February 2016

I've had this website for quite a while now and been seriously lack about publishing. I'm going to try and change that but also focus on a series of Shorts that give a quick oversight or look into one particular subject. So maybe a good place to start is the beginning.

When starting a game or the chapter of a game there is an a lot that a GM can do to strengthen and build up their game without being heavy handed. During this time Players are getting used to their characters, learning the setting and starting to see the story that you have laid out for them.

One simple tactic can be not to underestimated the value of presenting all the key NPCs of a narrative within the first few sections of the story/plot-arc. Setting out the various players; clearly identifying their (public) faces and agendas gives the narrative defined boundaries without being obvious.

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