How This LARP Thing Works

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How This LARP Thing Works

Post by Chris Shaffer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:45 am

So, some years ago, a LARP book was put out converting a lot of things for use in live-action roleplaying. It was a solid first effort. Some of the effects there worked, some of them didn't function right compared to tabletop, and there were issues all around. I've run games using those rules before and I'm using something of a lighter variant on them now.

Basically, I'm running it pretty much out of tabletop with only a couple of tweaks. Most important is what we're doing instead of awkwardly rolling dice on the nearest horizontal surface.

First, you determine your test pool just like a dice pool in tabletop. Attribute, Ability, any powers or modifiers that are factoring in, whatever.

Then we're going to randomly generate a number from one to ten. I have three possible methods of doing this:

  • My personal preference: A modified deck of playing cards, with face cards and jokers removed so all that's left are Ace through 10.
  • Alternately, I'll have an r10 dice ring. I should be wearing one at all times during game if people prefer it for quick tests.
  • Each of us chooses a number between 1 and 10, as randomly as we can, and simultaneously we hold up that many fingers. We add them up, subtract 10 if it's 11 or higher, and we've produced a theoretically-random number between 1 and 10. Probably my least-favorite, because it's a lot less random than people think it is (and it's the easiest to cheat), but it works for informal tests if I'm busy elsewhere and for mass tests like blood at the start of the session or initiative.


If the random number is a 10, we test again and add the results together. If we get 10 multiple times, we keep going until we don't.
If the random number is a 1, that's an automatic failure... unless your test pool is 11 or higher. If it is, you get a single retest if you roll a 1.

We add the result to the test pool. If the total is 8 or higher (and you didn't wind up with a 1 after all), you've succeeded. For every 3 above 8 (11, 14, 17, 20...), you score an additional success. Everything else -- Willpower points, Exceptional Successes, etc. -- work normally.
Anything designated as a 'rote action' in the system, however, is done differently because the original rote action is really dependent on individual dice. Instead, we double the test pool. I've run the numbers on this one, it's as close as we can get to the tabletop version in terms of results and it's worked for me in the past.

The only other real concession to the LARP system is that when the books describe things as happening in X number of yards (like Speed rating), we just substitute an equal number of steps. It's about the same distance anyways, after all.




Now, before I continue, I want to nail down a few hard rules. Sure, there's the stuff in my 'Basics and Expectations' thread, but these are rules that can get you asked to leave if you break them.


  1. No touching other players without permission.
  2. No prop weapons.
  3. No drugs or alcohol, whether partaking at game or playing while obviously inebriated.
  4. No prop weapons.
  5. No damaging or defacing the game area.
  6. No prop weapons. I'm deadly serious about this. A while back, someone was spotted with a gun on Frat Row (which turned out, supposedly, to be a BB gun) and the entire campus was put on full lockdown for over an hour. People in school buildings were moved to rooms without windows and locked in with the lights off. Again, full lockdown. So seriously. No prop weapons, I don't care how orange it is.


Last edited by Chris Shaffer on Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How This LARP Thing Works

Post by Chris Shaffer on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:36 am

Downtime Actions
I'm also using a version of the system in earlier books for 'downtime actions.' Each week, a character will be able to take a single Downtime Action. (that means two Downtime Actions between each session, three after the last session in a five-week month) If someone misses a session, Downtime Actions can be saved up to a maximum of the character's Resolve. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the majority of Downtime Action rolls cannot receive the benefits of the Good Time Management Merit. (Your character can do X number of major things in between sessions, regardless of how long they take.)

Certain Merits, Disciplines, and assorted other things can effectively provide the character with extra Downtime Actions under certain circumstances. I'm not going to advertise a comprehensive list of these, to discourage min-maxing, but I do have a list in mind. Each of these various sources, however, will only allow for one extra Downtime Action per source between sessions.

Feeding
At the start of every session, I will throw a single test with everyone using method three in the original post. This will be one of the few times where I'll use that method by default. Whatever number each player gets determines how much vitae they start the session with. On a 10, you come in full regardless of blood pool. On a 1, you can either spend a Downtime Action to feed or run a scene with me. On 2-9, that's how much blood you have when you arrive. The Feeding Grounds and Herd Merits can add to this initial test as appropriate. (Interactions with your Herd will either be handled via the forum or at game depending on how busy I am)
In addition, you can spend one or more Downtime Actions to retroactively declare you spent extra effort feeding. Each Downtime Action spent adds half your maximum vitae pool to your starting vitae.
(In general, it's going to be assumed that player characters will be drinking and spending more blood during downtime than they come into game with. It's just assumed that for the most part, the start-of game test establishes net gains between sessions.)

Willpower
Player characters will begin each session at full Willpower. It's assumed that characters will be fulfilling the various requirements to regain Willpower a little more often than they'll be spending it outside of game. I'll note these individually in the House Rules, but just for good measure here: If a bloodline's weaknesses inhibits their ability to regain Willpower (for instance, no longer being able to regain it through Mask or Dirge), their starting Willpower will be reduced to two-thirds (rounding down). This doesn't affect maximum Willpower; only starting Willpower.
Willpower can be regained normally in-game, through fulfilling Mask or Dirge.

Damage at the End of the Session
As vampires reflexively heal any damage they have when they sleep, having vitae at the end of the session is important to make sure the vampire keeps waking up. At the end of the session, each vampire will have to either spend enough blood to heal their damage during downtime or spend Willpower to preserve said damage. One point of Willpower will preserve all of a vampire's Bashing or Lethal damage, or one point each for Aggravated damage. Players have the option of pre-emptively spending upcoming Downtime Actions to acquire the blood they need to manage said damage. Aside from letting me know that you're spending these Downtime Actions, I'll largely be using the honor system for this for as long as I feel comfortable doing so. (In other words: If I catch someone cheating at this, I'm going to be up everyone's ass about damage until the end of time.)

Theban Sorcery
Because Theban Sorcery takes longer now, I'm instituting an amount of time for blood sorcerers to prepare rituals before coming into game. (Especially since running Vampire involves a little handwaving about the exact time of sunset anyhow.) A character preparing blood sorcery rituals will have an hour and a half of off-camera time to cast before the session begins. If the players wants to do more, then they can spend a point of vitae to have an extra hour (basically, you're spending vitae to wake up early and start casting).

Initiative
Different games handle this in various ways, so just to set this down on 'paper' here. At the beginning of a combat scene, if we aren't using the 'Down and Dirty Combat' system, I'll throw a mass test with everyone. Your test pool consists of your Initiative rating (which, by default, is Dexterity + Composure), modified by any weapons you carry. Instead of successes, though, we just go by whatever final number you wound up with (which can be higher than 10). And then we go in order, from highest Initiative to the lowest. If you draw or discard a weapon during the combat scene, your Initiative rating is modified as appropriate.


Last edited by Chris Shaffer on Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:53 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: How This LARP Thing Works

Post by Chris Shaffer on Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:04 pm

Gestures and Postures

A common aspect of LARP parlance, especially that done in the various WoD LARPs, is the usage of certain gestures and such to indicate out of character details without stopping the scene to explain more than you have to. As I was recently reminded, not everyone I'm likely to game with will know these by heart (and I apologize for any confusion there). So here's a quick primer on the basics.

Fingers crossed -- Used to indicate that someone is saying or doing something out of character. If everyone in a given location is talking OOCly it's not as necessary. But if you need to address the group out of character in an otherwise in-character scenario (like indicating you're interacting with something in the setting), that's how you do it.

One or both arms crossed over the chest -- Used to indicate that you're invisible or otherwise can't be seen. Traditionally, when using a power like Obfuscate, a player should hold up a number of fingers indicating what ability they're using so players know how to react (if necessary).

Hand held up with thumb and index finger in an L-shape, sometimes with the thumb under the chin so it looks like you're shushing someone -- Indicates the character is speaking in a language not everyone in the scene knows.

One or more fingers held to the temple -- Indicates speaking telepathically to one or more player characters but cannot be heard by the entire room.

Fist with thumb extended straight up, like the traditional thumbs-up, with the thumb up under the chin -- Indicates a disguise of some sort, such as with the Familiar Stranger power of Obfuscate. (The gesture is supposed to resemble holding a mask in front of one's face.) If you're likely to use such powers it's recommended that name tags can indicate it (especially for specific forms/appearances), but this is perfectly viable if physically tiring after a while.

Both hands held up at or above shoulder-height, fingers out and curved like claws -- The character has taken a blatantly-inhuman, monstrous form. Most often used for Gangrel with Unnatural Aspect active or werewolves in their monstrous hybrid form.

Both hands held in front of the chest or stomach, palms down, sometimes in the pose of a begging dog -- The character has taken on an animal form, such as with Beast's Skin. If the character is in a tree or a bush, somewhere out of the player's physical reach, it's customary to point to the spot with one hand while keeping the other in the pose.

Finger behind the ear, other hand pointing away -- With enhanced senses or shotgun microphones or whatever, the character is listening from a distance. The player is OOCly standing there to actually overhear the conversation while pointing in the direction their character is standing. Before listening in on an in-character conversation, make sure the conversation can be overheard and that it is in-fact in-character to cause as little disruption as possible.

One hand held up, one finger held up -- Indicates you're in the state of Twilight, probably through Twilight Projection (or me playing a ghost or spirit), indicating invisibility and intangibility. It's extremely unlikely to come up for player characters in this game, but the same gesture with more than one finger held up indicates other realms of existence that might be even harder to interact with.


If I've missed any basic ones that players are likely to need, let me know.

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Re: How This LARP Thing Works

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