At our last game at the time of this writing (2022/03/19), we talked about some of the challenges facing the current DFWLarp, and the plans I wanted to make in order to address those issues. For those who were not able to make it to game, I wanted to take a moment to go over the decision, and talk about where we are going from here.
- Attendance: It should come as a surprise to no one that the number of players attending the monthly gathering has dwindled off quite a bit since our games in 2019. As I’m sure everyone realizes by now, one of the main reasons for that drop-off is due to the pandemic, and the inconsistency of scheduling associated with it. It’s hard to get 15 or more people to show up in a single location when you are unsure if you will potentially be exposed. In my mind, the best way to address this is to reverse the expectations around how we currently play LARP. Historically, the in person gathering has been the “main event”, with the online correspondence being an afterthought. Going forward, the online interaction throughout the month will be the “game” as we understand it (where plot is seeded and resolved, where interactions with the ST take place, and where die rolls and statistics are actually utilized). The monthly gathering will become the optional “social event” that will give people a chance to share the information they have gleaned over the past month, make public interactions in order to gain Status within the city, and the place where those who want to will be able to have an in person social connection to the players and characters they are interacting with throughout the month. These online engagements will be taking place on our Discord channel, which will be made available to everyone when we fully come online.
- Resources: Because we have fewer players, it makes sense to push everyone back into a single genre to interact with. This creates competition for resources such as Status, Influences, and other Merit based references for characters. Having spoken with the current players about the specific genre and factoring in accessibility plus ease of entry for newer players, we have decided to use the Vampire: The Requiem (New World of Darkness) setting. Not only does this have a more grounded environment than some of the other options, it has a built in justification for the monthly social gatherings, while still allowing those players who are unable or unwilling to participate in the in person part of the game to be involved in the overall setting. Because we are reducing the game to a single genre, we are also using this opportunity to go “back to book”, meaning that mechanics and associated systems will be as close as possible to what is written in the pages, instead of needing to be converted in order to balance the game with other systems.
- World Building: Historically, the world of Dallas has primarily been designed by me. In order to help facilitate interest in the game, and to reduce the amount of work that I have to perform in order to flesh out the current city, players are allowed much more leeway in creating the world of Dallas as they would like to picture it. If you are wanting to have your character have influence of the Underworld sector of Dallas, for example, you will be expected to submit your character writeup with how your character became influential in the Dallas Underworld. If the Mayor of Dallas is now at your beckon call, you need to include that as part of your character writeup. As opposed to previously, when the control of Dallas’ Influences was determined by experience point expenditure, all Merit based acquisitions are now defined via the character writeups and plot activity that occurs during game. This means that players can both gain and lose Merits as the game continues, based upon the outcome of storylines. And, because Merits are not purchased with experience points, losing a Merit is potentially a permanent event, as opposed to simply a temporary one. This will also allow players who are interested in seeing their own storylines be brought to fruition, as we will have many more opportunities to introduce additional content to the game.
Because of the scope of these changes and the impact to characters, this will necessitate a reboot. However, I believe that the flexibility of this will allow us to begin recruiting people into our game at a more rapid, as players will no longer have to wait for monthly gatherings in order to get involved. Additionally, as the online aspect of the game allows for more frequent interactions on my part, I will be able to seed out plotlines throughout the month, instead of being forced to deliver them all in a single game session, and hope everyone is able to get everything accomplished in a single night.
I’m looking forward to seeing how these changes impact the game, and hope that everyone is as excited about the possibilities as I am. As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions associated with these changes.