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Universal Fantasy Larp Rules
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Location hits or hit points
[ 2 ]
[ 2 ]
Locational with hit points in each location
[ 0 ]
A hit point buffer that then becomes locational
[ 1 ]
Total Votes : 5
Joined: Jun 30, 2002
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:24 pm
On this "ruleless" concept give me some ideas how combat could be done?
Here would be my take to get rid of numbers at least.
When one is in combat and is hit in a location they must take that hit unless they are wearing armor then to a point the hit could be ignored. Heavier armor stops more damage. Magic weapons slice through any armor save magic armor. One must take their hits if and not be a bad role player. Ply up your injuries! DO not recover unless you have been bandaged and have had time to heal up.There are no cheaters in this game just bad role players.
Could this work?
Magic could be made to work as a WYSISYG type of rule as well but I will explain more of that if some Fin does not.
I know the pieces fit! I watched them fall away!
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Joined: Jul 11, 2004
Location: Derby, UK
Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 5:04 am
Not sure a "ruleless" system is what's being discussed here, although it's all relative, I suppose - people who are used to a complex system might find what you said to be "ruleless".
A certainly don't think it's numberless - heavier armour stops more damage?
WYSIWYG in magic is desirable, I think. Specifically, I favour a "words of power" type approach - where the only direct magic spells are things like "Fear Me" and "Stumble" - so that the spell effect is a) obvious, and b) believable. I hate things like fireball ("behold my invisible sphere of flames!").
There are several ways of doing magic, and direct spell casting is only one of them. Another type is "personal empowerment" - like meditation, but with some associated cost - this is great, because you can have relatively complex effects without anyone but the caster needing to know them. But this does assume a certain amount of trust.
Rituals are another one - in many larps, rituals can be a bit airy-fairy "we'll sing a song, and ask the refs for a magic sword", but they can also be more specific, and have complex effects that are implemented by a ref, but don't work immediately (they work when the ref can implement them.
If you went with the source book idea, then each one could have a different magic type, depending on the "feel" of the source book, and then people could chop and change as they wish.
I think it is important to seperate magic by iconic casting type, rather than by spell lists, which are always a bit bloated in my experience - people start making up shit spells to fill them up and "balance" them.
My concern over "ruleless" systems is that they don't give a lot of opportunity for writing effects like spells and potions - and in a fantasy larp, they are kind of important (usually). Eg. if there is only "unijured", "some damage" and "dead", then there can only be "some injury" and "death" as negative effects, and only "some healing" and "raise dead" as positive effects.
In the right game, that's no bad thing, but some people might feel there is no room for progression, and I do think progression is important.
Another thing, in terms of hit points (or equivalent), is whether you go down the "asset management" route, or the "heroic warrior" route. The former is, like with a player brief I posted earlier, where the player has a pool of hit points which are fairly large, but don't regenerate, so during the event, they must "manage" them. The latter type is where they have lower points, but those points regenerate between fights, perhaps with a requirement, like assitance from a medic, or quaffing of wine.
Depending on the type of game, one or the other would be appropriate. I like the former, but I like sim games and that sort of thing, and I hate fighting and dying.
A bit of a messy message, but I've about to go an do some forestry and primitive tech, so I'm in a rush.
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Joined: Jul 12, 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:45 pm
I think Ryan has hit the nail on the head here. The model lets you write a generic free rule system, but then allows expansion into a paid model (or you could do those for free, but it would be a lot of work!).
The outline of how combat, magic, potions..etc work would be in the generic core system, but then different tables of spells, magical ingredients, weapons would be in different source books, so someone wanting to go down a medieval horror route could pick a different source book to the person wanting heroic ancient greek monster-hunting, or whatever.
You could even do it such a way that the source books don't overlap each other much, so people could use several source books within their larp (eg. maybe the first example has a horror bestiary and lots of blood-based magic, the other having unit-tactics bonuses and ritual magic.
Hey Lig, nice to see you around again.
Yep, you could do "core" source books that could be used in any setting, like a "fantasy horror" book. But personally I wouldn't be inclined that way. Again, it's because I think that sort of detail is most worthwhile when it's wrapped up in a playable campaign in a setting.
I'd suggest a free generic fantasy ruleset that's short and flavourless, and then any number of published "campaigns" based on that core ruleset. Each campaign would have its own setting, and could consist of a number of books - some of which would be essentially "campaign" source books.
So you might have an "undead kingdom" sourcebook for a specific campaign, and it would be totally specific to a named undead kingdom that setting. That way it can tie in to the specific geography, politics, metaphysics, races, NPCs, and history of that setting. I think that'd be more useable and attractive to GMs than a generic "undead" sourcebook that's usable in any setting but perfect for none.
So: one generic fantasy system booklet, kept short and sweet. And then a number of campaigns based on that system, with multiple publications each. Like how
(BRP) is the basis for Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer and they all have sourcebooks, but BRP itself doesn't have generic sourcebooks.
The generic fantasy system would still have to make a stand on a number of design issues though. It would inevitably be more suitable for certain styles of fantasy larp than others, and would suit some larpers tastes better than others. So campaigns would inevitably pick and choose what they use from the core ruleset, and tweak it a bit or even ignore large amounts of it. At a conceptual level, this reminds me of the Dogma 99 larp manifesto. It inspired a number of larps. Very few of them followed its rules exactly, but they all were heavily influenced by it.
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Joined: Jul 11, 2004
Location: Derby, UK
Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 1:30 pm
Hi Ryan, nice to speak to you again, too.
I guess the real starting point has to be principle, then. I know that Eldrad has said "it should be simple", but I think that a broader picture needs to be created. So how about this:
* Rulebook should be no longer than X pages.
* Ingame calls should be avoided, but not necessarily forbidden.
* Number-based rules should be kept as few and as simple as possible.
* Rules should aspire to immersion rather than realism.
I've started collecting PDFs of rule systems - it's surprising how many games have 30, 60, or even 100 pages of rules; this is quite frankly insane, and is like expecting players to read a small novel before they're allowed to play the game! I think that the core rules should be a maximum of 10 pages; other rules should fill no more than 20, and these other rules might include things like weapon safety and advice on admistration and good practice for players and referees. At the heart of the rules should be a 1 or 2 page "quick guide".
It's possible for large areas of the rules to be classed as "non-core rules"; if weapon and magic calls are included in the rules, then those calls must be considered as core, but the rest of the information about magic use need not be considered core; only those rules that every player must know are considered to be core rules.
I reckon that I've conclusively, and mathematically, proved that global hits are the way forward; having said that, Eldrad's suggestion of a "less numerical" approach is appealing to me, although would it appeal to the average larper? Either way, it's fairly clear that a locational system isn't desirable. I think the "numberless" approach is worth exploring in detail before we reject it.
The last point, about immersion vs realism, is an important one. Any argument which is based around doing it the way that is "more realistic" is deluded - nothing in larp is realistic, so what we should aim to do is make them game fun and fast to play, even if that is at the cost of someones perception of "realism". Eg. it's good if armour makes me harder to kill, but totally unimportant that it doesn't match with the way that real 15thC plate is effected by an axe. The only "realistic" option would be for me to hit your real armour with my real axe!
As I said before, modular is good; it should be possible to offer a small range of combat mechanics to choose from - the simplest being the "numberless" system suggested by Eldrad, the next being a low points global system (not much of a difference from the first), and then the option to multiply the numbers - 6 points instead of 3, for example, if there is to be a heavy focus on combat.
How best to deal with armour? For simplicity's sake, I favour the approach they use in Maelstrom, where the armour effectively gives you bonus hit points, depending on how much of it you have; it isn't tied to the physrep. This is harder to do in the "numberless" system, but then all approaches to armour are harder to do in the "numberless" system - all they can rely do is modify your perception of whether you are injured, or how badly you are injured.
There are several types of rules - rules that everyone must know all the time, rules that the user must know all the time, and rules that the user only needs to know in a given circumstance. Well, and "rules that the players never need to know", but they're in a very different class, belonging more to the campaign world than the rules.
It's preferable that a given rule gets "moved up" this scale wherever possible - eg. rules for healing don't need to be known by anyone but the healer, who can explain what is happening to their patient. Likewise, if only a referee can tell a player they have caught a disease, then the rules about catching the disease don't need to appear in the player-facing rulebook.
Character creation is another thing which can be very modular - I personally hate class systems, like Warrior, Ranger...etc, but some people love them. Therefore I suggest three modules - the first would be a flexible but very simple "pick" system, where they pick a couple of skills, the second would be a slightly more detailed "points" system, where they spend points on buying several skills with their own cost, and the third system would be a "class building system".
That makes me think of something quite important - that restrictive rules, like character classes, are something that the system should support, but not provide.
Just some thoughts.
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Joined: Jul 27, 2004
Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:27 pm
[quote="Eldrad"]Weird!, there seems to be very little traction on this subject. I thought that a free public domain system that could not be owned but shared from group to group would be very attractive to many LARPers out there but it seems everyone is satisfied playing their own system with their own people. Or am I wrong?[/quote]
US LARPers are incredibly "tribal" creatures. They want "their game", and that means a generic system doesn't really get traction.
There are three different fantasy LARPs that use the same camp I play at. Each system is more than sufficiently different in what it can do as to be incompatible with the other two.
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