I have reached the conclusion that I don’t understand live roleplay. Not just systems you understand (I don’t think theres a single roleplay system I actually understand with the possible exception of GURPS and I suspect if I actually GMd anything in GURPS that would get added to the list of them that I really don’t).

We’re most of the way past the middle of a Yellow Sign system overhaul and all of the other refs know that I struggle with system…well I either struggle or ask really, really dumb questions. I like stories is the reason I ended up GMing, I kind of ended up reffing with the Yellow Sign almost by accident since what I really really liked was NPCing and then I got a bit involved plus if I turned up in costume at a YS Event it would get to the stage that players would be just waiting for me to die screaming.

But I don’t get what the issue is with playing characters continuously. Surely you have an adventure and then when that comes to an end it’s the refs discretion whether the next adventure is time/place consistent with your character’s return. Likewise if theres a system overhaul then it’s refs discretion whether some characters can just be remade.

Also if you have a uni roleplaying society then surely adventures and campaigns should run contiguous with term dates and then you can play a character for three years or a year or a term or whatever and once you graduate your character should get more DPC to NPC to make it fair on undergrad PCs?

Like I said I don’t get Live and I’m apparently a ref. Apparently. I don’t think most of the players believe that one actually. Maybe thats why I want to throw offal at them.

I think I am edging closer and closer to wierd by the way.

7 thoughts on “Live

  1. Yellow Sign and Far Shores work completely differently, insofar as character continuity goes.

    The Yellow Sign effectively runs a series of shared-universe one-shots, where there might be familial links or the occasional recurring character. The impending doom of your character is all part of the evening’s entertainment, even if it doesn’t happen.

    Far Shores is a single ongoing campaign. You take on a character because you want to play the character over a period of time. Sure, they might die, but it’ll be at the time of your choosing (i.e. when you go out looking for trouble, aka adventuring). In the meantime, there’s long-term plot development, IC friendships and rivalries. Far Shores takes place every other weekend during termtime – there’s a lot more time to become emotionally attached to the character and wanting them to have their plot arc.

    It’s not like the ref says, "Right, I’m running a ten-session campaign." Far Shores has multiple refs, an evolving setting (hence the need for a system ref) and PC and NPC continuity. Those are its strengths.

    Your suggestion re the three-year character limit is a valid one, however, with Far Shores (I can’t speak for Stormhaven, having never played it), the problem is that characters have been made over-powered by GM gifts (in other words, magic items). My inexperienced character would have trouble killing Cath’s character, but it’s perfectly possible, if not entirely likely, that he could do it… if she wasn’t magically amped up with epic-level doodads.

    Part of the current revamp of the system (prior to this ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’ incident) was to remove such powerful items from the system, thus leaving us with rounded characters not too far in advance of the newer PCs.

    This sudden announcement that’s got everyone so annoyed pisses on that effort and fucks over every single player, without any proper consultation on the subject.

    That’s why people are, quite frankly, furious.

  2. Far Shores, and other continuous multi-GM lARPs, are more like MMORPGs than tabletop roleplay.

    They cost more. Your character exists with far more other PCs than a regular game would, and can interact with them as part of many separate parties.

    I’d even disagree with Archangel on the single-campaign thing – it’s a world with a LOT of campaigns active at once, potentially run by different refs. PCs can potentially be involved in multiple such.

    These different refs may have different spins, but once an area’s defined they have to stick with that definition. I couldn’t run a game where magic worked differently to the official interpretation, as the PCs exist within the official interpretation.

    This also means when a world updates, you can’t take the character to another game playing the old version of the system, the one you like. You’re stuck with the new one.

    Most MMORPGs thus present updates as happening later in time – the new content exists after existing content.

    Far Shores is making new content ‘save over’ old content – including character development, roleplaying. A double-act here. A romance there. A heroic death here… they’re no longer part of your character’s backstory, even if you keep the character.

  3. When I restarted running live Cthulhu in ’99, after a break of two or three years, I wanted it to avoid some of the pitfalls of mainstream LARP, and discovered that other people were interested in that too. So, when we put together the Yellow Sign in 2002, it was designed with that in mind. It does not feature constant character progression (by levels or points) which mandate the *always* unpopular system resets of mainstream LARP, and it aims for verisimilitude by limiting the amount of weird adventures that anyone has in their life. (Come on, you know that some LARP characters have played through three or four ‘Only You Can Prevent The End Of The World’ scenarios!)

    Above all, the YS is an *alternative* to the conventions of mainstream LARP, because I believe passionately that roleplaying in general, and LURPS in particular, thrives best on diversity.

    To me mainstream LARP is like a comic book, a soap, or one of those endless series of brick-sized fantasy novels, whereas the YS tends more towards a short story collection with related themes. Those of you familiar with the works of Lovecraft may catch my drift here… ;o)

    I find with mainstream LARP that there also tends to be a ‘design by committee’ problem, that also grows over time. People rarely take the time to properly design a good, consistent gameworld, and then work with it. They tend to start with a basic rules system, and stick on more rules, and more bits to the world over time. It’s a kind of Heath Robinson approach, which begins full of the joy of discovery, and ends totally overbalancing under it’s own weight. With the YS we cheat, of course, and use the really, real world, in all it’s wide array of wonder.

    I have long wondered what would happen to a LARP run in a carefully designed and play-tested gameworld, such as Glorantha.

    Probably it would make it to five years rather than three for a restart! … ;o)

  4. That’s why people are, quite frankly, furious.

    Archangel missed a bit.
    At the moment, we’re smack in the middle of a set of linears which were already supposed to be tackling these problems and which have been popular in doing so with the playerbase. The system reset was out of the blue and surplus to requirements from what everyone can tell, and the lack of consultation has added to this confusion and annoyance surrounding this.

    It’s a tad more complicated and inflammatory than this – but so is life, and that’s the gist of it.

  5. So essentially it’s the magic system that needs an overhaul then? *shrugs* Sorry I do tend to look at this and think of it as being a series of campaigns set within the same world since as far as I can tell you guys seem to have different plots at least termly. But, I don’t know my arse from my elbow as is apparent from this.

  6. Wow… Nothing really changes in LARP.

    This is why I like being part of the YST and ultimately why I can find no joy in other LARP like Far Shores. There is no epic-envy amongst the players or problems caused by level based roleplaying, it’s about the story and the experience which is a hell of a lot more satisfying than running around the woods with a rubber sword in my personal non-YST linked opinion.

    Like I said I don’t get Live and I’m apparently a ref. Apparently. I don’t think most of the players believe that one actually. Maybe thats why I want to throw offal at them.

    You are a Yellow Sign ref. If anyone is having a hard time accepting or believing that then I think it’s something we need to discuss. I don’t think offal would cut it either, we have to think about the insurance and we have a playerbase who actually seem to want us to shower them in blood and entrails.

  7. For the record I’d like to say I didn’t understand a word of that entry, but I tried, I did! I think it was like a PhD Physicist trying to explain gravity to an infant. Whatever happened, it sort of sounds like you are kind of confused/mildly annoyed by your discover? Or perhaps I’m reading into that too much.

    Skimble is very ignorant and is going to go sit in a corner now.

    Flying back to the states the 21st. I’ve been elected to be the camp cook since no one else likes to cook. I get paid to poison…I mean feed…the kiddies! Now where did I put that bottle of tabasco sauce? 🙂

    My host sister says hi and left a present for me to mail to you. I’ll try to get it in the mail as soon as possible!

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