The LARPing (dot) Net Project


**Update 2/25/10**

Lately, I have been beset with requests from existing LARP groups as well as newly forming committes for the LARPing community to help them out in a great many facets. As such, my spare time has all but disappeared. So I will not be pursuing this endeavor for a while. However, a new group has formed out there this year by the name of Heroic Interactive Theatre  and they are really attempting to put together a network of games and are being very reasonable about their costs.


This was started almost as a dare.  When asked why people still shell out large amounts of cash as a franchise fee to either NERO or the Alliance, the answer was that it was the only game out there where people could take characters from chapter to chapter and play and grow them.  Many people would wonder why someone else doesn’t try to do it, others would say that they could do it but nothing has come from it.  Well I’m not one who sits back and waits for someone else to do things.


Now, don’t get me wrong, NERO and the Alliance are good systems with good people behind it and good people playing it.  However, I see many areas that could be improved upon or downright thrown away and give the players a better play experience.  Their games are high fantasy and are great if you want to continue fighting something for long periods of time, whittling away hit points while shouting out different numbers of damage.  But I enjoy a game where quick math on the battlefield isn’t a requirement.  Where the fights are quick and often lethal.  Where when you meet someone in the dark, you feel the fear of it because you don’t have a boat load of protectives that will let you escape with little more than having fast feet.  And where magic is more than just another way to hurt someone – that it is the mysterious power that earns the name ‘magic’.


Now, will this project work?  Will dozens of people be willing to play in a system that I make and work on coordinating different chapters throughout the US so others can experience new places, stories and people while still playing the same character?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  It will be quite a job to do so but I think that the top two have been around long enough and it is time for another flavor to be added to the menu.


Brief concept of the LARPing Net system


The system that will be used will be one that may require a bit of work to create the character but will be easy to play them once in the game.  Also, realism will be a focal point so that things feel more ‘realistic’ and you don’t have to continually suspend your disbelief about things around you.  To that end, some of the concepts in the works are:


No damage calls – The idea will be that all weapons will do 1 point of damage.  However, skills and abilities will be able to be purchased that will allow people to do more than just one point of damage.  In addition, any calls that are made will be done in a fashion that will not detract from the setting of the game.


No classes – A person should be able to play the character they envision and not be forced to be pigeon holed into a certain area.  Experience points show the amount of time that a character has taken studying an skill.  It shouldn’t be easier or harder depending upon what other skills you have chosen to study – it should require the same time.


A rich magic system – The magic in LARPing Net will be one that does more than hurt, protect and heal.  Magic is not a martial art form but rather a craft that sometimes can be used to the benefit of a battle.  But it will have other functions as well.  And all of the effects will be simple to understand and execute by those being affected by it.


Continued use of skills throughout the day – Many current LARP systems have you buy a skill or spell multiple times and you can use that skill or spell that number of times per day.  It doesn’t make sense that if you know HOW to eviscerate someone, you can only do it once in a 24 hour period.  There will be a system in place that will limit the usage of the abilities so that not every swing is an evisceration but it won’t be based on ‘per day’.


A Religious system – Religion plays a major role in many fantasy genres and is lacking currently in quite a few.  It was removed in order not to ‘offend’ anyone but if you’re going to be offended by a tribe of orcs worshipping Togak, the God of War, then you probably should be working on that instead of playing a game.


A ‘believable’ world setting – What this means is that you won’t have ogres and kobolds hopping around as commonly as any other species.  There won’t be huge dungeon networks for adventurers to delve into (unless the area the players are gaming in has such a tunnel system).  The same goal can be accomplished by dealing with bandits in the forest that you can with fire elementals in the bowels of a volcano.  It may not be as flamboyant of a setting but then again it is hard to believe you are in a volcano when all you see around you are trees and birds.  This doesn’t mean that there won’t be fantastic monsters and places – just that such things will need to be built to a level of believability.  One of the goals of LARPing Net is to never hear the phrase, “What do I see?”


System that can be easily shared – The whole reason LARPing Net began was this reason.  To have another alternative out in the US so that players could go from chapter to chapter with their characters and experience what others are playing.  To that end, not only will the rules remain consistent so that it is easy for players to participate in a game but there will be a dedicated system in place to help administer the LARPing Net, to keep track of player’s characters and allow access to the plot teams of the chapters to know what is happening in other areas of the game world.


When will the LARPing Net system be launched?


This is a tough question.  Creating a system from scratch isn’t easy and making a simple one that offers a lot of flavor and choices while building a new world that the system takes place in is even harder.  However, I am hoping to have a first draft of the rules by the first of 2009.  One of the great things about creating a new system is that you can pick and choose what you feel works well in other systems and incorporate it into your own.  I also want to make sure that the system has room for growth and expansion.  Many systems out there do have an ‘upper plateau’ of a character build.  Basically that you have reached the ‘end game’ as it were and there really isn’t anywhere else to take your character.  Although it will be impossible to remove this entirely with a popular gaming system, a good one will find a way to keep a player motivated in advancing his character other than having him inflict/take more damage.