Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lessons Learned August Lumberton

The Lumberton plot team last weekend braving temperatures which no man should suffer, let alone run around in, produced their third installment of the season. I am going to look at some things that we did well, and some things that we need to work on, anyone who attended please give me your responses to the event. If you didn't attend, what were you doing?

I am going to begin with what we did well, since it makes me happier. Pacing, I believe is amongst the top two most important requirements for a good larp event. Stuff has to keep happening to keep everyone entertained, downtime is the bane of roleplay because as roleplay stretches further, it becomes thinner. We nailed the pacing right on the head. I have never once at an event heard that to much was going on, but I did at this event. The nobility of the town that we were running were literally making life and death decisions in the 20 minutes of time between major events, it was awesome. I scheduled the event with the rest of the plot team but the real winners here are my staff team who kicked butt getting people into the field.

The second most important part of a good event is module design. Creating modules that do not get stale and are properly scaled is hard. I think we nailed this as well, we varied the types of modules we ran sufficiently that even the simple ones seemed different. I wrote some of these modules but the other plot people did just as well with this, I was very impressed.

We also had a really great continuous story which has been unfolding throughout this season and seems to be drawing in players fro a multitude of groups. We managed to target each and every group with some special plot and we even got newer players involved with a fully scaled continuous module. All in all I would say we had way more strengths than areas of opportunity.

That being said there are always ways to improve. The one that I heard the most was actually also one of our strengths, the pacing was hard. This was partially due to the slightly lower turnout than the previous event and partially due to the intense number of NPCs that we had. I am not going to make a conscious effort to slow down the events, I think that is counter intuitive, I will however begin splitting my wave battles between different areas of the camp, this may make the action seem more spread out without actually reducing the intensity.

Roleplay modules was another suggestion, I must admit this is not my forte. I have a hard time viewing a strictly roleplay module as very interesting. I may have to speak with my other plot persons about having them step this aspect up more while I continue to focus on the combat/puzzle modules.

Traps and other skills, again this is not my specialty. I did however pick up a new highly creative and manually dexterous staff person who may be able to help me out with this. Traps are generally a losing proposition in larps, they take to long to set up. There may be some modularization possible, bringing prebuilt trap boards or something of that nature, I am going to be looking into this between this event and the next.

All in all I believe that we ran a successful event with a minimum number of hiccups. Most of the reviews that I have received have been positive, mostly on the extreme end of positive. What did you guys think?


  1. I think the event was very strong. There were a few things that could have gone better that were out of your control, like the lack of tabards for costuming.

    The following is just nitpicking, which is done in the interest of lessons learned. There was a fair amount of monsterbation, but it only really happened during wave battles, which makes it not as big of a thing. Finally, there were a lot of renews, but I don't have any idea how many non-nobles received them. Finally, some of the monster starting took a step back from the advances made in the first two games. I heard on average 3 resists/phases per minion in wave battles and almost everything called a shield magic. This gimps casters into only attacking the big bosses because takedowns and damage are wasted on minions.

  2. Monsterbation happens, it becomes a problem when it removes resources from the game that could be better used elsewhere. Note that the Jinn only beat the crap out of stuff when they hit him first.

    The renews were a necessary evil, we ran to hard and then had to recover or risk slowing down. We did not want to kill everyone, but we did want to insure that payment was exacted, which it was. They were spread around fairly evenly.

    If it had resists, it was not a caster mob...anything I statted had both types, maybe you were finding the wrong one. For instance in the first death fight there were two types of mobs. Deathclaws and juggernauts. The death claws had one spellstrike shield magic but no other protectives, this is a caster mob. The juggernauts had 5 resists but only swung for 5s, fighter mob. The dragon fight I did not stat but the ogres had no resists, they may have had shield magics but it is pretty standard to two pump everything anyway.

  3. The monsterbation I was referring to was the Count. He was always around and all of his abilities could make others feel worthless.

    If the renews were spread around, that's fine. I know I probably received too many.

    The mobs that got me were the drakes and the cultists. As a nature Mage, they were the ones my takedowms would work on, and they were the ones with phases/resists. I could blow most of my takedowns with no real effect in those battles.

  4. Cultists should not have phases or resists...I am not sure how that happened.

  5. Well I wasn't there the whole event and missed the big mods. However what I was there for was very fun. Even stuff for us sneaky types to do during the day.

    I had a roleplay mod with Joe Colucy which I believe was very good. Of course it could have turned to combat at anytime which helped add that fear factor to it especially since I only prefer combat when I feel things are in my favor, as this character anyway.

    The Dragon fight I can say that the ogres didnt have resists though the other had several. Luckily I showed up with more gasses then I thought I'ld ever use and I blame Bill for smiling at me after I started machine gunning gasses into him. I def spent more resources then I came out with but that was a personal choice. It helped me feel very powerful to take down someone so big.

    I'm still looking forward to running one of your mods one day Tim. Overall from just looking at Saturday I would say it was an A, a success on all accounts... Can't wait for Sept. and cooler temps.

  6. It kinda felt slow saturday night, with most of the nobles out of town and teh mummy attack. I was hoping for another night of run for your life lumberton, usually from sheth or some other fat guy.
    Just a thought

  7. As someone who loves trap mods and having to deal with traps, I'll throw out a suggestion for you that worked for another chapter that I played in.

    Over a 3 year span, I think that they ran maybe 3 dedicated "trap mods" that I know of. But what they did well was to often sprinkle one or two traps into many different mods and encounters where it made sense. Basically, it was enough to foster a culture of caution where people would have the "trap people" check boxes, doors, and suspicious areas first. That made them feel like they were getting use out of the skill and appreciated for their talents, even when it turned out there weren't traps.

    You're right when you say a dedicated trap mod is very time/labor intensive to set up, but it shouldn't add a whole lot to your setup time for an encounter to sprinkle one or two in here and there.

  8. I was asked to help set up a trap mod a few events ago. Here is what I found.

    Pros: The trap guy had a lot of fun.

    Cons: The rest of the party just stood around, it was hard to set up at night (however it made finding the traps harder), it took longer than it should have, a marshal accidentally set a trap off, supplies were limited (or seemed that way for my skill lvl of trap making)

    Possible Improvements: Make time a factor to increase difficulty (they need to disarm a trap in the back or X happens).

    Have monsters outside to keep the rest of the party busy or have a trap activate/release a monster

    Like others mention limit the traps and have them sprinkled in with the rest of the mods.

    If you know someone good at traps have them mentor some other NPCs or plot ppl. I can do some trip wires and simple wire pulls on boxes, but I view this as beginner lvl.

    I don't think traps always need to be overly complicated either. Could be something simple as a pulley that a NPC pulls to drop rocks on PCs.

    Trap kit needs expanded: idk with what cause I'm not great at it. The actual tools are there though.

  9. One of the tricks to doing traps is to not use conventional trap triggers at all. The one thing that I did find interesting in the Rising game was that they used puzzles to rep locks and traps. Games like Perfection, Kerplunk, and Jenga would work for this.

    These have the benefit of having a short time to set up, more predictable time to disarm (easier to scale attacks during disarm), and make it easier for people with less OOG dexterity to play disarm classes.

    Tim used a trap like this at the first Lumberton. A book was wrapped with cling-wrap and rope-lights. You had to unwrap the book without touching the lights, or else everyone took damage. This was happening in the midst of a town battle with an high level group (in the circle) and a lower level group (outside the circle).

    IMO, that was the most dynamic encounter we've seen from Tim.