Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Something was mentioned in the comments of yesterdays post, something that I believe warrants a deeper look. There exists between plot and players a layer of trust which is essential for any larp game to be fulfilling for those who participate. Trust is a strange thing, once it has been built, painfully over time, it takes only one bad decision to destroy it. Plot teams need to think of this when they are interacting with all players.

One of the most important aspects of building the trust relationship is understanding on a broad level what everyone wants to get out of the game. Some people are looking for poignant roleplay, some for violent altercation, giving them what they want shows that you appreciate their style of play, and builds trust. One of the most powerful tools that plot has is the morning after the event when everyone is preparing to check out. Ask people " Did you have fun? What did you enjoy?". The act of caring about their enjoyment will show that you are actively engaged in making their time better.

The fastest way to destroy trust is the exact opposite. Roleplay moments that degrade irreparably and consistently into combat. Combat moments that are always under or over scaled. These things degrade players trust in their plot team. The worst thing is not the bad acts themselves, it is the attitude of the plot team after the fact. Controlling your NPCs to never mock players who have failed at an encounter, providing sufficient information to NPCs who are on roleplay modules, these things provide the fuel for good encounters, both wins and losses.

As I have mentioned before it is not necessary that everyone wins for them to have fun. As the trust is built between players and their plot teams, players will understand that whatever happens now is working towards a greater story later. Building this trust may take a season of events, it may take 3 seasons but once you have it you can really begin telling wonderful, collaborative stories with your players.


  1. Tim is absolutely correct, and is himself a great example of what he's talking about. I'm going through a personal plot-line right now that Tim is running, and it's a complete blast. I sat down and talked with him a year ago about the sort of things that I was interested in and he ran with it. I never know what's coming up next, but I know that it'll be cool. In addition, even though Tim is a self-identified stick-jock, there's been lots of really cool role-play (which is more my jam).

  2. I think someone at some point did a podcast about building trust as plot...

    Oh yeah, that was like 5 days ago.

  3. "We lie to each other so much, there's absolutely nothing we trust."

    - Dave Mustaine

    Doesn't really have much to do with what we're talking about, but I love that song!!! LOL

  4. Awww, man! I was all ready to post on the "are we dumbing gaming down" thread, but it got shut down...(thanks, Mike...LOL)

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out something absolutely brilliant that Tim Holt posted there:

    "There are so many good things that you can borrow from WOW and D&D. Simple rules take the focus off of the rules. Simple math frees the mind to be more creative."

    Bravo! In a larp in particular we are constantly trying to find the perfect balance between adequate character development paths and game simplicity. I am absolutely impressed with the fact that so many of the folks out here understand that. It is likely the largest disappointment of my life (I know, either I've had a pretty charmed life or I take this way too seriously...probably both) that NERO is on its 9th Edition and still hasn't managed to get it right. It makes me want to cry...literally.


    C'est la vie (probably mis-spelled, but you get the point...LOL)