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As some of you might know, we had originally intended a different topic for this episode. However, we discovered that the illusion of free will was not as interesting or fun an episode to listen to as we had originally thought and so have tabled it for now in favor of today's topic: Encounter Mechanics. We discuss ways to spice up your modules, field fights, and other encounters and hopefully inspire staff members to innovate their own creative ways to make their LARPs that much more fun. Enjoy!

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  • Luke Mahar

    Great stuff, guys! Looking forward to more. I think a lot of staff and plot committees could gain some measureable insight by listening so I’m definitely going to spread the word.

    Young or old, salty or newbie, there’s always something to learn.

    It’s difficult to pinpoint the topic I would love to hear about, because it crosses over so many other points about fairplay, trust and many other things you’ve discussed. I would however love to hear stuff on Stating and Logistics. Using mechanics to time a fight is great except when the PC’s start dropping before it’s close to finished. The role of Marshalls or GMs or whatever you call the guy in charge of the encounter and how much authority he has to scale things back or make it more intense is vital as well. Then there comes the test of knowledge of the game and players and mechanics to be informed enough to make that call….

    I like math…. ;)

    ~Luke

    Mar 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm
  • Bill

    Luke,

    I think that Scaling on the Fly is a great topic for us to talk about. It’s very difficult to do well and there are plenty of times where it shouldn’t be done for one reason or another. And doing it incorrectly could be viewed as cheating.

    Great idea!

    Mar 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm
  • Jyn

    Hi guys, good episode! In relation to the scaling topic, it would also be interesting to hear about how you manage a fight on the NPC end to achieve a particular feel or effect. I know that there are people out there who prefer to stat monsters as static challenges, and there are others who use scaling or other techniques to try to give a fight a particular emotional impact.

    Mar 23, 2011 at 11:47 am
  • Bill

    Without giving too much away (because it’s a great topic), I like to use relatively static stats and challenges, and scale it with levels of success/failure. More often than not, “failure” doesn’t correspond to death. Instead, it leads to losses in treasure, character contacts (who may or may not die), or the loss of boons that players may have stored up from major players.

    Mar 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm
  • Tom B.

    “Playing for blood”

    In both this episode and the first, Bill brought up NPCs “playing to win”. We’ve all had to deal with problematic NPCs, but for me either talking with them or adjusting their stats solves the problem well enough. However, it sounds like it’s a much worse, or at least a more frequent, problem in Ohio. I’d like to hear more about what’s going on with that and about strategies for dealing with and for preventing such NPC attitudes.

    Mar 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm
  • Bill

    @Tom

    I don’t think it’s as much the fact that NPCs in Ohio play for blood more. I think it’s more the fact that the game staff in Ohio is, for the most part, green. I’ve seen a fair number of times where it hasn’t been mitigated due to inexperience.

    There have only been a few times in my career where people were uncontrollably playing to win and could not be dealt with, but that’s mostly due to hands being tied…

    Apr 5, 2011 at 8:35 am