So, today I did two different Kettle of Fish LARPs. The first was ‘Wedding of the Century’ and used the 6x6 system. The second was ‘The Doom that Came of Innsmouth’ and was Cthulhu Live based. In the first game, my character had a rather defined goal. In the second, she…didn’t so much. Rather than focusing on my character’s job/etc, I focused on my family and bringing (when possible) misfortune to unbelievers. I still had trouble following (or caring about) the larger plot.
The one-page character sheets were really easy to read and understand. However, key relationships would have been very helpful to know in the second game (hello, surprise son!) as would have knowing that three factions existed within the church. Since none of us knew until after we’d established our characters, none of us paid attention to that. Also, it would have been very helpful to know who was and was not a townsperson—even just a twist tie to attach to our name badges would have worked. I still don’t pay any attention to my skills and attributes scores, but I do pay a lot of attention to special skills or items. (It is easier for me to know what those mean vs a number).
I think it would have been helpful, prior to the Cthulhu LARP, to get 10 to 15 minutes out-of-game time to meet up with people and plan tactics. That game had over 50 people, so it was a lot harder to track. For the game of only 20 people, some kind of introductions or a better idea of starting places might have been helpful, but that game worked well without.
Both games ended before their scheduled stopping times. The wedding LARP just ran out of storylines early, but the structured overarching arc happened. Some characters finished their personal goals early and, lacking a stronger connection to the central arc, had some idle time. The Cthulhu LARP didn’t seem to have a storyline or, more importantly, didn’t seem to have any sense of timing. The wedding had beats (arrival, ceremony, interruption, hasty ceremony, reception/wedding photo). If Cthulhu did, my character was too outside of them to really notice. Things happened and we working toward a deadline of sorts, but I really had no idea of how long until that would happen or any sense of what it would take to get those deadline actions kicked off. Plus, I had no clue how to fill the time until that point. Don’t get me wrong, the game was still fun. The story was just weaker.
And that, I’m learning, is what is most important to me—story. I want my character to have a well-defined goal, because that gives me something to work toward. In game one, I was posing as a wedding planner, while secretly being a thief. I kept the wedding moving and I stole a lot of stuff. In game two, I was a priestess who was waiting for something to happen? I confessed to a GM at one point that I had no idea what I should be doing. So I argued with people about the existence of Dagon and kept tabs on my family. When I felt I could contribute to the overall story of the game, I did so (and got a fellow player attacked).
I noticed that some players that really into their roles—keening insane prayers. And I realized that, in their position, I would have either never reached that point, or I would have ended up doing some quiet or even just narrating what I was doing, rather than doing it. I do act (it wouldn’t be completely fun otherwise), but I’m not an actor. As the wedding planner, I was perky and controlling. As the mother/priestess, I was easy to take offense and earnest. But I did not embody either role as deeply as the other priestess did hers.
I think, for my character sheets, I will pull more information to the top for the quick read and I may end up cutting down or out the backstories (even though, as a player, I would enjoy those), but I am definitely keeping the relationships section and I would want to start the game with introductions. I’d have to make sure Liri’s player did not use the name ‘Liri’ when introducing herself, though, since that is a surprise.
Tomorrow I am doing a Discworld LARP and (with generic tickets—of which I need to purchase more…) another Cthulhu LARP. These are run by different groups. I’m looking forward to seeing how they work.