Right havn’t posted anything in a while, mainly because i’m being stalked by a black dog i have named Tindalos. Unfortunately locking yourself in a spherical room doesn’t kick this dog into touch. So it’s get eaten of do something, I listened to some Paul Mitchell to fill my churlish tank up, so more venom and sarcasm for you lot. \o/
LARP is all about the plot right? Your there to get involved in some earth shattering plot that will mark you as a hero? I disagree, i have a problem with Plot, i like stories. There’s a difference, promise.
See in fiction the plot is a defined thing that is the story. However Plot runs through to give motion and structure to the story. In LARP we improv darlings, we simply improv. So the plot is in fact a scenario that we interact with. If you read, Joesph Conrad would call it the call to action the hero gets. Otherwise known as the kick up the arse to get your shit together and do stuff.
Now my favorite LARP plot was and always has been the CP plot when the Empire invaded. It wasn’t world ending, the players could have lost and not all died. Hell if they lost you could have had a cool rebels fighting plot or exodus to return to free their lands. It was a Plot that served story. It didn’t paint people into a corner. It gave options, a lot of options. Not only that you had spies, assassins, monstrous creatures, a society to find out about and diplomacy. The battle of Lonely Pine is still remembered (and i have physical scars from it!). The story however was completely in the hands of the players, i know my characters story and some of those around me, along with some of the more famous moments, but there are a thousand other stories that where told in that time. Then it flourished into the Blood queen plot, which i still see as part of the Empire plot.
If anyone wants a complete history of this war by the was see Dave Brown, he wrote a book. I shit you not. Not only is it good, it’s not bad as a cool thing out of context of CP too. Right the plugs in i’ll take that fiver now mate.
Apocalypse plots are by their very nature a bit shit. Unless your about to kill your game world, the players win. Also the third time you save the world, you kinda stop trying, the threat ain’t there any more.
See for me plot is a jumping off point for a story, that story is then crafted by the players. Plot should serve story, not the other way round. There lies telling players what they are doing. If you want that i believe books were invented a long time ago for that, along with plays, film and computer games.
The thing is one of the things i hear is there’s no plot in x. Now this is a valid argument. You pays your money and expect stuff. The thing is I genuinely believe players have a responsibility to create plot to develop stories. Now I have been a Merc at cp for 11 years, and there is no plot in the Merc camp (well other than that thing with the mimes, but hey that’s cool). One of the things that comes with freedom is a lack of Plot. This means any story you want to tell is going to either come from plot hunting with spear and net or making it your self.
So here’s an example of a story. I walk into camp, Harts laying there who immediately says something that i disagree with and i for once call him on it rather than ignore him and hope he goes away. Asks if i’m calling him a liar, i say no and point out i’m just disagreeing. He then goes for a vial, of what i only assume is something that wont make me happy. He fumbles for it for a bit and then as far as i can tell because it’s taken so long he gives up and gives me the i’m watching you look. So there you go a story that turned up without plot. More importantly an interesting story with people in character, the threat of violence and it reinforced Hart as capacious. The Plot, if there was any was two people disagree about something. Soap Oprah plot i grant you, but the story is the kind of story we have been telling around camp fires since we thought banging stones together was a good idea. As a story it was short, but it was far more intense or interesting than how Gary the Genocidal killed that Orc that one time.
Another cool player based story came about due the murder of a colleague by a group in the FC. It involved tracking, the destruction of a dam, the dredging of a lake, third circle magics and not a ritual circle in sight. The look on our refs face as we swam around looking for a body and blew up a dam (with Lord Jhergs permission, bless him and his scary arse presence). The thing is no plot. There was a jumping off point, but no PLOT tm. This is what LARP does better than any other media. Emergent stories.
Cp is good at plot. I’m not talking about people turning up and battering your back entrance with a monster team, but delivering something interesting to the players via the faction team who write faction plot, giving jumping off points for stories. However this can i think make you lazy, i guess that is coming from someone who generally has to go out and find stuff or create it.
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Empire is however there is not much plot. Well thats true and not true. To be honest there is the big save the Empire, not enough resources to go around and the OMG WE IZ SURROUNDED AND GONNA DIE plot.
However i think the criticism is that there isn’t much plot coming into the camps on a small scale. Now as a CP Merc i don’t notice this so much, i’m used to sticking my aw into other peoples business, however this criticism is on the money. Not much coming at you (and no monsters hanging around my back entrance thank you very much). However by placing players in charge of the nations it becomes harder to deliver those jumping off points. Now yes it could be said that they have all the player backgrounds on a data base to look at, but it’s not the same as having an actual presence in camp to get a feel for putting stuff in place. Logistically giving players freedom is a pain in the arse.
Go look at a computer game. You want a tight storyline you have to push a player down corridors. You want freedom? well most of the time it’s an illusion anyway, but the freedom tends to be in the small stuff and binary choices hidden as ‘freedom to act as you like’.
Now Empire is still young and finding it’s feet in the face of climate change, and i think PLOT tm is coming, however i still feel that the stories will only come from the players. Part of that is grabbing onto an idea presented in the obscenely detailed background and running with it. Make it a plot point, a jumping off point and see what story it tells.
For example Orcs and the way. That’s Plot being turned into a story by players. It’s not Zorgo the priest blows into town and says ‘Orcs are evil’. The players have taken a jumping off point and run with it. I wont even go near the awesomeballs that is Paul Donovan, the growing national Navarr grudge towards one group in the League or the many other player led plots going on or about to break….*cough* Steve Howell *cough* The point is that there are stories to be involved in.
Now i’m sure that PD will hit us with the plot stick soon other than quests, skirmishes and battles. However i think that player led stories should come first, even if they come from plots presented by a game team. The idea that maybe a set plot should be malleable and respond to a players actions rather than the other way round is the grail of role-play and although it is very hard in a fest system, i think it’s doable with support from players.
Damn got to the end of that and i wasn’t bitter at all. Hmm next time religion…that should fill me with righteous rage and hate.
Just for Pel – TL:DR Plot is fine as a frame work, in LARP it acts as a jumping off point for stories, but player led stories are more important and players have a responsibility to add jumping off points too. Plot should change in response to players and story. Paul Mitchell’s music cheers me up (and offends most other Pagans) and i love you long time.