Someone may have suggested that i write something about goals. So religion gets shoved to the side for a mo for more secular matters.
Thing is i’m rubbish at goals. I’m not a goal orientated go getting over achiever. In fact when i hear words like goals or strategic forward planning at work a little bit of me dies inside. You know the bit, the bit that holds hope for the human race evolving. Things like trying to look like i give a shit tend to be a tough goal in and of itself, that and getting through the day without killing someone. The total of my ambitions generally revolve around being happy, not screwing other people over and trying not to look too stupid in public.
Goals in LARP are a good thing, especially in systems where player interactions are important. That and big fests where it’s easy, no matter what system, to end up going what am i going to do? Between Plot Blackholes (plot hovers who could suck start a range rover), Cliques, or it just being a hot Saturday afternoon and your super keen it’s easy to kind get lost in a large fest. So I would recommend Goals tm to you. Now for some of you there may be some egg sucking here. Well for some people this is new so bear with me.
So how do you set goals? Well in simplistic terms you go ‘I will try to do this next event’ and go for it. However it is more interesting if you look at a bigger picture.
Goals can be divided into 3 stages. Short, medium and long term. OFSTED inspectors and teachers may start groaning at this point.
To illustrate this we will create Barry the thorn. He is a Navarr who wants to see a Navarr on the throne. He believes that his nation is important and not it’s the dying swan song of a bunch of homeless scroungers who think they are still relevant. However he needs some goals out side of fighting so he has something to do outside of fighting.
Long term goals, sometimes know as win conditions, are the goals you are aiming to get done before you die. When setting long term goals, you should think about a few things. First up make sure it’s big and can’t be done quickly and easily. Try and make sure it will force you to get out of camp and interact with other people. Make it something that will drive stories and involve others. Make it something that will lots of different things.
Some examples of long term goals are: Become a God, Make the ultimate hat of Mingy McMing, create a faction/nation wide organisation or gain ultimate knowledge of cheesecake.
Barry has decided that he is going to try and get a Navarr elected to the throne. Now Barry is a spod, he is a no-one. He doesn’t have friends in high spaces. So this is a good goal. It will give him lots to do and will take a long time to fulfill. Now we have a big arse goal lets look at the mid term planning..sorry medium planning.
Medium term plans are all the little things you need to do to make the long term stuff happen. It’s the nitty-gritty, the tick list to get to the end of the road. Now rather than giving lots of theoretical stuff, lets look at Barry’s list of medium term planning.
- Gain some allies :- find people that agree with him, this will involve talking to people in his own camp.
- Gain a measure of power:- for barry this will be difficult, however remember his allies he has worked for, these
- Find a suitable candidate :- Yep he’s gonna have to talk to people and find someone who not only will be acceptable to his nation, but also to other nations. That person also needs to fit with Barry’s ideals.
- Find a stalking horse :- Yep find someone inappropriate to go for it. Give the people someone to not get behind and your real candidate looks a lot better. I’d like to call this Hotspurs rule. Also Barry can try and get this leaked out to other camps to get the ball rolling and put a time constraint on his own nation.
- Get the senate to get his candidate elected. :- Pretty easy. Promote senators that back your candidate and ‘neutralise’ candidates that don’t.
Sort term plans. This is the stuff your going to do on event. So this is what your going to do in the field. So next Event Barry is going to talk to people in his own camp to address the allies thing, but he’s going to other camps to find out what qualities the other nations want in a candidate, hes going to talk to the squaddies like him and make friends. He’s going to look for like minded people and make sure that he is in a position to jump into arguments in a way that makes his views obvious to those who will notice. He may even take a dedication and spend time with priests to gain their trust and maybe support.
So as you can see outside of combat Barry is going to have lots to do and will involved. God forbid some plot comes near him, he wont have time. Now obviously this is just one idea and only being used as an illustration.
Now imagine a field full of people with goals, all trying to get stuff done. Suddenly you have a game filled with a thousand different nodes all able to interact with each other. Each action interacts with this pile of nodes, shaping the world in tiny subtle ways in their interactions.
EvE online trailer to illustrate what i am saying about those nodes interacting in a simplistic way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq2oxt7Nrxo&list=PL0C75D2DA34D4D3DE
This is emergent game play and is pretty much the holy grail of the games industry and is unique to the way LARP can work. In setting goals that involve interacting with others you are giving good game and creating opportunities for role-play, story and conflict. This works in a plot heavy or plot light environment. The important thing is that in doing this you will improve your game and the game of the people around you.
FYI:- Star Wars is a soap opera. Soap opera isn’t just arguments and romance ;). Except for episode 1, that was a 1970’s blaxplotation documentary about tax, Jedi Jesus and DNA i think.