Against half-arsery

There’s an article by game designer John Wick about his GenCon 7th Sea larp doing the rounds on Facesuck ATM:

Its an interesting behind the scenes of a low-prep framework game, where the players make characters based on the spot for an existing setting, and there’s a few high-level plots for them to interact with, but nothing connected individually with any character, except insofar as they’re part of a faction and therefore in different “teams”. And a neat “hero point” bidding system to resolve disputes and establish facts. So far, so good, if that’s what floats your boat. And then, there’s the infuriating bit:

I sat down on the morning of the larp and wrote down 30 Clues. Took me about forty minutes.

Then, I thought about what kind of cool thing the players could do with the Artifacts. I took a shower–the source of all good ideas–and thought about it. I decided, “The Artifacts let the players decide which governors are Heroes and Villains.” That worked.

How many coins did I give each faction? Eh, I made it up.

Which is an awfully casual attitude to take to an event you’ve set up months in advance, and where 40 people are depending on you to bring the fun. Sure, it all worked out - but what if it hadn’t?

So, if you’re reading this article, sure, pay attention to the other bits. Even if its not your preferred style, there’s some interesting stuff there which can be stolen. But please, for the love of Cthulhu, do not follow those GMing practices. Do not write your game at the last minute, because its an awful, awful risk to take. You owe your participants and yourself more care than that.

1 Like