How to get more people running games?


One of the top 5 items on Mel’s to-do list was “how to get more people running games”. NZLARPS is an organization which basicly exists to do this, so we’d like to find ways to help. And as a larper I have a personal interest in this, because games run by other people are games I get to play in!

As a first step, I’d like to ask people who are thinking of running games (or have thought about it in the past, but didn’t, or even used to run larps but have stopped) what we could do. What help do you think you need? What assistance could we provide? What is stopping you from running games ATM?


Two issues that came up at brunch yesterday:

  • The focus on weekend-long events sets a very high logistical bar for new GMs. Writing a game is one thing, but having to worry about food and sleeping space and toilet paper has a significant intimidation factor. The suggestion was for some examples of shorter events so that possible GMs could see that they didn’t necessarily have to do all that work. We’ve had such events in the past, but there’s not a lot going on ATM.
  • Also on the intimidation front, mechanics. Designing your own larp means designing your own rules, which if mechanics isn’t your thing, can be a challenge. The suggestion was for open-source rules sets. There are a few of these around, and we might as well compile a list. (While my inner rpg geek is screaming “system matters” here, such rules systems would be a useful place to start hacking from so you get something well-adapted to the setting and stories you want to tell).

Open source larp rules

I’ve done logistics so much that the logistics demand a 3 hour game barely register anymore, the only tricky bit is getting venue keys when most people only want to hand them out in business houses. Consider my hand up to run logistics on any game that people want to run.


Heh. See, there’s no motivation at all to write up my thoughts if you’re going to do it for me. :wink:

The wider point I was making (and I know I keep saying the same thing), is that we’ve had a shift in the entire model of what-campaign*-larping-looks-like here over the 20-odd years I’ve been doing this, and the shift has accelerated in the last few years.

There’s nothing essentially wrong with the shift from cheap-backyard-fun, to professional-weekend-long-events; but it has a significant effect in terms of accessibility for people who might want to run a game.

It’s partly the community maturing - we’ve got a lot of folks in their 30s and 40s now, which makes more expensive, fancier, events (and significant travel!) accessible to more, who have a larger disposable income.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with these big weekend campaigns - I want to see them! They’re cool! But we need diversity of structure and model, and I feel like the big weekend events are crowding out those possibilities just by sheer calendar dominance. We need other models for running campaigns to be visible and available. We need (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) things like those high frequency WoD games back.

*Yes, I’m focused on campaigns. They’re my thing! One-offs I’ll play for my fix, but I don’t really invest in them.


I am pretty new to larp but am super keen to write and run my own games! One of my problems is that I don’t know if any of my ideas on machanics or play styles would work as I don’t have much experience or points of reference.

Something I would find really valuable is a get together (once a month?) with other larpers both new and experienced to share, challenge and brainstorm our ideas. A chance to join up with other newbies and make games together (therefore less intimidating) and most importantly to learn from experienced players about what works and what doesn’t.


One of the best ways to learn is to play lots of games. You’ll learn what does and doesn’t work in practice, as well as how other people do stuff. I also learned a lot about theatre-style by reading larps other people had written (from here) and comparing it with play experiences.

An ongoing writers group? Let’s see if anyone else is interested. @u_ne_korn?

I am planning to run another Tuhutuhi writer’s workshop, to show people one way of making theatre-style, and show them that its not that hard (by getting them to do it :). There’s a Diatribe thread here for planning it and working out a date. Currently I’m looking at June or July, because of all the larps happening.


I would be very keen on an ongoing writers group!


Although numbers of monthly LARPs in Auckland peaked a couple of years ago and has tapered off since, there’s still a pretty big tradition in Auckland of monthly WoD. Running a monthly is still a fair bit of work and you do occasionally knock into calendar pressure from campaigns, but the barriers to access with regards to finances and logistics are…a lot lower. The Last Haven ran on a budget of approximately nothing, in modern costume. As a GM, the only thing I’d change now is use a system that’s less stats heavy, maybe Powered By The Apocalypse.


How would you use PbtA for larp? I can see using moves, cool things you can do, and Christchurch (which had a strong PbtA tabletop culture) uses that terminology in its theatreforms. But PbtA is a narrative engine, not a task one - it determines story outcomes (success / success with a narrative cost / GM makes a move). While you can turn it into a task system, thats not its strength (and I think Dungeon World combat shows that). And what would a 7-9 result generally look like in a larp?


Oh yeah, I LOVE PbtA in tabletop, but I wouldn’t want to larp in it.

The Wellington theatreform scene has used a lot of “The Kickass System”, where all physical contests were Paper/Rock/Scissors, and your successive levels of Kickass mean you win draws and can demand do-overs. It’s simple and effective and could be applied to more than one stat.

Reloaded is practically statsless, and that works great.

ETA: But in practical suggestions: it’s going to get too miserable for spending hours at swords soon (I assume, I’ve not been there in ages due to other committments), how are people’s Sunday brunchtimes?


Conveniently, @Ryan_Paddy already genericised it into a multistat framework for a campaign system, though I’m not sure if its ever been used (I’ve fixed the link in his post). But you’d still need to adapt it for whatever you were running, because System Matters.

And back to PbtA, there are other things you can steal. World That Is used the Apocalypse World approach of “ask provocative questions, and build on the answers” in character creation, which both created easy handles for personal plot and gave the players responsibility for fleshing out the world from the skeleton provided (and hence a sense of ownership). The core GM agenda of “play to find out what happens” and “be a fan of the characters”, which has changed the way a lot of people tabletop, is also worth nicking. At the micro-level, the move framework of pick three / pick one with a fate bag to determine success / partial / fail could be used for certain types of self-adjudicating skills.


[quote=“IdiotSavant, post:11, topic:21951, full:true”]
Conveniently, @Ryan_Paddy already genericised it into a multistat framework for a campaign system, though I’m not sure if its ever been used (I’ve fixed the link in his post). But you’d still need to adapt it for whatever you were running, because System Matters.[/quote]

There’s something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. No, it’s never been used. I think it could be simplified further, back closer to Kick Arse.


writers group you say?