NaLaWriMo 2017

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Its National Novel Writing Month, and several members of the larp community are busy writing their novels. Meanwhile, for larpers, there’s an alternative: National Larp Writing Month, or NaLaWriMo.

The “rules” are simple: write a larp, in a month. Any sort of larp, any number of characters. Just get it done by the end of November. Then maybe offer to run it at Hydra, Cerberus, or Phoenix next year?

It can be done. I ground out Delicious Friends (20 players) when we did this in April 2011, The Devil’s Brood (9 players) one christmas holiday, and Persephone’s Choice in a month last year. I wouldn’t recommend more than 20 characters, but a small or mid-sized game is totally do-able. As for what counts as “done”, first draft of all player-facing materials (so character sheets and handouts) is a good target to aim for. Many larps never take the GM stuff out of the GMs head anyway, and the aim is to write a game, not get it ready for publication (that said, when you’re done, you should publish your damn game, because anything less is wasteful).

If you don’t quite make it, that’s OK, finish the game in December. But finish it. The key to larp writing is actually Doing The Thing, rather than just thinking about it.

Please post on this thread if you’re participating. A working title and blurb when you’ve got one would be nice, and you can always add running character counts. I’ll add mine when I’ve worked out what the hell I’m doing this year.


What about finishing off something you’re already working on?


Obviously, new project is better. But the aim is to encourage larp writing, so I don’t see any reason to be fussy. Better to get something done than nothing done.

For people thinking about this, see if you’ve got an idea in your graveyard that re-inspires you. I’m busy going through mine now wondering what to do (while busy generating another idea to throw into it :slight_smile:


NaNoWriMo is one of my favourite internet projects. It stops you from comparing your first draft with Stephen King’s final draft and giving up in dispair, because you can’t! You have more words to write! It’s one of the few places in life where Quantity over Quality! is a legitimate battlecry and “Fuckit, Ninja’s!” is a useful piece of advice.


NaLaWriMo day 3: pretty sure I’m doing ArcticLarp: A DEWLine base in the 60’s (ignoring institutional sexism), with weird stuff going on. Have a pile of details and little things, but not the central idea yet. Probably need to write a bunch of stuff on bits of paper - madness from the stars, whispering auroras, skyking, polar bears, UFOs, secret crashes, Franklin’s lost expedition, the walker on the winds - and shuffle them round on a table until they make sense. Probably 8 - 10 players.


If there is weird stuff going on, there should be penguins!


That would be extremely weird.


Day 5: Arctic SIGINT ended up being a tabletop, so I went with what I knew. “Regency Downton Abbey”, AKA Longmuir Hall:

It even has a cast-list:

And I now have 1 of 14 character sheets done.

While its a Regency romance, there is also going to be some discussion of regency-era politics in it - chiefly around slavery and its proposed abolition. While some characters are going to have pre-defined positions or inclinations, I’m wondering whether to do most of it Fairweather Manor-style and have a chunk of the player briefing on political topics. On the plus side, this gives freedom; on the minus, it means bigger background documents. It’ll probably end up depending on how many political arguments I want the characters to start.


Now it has a website. Ho ho ho.


Day 10. 6/14 character sheets done. Plotlines crystalising to be a mix of Downton Abbey. Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Lady Susan. But now I’m kicking myself for not making Lady Longmuir French as setup for a sequel that would probably never happen anyway.


So, how did everyone do?

I have a first draft of Longmuir Hall complete. It needs some work around the edges - I tried to expand it to 15 characters, but couldn’t quite get that to work, so it might just be 13 - but the game is basicly done and waiting for a pre-Hydra edit.


Well I got as far as I intended to - first draft of all the characters. Now to return to the LARP I’m supposed to be writing…