NaLaWriMo 2019

And if you make something bad, you’ll make something better next time :slight_smile: That’s basicly how everyone else learned.

I’m in! I may even finish the game within a month this year :stuck_out_tongue:


@lesbiancobra i’m gonna write my bunker larp it’s happening


It begins!

Though my head is full of cowboys and newspapers ATM, so I’m not in the right head space for it. I’m likely to start working on it after the weekend.

And now, having done cowboys and newspapers, I have post-cowboy plague. The only larp I could possibly write is the “lying in bed delirious under a pile of kittens” larp (its very Nordic. Also has kittens). Dammit, this is not going well.

Try writing a satire about the media? It’s probably appropriate.

One of the ideas in my pile is “The Pack”: a riff on Jason Morningstar’s “Seat Five”, about the NZ political media pack waiting for the results of an election, which of course they are all deeply personally involved in despite just being there to tell the story. But I suspect it would have crossed the streams too much and just been too nasty.

It being November 2019, I thought I should think about cyberpunk. But the questions of classic 80’s cyberpunk - what if the world was run by corporations? What’s a person? - just aren’t very interesting anymore. And their opposites are too hard for my tired fever-brain (I’d need to re-read some Kim Stanley Robinson to get there).

But I’ve always wanted to write Cli-Fi, and fever-brain actually worked for me for once:

Going Under
A larp of grief and memory

Ten years into the future…

Beach Road. Its a small tight-knit community by the sea (“on the coast” / “round the bays from Wellington”). A beach, a road, a row of houses, and the totara-covered hills (so, like Eastbourne). Families have grown up here. People have got married, put down roots and left memories. And now it is all going to be washed away.

Everyone has known intellectually that its days have been numbered, ever since the storms of the 20’s, and the insurance companies refusing to cover anything within 5m of sea level. And now the bad news has come: Beach Road has been red-zoned by the government, deemed not worth saving. The Wellington bureaucrats and the woman from the Council says it is “adaptation”. But really, it means abandonment. No compensation will be paid; after the outcry over Eastbourne, the government is not going to lose votes bailing out “coastal millionaires who should have known better”. And so with the flick of a pen, Beach Road’s residents have lost everything.

The decision is irreversible. All there is to do is pack up and leave. A few may try and cling on, but in other communities, they’ve eventually been removed by the police. As a community, Beach Road is finished.

All there is left is one final leaving party (bring a plate!). Someone should probably give a speech. Maybe sing. Have a last bonfire, like you did before the climate meant a year-round fireban? Reminisce about the good times, and decide what you are going to do next.

Which seems like one hell of a downer. It could get by with skeleton characters (because its so close to reality), and would need some sort of memory mechanic. But would it be fun to play?

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Well, I’m just going to try make my first LARP as something with interesting characters and some tension, rather than any real lofty goals. But still cyberpunk, I love that genre.


I don’t think something like Going Under would be for me tbh - I’d be more interested in what happens after the place is flooded. (It’d remind me of the partially submerged version of London in Freakangels.)

Thumbs up for any Cyberpunk games! I missed The Lazarus Bar and Grill and I’m still kicking myself for that one. Besides, the “people becoming a product/commodity” vibe in cyberpunk is more relevant than ever.

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So, plague has basicly kept me from doing much more than thinking hard about this, though I have a good foundation to write from. How’d everyone else going?

I’ve got 10 basic characters, a basic set of mechanics for resolving (and generating) conflict, and the basis of a few plots which fall into “The characters need / want something and have to interact with others to get it.”

For feedback on the mechanics, the basic premise is one character spends a token to the target character, and is able to perform their character groups ability. If the target is in the same group, they can spend tokens to resist, or reverse. If the target isn’t in the same group, the cannot resist.

There’s 3 groups, each with 3 characters, and one special character.


What, broadly, do your abilities do?

Token spend mechanics usually work fine in play, and its a good way of balancing things out: if you get abilities used on you, you get powered up to do the same in turn.

Meanwhile, I have put pen to paper and started outlining characters (I am using hardcopy here because its satisfying, and because the back of an old flyer is about the right size for the amount of information required at this stage). Currently I have done 5, and while they all need more work, the core is there. I need another 5 - 7 to get a working game I think.

Being a cyberpunk game, there are 3 ‘groups’ of characters: Physical, Social and Technical.

Physical characters can spend a token to inflict a beating, or to steal an Item, or two tokens to do both. (More than a beating and the bouncer and / or roof mounted turrets will act)

Social characters can spend a token to convince a character they are telling the truth, or to coerce a truthful answer to a question.

Technical characters (hackers) can spend a token to look at all the Files a character might have, but take none of them. The token is still spent even if the character has no Files.

And to stop people matching tokens and hitting a stalemate, when tokens are matched in a resist, all tokens go to the GM who will redistribute.

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Mechanically that’s good (there’s a similar system used in Graduation Day, with “mana” tokens used to cast spells on people, who then get to use the mana right back at you). I guess the only worry is whether there’s a sufficient balance of physical, social and technical opportunities in the plot space. But then, the street finds its own uses for things…

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9 character outlines done. Turns out this larp also has a hefty dose of intergenerational politics in it (being fundamentally about houses).

13 character skeletons done. I ended up ditching the hippies in the housebus, and adding the shopkeeper and their townie partner.

Next step: draw a diagram, add some relationships and a few more plots. But that is a job for another day.

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I have finally begun writing character sheets. I am not entirely happy with the amount of plot I’ve got, but a) more may emerge during writing; and b) if I grind this stuff out now, I’ll have a solid base to add to later. NaLaWriMo: it doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be done.


So, how is everyone going?

I have 6/13 characters written, so have to do one a day to complete the game by the end of the month.

I should add: when I wrote the first character, I thought that it sucked and needed more plot. I’ve written more than a dozen larps, so that might be right, or it just might be imposter syndrome still. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because the aim is to get words on a screen, not for them to be perfect. Perfection comes from editing, but in order to edit, you have to finish the game first…

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11/13 characters done. Two to go! Plus I guess a background document. And then I get to polish it.