Writing Freeform Larps (the book)

“Writing Freeform Larps” is a new book just released by UK game designer Steve Hatherly. It’s guide to writing freeform/theatre-style/parlor larps:

“Writing Freeform Larps” as a PDF on DriveThruRPG
“Writing Freeform Larps” as a physical book on Lulu

Steve has a lot of experience and his online guides were a big help to me back when I started writing pregen larps in the secrets-and-powers style back in around 2008 (although I’d written some more idiosyncratic ones back in the 1990s). He’s coming from UK freeform tradition, and is one of the owners of Freeform Games and part of Peaky Games. Their games have been have been played a lot in NZ.

Steve’s guides provide a very structured, systematic approach which is quite nice when you’re dealing with a rush of ideas and not sure how to get it down or balance it across characters.


I’ve bought this, but haven’t got round to reading it yet.

I remember reading one of his guides and thinking he had a very conversational friendly writing style. And his system was a really useful way to think about structure.

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Has anyone come up with a new LARP after reading this book? It seems like everyone who can think of one will come up with one without the book.
In any case, it’s good to have a book like this. Maybe a young author will find it helpful.

I haven’t got round to reading it yet, but I’ve certainly written stuff using his other advice.

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Does anyone else want a hardcopy of this? I was planning to get one, but postage is A$19 on top of a A$23.69 book. Having poked, the marginal postage cost is ~A$2 per extra copy, so if anyone in Wellington wants to split postage, I can deliver it when it arrives.

I have finally read this. It’s a short read, and exactly what it says on the label. If you’ve read Hatherley’s old article on “The Freeform Writing Process”, that’s basicly what this is teaching you, plus a bunch of useful examples, mechanics, and tools. There’s also some strong advice on how to write characters, with a relentless focus on clarity and consistency, and on game logistics and management. All in all its a very practical book, and a good reference work to have available.

So, the real response to @Circo55’s question above is that while people can write a game without this book, they will probably find it easier if they have read it. Experienced writers might not learn anything they didn’t already know (especially if they’ve looked at some of the Freeform Games or Peaky Games products and paid attention to their organisation and logistics advice), but it will save others from having to learn those lessons the hard way.

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Books are here. I have a few extra copies, which I can deliver in Wellington if people want one. It came out to NZ$33.75 a copy.

@Ciaran I think this would be a good addition to the South Island Gear collection, there’s a few folks around who are keen to write larps and this would be a great first step. Assuming @Heapsie has bank account access, of course.

I unfortunately don’t have access yet, but hopefully in the next few weeks I should!

I was thinking of just sending you one; email me an address and I’ll pop it in the post.


Will do (I still have the rest of the gear so I’ll add it to that)

Thank you!

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The book arrived yesterday, I and NZLARPS South Island thank you :hearts: