So last night I was at the LURPS panel discussion for mature themes, and super appreciated the input from the lovely panel (seriously I have notes that may get typed up at some point and got some chewy ideas to ponder). Anyway one of the questions was on torture scenes, and various ideas came forward and I offered some thoughts and examples, but thinking about it I kind of wanted to write something to set my ideas out. Continue reading
Okay the title only makes sense when you know the running gag that werewolves make a noise written just as “awoo” and pretty much anything they do can be referred to as awoo :)
So yeah I was running for the Freshers One Shots today, although I hoovered up a bunch of oldbies, but I was running OWoD (as its known) Werewolf The Apocalypse, which was truth be told pretty kick ass. The pitch was basically that the Garou of the UK had worked out that the only way to actually deal with this whole apocalypse thing was to stop being grouchy rustics and ill educated malcontents and instead press forward by educating the young pups and seeing if they could come up with a solution to problems. Continue reading
Okay so I threatened to write this post in the aftermath of … I think Haunted Hotel? (Was it Nam?) but now I’m finally going to get around to it, or at least start it, so I’m writing this blog post in the hope of spurring some discussion for the structure of a Call For Papers (note for others, this is mostly getting discussed back and forth over on Facebook)
I had an idea to collect various articles from those of us who have been involved in reffing, propping, crewing, writing for and indeed playing LARP events designed to create horror, wonder, strangeness and otherness based out of the community in Lancaster. Then wrap up said articles into a bigger document and do the whole printing on demand thing to get it out there as a useful collection of opinions for anyone who wants to think about making events like these happen. However first off I wanted to discuss the meta aspect – how to structure the categories of articles at least a little bit – I figure if we’ve got some rough ideas for structure then that gives us areas to aim to fill with writing.
My initial structure looks something like this:
- Concepts (so coming up with ideas for concepts and hooks to hang events off, atmosphere, goal states: flavour and reactions you want to inspire and how to weave those into the base of the event, mixing in various bits of different bits of background, etc.etc.etc.)
- Logistics (Project Management – how to make things you know actually happen before its too late, how to structure reffing teams, deal with conflict, project management, time scales that kind of thing, how to coordinate communication, insurance, handling money, all that stuff you need in place before you can do anything thats sort of overarching for the whole thing)
- Locations (where to look, what sort of criteria, ideas on pricing, how to divide up spaces, uses of spaces, reusing spaces and associations, flow of people)
- Characters (how many, archetypes, writing timelines, sections out early, structure of info, communicating goals, mental history, aligning them with the event and predisposing them to react well to horror, background research, interrelations, double acts, teams, etc.etc.etc)
- Props (small, large, monsters, set pieces, players bringing props, written, recorded, sound tricks, weapons, how to add creepyness, etc.etc.etc.)
- Systems (types of system, what systems should fulfil for criteria, what inspires certain ideas behind systems, experimenting with systems, how to write up systems, how to give examples to players, what to do if systems go wrong)
- At the Event (set up, dividing space, crisis management, reffing on the day, inspiring desired reactions in players by ref interactions, positioning props, timing events to help create those experiences, crewing on the day, monster handling, emergency propping, what happens when characters die, players are ill, monsters don’t feel scary enough, players do something batshit that you don’t expect, building tension, things you need to know to scare the shit out of players, dread vs. terror, dealing with player conflict, delicious foods to make with nothing but a kettle)
- Post Event (debriefing players, debriefing crew, best ways to organise tear down of the set up, writing constructive feed back, receiving feed back, planning for next time and reuse of characters, elements, props)
So I guess I must have missed a few things, or maybe the structures breaking things up in the wrong places, any more suggestions on how to break things up and move them around? Do I even need this many categories of idea? Should I make it more general of Pre-event/Event/Post-Event?
Its an interesting one I find, I had a plan for this afternoons game, or at least parts of a plan. I knew I was going to do the tunnel segment at the start nice and smooth and do it in semi-light to drop everyone into the mood for visualising and storytelling. Then when I started to ramp stuff up I was going to use more toys and tricks. Make people sit in the dark, add a bunch of sandalwood incense, use bells and singing bowls for strange noises, throw buckets of gore and severed limbs at them etc. etc. The standard horror playbook (and indeed I spoke to someone outside the meeting who still remembered the kill-room in my IronRef one shot and how badly it turned their stomach).
However the two situations for starting the player killing they managed to get out just before I brought the hammer down, and in the end it just didn’t fit to randomly start jobbing them. I pondered making them trade to take people out of Inferno but again it just didn’t sit right.
The game had a strange vibe of its own based on the players and atmosphere, Katie I think summed it up best by saying it was dream like, and that’s about right. I shot for horrible but on the day it came out strange and illusionary.
I miss the original plan I had in a way, but I quite liked how it all worked out in the end.
So has anyone else had games like that? Did you like that they turned out totally different? Did you re-run them to try and get the original vibe? Or were they better for it?
(Also other Halloween one-shot refs what happened? How’d it go? Did your spooky tricks work? I was brain-drained after running so I was mostly still stuck in my own plot and didn’t get a chance to get much info from others).
( Well I threatened this as a joke but people took me seriously )
You will be playing members of the newly reformed Lancaster University Urban Spelunkers Guild (LUUSG) as they attempt to revive the society.
The original incarnation of LUUSG took a day trip to London in 2005, upon returning they had a house party, got drunk, a fire started and sadly there were a number of deaths. The society never really recovered, and its possessions (such as they are) laid dormant in the bowels of LUSU until spring of 2010, when some enterprising students decided to reform the society.
Now with the intake from the 2010 Freshers they’re back on their feet. They spent the first three weeks of term doing basic safety, climbing and orientation training, as well as a couple of small expeditions to the old warehouses of Lancaster that exist down by the Lune, and now they’re ready for something a little bigger.
Officially, on paper, the society is in the process of organising a tour of the University boiler houses and infrastructure, with a few looks into the tunnels with the help of Estates, however unofficially plans are afoot.
The exec have drawn lots and 2/3 of them are going, the other 4 places on the trip were allocated among the membership by drawing lots from a hat, and the 6 strong team is ready. And so they’ve packed their bags and taken the train to Manchester and are about to start exploring the old service tunnels under the city.
Some of the members have done some preliminary scouting of the entrances over the summer so you know those are valid. You also managed to obtain a map (well okay, some instructions with some bad ASCII art) from a contact made on the urbex forums which you believe will help you navigate to some awesome bits of ducting and old machine rooms (abandoned since the 2004 BT Tunnel fire). However the main prize of the day is you think these rooms should link you to a bomb shelter rumoured to be hidden deep down under the city according to some gossip one of you picked up from nwex.co.uk. And you think you’re the only people to have connected the dots and worked out that its down there and likely to be sharing tunnels with the more accessible parts, making this a great way to make a name for LUUSG in the community.
And so with some good boots and a couple of gregs steak bakes you’re ready to face the unknown.
Genre: Urban Gnostic Horror
System: Kult (nominally)
Goal: The generation of a certain rarified atmosphere, there will probably be props and lots of darkness. Traumatised players is a win.
Number of Players: 4-6
Characters: 6 pregens will be available, all chirpy happy university students without any dark and sordid histories.
Note for players: Don’t worry if I don’t get enough people, I’ll just skive off to play Cthulhu or UA