Tag Archives: room13

Batch Generating Character Sheets

Okay so google drive is the commonly used solution for group editable document collections for roleplaying games.  For many events Room 13 generates 2 documents per character: A background document (essentially a short work of fiction describing the characters history) and a character sheet (their stats, sanity, coping mechanism, and a brief rule summary).  Now it’s the second one of these that concerns us.

For The Fete we needed to make a tweak to the sheets late in the process, and hence I had to personally go through about 30 documents making the same edit to each one, and ever since then I’ve been wary of it.  So for Cluedothulhu 2016 I’ve decided to look into batch generating character sheets. Continue reading

Secure Facility 7: TeH h4x0rs

Okay so the final thing that I built most specifically for SF7 was the interface for funky movie style hacking that occurred in the game, this was basically … a sort of a bodge in a way, it was one of those things that I knew wasn’t going to have to stand up to a lot of traffic, but was going to have to look the part in terms of being a sharp contrast to the corporate smoothness of the rest of the site, and also was going to have to give the players some sort of delay and some sort of challenge to make them work for their information. Continue reading

Secure Facility 7: Door Control

The Door Access Code system was designed so that players could enter the codes from 2 department heads, inside an hour, which would then “unlock” the doors in character, and allow them to throw the dead mans handle, spin the wheels, and press the two additional deadmans handles by the door to open the main bunker doors – killing everyone inside pretty fast from radiation poisoning.  While this sounds like a bad idea once they worked out they were sharing the facility with an unknown alien being some of them get very tempted to use it :) Continue reading

Secure Facility 7: The Intranet CMS

Now unlike the ECR system I built for NFQ which was a more old style menu system complete with random corruptions and purposeful slow down this was supposed to be a more up to date web based system, we wanted multiple people to be able to use it and for information to be able to be added by the Refs in the run up to the event, so what we wanted was a pretty regular CMS, it was for a small fictional organisation of like 200 people and it needed to be able to support multiple accounts, various storage of text locked to groups and accounts, and also displaying video and calendaring. (TODO: I’ll hopefully post a few screenshots of the final thing and edit them into this post later) Continue reading

Secure Facility 7: The Intranet Prop Main Post

Okay so Room13 had me (often via the medium of my infamously sweary alterego that I created for British Haunts who’s lived on) onboard for another event, in this case Secure Facility Seven and unlike previous events I wasn’t Reffing this one, just being a crew runner on the day and making a single big prop (or kinda facilitating it) of a computer system for the players to interact with as an intranet for the underground bunker they found themselves in.  I’ve broken up my writing about this into several shorter more manageable posts:

  1. The Intranet CMS: Underlying everything was the base intranet site that gave them useful information
  2. Central Control Room: The control room had a panel counting down to the end of the game and displaying various bits of information (who was trying to open the door for one)
  3. Door Control: A small handful of pages that integrated with the CMS and control room to grant access to the doors in-character by needing two correct codes entered within a time frame.
  4. The Hacking System: Which allowed a character with the right skill to break into accounts and get their passwords, simulated here by some technobabble and sudoku :)  It was designed to be an alternative method to guessing passwords from clues in the environment and also to spur on roleplaying by use of looking kinda stereotypical.
  5. What Did We Learn: A short post about 5 useful things I think I learnt from helping make this system and seeing how the players interacted with it on the day.

For anyone who’s interested the relevant bits of little twiddly code is up here, some of it is extremely rough (I’m not even kidding, a lot of this is first draft good enough on the day kind of code) but built with a purpose:  secure-facility-7-code.tar.bz2

Also I can’t recommend hosting your own stuff enough if you’ve the skills, the ability to have raw access to files and databases,as well as do tricks like bulk email redirects for setting up accounts for NPCs is invaluable.

Feed back and questions are as ever welcome :)

Meta Call For Papers: How to make friends and horrify people

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. Props (small, large, monsters, set pieces, players bringing props, written, recorded, sound tricks, weapons, how to add creepyness, etc.etc.etc.)
  6. 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)
  7. 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)
  8. 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?

Hill 936 aka “Bak Bon Dzhow Hill”

Okay, so I may at some point soon post a proper write up with all kinds of interesting discussions of props, favourite bits, setting discussion and all kinds of other things. But for now I wanted to post something short.

Thank you to all the Proper Refs from the rigging and sapper crews respectively (i.e. those doing the temple and those out doing the trail, although there was a huge overlap) and also the players, you guys were amazing :)

And that out of the way I invite everyone involved to each make a two pronged comment. Firstly I want to know your favourite moment of the event, and also I’m interested in your least-favourite moment too. What did we win at? What did we fail at?

If you don’t want to post in comment feel free to mail me, post in the facebook group for Hill 936 or you know post proper feedback to and