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LARP: Live Action & Real Problems

Module-ation

by Jason Hosler
May 24,2005

 

LARP: Live Action & Real Problems

by Jason Hosler, Raging Gargoyle Games

Module-ation

First off, my apologies for missing a month there. I won't go into detail, but let's just say the it was unintentional and unavoidable, and hopefully won't happen again. Now, onward with the LARP info!

My focus for this column will be building modules/adventures for LARPs. The main purpose for having a module in your game is usually to advance the main plot or a side-plot. Some secondary uses are hooking a character's history, providing back story, or planting plot seeds.

As mentioned previously you need to have a core plot line before the game is even started. Without this central idea of where the game needs to go, it won't go anywhere and eventually peter out and die. Modules and adventures provide you with controlled environment in which to introduce vital plot points and/or items. This should not imply that modules are required or even necessary for some games. I find that they are useful tools for increasing realism and introducing the PCs to locales that cannot possibly be produced in our location and under a budget, but are necessary for the story to move forward. Modules take far too much time and effort to put together to be casually bandied about. The most frequent use for a Module that I've seen is to introduce powerful items or places to the PCs.

The main thing that you need to run a module is an enclosed space. Here is where your location will really begin to impact what you can do. If you are using a Group campsite with cabins and/or barracks, it usually isn't a big issue to requisition one of the spare buildings to use as your module building. On the other hand, if you are just camping in an empty field, it is difficult to define areas of a mine or other setting. With an enclosed building you can concentrate on doing all manner of effects and really making it look good.

A good example of the variety of effects that can be done in a well thought out module is provided by Eric Tetreault of Mythical Journeys. "Our module building was built over a period of time and consists of a computer, DJ sound mixing system, many speakers, colored lights, black lights, smoke machines, and a ton of other props. Without considering a lot of the materials as donations from members to improve the game the current overall cost would likely be $5,000+. Again, this is a build up over time and we didn't start with that." Mr. Tetreault also mentioned that their module building has been used for such diverse situations as a tavern, crypt, cave complex, dream realm, lightless void, and an ice cave.

With a little thought and planning it is possible to turn your module building in to the true visual centerpiece of your game, the one place where the whole WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) concept that sells LARPs and be pushed to the absolute limits. Our next couple of articles will deal with various ways to create desired module effects such as traps, walls, weather conditions, lighting, etc.

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What do you think?

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