What would a larp be like if there were a strategic layer of activity above the combat itself? Would that help role playing? More importantly would that be fun? Would people get involved with the game because it contains that aspect? Here are some ideas about what a larp would be like if concepts from 4x strategy games were added.
Instead of writing up a large design document, or a rule book, this will be a prototype and grow experiment. At the moment I’m not sure 1.) where the fun is 2.) whether anyone I larp with cares at all about 4x games. Who knows maybe its just an idea that gets developed for the fun of working on the idea. This is a hobby, not a profession, so I get to develop just for fun.
Players form houses to via for control of an uncharted land. The terrain would be generated using something like Hexographer. Then seeded with plot hooks, items, history and story by the Marshalls. As the player characters grow in number and conquer the hexs, they gain power in the game world. Control of an area is won through strength of arms, literally combat fought between those currently owning the land and those who want to take it using Hit Location rules not unlike other battle games.
The game consists of a few simple elements: Map, Houses, and Events. Basically the where, who and what of the game. At the start of an event the current state of the map is revealed (including any changes from last play session). Players are grouped into houses, those houses will be competing for hexs on the map. These locations are acquired by resolving live combat. There are seven basic types of battles which could be used to resolve ownership of those locations. A house chooses how they approach the terrain and that determines which kind of battle gets set up on the field.
Exploring a location means that the Event Holders set up a quest style game. The quest is less a 3/5 round battle and more like a story based larp with NPC’s. If the house wins, they may gain resources, loot, or valuable knowledge about the terrain and it’s inhabitants. To gain ownership of a location they must Attack it. To successfully attack they must win a 3 or 5 round Line Battle, Woods Battle, or Capture the Flag battle. Should they win, they get control of that location and earn its resources. Once owned they may have to defend the location. NPC’s could attack or other players. They may have to fight a Fort Battle or Man in the Middle to keep control of the location. In other words the seven types of battles directly correspond to the actions begin taken by the housed at the strategic layer.
If the attendees are interested during our monthly practice sessions, then we’ll start small tournament style fights to determine which player controls which section of the terrain. With some simple heraldry that has already been created we’ll track on a hex map what the players control. This will gain the players resources and they will be able to trade those supplies.
The system of powers and abilities generally known as magic would need to be built upon this same system. Which might require some form or resources. They could be temporary, or permanent. Perhaps this will be a way to allow players access to fielding monsters with spells and abilities. This is the most nebulous part of the idea at the moment. There’s a lot test and fun to find!
If you like this idea, tweet me and let me know. You can post comments and ask questions on the Google plus page. Or if you want to participate check out the Larp Practice FB group. As always you can find me on Ello.co/larp.