World Course v. Line Course LARPs part 2
What can World Course Learn from Line Course?
If you make content repeatable, then the production effort is multiplied.
Make a mod that more than one group can do, or at least reuse the production effort/cost. For example, make the effort to have a really cool necromancer’s laboratory to explore. If you did this in a normal world course, you’d spend X money/time for just one group of players to ransack it. Instead, have breadcrumbs going out to the site several times. Each laboratory could be the same lab, but it also could be a different one, albeit using the same props and locale. Perhaps there are several necromancers in the area, or the lab can be switched with a few changes (less skulls, more alchemical) to an entirely different encounter.
Make efforts to put people in small groups, and then give them heroic moments
All too often, a mod tailored for a single player ends up being theatre (and content) for the entire group. This is usually because there is only one mod going on at a time, so all the players go to all the mods to their content.
Get more GMs/STs/Marshalls/whatever you want to call them
Locally in Socal, there are two world courses that have abundant staff, and it shows in the game. Dystopia Rising accomplishes this by a massive dispersion of the responsibility on the player base, having them ST during their NPC shift. Twin Mask does this also, but also has a large permanent plot team.
However, none have a great deal of GMs, in the sense there is somebody near the players at all times to adjudicate calls, describe effects, hand out dreams, do crafting, etc. etc.
This is obviously easier said than done. This is a general larp problem, not just a world course issue. Ah.. another post idea to save for later.
What can Line Course Learn from World Course?
Longer events mean much better player engagement
Weekend games lasting for 40+ hours do get a payoff from the logistical headache. Folks are much more engaged for a “big” event. Fill up the weekend with line course. Have back to back games Saturday and Sunday, either the same game (like the olden days of IFGS), or two different games for differing level ranges, and a full expectation that the players on one day NPC the other game.
Open Enrollment mean much better player engagement
World course is more successful/popular/widespread than line course for this one reason. Almost everybody can play in almost every event. I firmly believe that there’s a price to pay for this (as noted earlier), but it’s clear that the price is worth it.
People take a LONG time to grow to love NPCing, and most don’t ever do so. If you are designing line course, you cannot ignore this.
- NPC roles being fun and engaging should be one of the biggest parts of your design. These folks are going to play the role several times that day, so don’t make it shitty. Give them screen time. Combat npcs need to last more than a few seconds. RP npcs need goals and fun stuff to become.
- Your mechanics need to reward folks for NPCing adequately. IFGS has never done this, but has made flailing attempts. I’m of the opinion that there should be cookies that you can get for your PC that can only be obtained by NPC “points”. Locally, it seems all the games here have a retirement benefit of a wackdoodle race or item. Make that something obtainable with NPC points, and you’ll see folks taking the time to do so.
There is another other benefit of open enrollment, which is the permanence of characters. In IFGS, we never really knew the next time we could play one of our characters, and we did not know with whom.
Line Courses can definitely benefit from this idea, having an event, even if just a meetup, being guaranteed every month or two. Although the “golden age” of IFGS was 91-95 with 4-6 line courses a year, I believe that Katt Jean ushered in a “silver age” with the Red Kender games. These games were world courses, but the biggest benefits was the knowledge that Katt was gonna run another one soon.