I read this recently
I immediately pocketed it in a folder for “there’s so much LARP commentary here”. I ended up play Dead of Winter at a party this weekend, and some of what he was talking about finally grokked.
ROLL-MOVE or MOVE-ROLL when it comes to LARP
Most tabletop games (i.e. the root of most LARP design) are Move-Then-Roll systems. You declare “I attack the orc” then roll to see if that attack was awesome or failboat.
LARP doesn’t have the space for a die roll. However, I’ll posit that it’s the opposite, and it is effectively a Roll-Then-Move system in feel. In a LARP, you have so many choices, but you almost always half the information on what is possible. You know that you can swing that nerf-sword. Often you have a pretty good idea if that attack will connect. That’s the half you have. You are almost always missing the other half, which is what the effect of that sword attack will really be. The information flow isn’t there until you hit the guy enough for them to drop.
I think that’s a very important observation, the lack of information on “the other guy”. Any measures that can fill in that gap are a Good Thing™.
THE ILLUSION OF PERIL
Again, this was interesting in the context that dice don’t create the illusion, but the GM. In most cases for my table-top GMing, I scare the players with meta-knowledge. The fact that I as a GM detailed something makes them pay attention. If it appears dangerous, they notice. It isn’t the information itself, but how it is delivered.
In a LARP context, most people are scared by the meta knowledge. In this case, folks will very often pay attention to the NPCs in a combat. If an NPC has a custom costume, they know effort went into that guy, and he’s probably a problem. If the NPC is played by a notorious stick jock, and it’s the final battle, that guy isn’t going to be a pushover stats-wise.
There’s some LARPs out there that convey this information overtly with armbands. I think this is great, and it’s great for story. Yes, the immersionists will claim that a “red/pink/+52 headband doesn’t scare me.” I get that. However, they need to realize that it’s LARP. They need to add the details in their imagination that that isn’t a goblin, it’s a huge giant with a 10′ club.