Teaching Role Playing Games #2

(Click here for Teaching Role Playing Games #1)

5. First larp
The first larp experience for most of my students. I chose one of my own edu-larp scenarios written for public high-schools. Rules-light, non-combat, negotiation-based, it has been tested many times  with non-larpers. Its historical setting might have been problematic, but it wasn't. In two groups the game played very well. In the third one, I had several disengaged players who rarely spoke or took action. A proper briefing with workshop would have prevented the problem. But how can I do workshop + the game + debrief in a 90-minutes time slot? A thing to consider before the next run of this lab.

6. Intro to larp design
Transition from the pen-and-paper section to live action. A lot of organisational talk (too much, I guess). The main teaching point for this class: go through "Larp Experience Design" by Lars Konzack. I had used Konzack several times at English Studies, and I found it an excellent source for beginner larp designers. Strongly recommended!

7. Star Fall #1
Students were asked to read the guide to Star Fall (Canadian sci-fi larp) and come to class with ready-made characters. Characters they brought, but mostly without well-developed backstories. Still, it was something to work on. In teams of 4-5, they could work on interpersonal and social dynamics, building connections, mutual interests, friendships, conflicts and hostilities. Loosely sketched and isolated on entry, the characters received some depth and relationships. To be continued.

8. Star Fall #2 + crash course in larp mechanics
The teams of 4-5 work further on the development of their characters united as in-game teams. They acquire a common purpose, team identity, connections to in-game communities, a little bit of history (their last mission), and plans for the nearest future. 

In the same class, we go over larp mechanics: combat, sex, magic, technology. Safety words. WYSIWYG, DKWDK, DKWDDK. Overview of text / video sources for further research. It's the last class before they run the first larps of their own design.

Lost in action!
We lost 2 of the 15 scheduled classes due to extra no-class days declared by the university. I had hoped we'd be able to have more meetings on Star Fall: build characters, factions and the whole narrative incrementally, and then put the pieces together into a coherent playable module. And I would certainly like to discuss - and test! - the mechanics in greater detail.

Coming soon
Now there are 5 weeks left till the end of semester, 4 of which will hold student-designed larps played in class. From now on until 10th of June we are going to play two larps each Tuesday - starting tomorrow!