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Secretly Mike Young
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#agrandiosedisaster
I haven't spoken much about AGD lately.  Other projects have occupied my mind and my time.  Such is life.  However, I'm back at it this week with a vengeance.  There are hopefully going to be two runs in May -- one at Camp Nerdly by +Cinnamon Bunny and one at Tapas de Larpas in Chicago.  I have (practically) finished writing the rules, but I really want to get the roleplaying tips done before I send it out.  I think following the roleplaying tips will make the difference between it being a good game and a great game.
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Secretly Mike Young
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I will not be at the April event, but it will be held Saturday, April 18 at 6:00pm
15117 Joshua Tree Road, North Potomac, MD 20878

The specific larp is to be determined.
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#agrandiosedisaster

Had the A Grandiose Disaster playtest last night.  It went very well.  The players had a good time and I learned a lot about what I need to do for the larp.  Here are my notes in the order I made them.  Really important notes will have before and after them, which might bold them on G+.
 
Bruce Hendrickson suggested new character templates, the Cop and the Soldier, which I will add, along with Lawrence Lee’s suggestion of the Criminal.  I will remove the Hero, and the Love Interest.  I’m also combining the Genius, Scientist, and Know-It-All into one template because they do not have a good diversity of abilities.
 
Add “staple here” marks to the scenario.  Also, make icons on the scenario larger and more prominent.
 
Add a “doom chart page 2” title to page 2 of the doom chart.
 
When I write the instructions for roleplaying scenes, include instructions to let people have their private scenes with their close relationships.  Saying “this isn’t the time for this sort of thing; we’re running for our lives,” is against the spirit of what I’m trying to do here.  It is …exactly… the time for this sort of thing.
 
Players need Wounded and Distraught badges or some way to easily identify Wounded or Distraught characters.
 
The scenario was not deadly enough.  Only two characters died.  I never thought I’d get to type that, but it’s true.  Years and years of writing adventure larps where I wanted to make it challenging but not deadly have made me reluctant to kill characters.  But this larp needs it.  I plan to enact the following:
 
- If a character is wounded and becomes wounded again, they die.  I believe that was the plan all along, but for the playtest, I said that the second wounded has no effect.
 
- Reduce the time for each scene and add a few more scenes, especially deadly scenes. 
 
- Rejigger the ability ratios and remove a lot of the challenges.  I am ashamed to admit I didn’t check the number of characters who could do each challenge before the run or I would have learned that 6 characters could do cleverness challenges and only 2 could do agility challenges.  I have dropped those numbers quite a bit.
 
people did not like the voting mechanic.  I had an out-of-game mechanic similar to “Werewolf” for players to decide who died in a scene, but the players felt it broke the immersion.  Instead the scenes will be rewritten  so that someone will need to sacrifice themselves so the others can live and the players may choose who that is.  (And if time runs out, they will use the doom chart). 
 
Also, some scenarios will force players to use the doom chart to make it more meaningful.  The doom chart was meant to be a stick to get players to vote, but players really liked the doom chart so I need to make it more prominent.
 
The Medical Worker’s ability that makes them Distraught, makes them Distraught too often.  Nerf it.
 
When writing the instructions for roleplaying the scenes, include instructions for rearranging the space and to roleplay out the activity.  The scenes involved crawling through ducts, running from cave ins, and the like.  At the start of the game, people were moving about the space in reaction to the scene.  By halfway through, they were just standing around.  I think part of that is that they made the wounded characters sit down and then they all just gradually sat around them.  But if the rules were “chairs are set dressing, not for sitting” then they would have to actively help the wounded characters and would be more likely to roleplay digging through rubble.
 
Likewise, I need to give good instructions on how to react when a scene is being read.  If they react while the scene is being read, then that needs to be taken into account.  I’d prefer for them to listen to what the setup is and then do it, but people’s first reaction will be to interrupt the setup narration to react to it.  I’m not sure what to do about that yet.
 
scenarios need to say which challenges will not be used.  There are five types of challenges and the scenario only used four of them.  People who could do the fifth type of challenge felt cheated.  I do not want to limit authors by saying they must use all challenges, and I did try to warn people that not all challenges will be used, but they felt that was not enough.  So the scenario needs to say which challenges it doesn’t use.
 
when creating characters, players need to put more work into their strong relationships  There were some good relationships, and it did make for tough decisions.  My favorite moment was the line, “you’re asking me to choose between saving my dad or my best friend?”  That encapsulates the larp for me right in that one question.  But I don’t think people really had strength in their strong relationships.  People made suggestions and I will cogitate.
 
The scenario, Ice and Fire, has the players battling earth, fire, and water.  There should also be high winds to complete the set.  I was pleased to note that the heavy foreshadowing worked and the players knew exactly what kind of disaster to expect based on the information presented.
 
But all in all, I thought it was a very successful run.  I’ve already updated the templates.  I want to update the scenario and write up the runtime rules so it can be run by a friend at Camp Nerdly, and possibly a private larp event in Chicago this summer.
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Re: reacting to scene setups before the reading is done:

How about taking a cue from standardized tests with a "START" cue at the end of each scenario instruction?
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Secretly Mike Young

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I have a new larp up on my website.  It's called [Your Game Here] by [Your Name Here].  You can get it here:  http://www.intink.com/larps  So a couple of questions:  I'd like to put the Miskatonic larps and Colonel Rawhide up for download, but they don't have all the GM materials one might need.  Should I do it?  Also, I would love to open my website to other game designers to put up their larps, a sort of game bank if you will, but I'd need to rewrite a bunch of it.  I don't want to do that work.  Anyone have any suggestions there?
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I believe I can say without hyperbole that this is literally the best, most important, and most relevant video in the history of ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tURwm8zxOPQ
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Cool
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#agrandiosedisaster

I have finished writing the scenes for the first scenario, Fire and Ice.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  It should be a nice emotional grinder.  It almost felt like I was writing the highlights of a disaster movie.
 
With 6-8 players, it looks like between 2 and 5 characters will die.  With 9-12 players, it could be between 3 and 8 deaths.  It’s kinda tough to tell because it depends on what abilities the players choose.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the abilities interplay with the scenario.
 
I still need to write the special information for certain characters for the scenario, and then I might write up some rules and tips for play, but all I wanted to have done for the playtest were the templates and scenario, so I’m definitely on track.
 
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I'm looking forward to this.  It seems like the sort of thing the college students I run LARPs for would enjoy.
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#agrandiosedisaster

I have started work on the first scenario entitled Fire and Ice.  It is a period piece set in majestic 1974 at the Fire and Ice hotel located in Antarctica just south of Tierra del Fuego.  What could possibly go wrong?
 
I have the template all set up and as I was typing in the introduction and the first scene it occurred to me that some characters might get additional information for the scenario, you know the stuff that scientists or investors always know in disaster movies. 
 
So that is now a thing; some characters will start the game with a couple of paragraphs of extra information.  They get that information after they create their character but before the scenario begins.  They may slightly modify their character history based on the new information.
 
This is different from Extra Angst.  Extra Angst will be generic fears, phobias, childhood traumas, and concerns that will make the horrors of the disaster personal to the characters.  The Information will be things that let the players have conversations like those in Jurassic Park and The Poseidon Adventure where the doomsayers are certain things will go wrong.  Information gives them a little detail on what might fail.
 
It is still my expectation that the scenario itself will be a cakewalk and that I can pound together a decent – if simple – scenario in a week or two.   I have ideas for more complex scenarios where the party can be split or they can make choices of which track to take, but that is for later.  Fire and Ice is designed to be the beginner scenario, an introduction to A Grandiose Disaster.
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#agrandiosedisaster   It pleased me to write this:  "Warning: do not actually drop chairs on people.  That’s what open-cell foam is for."
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That's stupid.  Why would I drop chairs on open-cell foam?
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#agrandiosedisaster
The playtest for Saturday is still on.  Let me know if you plan to attend.  I have written up a very first draft of unedited character creation rules and have placed them on the web at https://docs.google.com/document/d/10aF4Hy2cnvepie3rZLG7UBcUUfiwQk4NWfMYiA-CEUA/edit?usp=sharing   I am always interested in feedback.  Thanks!
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A Grandiose Disaster Character Creation RulesCreating Characters The first thing you need to do when playing A Grandiose Disaster is to create a character. Characters are created specifically for each Scenario, and while you may play the same character through different Scenarios, it’s best if you go through character creation each time. We
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I'll be there...
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#agrandiosedisaster

I have finished my first draft of Fire and Ice.  13 scenes, 10 special notes for characters, 1 introductory page...  2722 words, which doesn't seem like all that much. 

I like the way it flows.  It is a smidge more complex than I envisioned, but I think it still holds up well as an introductory scenario.  I'm really looking forward to the playtest now.

I think I'll work on character creation and runtime rules next.
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Today I learned a new word:  nunatak.  #agrandiosedisaster
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Nunatak or Veto da Boss make it so nunatak ever agin?
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LAYTON, Utah -- The SaltCON Board Game Convention is in Layton this weekend with the aim of bringing people together with games. The event features exhibitors, games, prizes and tournaments. The co...
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In his circles
276 people
Have him in circles
439 people
Kirsten H's profile photo
Deb Bartram's profile photo
Samuel Hart's profile photo
Paul Wayner's profile photo
Justin “Beeromancer Macduff” Wawrzonek's profile photo
Cinnamon Bunny's profile photo
Royan Anggit's profile photo
md khalequzzaman's profile photo
Luiz Falcão's profile photo
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Introduction
I listen to geeky music.  I program computers.  I do improv comedy.  I am an award winning live action roleplaying game author.  I own a fiji mermaid.
Bragging rights
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Young_%28LARP%29