Step into

I was sorting out some old files the other day and I came across a game I wrote back in the summer of 1995 (and had completely forgotten about). It’s essentially a larp, but set indoors and for just six players, with pregen characters. The working title was (the dreadful) ‘Cannes-tasia’ – the characters are movie people at the Cannes Film Festival who’ve been asked to join a mysterious potential funder aboard his yacht in the harbour. Shortly after they board, the yacht breaks adrift…

At the time, based on the other kinds of games that I knew about, I described it in my notes as “in the middle ground between larp and tabletop RPG, drawing on elements of the ‘dinner party’ murder mystery game and the Cthulhu-Blood-Brothers-style one-off experience”.

Looking at it now, it seems like I had accidentally invented ‘parlor larp’ avant le nom. (I’d only ever done boffer larp at that stage, and didn’t realize there was any other kind.) If only I’d actually ever run this game, who knows what glory might have been mine.

What I find interesting is that I was (evidently) already clear in my mind that this was quite a different thing from a small freeform. I’d run several freeforms by that point, so I knew what they were like, and knew that this was not the same sort of beast. This interests me because I’ve been thinking just recently about the differences between freeform and larp, and the spaces between. (I have a post brewing… be warned!)

Maybe I ought to run the Cannes game some time, for nostalgia value if nothing else. But I’ll have to think of a better title first!

5 replies on “Step into”

Cannes Do 🙂

I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between freeform and your game, and have never larped on any non-rubber-sword context. I’d love to find out if you need players 🙂

Cannes Do 🙂

Ooh, that’s gruesome even by my standards…

I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between freeform and your game

Mm, I should probably have done that post first, except I’m still trying to think how some bits of it should go. (Without offending anyone 😉

I’m also curious about your game! H and I have written and played in a number of freeforms, and they cover quite a wide variety of styles and formats (campaigns, one-offs, pre-set charaters, writing your own, heavy or light mechanics, horde games, semi-horde games, entirely intra-personal plots, external events, some scripted outcomes, some not…).

I’m actually not certain what the definitions/distinctions are; I’ve seen a few groups who insist that their format is the correct one and that other things are not freeforms.

Mm, it’s a problem that people have a natural tendency to want to control the terminology for their own kind of thing.

And of course it’s systematically different in other countries, too: eg in the US, the term ‘freeform’ isn’t used at all afaik, they’re mostly called ‘theatre-style larps’.

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