Way back when I was an idealistic, bright-eyed, energy-infused student, I ran a little LARP. It was designed to be able to run transparently in the day-to-day real-world. The idea was that, as we were all students, we would have time to arrange to have IC coffee every other day with other characters in our favourite cafes around the town, or to get together for secret meetings in the local pubs, all without set-dressing or broken immersion.
Now that I’ve had a little LARP-spark rekindled I find myself thinking of that old system and its benefits and it seems like it might be awesome for we working stiffs too. Little to no kit, little to no set dressing required and a wealth of interesting, highly unusual encounter opportunities that other systems can’t manage.
What I wrote was called Dark October (‘cause, y’know, I was a student and therefore pretentious). It was based in an ever less outlandish seeming world of corporate dominance and general indentured labour. Tech was always about 30-40 years behind real-world and espionage was everywhere. We had grand ideas of planting clues and plot in real libraries to be hunted for during opening hours, of running overlands that encompassed the whole breadth of the Yorkshire Moors. There were grand plans which became disarmingly simple in such a chameleon system.
It allowed email to exist in a limited capacity, but the characters couldn’t have IC mobile phones – actually, we did let one corporate agent have one, but he had to phys rep it with a brick in a suitcase as the battery – it seemed then – and still seem to me now – a rather ideal set of components for an easy-to-run, low cost and low overhead system which can run as much in downtime as at sanctioned events.
The only problem we had was that the characters were all too paranoid to speak to one another. Oh, and one bad ref call that meant a PC was able to remove the cannon from the front of a downed fighter jet using a Swiss Army Knife and engineering expertise. Good times.