Soap-LARP Design

BACKGROUND

With “Falkensteins” as our first Soap-LARP, we wanted to go further and deeper into this new territory.

At this time, other LARP-writers and designers were beginning to realise, that to create an outstanding experience you need to do more than just to put a heterogenous group of adventurers in a fantasy world and force them along a plot line.

What was evolving was the era of “casted characters”. In short, the LARP designers developed all characters, gave them goals, enemies, secrets, friends, lovers and then assigned those characters to players; but it is long and hard work, and we as designers also wanted to take part in the game. So we developed a “mode of coincidence”, where all those characters goals, enemies, dark secrets etc were randomly assigned by drawing. This also enabled the possibility of running the same LARP more than one time.

But we found out, that not only soap operas like “Class of 87” or “Fashion House” could be created, instead the system works for all small LARPs, when you really want to connect the players with little effort.

Below are our cornerstones of Soap-LARPs:

PLAYING STYLE

Soap-LARPs can be played in all different styles, depending on the background of the LARP.

From overacting (almost comically) for “Class of 87” and “Fashion House”, to realistic depictions of persons in “The Office” and “Ibot 2.0” we saw the whole range.

CONFLICT

is the essence of LARP!

PLOT

In accordance with Dogma 99 and other Nordic-LARP concepts, we abolished the need for a rail-road plot, where the gamemasters and designers manipulate the storyline.

Instead, we provided the background of the characters (see above) and a loose backstory.

COSTUMES

Most of the LARPs had a backgroundstory set in the 20th century, so essentially what you or your grandparents have at home was sufficent enough to dress yourself properly. Cloth exchanges between participants were encouraged.

FIGHTING & MAGIC

No fight rules were defined, magic characters would make no sense in our settings so far.

The only rules we emphasized were the famous Ralph Hüls “2 rules”:

  1. If someone plays with you show a reaction, it does not matter which
  2. If you play with someone, do not expect a certain reaction

We also implemented the “sacrifice rule”: If your character gets wounded you alone decide wheter you die or you are just wounded.

NON-PLAYER-CHARACTERS

We truly and deeply believe that in a good LARP, every character is the main character.

With the Soap-LARP concept, the need for supporting, non playing characters is omited. Everyone can and should play to develop his or her own personal story!

by Martin Schuler
Vienna 28th of October 2016

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