Do you know why we isoflex most hand made larp weapons? It’s because Simon Medlock accidentally discovered that roof sealant made a mighty fine weapon coating. Now it is one of the staple weapon making techniques.
Sometimes risks and experimentation really pay off. Obviously: they also sometimes crash and burn. Recently I have been to 2 events that have made me think about how willing we are to forgive road bumps in that what is new and different.
Recently, set in Bravo one and indoor site in Birmingham, was the unicorns one-day sanctioned event. This took a lot of risks in that it ran an event in a pitch black concrete maze in a tower block rather than a field or campsite. It took advantage of the fact that events, particularly fantasy events, will rarely run there. It tried several new elements in a three floor structure really explored what could be done in that type of environment. Lots of it was fantastic but some of it needed some polish. However, in this case, the player base seem particularly willing to overlook small shortcomings because of the massive leap in formats that have been attempted.
Flash forward to Saturday just gone where our team ran off third combat Union session of the year. This was one I co-wrote. There was a lot of pressure for us to do some interesting stuff as the last few weeks had been two very solid sessions incorporating lots of different elements. Session one was largely ‘the formula’ of exploration then boss. Session 2 was a clever blend of puzzles. Our session went back to the more standard ‘explore then boss’. To make this feel up to par we had a myriad of props, we used technology in new ways and some of the encounter design really had to push the boat out.
When it came to player feedback for Union I notice that players were readier to be critical than the Uniocnrs. I think this is excellent and would always encourage player feedback. However, I do wonder if their readiness to be critical was because they understood the formula better and they knew what their expectations were. In the next few weeks I know that our system will be trying some new variations on the formula which historically has been received really well. So, I have no doubts going into it the next few weeks Union will benefit from the same blessings that the unicorn event did.
Working with the team I do now and seeing the success of the Unicorns’ event made me want to write a bit of a call to arms. For our hobby to grow, diversify and remain engaging we need people to have the guts to take creative risks. Whether it’s just trying to use a remote-control candle is a Geiger counter or if you shake the entirety of the box like the Unicorns did, see what you can do that is different. Without it we’ll be crawling the same dungeons our entire lives.
If you’re a plot writer you have the ability to shape the future of our hobby in the way you do and don’t take risks. So: let’s do it. Let’s gamble. Let’s invent. Let’s improve.