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Concept-101

 
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I-KP



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 3770
Location: Iddheim

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:39 pm    Post subject: Concept-101 Reply with quote

The Concept

Covert LRP (Secret Service the boardgame - only not actually the secret service, nor a boardgame) that pits Agencies (consisting of 3-4 Agents) against various organisations of dubious moral inclination (the NPC Monster team, and even rival Agencies at times) in and around various locales within this fair city of ours (*ahem*). A Saturday or Sunday afternoon (and early evening) of tracking suspects; intercepting drops; gathering surveillance & forensic evidence; rescuing hostages; locating and defusing devices left by nefarious evil doers; co-ordinated hits against several targets in different locations; Principal guarding; interrogations; wacks & greasings; saving the known world by foiling a dastardly plot - you name it. Kind of a down and dirty James Bond (but without the pyrotechnics - or the naked women - or the dry wit - or Scaramanga).

Unlike other LRP games this would not typically follow a long term plot (well, there may be recurring villains and perhaps a common thread of events) and behaves in a slightly unusual format. In fact, I'm not even 100% sure it's LRP at all! I suppose those who've played Killer will have some basis upon which work with.

Each player would be an Agent who belongs to one of (hopefully) several Agencies. Each Operation (scenario if you will) is undertaken by one or more Agencies (in competition). Each Agent should have their own Permanent Record, as will their Agency. In effect, it's kind of a competition as performance of each Agency will be recorded on a central website (going into various levels of detail) as the games tick by.

Operations would be presented to a particular Agency (cycling thru all Agencies each time) via a web interface where general information is available to all users, but the real nitty gritty being only accessible by Agents within that Agency (okay, eventually the monsters will get to see the good stuff as they'll be playing the roles). Hopefully, several Operations could be presented so that the Agency can choose the mission they feel they are best suited to (as each Operation carries an OFI [Operational Function Identifier] which gives an idea of the kind of Agents required to complete the job - but this would only be an estimate) and what is more, it would be good if Operations could be authored by players themselves.

Agents will have to co-ordinate and plan their actions based on the intelligence provided within the Operation Briefs (with the help of further titbits c/o any present Information Specialists), and they may have to split up. This clearly requires communication (and mobiles phones are far from rare these days). Also, HQ will be feeding in updates (probably via SMS) as Operations progress keeping the Leading Agent appraised of unobserved developments all the way (it then being his/her responsibility to contact the rest of the team).

To aid in the completion of Operations all the usual funky kit will be available, 'Q' stylee. Certain Agents could even design their own R&D Blueprints to have special items be available for other Agents within their own Agency. Worry not, there would be a Stock list that all have access to and as soon as more than two Agencies possess an item it becomes available to the Intelligence community at large thus making it a Stock item. Reverse Engineering also plays a part in this should a rival Agency obtain one of your new toys on an Operation!

Clearly, Agencies wish to remain covert and not have their presence know to all and sundry. To this end Rules of Engagement exist ensuring that no attention is drawn to Agency activities. Progress through an Operation is gauged using Merits. Whenever a milestone is completed, Merits are awarded (eg. Obtaining a good photo of Kalov Svalehoven - 2Merits). Breaches of the Rules of Engagement (and the use of destructive equipment or force - such as breaking down a door rather than deftly picking it's lock) incur hefty Demerits. This approach ensures that players act reasonably in real terms with in-game rewards for doing so.

Merits are accumulated on an Agent and Agency level as a general measure of performance. Agent development comes from obtaining Commendations. These are awarded by an Agencies HQ for a job well done (also, Team Leaders have the ability to issue a Leader Commendation in-team as a motivational booster). The level of success in an Operation (ie. % of total merits available actually earned) determines the number of Commendations awarded. Also, individual Agent ingenuity can be awarded with Commendations.

Commendations have numerous uses. They can be regarded at 'Fate' points if you like. Many additional effects can be gained by spending a Commendation point. Some examples (to name but a few);
Design an Item Blueprint (R&D).
Call-in an immediate Agent replacement (after an Agent Death Event).
Obtain a Special Equipment item in advance of an upcoming Operation.
Make up for missing skills in the field.
Obtain a temporary Certificate via a Crash Course.

Agent ability is rated by the number of training courses they have completed (and thus awarded Certificates) and the level to which their expertise extends (ie, two levels; Certificate and Specialist - with the latter granting what could be termed as ?funky? abilities). Team play is essential as no one Agent can ever hope to do it all.

Opportunity for advancement is determined on the Agency level in that once a certain number of Commendations have been earned by the whole Agency, cumulatively, the Agency Director (current highest ranking Agent) can send one of his Agents on a training course to either pick up an entirely new discipline or promote an existing certificate to Specialist level.

This brings me to the mechanics of Certificate Resolution. Clearly, this does need to be autonomous as Co-ordinators will not be around all that much. To this end, any obstacle that needs to be overcome needs to be presented to the players quickly an easily. Resolution Slips could be one solution. Example (picking a lock);
The resolution slip (stuck to the door) would say something like "LOCKPICK to open" meaning that if you have the Lockpick certificate you can pick the lock (open the slip for the results of the action). Overrides would be present to still open the door but without the required Certificate, such as "Screwdriver / C4", but these overrides are often breaches of the Rules of Engagement and will incur Demerits (but at least you get the door open - or off). Some overrides may trigger additional events (such as alarm systems) that may require an additional test to resolve. The resolved slip, in such instances, may contain another side effect resolution slip!

In a way, this is a prop based mechanic (to a point) as the slips are there and you need to carry around reps of your overrides, but the actual Resolution Slip system does not use props per se. Perhaps something could be adapted, any suggestions welcome, but this was drummed out long before all the prop conversations began.


The Issue of RL Provocative Behaviour In A Public Place

This is the big one. The huge cahoot if you will. One of the major reasons I've shelved this idea is due to the current political climate and anyone running around looking dodgy might attract the wrong kind of attention. So, clearly, running gunfights outside Woolworths or staged brawls in Brucciani's would be ideas on a par with "Hey, lets make a D&D moive!" Such actions have to be resolved in an socially acceptable, unassuming, abstract manner.

This can be accomplished. Hence the Rules of Engagement being a cornerstone of the whole deal.

For example, hand to hand conflict does not involve physically enacting the moves but more rather like placing your hand on the foe's shoulder an announcing your Combat rating. In the event of the victor choosing a 'Restrain' result in an effort to abduct the target, the overpowered individual simply accompanies the victor to the desired location with his arms folded signalling the fact that he is being held against his will to any associates that may be observing.

All such 'dangerous' actions should be resolved in this fashion. Gunfights are slightly different; water pistols. The only perceivable negative being a grown man frolicking with a kid's toy. Drawing a sidearm in a public place incurs severe demerits. Anyway, firearms need a Clearance from HQ before they can be used in an Operation (unless the bad guys raise the stakes themselves).


If you've made it to this point then I applaud your endurance, and perhaps now is the time to go sup a brew and ponder my words. Flames always come out clearer after a bevy, don't you think?

As is probably evident, this is no Set-up & Go kind of game, and I'm not entirely sure it would work completely, but it's gotta be worth a go.

All comments welcome, esp constructive ones. Just don't be vague and elaborate beyond "Eeeerh, I don't like the sounds of that." If it's not your kind of thing then fine, but don't crow about it. As this hasn't even made it on to paper fully yet there's plenty of time to warp this baby's mind (or abort it before it turns into a MONSTER!).

In the end, it's just an idea. Still embryonic.
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