Monday, August 01, 2011

Ragnarok larp

Last year I was rambling on the Avatar larp forum, about the fact that they could take some hints from the Conquest of Mythodea larp in Germany. This resulted in a PM from Thierry who was already working (behind the scenes) on a new mass larp for Belgium: Ragnarok. Having read my posts he wanted me to join the crew.
So I went ahead, helped out where I could and ended up as a referee during the game.

So how was Ragnarok? Well, as a referee I had not much to do, 2 battles to supervise, some easy questions to answer, so all in all I had an easy time. But what about the game itself?

Well the looks were great! They made some wooden buildings for the 'official' places of the in-game Harapan city where the larp took place. They even had a beer brewery :-)
All the players and npc's looked great. It reminded me very much of the Maelstrom larp in the UK.

Ragnarok goes for the What You See is What You Get approach. Which means that people wanting to craft items, will have to do it (or at least make it look like their doing it). This resulted e.g. in players wanting to learn the brewing skill, to actually having to brew a beer for real :-). Pretty awesome, no?

Everywhere you went or looked it all had a real feel to it.

From what I saw, all players enjoyed themselves at the event, so that part they got going good. I especially loved the resources hunt each morning. That was really a splendid idea :-).

But there are some places that they'll need to improve.
Since they want to give all the players so much possibilities to create different kinds of stuff, the organisers are giving themselves a lot of work to do during the event. Each crafted items needs a laminated card and that means you'll need people to make those cards, hand them over and such. In my Manticore larp (max 80 players) we do the same and it's a hassle. If you do it for 500+ players (as were present at Ragnarok) this means you have a lot of adminstration to do. And it seems that this is something that could be done better. I heard a number of times that people had to wait in order to create stuff as the papers were not readily available.
Maybe they should use the Maelstrom approach: make stuff between events => all the laminated cards can be made in the months between events and put in the player envelope to hand out at the check-in.

What I never really liked is the 'paper-work' in order to fight between two armies. I hated it at Avatar and I sure don't like it a Ragnarok :-)
I understand it's done to give referees (like me) the ability to be at the fight and supervise if needed. But if a larp of 6000+ players like Conquest of Mythodea can do without this paper-work and have major battles, Ragnarok should also be able to do without.
Each faction has their own referee, so if faction A attacks faction B you'll already have 2 ref's present. If needed they can call in some backup if the fight is really big.
This would lead to more instant fights making it more fun, and also more tactical. Faction A can then attack the camp of Faction B if those people are going in a big group to the 'city' or such, leaving their camp almost empty...

They could alsodecrease the distance between the camps/city. It took at least 5 minutes to get from the city to the nearest faction camp. That is in my opinion too far. You want the camps closer to the city, so that people will visit the camps and cities more quickly instead of 'planning' the trip.

Final remark is one that I'm sure is not needed to say, but still: more toilets :-) I hate chemical toilets and I hate it even more when there are not enough so that they are full by Saturday afternoon. But like I said, I'm pretty sure the organisators know this one :-)

Here are some things that would improve the game even more:
- give free entrance for people who can play live music, give fireshows etc. They will have to perform X hours per day and in exchange they get drink/eat tickets and free entrance. That's how they do it at Conquest of Mythodea and it results in a great atmosphere.
- lower the price of the NPC's to e.g. 20 euro => the NPC faction will become huge and can bring lots of fights to the players :-) This also means that you lower the hurdle for people wanting to test out the larp without breaking their piggy bank :-)

So all things considered Ragnarok larp is a larp with a huge potential. If they can fix the minor beginer's errors they will have a larp that will attract a lot of people.
Everybody who stopped going to Avatar because it was no longer fun, to much munchkins or such should give Ragnarok a chance, you won't be disappointed.

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