I started running events because I spent a lot of time with people who were already running them. This is one of the more common ways to start running events. The other is to get annoyed at what the people running events are doing and start something different because you feel it’s a better way. Both are equally valid.
You can usually judge what you’re going to get at a LRP event by what is being charged for a ticket. Prices are rising; a basic event with food and shelter is now regularly in the £80-100 range. This is good because it’s far more reflective of the actual costs involved. It can also be bad. At the moment I mentally split events into basic (£80-£100) and expensive (£100-£130) with amazing (£130+) beyond that. When costs for those basic events hit £100 it’s going to take a bit to push them beyond the barrier. We may lose some systems along the way and others may change their model – however that happens all the time anyway. We also lose systems because one of the people running it has gone to uni/had a baby/found a partner, not just because the money coming in doesn’t meet the costs.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen anyone trying to sell an all singing all dancing event at £30 a ticket as well. Maybe reality has finally caught up…
Let us imagine you neither have a group of people running events similar to the ones you want to run nor a system that’s doing it wrong to give you the righteous indignation to make you run your own. You may be somewhere where no one LRPs, you may just have an idea that you really want to run with. Whatever, you’re starting from scratch.
Are you doing it alone? There’s probably no reason to. You can at least talk to people using social media. Reddit, Facebook and Twitter – amongst others – all have thriving LRP communities. LRPers, for the most part, love giving advice. Apply a filter. Run through the conversation, try and pick out the helpful bits and ignore the fact that they’re telling you you can’t do it. You can LRP in your back garden with a cloak made from curtains and a broken spade (but if you live in a flat then you’ll have to get inventive). They will talk about plot, props, and people, but they always think it ultimately boils down to toilets (I wanted to say ‘poo’ to get a fourth P but I’m apparently too well brought up).
Toilets are everything. As long as you can make sure your players can go to the toilet without it causing problems for anyone and you make sure that they have enough to drink you’re generally fine. But the only way to get a player base is to go out there and run things. If you’re running for two mates and your dog then eventually word will spread and you will end up with a few others, and you’ll find yourself with enough people to spend an afternoon in the park, or hiring a campsite for a couple of days. There isn’t a shortcut. Most people won’t give you money unless you’ve tried this already. So go out there and do it.
Leave the stupid things until you’ve mastered the basics. You need to give players free will, let them act and explore. Give them a chance to make mistakes and let them share some of the power. It makes it more fun than everyone. LRP is never just your creation. It’s not your baby and unless you let everyone own it it won’t grow.
Once you’ve done all that then do the stupid thing that you really want to do. Try something spectacular. Don’t do it alone. It’s much nicer to be crying into your coffee when you’re so tired that you can’t think if there are 5 or 6 other people also crying into their coffee with you. Plus one of you needs to be awake enough to have made the coffee.
Writing events is an adventure. It’s a voyage. It’s also endlessly frustrating. Get a bit of experience and when you understand the road map I’ve just described you can work out where I’m wrong and pull off the amazing events of your own.
Please invite me.