This page is currently a work in progress, and will be updated periodically.
Familiarity With The System & Setting
Whilst by no means does a GM need to have anything remotely approaching an encyclopaedic knowledge of the system or setting, some familiarity with both is desirable. The LARPOs are happy to answer any questions and/or make suggestions for how a LARP concept you have could work in the metaphysic.
Whereas some games predominately have a 'GM vs players' approach, Animus is designed for collaborative storytelling, with GMs and players working together to tell the most satisfying story for everyone involved.
This process of creating 'win-wins' is naturally a tricky one, and even the best GM will make mistakes. That's OK. The main thing is that, where mistakes are made, we can work through them to find something that works.
One example of a collaborative style can be seen in terms of metaphysical ailments. Let us say that someone suffers a CURSE from a terrifying erosion denizen, that , as written, will make their skin melt off their face. We might first check in with the player to see if that's something that they would find fun. If they wouldn't, perhaps there's a different (but equally serious) manifestation of erosion they would be happy with.
This requires trust and good faith on both sides. On the one hand that GMs aren't going to force through things that they would find fun at the expense of the participant, and the other, that the player isn't going to make objections to ailments offered simply to avoid consequences for their actions.
Fun for Players
One useful question to ask when creating an encounter is: how is this fun for the players?
The answer can often be simple: 'they get to feel cool and powerful fighting a boss monster' is a totally acceptable answer.
It's sometimes worth thinking about what players are looking to get out of the LARP. Exciting and interesting fights are definitely a staple, but also - where are the opportunities for drama, or interesting or tense roleplay? For the talky characters, do they have someone to diplome? For the metaphysic-pokers, are there hints for how the world works? For those that want to explore the setting, is there a chance to find out more about what makes a particular setting element tick, or to explore one of the game's themes? For those that want cool bennies and to get more powerful, are there opportunities to earn Favour and/or climb the greasy pole of power, or get closer to having more cool combat powers or that epic skill they have an eye on? For those that are in it for the traums, are there opportunities to make Terrible Life Choices?
By no means should any encounter (or an adventure!) have to do ALL of these things - indeed, sometimes it's preferable for an encounter to have a tight focus - but it's worth considering.
Fun For Monsters
An equally useful question to ask when creating an encounter is: how is this fun for the monsters?
Whilst there is much less scope for the monsters to control how the adventure unfolds the way the players do, that's no reason to neglect looking for ways to make encounters interesting for them.
Some things that might be worth asking: do the combat encounters have enough variety in terms of monster roles and monster abilities? Are there a combination of fighty and talky (and maybe puzzle-y) encounters? For those monsters that like to play interesting or important NPCs, is there opportunity to do so? For those monsters that like to play nasty boss monsters, are there some of those? Are there some simple roles as well as complicated ones for people who don't want to brain too much? Do the monsters have a useful role to play in the encounter (rather than sitting on the sidelines for the most part)?
Ultimately, monsters should be set up to be bested by the players - so you need to think of ways that mean that even fighting and losing is fun to do.
Monsters are invaluable - they provide the resistance for the players, they NPC the roles that help bring the setting to life, they moderate the challenge so that an adventure feels good to play.
If you're used to Memento Mundi, it's useful to bear in mind that in Animus, a couple of extra hits can make a big difference (hit ranges are smaller), as can monster tactics, giving monsters long weapons, or allowing them to ambush. Giving monsters healing makes a large difference and should only be given out very carefully.
It may well be that a party with several ranged healing (Forest Touched, Connection Weavers) can handle harder stats than a different party composition. This is something we are keeping a close eye on.
Although Animus has 'lives', in the sense that dying once will not retire a character, this is not an invitation. A death should not be expected on each LARP, and TPKs likewise should be a rare occurence. If someone dies on the LARP, consider downstatting immediately.
If you're unsure of statting, giving monsters optional waves instead of increasing their hits can sometimes be a good way of managing the challenge that the party are facing.
The Bestiary page can be very useful when working out which monsters to include.
As a rule of thumb monsters with a base damage above single should be user sparingly.
Timing out & Downtime
Animus' Downtime system is designed to simplify and streamline downtime actions - and allow these to be submitted by email if necessary.
Before timing out completely, the GM should ask if there's any reason why they can't have a standard downtime.
The existence of downtime is not intended to replace the pub social, but to give an option for participants to leave at the end of the LARP without worrying they will 'lose out' on cool stuff by not attending debrief in person.
The existence of downtime is also not intended to stop post-adventure RP. This is thoroughly encouraged if participants would like to continue RPing after the adventure is ended - but this should be distinct from debrief as much as makes sense.
guide_for_gms.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/06 12:53 by gm_matthew