Event – A game session. A campaign or miniseries type game may span multiple events, while a one-shot game consists of a single event. Event length, frequency, etc. are important basic design elements.  Much like a book made up of many chapters an event spans one chapter of the book.

Mod (short for module) –  Like a single scene or part of a chapter, a Mod is a part of a bigger story or picture.  Usually involve a specific plot element as well as challenge.  For example “the escape from the Death Star” in Empire Strikes Back could be a mod.  A mod is when the designer injects an element during play that changes the Situation. More often than not, this includes an NPC showing up who was not present before, but other kinds of changes are possible as well. Reacting to mods gives characters another type of reason to interact. Longer events usually rely on mods to keep changing the situation and drive interaction.

Trigger – A change of situation that is triggered by something happening. An example would be “Open this envelope when you talk to a character with a star on their name tag”. Inside the envelope is new information, or perhaps a compulsion to act a certain way, or perhaps a new power that the character didn’t know they had until that moment.

Generally speaking, Mods are more often used in long events – events lasting more then 4 to 6 hours – while triggers are more often used in short events. But there’s no reason why that has to be true. And, of course, they could be used together – a mod could contain a trigger.

Mod is also used to refer to a location-based activity/situation. Perhaps over in a certain area is a spider cave. The giant spiders are only in the spider cave. That cave might be present the whole event, or it might only be set up for a certain time frame. But the term still fits the same purpose – the situation is different at the spider cave than it is in the saloon.

Setting – the game world.

Situation – current state of affairs in the setting when the game begins. The overall situation can be sliced into smaller situations, each of which will usually provide different reasons for characters to interact.

Briefing – telling a player or crew member about the setting, the situation or their character.

Interaction – characters doing stuff with each other. Can also be characters interacting with the setting somehow (e.g. with physical or metaphysical stuff).

Reasons to interact – aspects of the characters, situation, rules, etc. that give character reasons to interact.

Setting mechanic – secret rules that the GMs use to determine how aspects of the setting will react to characters interacting with them. Removes some “GM fiat” from the setting and replaces it with consistent interactivity.

Economy or Ecology – any aspect of the setting or characters that involves a flow of resources. Usually provides multiple reasons for interaction to characters who take on various roles or niches in the economy or ecology.

What happened – the interactions that occurred in a larp.


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