LARP War Journal: Magic and Free Roam
Before we get started here, I do want to point out my excitement that as of last week I had hit my 4th year of LARPing. That may not be too big for some who have done this for years, maybe a decade or more, but for me this was a big occasion because these days it is hard to make that sort of commitment to something and still try to push for that fifth year. It always drove me crazy thinking about this considering it always takes one event or series of event to kill that passion. Fortunate for me I have been lucky to find the right people to share this experience with. And that is what will hopefully take me through this next year.
That said, the topic I wanted to get into this time around is the dream for some players that is casting magic and being able to do so free roaming. For some games that is a thing, but for others that mechanic is just not there. I remember some of the first instances I watched of LARPing before I started, I had loved the idea that you could be a caster and have that freedom of motion that didn’t limit your usefulness. Then when it came to actually choosing the game I played, I was hit with the realization that not all games run the same. They all have different rules and mechanics. For mine, they try real hard for balance, especially when it comes to stopping what could be OP. That meant that for who cast spells, you would read the spell, take no more than five steps in any direction, and hope that when you take that last step there is someone within throwing distance to hit. That is on top of the immobility you have while invoking that spell. Very risky if the fight you are engaged in is in close quarters or they don’t seem willing to give you the time to read that spell before you cast it.
A dream of mine was always that one day they would loosen up a bit and allow that mobility to be like an actual spellcaster, rather than a robot. I mean I know the biggest fear, and even then it is hard to understand the fear aside from the fact that certain players don’t seem to enjoy dying by anything that is not a sword or spear. Magic is a thing in fantasy, most fantasy games also have spells that do AOE. Could it be a fair trade-off to lose AOE and gain mobility? Maybe, just maybe. Though that aside, it just seems like a fun mechanic when adventuring. Read on the go, move freely with said spell in your hand. I mean the spell is still going to blow up on you if hit with it still in your hand.
One of these days I might just try to run an adventure just to test what can be done with that capability. When you run an adventure, the rules are as you see fit. Basic and core rules would always apply, but if you tell someone they can do something that they wouldn’t normally be able to do? You have that power. Surely that would grind some gears, but not event can or should be just a bunch of warriors swinging swords at each other in repetition. Honestly, how the heck do you have fun JUST doing that for hours? I would get bored after the first hour.
I mean what do you think? Does there actually need to be a trade-off to be able to move while casting spells? Is it fun for those who have this mechanic in their game?