Chapter 2. Requirements

What should it do?

What should a LARP system do? Well a LARP system, such as Marble, should help both the Players and GMs. To assist in running a LARP it is essential that the system tracks key information. This key data includes character (people) details, information that each character has, locations and things (swords, magic items etc). If the system can keep track of all of this then the system is doing well.

This chapter provides the requirements on which components of information need to be stored, as well as the type of access and authentication requirements of the Marble. A few other requirements are also covered, such as the system's minimum response times.

To enable the system to assist with the running of LARPs the the level of detail to which the system must record information about the game is quite high. This must be complemented by hiding information for specific games. This section details the information which Maric's Place requires to be stored and then attempts to demonstrate how this might be modified to cope with other systems.

This will hopefully produce a system which is flexible and extensible enough to cope with all circumstances.

The first piece of information which is critical to running a LARP is the character. Just about every where things revolve around the character. Taking this into account the associations between characters and other pieces of information are very important. These relationships include:

  1. The relationship between two characters. It is important that this type of relationship can be recorded for each character individually. This is to allow both character to have different interpretations.

    An example of why it is important to ensure both directions are recorded for this type of relationship can be demonstrated by:

  2. It is also possible that a character will use names other than their own, such as when they are on a secret mission. This could be captured as part of a character record, but a character may use many of these over the course of several adventures and in some circumstances there is enough additional information that the character's alias is almost a new character. A similar situation exists when a character has amnesia.

    Where a new character sheet would be required to represent the character for the alias it is important that this information is also recorded. An example of this is shown below with Superman and Clark Kent:

    The relationship between the two identities may be known or suspected by different characters. For this reason it is also necessary to track the relationship between a character and the associated aliases in such a way that other characters can identify their knowledge of the relationship.

  3. Characters also have possessions which can be stored/left somewhere. It is also possible for a possession to change hands.

    Some possessions are well know and will be named. Other possessions only have a description. Possessions should also have a date they were created and destroyed, as this could be important if an original is destroyed.

  4. Clubs, organisations etc. are groups which a character may have a relationship to. More details about these groups can be found in the section called “Organisations”.

  5. The last thing a character is associated with is knowledge. Knowledge includes the information the character has about events and researched information. This basically is the character's memory of everything they have heard, read, done or said.

    This memory is partially created by the player entering reports (the section called “Player Reports and Character Sheets”) and GMs entering new knowledge into the system.

The attributes of a character are also important. These include, but may not be limited to:

  1. Name. A character's name is complex, as there is usually one or more given names as well as a surname. In some cases a character will have other names they are known, such as aliases, maiden names, tags and cover names.

  2. Birth and death dates.

  3. The birth and death dates may also have a third date associated with them, the character's evolution date. This date is represents the date which a major change occurred, such as being embraced and changing into a vampire or an awakening for a mage or psychic. It is also possible that a character may go through more than one of these changes.

    Because these changes are so profound there will generally be a large number of changes to the the various attributes of the character. A record of the original attributes must be kept to allow the correct traversal of time lines in the game.

  4. Character statistics. These statistics are the numeric representation of a character's physical and mental attributes.

    The character statistics are not required to be implemented for Maric's Place, until the rest of the system is complete. This is due to Maric's Place generally being run as a system less LARP.

  5. Race. The race for the character. This is one of the things which may change with the evolution of a character.

  6. Sex. The sex of the character. It is also important to remember that sex is not always just male and female.

    On some occasions the character's sex may also change.

  7. Personality. The personality the character has be built with at the start of the game. If there are significant changes to the personality there should also additional entries appended to this information.

    There should also be at least two personalities, the one which is the way the character is perceive and the private one which is the character's internal struggle with themselves.

  8. History. This another one where there should be at least two versions of the history, for similar reasons to those used for personality.

  1. Beyond the character you have larger entities in the game world, such as organisations. For the purposes of capturing information about the game world, an organisation can represent many different social structures. These structures include:

  2. This list covers a lot of the social organisations in Maric's Place. But Maric's Place is not the only LARP which must be supported by Marble, so Marble must support social organisation in a way which allows this list to be extended or reduced to fit the LARP.

  3. Organisations have similar attributes to the section called “Characters” . Each of the things a character can be associated with must be considered in relationship to an organisation. There is some additional information which is required to complete the picture about an organisation and that is the ruling body. It is possible that the ruling body is also made up of a council, which is just like an organisation within an organisation.

  4. Organisations can also have relationships with other organisations. These relationships may mean that the an organisation is completely contained within another organisation.

Character knowledge is a tricky thing. What makes it worse is that it really comes in two parts.

  1. The first part is that the player has to let the GM know what their character did in each session by submitting a report.

  2. The second part of the knowledge of a character is what the GM tells the player. Knowledge represents any information about important events, things the character said, did or found out. Some important features of the knowledge are: