Every year at Kapcon, New Zealand’s largest tabletop gaming convention, there is a large-scale larp game on Saturday evening. And for many years I innocently suggested that the theme for the next iteration should be “nuns”. One year, I wrote this (original forum post here). It was intended as a joke, but a playable joke. Maybe you’re nun enough to try it?
The Nun Larp: A Procedurally-Generated Larp For 25-100 players
How it works
1. Everyone is a Nun. The setting is a nunnery.
2. You find your Nun name by opening the nearest book to you, turning to page 69, and choosing the first word you find (reading up from the bottom of the page) that sounds good with “Sister…” in front of it). Or just invent one.
3. Based on the meaning of your name (you may have to look it up in a dictionary), decide on your nun’s Secret Goal. (Yes, this means everyone else will probably be able to guess your secret goal based on your name.)
4. Decide on two resources you have that will help you towards your goal (ensure you can replicate them in game; good: secret knowledge, books of rituals, mad science devices, poison vials; bad: armies of flying monkeys, the ability to shoot raybeams out your eyes)
5: During the game, the first person you meet whose nun-name starts with the same letter as yours is your Best Friend. Approach them and begin an “as you know, my friend” conversation where you bring them up to date on your latest progress towards your secret goal. Listen to what they say too. Throughout the game, do everything you can to help them achieve their goal.
(If no-one you meet has the same letter as you, you’ll just have to make friends as you go.)
6. The second person you meet whose nun-name starts with the same letter as yours is your True Enemy. Approach them and begin an “as you know, my friend” conversation where you remind them of what they did to earn your reproach.
7. If you discover your True Enemy when they approach you to treat you as their Best Friend (i.e. you are their first letter-match, but they are your second) then listen to their schemes and act like they are your Best Friend. In fact they are your True Enemy and you will betray them later. You can tell them your goal if you want, because they’ll try and help you, but you might want to make up a fake one.
8. As you ally with people and learn about their resources, see if you can come up with a way to achieve your goal using the stuff they can offer you. If you and they agree that it will work, and everyone is agreeable to sharing resources, great! Flip a coin. If it comes up Heads, you get your goal (with their help). If not, something’s wrong – you need another resource to get the goal.
9. Once you achieve your goal you can, if you like, impose conditions on other characters in the game, as appropriate to whatever your goal was. Make these up. Impose them successfully by winning a test against them. Don’t be a dick about the conditions. (Good: enlightened! cowed! intoxicated! scarred! hypnotised into servitude! Bad: dead! asleep! unconscious!)
10. The game ends when the clock strikes Time O’Clock.
In the briefing room before the game, everyone keeps their Sister namebadges covered until they enter the game space.
Everyone gets one token.
Divide the room in half and call a coin flip. The losing half become novitiates, and enter the game immediately.
Repeat the process. The losing half become sisters, and enter the game now.
All remaining characters get an extra token, and become Boss Sisters.
Repeat the process, with losers entering the game, to winnow down to one final winner. This is the Mother Superior. She gets another token, and the special power to decree Penance for any other character – sending them away to reflect on their sins.
Kick Arse rules. Any character with three or more tokens in hand is Kick Arse.
When you lose a conflict, give one token (if you have one) to the other person.
To make it work for a smaller number of players just constrain the allowable letters of the alphabet for names. “Names may only begin with letters from P to U”. Sorted.
Now get thee to the nunnery.