Brainstorming - C'thulhu LARP

As I've mentioned previously, I really want to run a LARP inside a library.  As libraries are public spaces while they're open, I am envisioning a one-shot, after-hours game, likely as a lock-in style overnight event (lock-in to reduce issues with security).  Based on space, liability, and environment I will need to at least look into non-physical combat resolution systems.  In many ways Nerf would work well for the indoors setting (for one thing, less likely to knock something over), but sometimes people get a bit... touchy about gun-related things, even neon-yellow, foam dart shooters.  I also recall a one-shot zombie apocalypse survival LARP my friends attended that used tossed 'spell packets' to simulate hand-to-hand combat.

For the environment I'm looking to work within, I think my best bet is to go with a C'thulhu mythos setting.  Well suited to night time adventures, easy to develop a plot that makes use of a space full of books, potentially minimal need for combat, and since we're working with things man was not meant to know - well suited to a one shot with a hard deadline.  I know other systems could work as well, particularly Minds Eye Theater (White Wolf), but I happen to like the C'thulhu mythos.  I also found a whole collection of free "parlor larps" at Shifting Forest, but I'm also hoping to run this for more that 4-8 players.

So I've narrowed things down to an overnight, one-shot, survival/horror C'thulhu mythos setting, potentially contained to a single building, and with potential limitations on combat.  Now on to all the other factors to consider.

Will the game be set in modern times or take place in the past?
C'thulhu mythos games often take part in the first half of the 20th century, which makes for a great way to cut out a number of areas of technology (cell phones, computers, Internet, etc) as well as help immerse players into the setting by creating a space with a distinctly different setting than everyday life.  However, Delta Green is a LARP rules set for modern setting C'thulhu mythos that has potential for this concept.

One of the factors in deciding this may be how difficult it is to hide blatant modernity?  Largely this comes down to hiding the computers, which tend to be present all throughout the library.

Will the game be set in the actual library, or in another?
This of course, will depend in part on the history of the town and the overall setting.  If the town had no library during the date of the game setting, it may behoove me to change what library the game is in.  If we go with Arkham Public Library, there are some fantastic online resources for props, including creating library cards and library book conversion kits.

My thought is that if I go with Arkham the setting will be in the past.  I could go with either modern on historical if I use the library itself as the setting.

I fully intend to bring in books to contain clues, give them spine labels, and file them within the stacks as part of the game.  Likely these books will require custom book covers so they stand out, but there are places throughout the non-fiction and reference sections that would work really well.

Why are we all here?  And why can't we leave?
I currently have two thoughts along this line, and may ultimately do a combination of the two.  The first idea is that something weird has been going on in town and it seems to be centered on the library.  This attracts the attention of investigators, occultists, profiteers, and tourists.  This could still be tapped with the second idea, which is that there was some sort of natural disaster (flooding, 5 feet of snow, etc), and travelers end up taking shelter in the library for lack of anywhere else to go.  This would have the nice advantage of cutting out Internet access in a modern setting and be a good reason to keep everyone inside the building.

I want to limit "locals" as PCs, saving that primarily for NPCs.  I feel there is an advantage of having the players all assume the roles of outsiders, among other things it limits the amount of "home knowledge" of the game setting.

My current line of thinking is that one part of the library could function as a "portal" - allowing for different scenarios to take place in different places all utilizing the same room.

Other questions bouncing around in my head (particularly if/when I secure a place):
  • Budget - generally LARPs charge players to cover costs, however libraries often have restrictions on paid admission.  On the flip side, maybe this could be done as a fund raiser for the library.
  • Target audience - I'm going with adults at this point, though I suppose under the correct circumstances (and permissions from parents) it could be done for teens.
  • Body count - how many people do we build the story to accommodate, and how many people do I need to recruit to help with the running of the event.
  • Monsters - who is the threat?  I'm going to assume there will be dastardly cultists, but what are they trying to achieve, what darkness are they trying to summon?  How can it be defeated?
  • Food - players will need to eat, end of story.  How best to accommodate this?
I have a long way to go, and I've never run a game.  So, working on things, seeing what I can pull together, and going from there.

Resources: - guide to setting up a LARP - props - free parlor LARP scenarios, non-C'thulhu  - this is the setting I've played in - modern setting, United States, secret government agency. - "Training scenarios and scenario guides to prepare agents and friendlies for Delta Green operations." - Cthulhu Live books - Call of Cthulhu (RPG, basis for Cthulhu Live and Delta Green)


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