I recently got the chance to attend Waypoint, a brand new LARP located in western Michigan. The LARP has an original gaming system and attracted roughly 20 players to their initial event, set in a state park.
The Good: This did not feel like a first event. Most characters were fleshed out and had solid histories, and the staff was professional and friendly. A small tavern was set up with drink and food and was occasionally filled with singing, and as one player said, “Costuming was amazing. You would never know this was a new larp. With all the seasoned players and effort put in, both pc and npc alike, it rocked.”
The Bad: The game staff seemed to be in a bit over their heads at times with scheduling and adverse weather, and I noticed some out-of-character conversations that were extremely distracting from the game.
Overall, I think this game has a lot of potential and am excited to see where it goes from here. I will definitely be attending in the future, despite the three-hour drive across the state. The enthusiasm of staff and players alike is catching, and their next event (July 27-28) will find the game with more players and plots!
Having thoroughly enjoyed myself, I sat down with Keil Reid and two of his staff members to talk about the challenges of starting a LARP:
Kiri- Who are you and what do you do?
Kiel Reid– My name is Kiel Reid. I am one of the game staff members and one of the writers of the Waypoint rule set.
Scott Smith– My name is Scott Smith. I decided to back Kiel’s play on the Game Staff to give him a hand.
Lindsay Reid– My name is Lindsay Reid. I mostly handle the administrative portion of the LARP and the website.
Kiri– What’s the story behind Waypoint?
Kiel – Waypoint takes place in a world between worlds. It has come into existence within the past year, and the how and why behind that still remain unknown. Being a central point between so many places this allow a wide variety of character types from traditional fantasy to steampunk to the truly strange.
Lindsay– The majority of the worlds will be developed by the PCs through their backgrounds and stories.
Kiel– Right now we have a total of 6. Myself, Lindsay Reid, Samyrah Reid, Scott Smith, Daniel Aull, and Ein the Corgi. Ein isn’t much of a writer but he makes up for it with his incredible role play skills.
Kiri– How much does it cost to play your game?
Scott– A drive down a dirt road and a willingness to give up some comforts of home.
Kiri– Why start a larp?
Kiel- I wanted to run a game for my friends and other folks who are passionate about LARP. I’ve had a lot of great mentors who have taught me a lot about what it takes to create a great game. It felt like the right time to put all that collective knowledge I have gathered to good use.
Scott– To be honest I never really set out to start a LARP, or even play a role outside of ‘Player’. As it turns out I’ve helped get two decidedly different systems started, and help out two others as a go between for the players and staff. I guess I just tend to be in the right place at the right time.
Lindsay– Why not?
Kiri– How did getting everything off the ground go? What was the most challenging part?
Kiel– First thing was creating the rule set, which was probably the easiest part for me personally. After that, it was finding a location that was free to use, assembling a game staff that was passionate about providing the ideal player experience, and getting all of the necessary gear to run the game. The most challenging part of that was getting everything there and set up. It was pretty hectic trying to juggle everything, but luckily we have a great group of folks that really stepped up.
Kiri– Were you happy with how the first event went?
Scott– As first events go, everything pretty much fell into place, from my perspective. I will say that I was intimidated by the sheer number of PCs at the first event. I, along with the other staff, was expecting fifteen to twenty players and were greeted by closer to thirty, but it worked out in the end.
Kiri– If you were to give advice to aspiring Game Masters, what would it be?
Kiel– I would advise them to be receptive to feedback and to be flexible while facilitating the event. A gamestaff member’s job is to create a fun environment for their players. If you keep these simple things in mind you’ll be able to run a great game.
Scott– Make sure your PCs have fun, but don’t cow to them. Make their lives just uncomfortable enough for them to go above and beyond to improve things. Be willing to roll with off-the-wall questions, and keep an open mind to out-of-the-box solutions. Finally, if they screw the pooch let them lose. It’s no fun fighting for your life if you think the GMs are just going to let you off with a warning.
Lindsay– It’s a customer service industry, so the key thing is to keep your players happy. I’ve seen LARPs where it turns into the Game Staff vs. the Players and I couldn’t really tell if the GMs and NPCs were trying to “win” the game or trying to allow us to have a good time. The PCs need to be challenged, but the ultimate goal is for them to succeed.
Do you have any questions for the Waypoint crew? Experiences of starting a larp? Comment below!