Writing a (Decent) PEL by Liz B

* Don’t Wait
Honestly, if I wait until the deadline, I’ve forgotten things.  If you can’t write your PEL within the first few days, at least sit down and make a list of topics.  Then you can peck away at it bit by bit instead of waiting for a big block of time, and you won’t overlook topics.  I personally also recommend sleeping on your PEL, then looking it over before you submit it. You’re less likely to overlook something.

*Use Headers
Many people write their PEL chronologically.  However, it’s more useful if you group your writing by topic or plotline, then give each a heading.   It’s easier for us to check over, and cast can look for specific things.  It will be useful for you too if you’re looking something up later.

*Do Not Write In Giant Blocks of Text
It’s really hard to read giant blocks of text.  Break it up into small paragraphs. Use bullets.  Anything but the wall I can’t read.

*Writing IC or OOC Doesn’t Matter, but Differences if Your Views Does
We don’t care if you write in character or out of character. Honestly, it’s usually faster and easier to write out of character, and it can be easier to read.  However, if there is a difference between your view IC and OOC, that matters.  Maybe your character hates that something happened but you, the player, thought it was awesome and like being forced to tears.  That distinction matters.

*Write it Somewhere Else First (if there is a specific place to post PELs directly)

Write your PEL using a word processor of some sort and save it yourself somewhere.  It helps reduce careless errors like spelling mistakes that makes a PEL harder to read (though you have to teach it words like necromancy).  It will be easier to see your formatting and lengths.  It will always be there even if something happens, and it will be searchable for you later.  I also believe you should keep your own copies of BGS questions as well.  Again, you have them just in case,  you’ll remember what you already did, and it will be searchable.

*PEL Everything
It doesn’t have to be 20 pages long, but tell us things that happened.  If you picked up something strange in the woods, that might matter.  If you had a 20 minutes conversation with me, I’d expect to find it in your PEL or I’ll think you forgot about it or it had no meaning to you.

*We Want To Know Your Character’s Views, Plans, and Goals
If we know what you’re thinking we know if you’re on the right track or off the tracks completely and can work with that.  We know if you noticed something important to a plot or wonder if everyone missed it.  If we know what you are planning, we are better prepared. If we know your goals, we are better able to help you with them.  You can do this anywhere – by plot or in a separate section, but it is very useful to us.  Some people list their goals, what they have done so far to achieve them, and what they plan in the future. That’s awesome and easy for us to refer to.

*Be Specific  and Constructive in Your Praise and Criticism
We want to know what you like and why.  The why matters because it helps us determine what you might like in the future.  We really appreciate specific positives.  You should also talk about what concerns you.  We don’t know what you don’t tell us.  Unless it is something personal, sensitive, or you are trying not to offend someone, it is better everyone sees it in a PEL rather than you just talking to one cast member, even if it’s an owner.  We all need to know what is going on and player views.  We all need to know what you like and are looking for – not just the person you think writes your plot, or your real life friend who is on cast.

Also, it is important to remember that your view is just from your own perspective.  You may be unaware of the greater picture.  Phrasing it in a way that demonstrates that makes it easier for us to hear you.

What is a Play Test?

By Liz Minor

What is a play test?  Have you ever wondered how this question pertains to LARPS? Well, let us share with you what it means to Winged Throne Productions (WTP).

Winged Throne Productions is comprised of IT professionals, an insurance agent, a teacher, a businesswoman and a theater production manager who have developed a mission to help new LARPs develop and grow.  

One of the actions WTP takes to help new LARPS and their directors is to engage in a Play Test which we’ve opted to term this in respect to IT terminology such as Alpha, Beta and the like.  

This play test is a “shortened” weekend event where the players and cast put the rule system of the LARP to the test. We use plots, mechanics of the rule set and deliberate attempts to test all newly developed rules/effects/mechanics as well as existing ones that one may find at any other LARP.  

Our play tests generally start on Friday night and continue through Saturday evening. Game Play will end sometime between 1-2am Sunday morning.  Then on Sunday we will reconvene around 9am for breakfast and lead into a question and answer session with the players to discuss what rules worked well or didn’t work well, what new rules surprised us or need further clarification, and so on. 

By using this process, WTP is able to provide constructive feedback to the LARP directors from a players’ point of view to help improve the rule set and assure the directors that their LARP idea can come to life.