Durability and Upkeep

With the release of our rules, the items we’ve had the most questions about was durability and upkeep. Durability is the fortitude of your tools; upkeep is the measure of your character’s personal well-being. You may have multiple items that have a durability cost, but you will need only pay upkeep for yourself.

 

For our game, we wanted the economy to create hard choices for players that would simulate the hardships of surviving 17th century New England. How do we show that people survived through bad harvests? Repaired their shoddily built homes after a blizzard? Worked enough to feed their sick children?

 

Creating an upkeep system facilitates this superbly. The four coins you spend at the start of each game symbolizes the strain and labor of colonial times. It is how you bought that pig from the butcher, or for nails to fix your roof, or paid a local tailor to sew in a wool lining for your child’s jacket.

 

Upkeep creates conversations. If you have only three coins to the end of an event, what will you do to ensure your survival for the coming days? If you are wealthy, how will you spend your excess? Will you offer it to others or save up for higher quality items for your own family? For a favor or out of kindness or for God’s grace, perhaps?

 

Durability is used to show the degradation of tools. Constant repairs and replacements must be sought in the colonies. Copper and Zinc were hard to come by, so needles were a rare but necessary item. No needles; no sewing, and then your child has to walk in frigid temperatures with a hole in their jacket. Since the best lumber was shipped back to England, the colonists were typically left with lumber that was knotted or that warped easily. While the land was bountiful, it rarely was enjoyed by those who reaped it.

 

Durability is also used to make choices and bring out conversations between people. Do you want to pay the upkeep for your sword? Instead of paying the smith to repair your sword, you could sell it to them as scrap and make ot through winter, but what happens if another attack comes? How will you keep your family safe? Perhaps the mason will pay costs to keep your weapon in good condition, but what will they ask for in return?

 

Most weapons and armor will have a durability cost. You may begin your first event with as many weapons and as much armor as you please, but you will need to pay the durability costs by your second event.

 

One specific note, ammunition – arrows and bullets – have a construction cost like most items, but they have no durability cost. We want your ammunition to be limited, but understand it is cumbersome to keep track of arrows and bullets between games.

 

What are your thoughts on durability and upkeep? How do you see the economy affecting your ability to survive in Ashwick?

Rulebook

Today we have a special gift for all of you. Head on over to our Rulebook section and check out our first version of the rules.

 

Rulebook 0.1

 

Have questions? Leave your comments or send us an email at ashwickstaff@gmail.com!

 

From all of us at Ashwick Plantation, happy holidays!

Quiet Combat

Today is our final post in our series on “simple rules increase immersion.” We’ve talked about persistent locations directing you on how to interact with the game; we’ve talked about one single attribute to cover both your health and skills, and today we want to talk about what we describe as “Quiet Combat.”

Quiet Combat involves uncomplicating damage. Like most boffer LARPs in New England, we will have different types of damage. However, instead of calling “4 Damage” or “4,” we have static damage based on the type of weapon used. A melee attack is “1 Damage,” a ranged attack is “2 Damage,” and a firearm attack is “3 Damage.” You do not need to call your damage when swinging, only call out “Effects.” The reason for this is to have a quiet game, where calls and verbiage do not get in the way of the scene.

In daylight, you should be able to tell the difference between an arrow, dart, or melee hitting you. At night it will be tougher, however, we believe that many people shouting “5 Damage by Fire,” “3 Damage by Pain,” and “2 Damage by Electricity” constantly is just as confusing. Furthermore, the weapons used will be immersive, and our magic system is rather low, so it is less necessary for you to call “By Fire” or “By Fear” attacks. If you hit your opponent with a torch prop, they should react accordingly. If you are shouting intimidating words at them while you are in combat, they should react accordingly (granted they are actually afraid of what you say).

We want to be clear: our game does have combat calls. However, these calls are few, and they typically carry a cost to use those skills in combat. In a fight, you can only use as many skills as you have Essence, and mostly every time you are hit with an attack, you will lose Essence so you must be cautious about using skills.

This is intentional. If you are in combat and want to use a skill like “Disarm,” you must weigh the effect of the attack against your Essence. We want players in combat to know there is a risk to trying to “Disarm” someone rather than attempting to harm them. Perhaps getting someone to drop their weapon will allow you to sneak in a few extra hits, but is it worth the cost of Essence?

Let us know what you think about Quiet Combat in the comments below.

Persistent Locations

Last week we talked about one of our core tenets – “simple rules increase immersion.” Today, we’ll talk about another aspect of immersion in Ashwick Plantation: persistent locations.

Many LARPs utilize the town structure – a tavern, a shop, places for sleeping. At Ashwick Plantation we are attempting to take that idea a step further to further enhance players’ experience. We are weaving skills, the economy, and your refresh mechanic into the town in a seamless manner.

Want to pick crops using your Gardening skill? There is an actual garden on-site. Want to craft tools and weapons? Head to the era-authentic blacksmith to use your skill and put together that wheelbarrow you’ve been working on. Need to get a few cords of wood for the next shipment going out or to simply stay warm for the winter? Bring your axe and make your way into the woods. It’s safe out there, right?

Unfortunately, we can’t have you out there with real steel axes cutting down trees, but we intend for these areas – the garden, the blacksmith, etc. – to replicate a truly immersive experience that will make the game more enjoyable and realistic.

These locations will also be used for community building through interactions with people and the economic structure. Most events will take place during a ‘market day’ where travelers bring in their wares from near and far. Farmers come in with new crops; merchants stop by to barter, and craftsmen find work and ply their trade. The meeting area will be a place to trade local gossip and goods alike while the dock brings opportunities from around the world.

As we discussed last week, skills typically cost Essence. If you go out and cut down a tree, or spend time in the garden, or perhaps you were laying out traps to catch game, you use up Essence. To regain it, you must spend time at specific locations within the town where you can regain what you have lost.

In the schoolhouse, you can spend time reading the bible to contemplate the Holy Word and strengthen your soul. At the cemetery, you can grieve for lost loved ones who hopefully found their way to Heaven and lessen the weight upon your shoulders. At the pillory, you can shame petty thieves and other criminals to increase your vigor.

Yes, in many colonial towns and villages, a widely used form of punishment for crimes was ridicule. At Ashwick Plantation, it just so happens that there is a pillory on the premises, and we intend to use it. Who will be the first to bow their head to public humiliation?

So what do you think? Feel free to comment on how persistent locations help you get immersed in a LARP.

How do you intend to interact with the economy? Do you want to focus on Crafting? What about gathering skills like Logging and Trapping? Will you spend your free time at the pillory shouting at a criminal in an effort to help deter future crime, or will you sit quietly in the schoolhouse reading a chapter from the Old Testament?

The choice is yours.

Essence

Character Creation is simple in regards to stats: you have Essence and you have skills. Bonuses will be available for submitting your character a month in advance of your first event and working with us for determining your background.

Essence is the core attribute of Ashwick Plantation.

Essence measures your health. Every damage you take throughout an event reduces your Essence by 1. If you are reduced to 0 Essence, you begin “Bleeding Out.” We will have more information on “Bleeding Out” and our death mechanic in the future.

Essence also measures your ability to use skills. Most skills cost Essence to use. When you are reduced to 0 Essence, you can no longer use any abilities – whether they do or do not use Essence – until you regain at least 1 Essence.

Some game effects can Reset and / or Refresh exhausted Essence. Your Essence also Resets at the beginning of every event you attend.

We want to be clear: Essence does not measure your personal capabilities nor does it limit you to perform tasks that involve anything that is not tied to a skill. It is only a limit to the skills you can use. As an example, you are not limited in your ability to pick up heavy objects or run long distances, but you are limited in how many times you can use the Logging Skill before your character is exhausted.