How to keep it organized

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How to keep it organized

Postby Kyocera Ru » Wed May 18, 2011 6:11 am

So with the release of Coronets but Never Crowns I will almost certainly be starting up a game in Knoxville again this fall. I had a Living Shanri game that was very well loved. That was sort of the problem. It was too well loved. The administration work necessary as head GM became too much for me to handle (we were running two tables a week, along with LARPs, with easily 20+ players), and I burned out hard.

But this IS my favorite game, so I'm going for it again. This time I think I'm going to run a B&T campaign, to better accommodate the massive numbers of players we get. But that still leaves the problem of season actions, vassals, and even simple things like tracking style and insults.

So how do you boys do it in Phoenix? Keep in mind that this LARP is for all levels, which means some people don't know the rules very well yet and need to have their season actions looked over (especially given the blog post/FAQ errata involved). How do you keep track of things?
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Loqua » Wed May 18, 2011 4:11 pm

Kyocera Ru wrote:So with the release of Coronets but Never Crowns I will almost certainly be starting up a game in Knoxville again this fall. I had a Living Shanri game that was very well loved. That was sort of the problem. It was too well loved. The administration work necessary as head GM became too much for me to handle (we were running two tables a week, along with LARPs, with easily 20+ players), and I burned out hard.

But this IS my favorite game, so I'm going for it again. This time I think I'm going to run a B&T campaign, to better accommodate the massive numbers of players we get. But that still leaves the problem of season actions, vassals, and even simple things like tracking style and insults.

So how do you boys do it in Phoenix? Keep in mind that this LARP is for all levels, which means some people don't know the rules very well yet and need to have their season actions looked over (especially given the blog post/FAQ errata involved). How do you keep track of things?


For rumors we just use those sticky name tags and put them on the back. For Style we use a roll of raffle tickets you can buy at any party store and hand them out at the beginning of game. John is currently reworking the season actions for the LARP because they don't work as they should. Many players just ignore the season actions, but some are very into them.

We use little manila evelopes with char names on the outside. In envelope is my full char sheet, the last B&T sheet I used, my resource cards, and any rumors I may have accumulated. I will go to the table, see if i need to change anything I am going to bring and then put everything back in the envelope. We use the cards from the template at the B&T website and have little carriers that hang around the neck so everyone can see info very quickly.

The flow of the game is pretty much run through John and he answers any questions related to mechanics or if we want to manipulate the "environment." Ro handles the administration. We also have legal pads which work as the "Truth Sheet" so if anyone says anything is true, it needs to be written on the paper. All the truths are then shared at the end of game.

Thats all I can think of right now, if you have specific questions I can try and give you a better answer.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Kyocera Ru » Wed May 18, 2011 5:10 pm

Thanks for the tips(I especially like the truth sheet,) but I was mostly talking about the season action end of things. Because I personally love the season actions, and here in Knoxville we've got some very machiavellian players who love the political angles of the game (and I encourage that.) It wasn't a problem in the first "year", but when year 2 rolled around and people started getting multiple provinces the bookkeeping became significantly more difficult. That's mostly what I'm looking for, tips for how to keep the bookkeeping organized.

It's easy enough to say just trust players to do their own, and I did trust all my players, but innocent mistakes were made fairly constantly as some players know the game better than others. So it required me to look over all the actions. Now I know one thing I'm definitely going to do if we try this again, I'm definitely going to have a storytelling staff rather than try to do it all myself. So that at least is burden shared. But that's still a lot of bookkeeping once the ambitious characters start getting multiple provinces.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby wunderworks » Wed May 18, 2011 10:37 pm

Kyocera Ru wrote:Thanks for the tips(I especially like the truth sheet,) but I was mostly talking about the season action end of things. Because I personally love the season actions, and here in Knoxville we've got some very machiavellian players who love the political angles of the game (and I encourage that.) It wasn't a problem in the first "year", but when year 2 rolled around and people started getting multiple provinces the bookkeeping became significantly more difficult. That's mostly what I'm looking for, tips for how to keep the bookkeeping organized.

It's easy enough to say just trust players to do their own, and I did trust all my players, but innocent mistakes were made fairly constantly as some players know the game better than others. So it required me to look over all the actions. Now I know one thing I'm definitely going to do if we try this again, I'm definitely going to have a storytelling staff rather than try to do it all myself. So that at least is burden shared. But that's still a lot of bookkeeping once the ambitious characters start getting multiple provinces.


Have them submit them electronically via email to a central email accessible by the ST staff, and then have the staff update the webpage/OP page for the game for each person. :) That might help. What we really need is some enterprising Excel person to write out an Excel sheet for provinces and season actions. :D
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Kyocera Ru » Thu May 19, 2011 7:08 am

I would love that. I'm experimenting with using the Epic Words Loot System (www.epicwords.com) to keep track of regions/vassals/style/etc., but while the database seems to work well for that you still have to enter everything by hand, which I have learned from experience becomes tedious and time-consuming once you get 20 players with multiple regions.

Here is what I would like. I would like a program for managing HotB. I would like it to be flexible, so we could add homebrew regions and vassals if necessary. I would like it to keep track of rank, holdings, planned harvests, etc., as well as modifiers to trouble rolls. I would like it to make all trouble rolls for all regions with the click of a button, as well as allowing manual editing of whether a region is troubled or not. I would like it to keep track of vassals, their ranks, their loyalties, basic notes about them, and their CURRENT LOCATIONS. I would like it to have a log for all planning, trouble, and season actions for everyone, as well as the ability to manually add or remove season actions as necessary. I would like it to automatically calculate harvest and put it in the appropriate character's storehouse, as well as allowing for trades with other characters, creation of goods, art, opera, etc. And if this program also had automatic character stat tracking, as well as NPCs, that would be even better. Obviously all of these things would need to be manually modifiable, as exceptions do constantly come up in the game.

For something that awesome, I would gladly pay a reasonable amount for the program (I am a poor gamer, but I could afford $20 for Coronets, and I could afford $20 for a program like this). Otherwise, just having a form-fillable master excel (or better yet, open office) sheet and some decent code for an online form for season action and downtime submission would be wonderful.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby wunderworks » Fri May 20, 2011 9:11 am

Kyocera Ru wrote:I would love that. I'm experimenting with using the Epic Words Loot System (http://www.epicwords.com) to keep track of regions/vassals/style/etc., but while the database seems to work well for that you still have to enter everything by hand, which I have learned from experience becomes tedious and time-consuming once you get 20 players with multiple regions.

Here is what I would like. I would like a program for managing HotB. I would like it to be flexible, so we could add homebrew regions and vassals if necessary. I would like it to keep track of rank, holdings, planned harvests, etc., as well as modifiers to trouble rolls. I would like it to make all trouble rolls for all regions with the click of a button, as well as allowing manual editing of whether a region is troubled or not. I would like it to keep track of vassals, their ranks, their loyalties, basic notes about them, and their CURRENT LOCATIONS. I would like it to have a log for all planning, trouble, and season actions for everyone, as well as the ability to manually add or remove season actions as necessary. I would like it to automatically calculate harvest and put it in the appropriate character's storehouse, as well as allowing for trades with other characters, creation of goods, art, opera, etc. And if this program also had automatic character stat tracking, as well as NPCs, that would be even better. Obviously all of these things would need to be manually modifiable, as exceptions do constantly come up in the game.

For something that awesome, I would gladly pay a reasonable amount for the program (I am a poor gamer, but I could afford $20 for Coronets, and I could afford $20 for a program like this). Otherwise, just having a form-fillable master excel (or better yet, open office) sheet and some decent code for an online form for season action and downtime submission would be wonderful.



Do we have any programmers in the house?
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Peregrine » Sat May 21, 2011 10:12 am

I could try whipping up an OpenOffice database backend with fillable form front end, which should have more flexibility than an excel (or Calc) spreadsheet. My experience though is that there aren't a lot of people familiar with maintaining relational databases outside of actual DBAs. And, (despite the name of relational database), I can't think of a way to automatically generate a map of your world based on peoples regions and provinces and where they are in relationship to each other. Best I can think of is to just output a list of a character's Neighbors.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Kyocera Ru » Sat May 21, 2011 3:31 pm

Anything would be helpful. The laundry list above is just something that would be my dream program, that I'd be willing to pay for. But anything that does some of the work for me would be well appreciated.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Peregrine » Mon May 23, 2011 11:44 pm

How idiot proof does this need to be? It's easy enough to set up a basic database to go over provinces and resources and actions, but it can be very easy to abuse. My first attempt, I realized my database allowed for provinces with infinite regions, and all characters got 3 season actions. Clearly problematic, but I have to ask: what level of tolerance is necessary for this? Keep in mind that I only know of so many exceptions to certain rules; if I don't know holding x can only built in region y, the program won't stop someone building one in region z. Also, somethings are very tricky to deal with such as the fact that certain actions affect only a certain region within a province, but other actions just affect the character, and certain vassals belong to a province, but others belong to the character (do you really need a valet in every province?). And once they become NPCs, and especially once the NPCs require their own character sheet, a lot of the linkages might break down.
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Re: How to keep it organized

Postby Kyocera Ru » Sat May 28, 2011 7:48 pm

While it would be really nice to have a perfectly idiot-proof system that players could update themselves, I don't think that's feasible. So I'm mostly looking for something I, and maybe ST staff, could use, which means it doesn't need to be idiot proof. Just simple to use and flexible.
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