Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All Good Things Must Come to An End

This past year, at least in the New England LARP community, has seen the end of some long-running and/or much beloved games. As one of the games I staff is coming to an end, I keep returning to questions about narrative arcs, and how to best complete them. (To be clear, narrative arcs are not the same as the game narrative: they are "sub-plots," of varying magnitude, that exist within the larger game framework.) Arguably, for many LARPers, continuous, interconnected narratives are what keep them coming back to game: over time, they become invested in a given narrative, and committed to, in some way, seeing in through. However, when a narrative arc comes to a close, players can sometimes feel sad, unsatisfied, and/or without purpose. I have known a few people that, following the end of their favorite IG narrative, felt almost entirely disconnected from the game. With this in mind, I have a few questions...

- As a player or as a staffer, what are some successful ways you've seen story arcs ended? What hasn't worked as well?
- How do you make the ending of a narrative meaningful for invested players? Do you give them anything (such as in-game skills, objects, titles etc.)?
- How do you create an ending that is satisfying for players? For players, what sorts of things are you looking for in narrative completion?
- How do you deal with transitions between narratives? What are good ways to get players re-invested in new storylines?