I’m trying to think of alternatives for game-openings, to replace the standard “meet up in a tavern” or “adventuring group applying for a job” techniques. I know these can be easy ways to get people playing, but I’m certain there are more interesting ways…
With first-time players, learning the rules may seem like a burden and rolling up characters can be glossed over. We used a new method for explaining the rules and creating characters which the Harry Potter-setting made possible and which I would recommend using in other adventures.
In a good LARP it is desirable to separate the players out individually at some stage, because they are more suggestible and afraid when they are alone. Some form of individual challenge is probably the best way of doing this. One possible setting for this is a cave system, and it is probably one of the easiest to recreate realistically, and one of the most perfect for playing on fears of claustrophobia and darkness.
Although it can be a distraction, it can also add atmosphere to an adventure to have music playing in the background. Here are some pieces I’d recommend for different situations.
Language is an essential part of any culture. Culture wouldn’t exist without some form of communication, and humans communicate by speaking. But the connection is deeper even than that. The language helps to define the culture which uses it, and is in turn affected by that culture. This dynamic process is what keeps a language “alive”: Latin is a dead language because the culture to which it belonged no longer exists.
There exists a prestigious academy with a history going back hundreds of years. Graduates are highly skilled and very much sought after for employment. For purely traditional reasons, the academy requires its students to become proficient in a skill or area of knowledge that has no use in the modern world. This could be Ancient Egyptian, an antiquated form of writing such as shorthand, knowledge of building or repairing antique steam engines, programming COBOL, etc. PCs who graduated from this academy must be sure to have this skill in their repertoire.