What is Grapevine?
This program is a tool to help the administrators of live-action role-playing (LARP) games organize and maintain all the information that goes with the job. Grapevine catalogs players’ contact information and character sheets, stores descriptions of important game-world locations and items, and provides a framework upon which to build the flow of game events and plot hooks.
LARP games are played by many rules sets in many genres, but the most ubiquitous by far is the Mind’s Eye Theater (MET) system in the World of Darkness genre, published by White Wolf Game Studios. Grapevine is specifically designed for use in conjunction with published MET materials. Administrators employing other systems or genres, however, may find many of Grapevine’s features flexible enough to account for their needs as well.
Hold On — What’s a LARP?
A group of friends get together to take part in a fictional story. One person acts as moderator and director, determining the events that guide the plot. Each other person controls the role of a character in the story. That’s the essence of a role-playing game — part improvisational acting, part creative writing, and part childhood make-believe. Most often the players also agree on a system of rules that helps describe the story and resolve conflicts in the context of the story.
The LARP game is a form of role-playing designed for large numbers of players, usually in the range of ten to a hundred. It emphasizes fast and easy rules and minimal reliance on moderators or administrators. Unfortunately for the administrators in question, that ‘minimal’ reliance still entails a great deal of paperwork between games — hence the need for Grapevine.
Grapevine streamlines a Storyteller’s work by helping carry out some of his or her most common administrative tasks.
- Character Sheets. Build a complete database of information on every character in your game. Menus of all published MET material make assembly just a matter of point-and-click.
- Player Information. Catalogue all your players’ contact information.
- Experience Points. Maintain accurate experience totals and histories. Number-crunching becomes a minimal task.
- Chronicle Tools. Control the flow of events and information in your game, from character actions like Influence use to the rumors that eventually reach their ears.
- Game World Information. Detail the items and locations in your game.
- Printing and Exporting. Print character sheets, rumor sheets, player lists, and other reports. Export the information to text, RTF, or HTML format.
- Data Exchange. Share character, player, and chronicle information with other users of Grapevine.
- Customizable Features. Edit Grapevine’s menus and output to suit the needs of your unique game.
Grapevine requires a PC running Windows 95 or later. It also requires its users to own and use one or more of White Wolf’s MET rules books. Grapevine is not a character generator or a rules encyclopedia; while it can organize and manipulate game data, it’s your job to assemble and use that data.
For More Information
Visit http://www.grapevinelarp.com/ for the official Grapevine web page. You’ll find updates, the FAQ, on-line help, and links to games that use Grapevine. You’ll also find a feedback page you can use to get in touch with me.