The Freeform Book
- Morgana Cowling
- The Australian Games Group
The Freeform Book is an early introduction to "freeform" or theatre-style live action roleplaying. It was published by The Australian Games Group in 1989. The book includes chapters on playing, running and writing freeforms, as well as simple dice-based mechanics.
Definition of "freeform"
The Freeform Book includes one of the first definitons of a freeform or theatre-style larp, comparing it to a play where the actors know a little bit about their characters but have lost the script:
And that's just what a Freeform is. The players are the actors. They set about achieving their [sic] objectives of the characters. The script is all ad-lib... A little character background is given... to get the players going, and of course, the objectives each players hopes to achieve. Thus the freeform is born.
Cowling suggests three broad types of game: "the whodunnit", where the players must identify the murderer(s); "plot, subplot, scheme and scandal" focused on politics and negotiation; and "the common denominator" in which every character is pursuing the same (or one of a limited set of) goal.
The Freeform Book includes three small games:
- Lunch With Mason (11 players)
- Temple of the Winds (15 players)
- By Royal Appointment (14 players)
All three games use the dice-based mechanics featured earlier in the book.
- Morgana Cowling, The Freeform book (TAGG, 1989), p. 5.