Definitions

Live wire (electricity)

LIVE/WIRE

LIVE/WIRE was a system for playing live-action role-playing games at conventions that was popular in 1990s. It was originally created as a spinoff of the RPGA by game designers Tim Beach and Mike Selinker in 1992, and later became an independent entity.

The organization that ran these games was the LIVE/WIRE Conductor Corps, originally headed by Selinker and later by its president Faith Price of Wargames West. There were three levels of gamemaster: "super-conductors," who ran the overarching structure of the game, knew all of the intended events, and did not play characters; "conductors," who helped run the game and knew all the intended events, but did play characters; and "semi-conductors," who did not know the structure of the game, but did know a few events that mattered to the characters they ran.

The LIVE/WIRE Interactive System used a fast resolution system that was in contrast to the predominantly slower-paced LARPs of the time. Instead of being given ready-made characters, players were given 10 "rationale cards" which could be invoked at any time to bring into the game a reason why something worked or didn't. For example, if a player needed to crack a combination lock, she might spend a rationale card to give herself safe-cracking skills or a really big hammer. Two players could get into a battle of rationale cards, one player saying that he knocked the other player out with a blackjack, the second saying she had a helmet on, and the first player saying his blackjack had a high-pitched sonic attachment that immediately rendered an opponent unconscious. If a conductor believe the rationale would not have the intended effect, he or she would say, "Your rationale is specious," and would take the rationale card without the desired effect occurring.

The LIVE/WIRE events were licensed through companies who held game licenses for Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek, Highlander, Marvel, and others. LIVE/WIRE's signature event was an annual 200-person game at Milwaukee's spy-themed bar, the Safe House.

Guests in LIVE/WIRE events included James Doohan, Bruce Campbell, Jeff Conaway, J. Michael Straczynski, and Majel Barrett.

The LIVE/WIRE Conductor Corps disbanded in 1999, after spinning off the Maze of Games.

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