If you’re going to a LARP event and you’re not sleeping in tent then there is a good chance that some kind of dormitory or bunkroom is involved. Our last article talked about camping and fantasy Larp. I’m not going to be specific to a genre here, but I do have some thoughts about sleeping in shared rooms.
A question of space?
If you’re in a tent – then no matter how small it is – it is still your space. You have control over it. If you’re in a dormitory you do not control the entire room and that can make space precious. Especially if you’re like me and and have a tendency to occupy all available space. The key I think is to be careful with your packing. Make it as easy as possible to to things as you need them. Put things in reach so that can get them and just be mindful of the space you are using and the impact you are having on others,
When you’re camping it’s pretty much of certain that you will need a torch and better still a lamp. In a dormitory there is usually a good light but you may not always be able to use it. During the day when everyone is up and about all is fine, but at night things change. Those who were first to bed won’t appreciate the main lights going on every someone wants to to to bed or collect something from the room. If you’re lucky you may get bed lights that will give you enough light to work with without waking everyone up. If you don’t have these you will need a light of some kind so that you can operate in the dark without comically and annoyingly bumping into things. My personal preference here is a small LED array – these are directional, give out enough light to be useful and can be easily put down and pointed in the right direction.
It’s may not be obvious to someone new to Larping and bunking down in a dorm but a sleeping bag can be a godsend. Some bunkrooms supply bedding but if the one you are using does not then having a sleeping bag guarantees comfort and warmth at night. If I’m ever unsure I just take a sleeping bag anyway. Just in case. Sleeping Bags have one other advantage – a full mummy style bag with a hood that can pulled around the head is a great defence against snoring. Never underestimate how loud snoring can get in a dormitory.
I’ve mentioned snoring and it is a given. Put enough people in a room and someone will snore. If that someone is you see if you can find a way to sleep in a way that minimises your noise. If you’re disturbed by snoring – see if you can take something that will help muffle the noise. The option is a snorers room – put all the snorers in one place. Somehow this seems to to work and most people get a good nights sleep. Just don’t be tempted to record the output of a room full of snoring Larpers.
Dormitories don’t usually have a lot of character. If yours is to be an immersive sleeping place that is part of the game don’t forget to take additional materials to decorate it with. If everyone attending adds little personal touches to the dorm then this can really improve the feel of what would otherwise be a fairly soul-less room.
Lets not underestimate this. Sharing a room can generate a great sense of community and bring the players of a Larp together. In a game that has little or no downtime making people share a space can really be an advantage. If you’re running a game never underestimate and this and perhaps plan who goes in which room to gain the best effect.
Dormitory sleeping is all about getting the best night you can whilst sharing with others. It can be great from a game design point of view and for developing friendships. The best rule of all in these circumstances is to enjoy some give and take.
The photo used in this post comes via Flickr User TruTourism. If you click here you can learn more about this image.
A couple of points have come up in Social Media that are worth repeating. I won’t use names (in case of objection but here are the points)
You may feel awake and desperate to talk about the game but that doesn’t mean that other people want to. Keep conversation out of the dormitory so people can sleep.
In a shared sex bunkroom don’t stare, gawp etc. It might sound obvious but this needs to be a safe place for all so keep the eyes under control.