If you’re going to your first larp this Summer, or perhaps trying out something new for the first time then there are certain questions that you may need to ask. This post is for the new larper or a the new to a larp player. Its a list of things that need to clarified before going to a larp event.
The amount of information that larp organisers publish about their events varies enormously. Everyone will tell you the time, the place, the cost and the genre. Some will publish a lot more, but if you feel you want to know more than is published, then here are some questions and tips that will help you prepare for the event.
Where Am I Sleeping?
Let’s kick off with a big one. You need to know where you will be laying your head. Typically (and I am UK biased here) accommodation will be along the lines of
- Camping (You Provide the tent and camping gear)
- Sleeping Rough in Character (You really need to ask what you need to be bring)
- In a bedroom (You may need to ask about how many (if any) will be sharing)
- In a dormitory (Definitely sharing)
- Shared Space – Bring Your Own Bed
Camping can be in character ( tent style depends on genre) or out of character (anything goes). You need to know which as this affects your choice of tent.
Sleeping rough means makeshift shelters, and possibly outdoors. This means you really need to clarify what the expectations are from the organisers at your time of booking.
Bedroom is nice. It may even be ensuite. You may need to share and mixed sharing can also happen. So clarify this if you possibly feel uncomfortable with shared rooms or sharing with someone of the opposite sex. Also do you need bedding.
Dormitories – you’re talking about limited personal space and maybe mixed occupancy. So again check. Again you should check about bedding.
If its bring your own bed – do just that. Get a comfortable camp bed of some kind.
The Tip: When in doubt pack a sleeping bag.
Food – What am I eating?
At a larp eating is very important. Your routines are going to change. You may be a lot more physically active than usual. You may be getting less sleep than usual. You may be colder or warmer than usual. You will need to eat.
The amount of catering a larp provides will vary enormously. Some games do incredible in character catering. Others let you fend for yourself. You should confirm which meals will be provided. You should also find out if snacks are available on site.Its also worth finding out if meals are at the start and end of the day. If this is the case what happens in the middle?
Its never a bad move to pack some non-perishable snacks. Don’t go hungry. Assume you will need food.
The Tip: Putting snacks in your larp bag is rarely a bad move.
Drink – Avoid Dehydrating
Two parts to this one. Alcohol and hydration. Lets start with the booze.
Alcohol is really simple as it depends on knowing the what the attitude to alcohol is like at that larp. Is it normal to drink? Is drinking banned for safety reasons? Is a little alcohol OK and a lot not so? All of these can only be resolved by asking the organisers. Very often you’ll be able to guess as the attitude to alcohol in larps tends to reflect where you are. For example most UK larps allow for drinking as a normal part of the experience; but being falling over drunk is seen as being not desirable. However regardless of what’s permitted remember that you will be taking part in an emotional and possibly physical experience. How does alcohol affect you? Remember to be true to your limitations. If drinking in such circumstances is not a good idea for you then do not drink regardless of what others say.
The next part if simply hydration. You will need to most likely drink more than usual. Especially in an outdoors Summer larp. I’ve seen a lot people fall over from simply not drinking enough water. So if possible carry water. If possible take a moment and have drink of something. Being thirsty is a bad thing. It can become dangerous if you dehydrate. There’s not much to ask here as just about all larpers are aware of this risk. But you may need to ask what is a suitable in character water container.
The Tip: Do not become dehydrated.
When Am I in Game?
If you are in game you are meant to be in costume and portraying your character. You’ll need to know what time of night you can stop playing? When in the morning you are in character? Or is the whole experience from start to finish in character? Are there areas of the site that are out game? Like out of character camping or a chill room if you need to step back for a moment. There’s nothing worse than going for an out of character breakfast and then finding that everyone is already in character.
So ask the question – when and where should I be playing my character?
The Tip: When in Doubt Assume in character
What Should My Costume be like?
Really important if this is your first larp and to be honest given the modern trend for high costume standards this question never goes away. Fortunately you may not have to ask a question at all. If the game is well established there is a good chance of there being plenty of photographs online that you can take a look. Avail yourself of the larps website and any Facebook groups they may have. You will learn a lot.
Some larps may have costume standards embedded in their rules / guide books. Take a look at these.
Finally ask the question of the organisers or other players. You will almost certainly get some good answers. Don’t buy or acquire costume before you know what you need. That way can lead to a lot of wasted money. If its your first larp also ask about borrowing or renting costume. Looking good will help you enjoy the larp but there is little fun in spending a lot of money and only then discovering that you do not like.
The Tip: Ask how to look cool – but don’t blow the budget until you are sure about it.
These are all practical questions common to anyone going to a larp. If you are new to larping you should try and get these cleared up. Never be afraid to ask questions of larpers. The larp community by and large is full of helpful, friendly and thoughtful people. The kind of people who want to work with someone to better take part in their game. Always ask questions. They will not be laughed at.