You’re getting ready for a LARP. What do you need to do?
If you’re an experienced larper then you probably have a good routine for this, but maybe an idea here may help. If larping is new to you – well I hope this gives a little insight into the things you need to remember.
The general mantra of this article is to do a little work in order take things as easily as possible when going to a larp.
Everything Takes Longer Than You Expect it too
Remember the law of larp preparation says
“All estimates are wrong. Time taken is always greater than you expect to be”. So if you don’t want to spinning around like a crazed Tasmanian Devil on the day you are due to travel on then consider how much time you need to get ready – and then double it.
Preparation Depends on Accommodation
What you need to take depends on your sleeping arrangements. So we’ll start with things common to all larps and then get more specific from there.
Character, Costume and You
This can start weeks or months ahead of time. Why? Character Costume and props cost money. They also may need to be made from scratch of converted from something else. There’s no point in doing this at the last minute – take your time to put everything you need together.
Once you have everything there is the character pack.
Think of this as being separate to packing your other clothes. The aim here is to collect all of your costume and props to make sure everything you need is going with you. Once you’re sure this complete your character is done. In fact double check – especially the small fiddly props that are easy to miss but essential for characterisation.
Now you can focus on any out of character clothes you need. Make sure you have changes of clothes, toiletries and anything you may need for a trip away. I always include some basic first aid materials and pain-killers. The hope is never to use them but since in larp you do things you do not normally do – it is a good idea to carry medical supplies. Interestingly although I have used my medical packs in the past it is never as a direct consequence of larping. Most of the time its via slipping on tripping on things – the kind of accidents that can happen anywhere at anytime. Never as a result of role-play or combat.
Finally the last thing you should always check is personal medication. Should you have to take regular medication make sure you have it with you.
Ok that’s the character and yourself taken care of but it does not end there
Power and Gear
The 21st century larper is oft surrounded by power guzzling devices. Most visible of which is the ever present companion that is the smartphone. Now here’s the issue. Camping can mean no power. Shared accommodations like bunkhouses can mean limited access to power sockets. What’s a geek to do?
For no power get a good rechargeable power bank.Make sure it is fully charged before you leave. Check to make sure you have cables. This will help keep your phone running for several days if no other power is about. Solar charging power banks won’t fully replenish per day – but in good light you might just get an extra days power out of them.
If you’re sharing what may be limited sockets then take a multi-socket extension cable. If you’re sharing a room with a group of people and there is one power socket then the larper with the extension is the hero of the larp.
If the event involves camping just some thoughts
Always put up your tent before the event. This ensures that the event is in good condition and also means that you know you have everything that you need in that department. You may also want to consdier waterproofing your tent. A tent can never be too waterproof. Especially in the UK where the weather can be anything at anytime.
Although the actual camping gear you take is going to be down to a combination of personal preference and the event you are going to there is no harm in trying to be organised. Here’s an idea. I’ve been returning to fest larps so I’ve built a kitchen box for my tent. This is a heavy duty storage box into which I put a camp cooker, gas, collapsible wash bowls, cooking utensils, pans and so on. It makes it easy to carry and the box doubles as a small table.
So the idea is – find a way to pack and collate your equipment that works for you and your events. Use this to prepare things in advance in order to make your life a little easier.
Food and drink
It’s a good idea to make sure you know how you are getting fed and watered. On a catered event that’s largely take care of. Though you may want to carry some snacks and drinks of your choice just in case you need a little something extra.
Events without catering mean that you need to plan out your food. Its much easier to figure out what you can cook on location and taken matching supplies than to run around at the last minute trying to find something suitable, or worse still having to dash off the larp site. Remember that this is not limited to camping events. Locations with their own kitchens can be problematical. Never assume a certain size hob, oven or even the existence of a microwave.
Think simple and think easy to cook
That way you cannot go far wrong.
Things that are too easy to forget
Lights – make sure you have one more sources of light. Such as lanterns or torches. If possible these should be in character for the event. However having light is more important. Trying to wander through a forest in the middle of night to find your camp or a toilet is no fun without a light.
Drinking Vessels – I mentioned the camp kitchen but in game cups, mugs, tankards and goblets are vital and I keeping forgetting and losing mine – so get good ones and hang onto them
Makeup Remover – seriously – do not go without this.
I’m sure also have ideas on this an I am open to adding extensions to this list as required.
Most of all be as rested as you can be on the run up to the larp. You’ll have more fun if you are alert and awake.