Hidden disability and Larp

Hidden disability and Larp

A while ago we created a video about disability in larp. Inspired by a comment on this we decided to embark on learning about hidden disability in larp. We wanted to be able to offer practical advice on larping with a problem no one else can see. That meant learning from the people affected. So we set up some video interviews and put posts on social media.

This is the distillation of what we learned.

What is a hidden disability?

The simple definition is that it is a disability no-one else can see.

What does this mean?

Disability is a word that means less able. Lets look at this way. All people are different. Being human means you are on a spectrum. At one end there are those that push the limits of human achievement to new heights. There are also those who need help to exist on a day to day basis.

Having a hidden disability means that you may need some help.

Our Interviewees

Our four interviews were

I’d like to say thank you to everyone we interviewed. It doesn’t sound enough for what you gave us. So thank you again.

Three out of the four suffer from fibromyalgia. That was our first surprise. There are a lot of people with fibromyalgia out there. A large number play larp. That doesn’t discount any other issues that people larp with. We went with our respondents. It turns out that you can learn a lot from someone with fibromyalgia.

Fessing Up

It’s at this point I need to mention, that 3 members of the LARPBook team have their own problems. So let’s add into the mix

  • Stuart – Who can keel over if he doesn’t look after himself.

  • Katie – has fibromyalgia

  • Rob – has Spina Bifida Occulta.

Communication is key

If we learned one thing its that communication is everything. It’s not about how much, or how little someone can do. It’s about matching the larp with someones comfort zone. I’ll try and explain.

People with a hidden disability or in fact any form or disability are not easy to pigeon hole. Like everyone else in the world they have good days and bad days. Days of high capabilites and days that are worse. Being able to ask open and honest questions about the nature of the game and its environment. This lets the person booking able to make a judgement or call that says ‘is this larp a really good idea or not?’.

Opening up a line of communication lets other questions be asked too. Such as ‘On the day if I need asssitance can I get it’; or ‘Is such and such a thing available?’. Knowing the options and who to talk to is everything.

General rule of thumb – if you can talk a problem can be discovered or resolved.

Good and Bad Days

I mentioned this briefly but lets explain what it really means. It means that you have no idea or your capability on any given day. Sometimes people falsely pigeon-hole those with any kind of capability. The thinking often goes along the line of these people are limited to or by X. Not true. Everyone has good and bad days. What is different is the range of what is possible can be really big and change really fast. In less than day it can do from ‘I am king of the world’, to ‘I don’t lie down for a while I am going to be in real trouble’.

Never assume you know what someones capbilities are. Just listen to what they say and trust their judgement. Just know that if things get then that peron genuinely has to do what they need to do. Whatever that is.

Tips from Larpers

We asked one of Facebooks for tips and ideas about handling hidden disabilties. This what we got

Noise Matters

I think the biggest tip would be ask people beforehand what they need. My autism, for example, causes sensory issues around touch and loud sounds, so some warning is nice. Mechanics should also be adaptable in case someone isn’t as able to move the same way as others

Don’t Assume Anything from Behaviour

I must admit i have come under flack due to my own aspergers. their are a number of times things I did which to others seemed wrong or dangerous. Sometimes all that’s needed is a simple coversation.

Cannot do is real. Understand and don’t abuse

I have severe allergies. Not a disability but it limits the type of costumes/make up I can do and the environments I can be in like if people are smoking in a common area that’s closed off it restricts me from interacting.

I’ve been redicualed and even gotten "warnings" for being unable to certian things on my NPC shifts.

It’s amazing what can be done

I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and my YouTube channel is Don the AS lifter.

Often a person has more than one condition, larp can help

Essentially i got schizophrenia so making friends is hard…physically the right side on my body is destroyed (total acl rupture and rotary cuff) i got arthritis and nerve damage on my fingers and a tear on my left thumbs ligament (never got it fixed)…martial arts has always been my life yea my body hurts but its a passion so i deal with it lol and larping helps me

Keeping Warm is Vital

This ones is from the Rachel Heaton interview. Never Larp without Hotties!

If it helps keep it short

I have fibro and m.e. so have been unable to do fest larps for a while but are still able to attend a day larp once a month

Always Carry Food

This one is from the Mason family interview. Having regular food is imporant – so pack and carry some

Turn it your advantage

This ones from Rob. Turn aspects of your disability into character traits. Do not play yourself but use what you have.

Thank you to

  • Meg Schley
  • Michael Barley
  • Emily Sykes Chonsky
  • Don Markham
  • Muluk Bal’ham
  • Katie North

More on Disability

We’ve previously larpers that use wheelchairs. If this is of interest please use this link

Northern Kingdoms: A Witcher Larp – Videos

Northern Kingdoms: A Witcher Larp – Videos

The Witcher is not only popular; but it has a beautifully realised world.It was inevitable then that larpers would want to explore it . Earlier this year we chatted about Northern Kingdoms, and put together a photograph gallery access. For links see later in this article.

Stuart and Luke also visited a Northern Kingdoms event at Candleston Campsite in South Wales.

Whilst there they recorded a number of video spots. So let’s take a look at them.

The Witcher Larp Interviews

Fettered Forge

What’s it like to set up and run a forge for larp? That is exactly what Fettered Forge are up to. Stuart spends some time talking to Marcus and Dean.

Interview with a Witcher

What’s it like to play a Witcher? Well this is your chance to find out. Luke chats to a resident witcher played by Rob Driscol

Interview with Simon Deacon

Of course we had to interview the person who runs Northern Kingdoms. Luke chats to Simon

The Playlist

We have a playlist for Northern Kingdoms a Witcher Larp. Press the button to see everything

If you like The Witcher why not try the books.

Andrzej Sapkowski Witcher Series 8 Books Collection Set (The Last Wish,Sword of Destiny,Blood of Elves,Time of Contempt,Baptism of Fire,Tower of the Swallow,Lady of the Lake,Hardback-Season of Storms)

Using this link will help LARPBook

Curious Pastimes in 2019

Curious Pastimes in 2019

Ive decided to think a little retrospectively about this year at Curious Pastimes. We started the year with a plan to look behind the scenes at CP. That idea has guided this retrospective.

LARPBook at CP

We attended the first and last events of the year. This is becoming our M.O. I always want to see the season kick off and I a great affection for Renewal (the final event of the Curious Pastimes season). This does not mean that the middle two events have no value for us. Quite the opposite. I’d love to go to all four. Its just the rigours of juggling the day job with attending larps means that I cannot do everything that I would want to do.

The Curious Pastimes Crew

The crew is large. CP put out a photo of all the crew this year. It had over a 160 faces on it. It takes a lot of people to run a larp like Curious Pastimes. LARPBook is part of the media team; but there are so many specialisms like refs, game operations, build specialists, pyrotechnics, comms, make-up, world building, cooking. I probably haven’t even hit on every role there, but the point is that everyone works at the thing that best suits them. Not to mention of course all the multi-specialism people out there.

CP looks after the crew. Here’s a fantastic example. I was hoping to film in the Crew area. The response was "no". The reason was fantastic. The crew must have safe spaces. Where relaxation can happen, where steam can be let off, and where they can just break from the rigours of a long larping day. There is no better reason to say no than – "we’re protecting our crew". Hats off to Curious Pastimes looking after the crew!

Crew Welfare

In fact a lot of attention to detail goes into crew welfare. The crew are fed, given accomodation and showers. There are crew briefings to keep everyone up to speed. And of course all the crew look after each other.

The emphasis here is on making a team that is looked after and works together. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a 100% success. In fact calling the crew a team is a little unfair. They are more like a family.

Communication

A lot of larps use radios to communicate accross a site. It’s a common practice and essential on a larger larp. I’ve been part of radio comms for quite a few larps and I just like how CP handles this side of things. Practical elements like charging are well organised. Use of channels that help you hone in on the right conversation is simple and clear. Perhaps the most fun part are the crew call signs – these are always entertaining and spookily accurate.

This talk about crew and comms may sound a little gushy but there is a point to be made. This year some children lost their parents. They were found by the crew in minutes! That’s right minutes. You cannot do better than that!

The best proof that this communication system simply works.

Traders

One last quick mention – traders. I was around this year when the head weapons checker was giving trader feedback. It’s holistic, helpful and helps make sure that the items on sale at events are correct for CP.

The New Player Briefing

Briefinng and educating new players is something that it is so easy to get wrong. There are plenty of written rules and also plenty expectations that need to be delivered to a new player. New player here is anyone new to Curious Pastimes. It’s a mix of first time larpers and experienced souls dipping their toes into Curious Pastimes for the first time. That’s a hard crowd. This year I decided to photograph so I could get to see how the assigned crew members took on this difficult task.

It was hysterically funny and very well timed. I train professionally and I know that when an audience is smiling they are receptive to ideas. This briefing timed the delivery of the content with smiles perfectly.

It’s a great example of how much work the crew put in to make sure that Curious Pastimes events work. A good first briefing gets the new players fired up and ready to go; and yes that is what happened here.

The Weather

Oh boy the weather this year was not kind. The game went on and event four was downright spectacular. So lets take a moment to look at the weather

The May event was just plain cold. Cloaks sold out from the traders fast. I know that May is not a guaranteed warm time but the weather this year had everyone complaining about the chill and freezing nights.

We didn’t attend June and July. events but I saw the photos and heard about them. It was wet. Perhaps a deluge of biblical proportions. It looked like boats would have been preferred over tents. Plot still progressed and took us to August.

August was more exceptional weather. I think everyone there remembers the heat.

Curious Pastimes became the scorched earth. Dust hung in the air as the sun beat down and threatened to melt the players. The game progressed. The battles were spectacular. Again a shout out to the crew who made sure that water caches were near the action, and a good many of the crew carried extra water just so it could be handed to suffering players. It may have been hot but everyone came toghether to make it good

Cool Things

This years May event "The Siege of Ravenburg" saw in game simulated Trebuchet in action. To get this working required a Trebuchet crew (with refs), pyrotechics – to simulate the boom of impact and a ref handling effects on the receiving end. Battles involving had an intensity I had not seen at Curious Pastimes and the handling of the Trebuchet goes down as one of 2019’s cool things.

On a fun side – quite a few players thought that just ‘having a go’ with Trebuchet would be fun. That led to random fire and giant rocks going places you did not want giant rocks to go.

I’d also like to commend the crew on the wall and the many small building builds for the May event. Simnply terrific and very cool,

The Photographs

Here are a selection of photographs from this years events. If you want to see more follow the gallery links at the bottom of the photographs section for a much larger selection of photographs.

The Videos

Quite a lot of videos this year. May saw a large number of intreviews with players, crew and traders alike. At Renewal in August we dropped down to some video diaries. I’d recommend the May – "Siege of Ravenburg" play list as the starting point.

 

Other Posts

This isn’t our first post this year about Curious Pastimes. Follow these links for more inforamtion

GreensKon Camping Cookware Kit Review

GreensKon Camping Cookware Kit Review

Camping Cookware + Field + Stuart equals a review

Well that was the plan and it paid off. Now that Stu has a camping stove he needed something to cook with! Of course we weren’t just going to let him off with having pots and pans. He had to do a review with. In the main he liked the GreensKon kit.  Although some of the provided bowls made little sense. The good news was however that the provided kettle was just right for filling a large LARPBook mug.  
Please note that using the Amazon link will generate a small amount of income for LARPBook if you make the purchase.
Nerf Larp Combat System For The Edit

Nerf Larp Combat System For The Edit

If a larp includes combat then it needs a method to fairly handle the damage dished out.

This article is about ranged combat rules for The Edit; my proposed new larp

It does not cover swords, axes, pipes or any form of hand to hand combat.

Since The Edit is unashamedly modern day, guns very much a part of its combat spectrum. Therefore this is about guns.

Nerf is the way to go

I’ve decided that guns will be represented by Nerf weapons. Also after Tank Larp I particularly feel that the Nerf Rival range is something to focus on. For me the Rivals really proved their worth as a larp weapon at that event.

Why Nerf?

  1. There is actual ammunition. Making it easy to represent both plentiful munitions and a scarce supply
  2. Nerf guns are easy to obtain. Which is good for minimising player barrier to entry and keeping game costs down
  3. I like ammunition flying through the air.
  4. The need to reload or fix a jammed gun adds to the tension
  5. The chances of actually being injured from a nerf shot are low.

Taking Damage

We have the guns. Now how do we determine how damaging a hit actually is?

The Edit has two underlying principles. Simplicity of operation and high risk to players. That points to lethal gun play…

The Double Tap

I’m taking on the idea of the double tap as a means of representing lethal shooting.

A double tap is two quick successive hits. To quantify this to players it is two successive hits no more than a second apart.

The double tap is lethal. Double tap means dead!

Counting Shots

Not all hits will be double taps. So for single hits. Those more than a second apart there is a counting system. It works like this

1 hit: Wounded but can carry on 2 hits: Wounded must fall to the ground and needs help from another player to carry on 3 hits: Unconscious. Will die unless medical treatment given in less than 5 minutes 4 hits: Unconscious. Will die unless medical treatment is given in two minutes 5 hits: or more: Dead

This is brutal. It points to the only way not to have casualties and dead people is to avoid combat.

Once gunplay starts people will fall.

But then horror is a major part of The Edits design. That includes the horror of senseless violence

What about bows?

Guns won’t be the only means of shooting people. In this post apocalyptic world there will bows of all descriptions and perhaps of fired weapons.

In order to maintain simplicity these will all follow the same rules for guns. Hits for bows count the same as guns.

Player Safety

I’m envisioning that all players will receive a safety brief regarding use of guns and other weapons. We want to make sure our players are safe and that starts with player training.

All weapons will have to be safety checked before use. So for anything that shoots something I’m planning a chronograph test before weapons are authorised for use in the game.

Roleplay!

Last but not least is roleplay. The Edit should look great great. So all combat and injuries should be roleplayed at volume 11.

The image used for this piece does not come from The Edit. Its from Tank Larp
If this article makes you want to know more about Tank Larp then try here

Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenment 67 – Cyberpunk Larp

Back in March I played in a one day Tenement 67 at the Grange. It would be fair to say that it blew me away (learn how here) . The quick version is super high emotional content, awesome cyberpunk vibe and massive immersion. You might say that it being one of favourite genres helped. But that would take too much away from Rob and the team who did an incredible job.

Welcome to Tenement 67

Up till now Tenement 67 (T67) has been day events. This was the first weekender. The sad news for me was that family commitments meant that I had to leave on the Saturday morning. That still meant that I could be there for the set up in Thursday and the first day of play. So although I cannot talk about the end there is still I lot I can say.

The Location

This time play was at The Gaol in Oakham. . Normally used for airsoft it makes for a cracking larp site. The reason it’s special is the used to be a prison. HMP Ashwell to be precise. There are mutliple buildings. But the fact that it was built as a prison really lends to the atmosphere. T67 is set in a tenement full of people at the fringes of civilised life. Rich and poor mingle. The rich because they can, the poor because they have to. The corridors, cells and rooms of a disused priosn so effortlessly lend themselves to this idea of a building repurposed as the world changed. Players were encouraged to make cells their own. And they did. Additionally common areas were carefully lit. Flyers and graffitti adorned walls. Once the game started suspension of disbelief did not take long.

The Players

The players were a fantastic bunch. A priviledge to meet and play with. This time round there were more here. Also this larp was international with players coming in from Europe and for me the surprise of seeing people I knew from out of the UK. International larps are a little special. There is something about a mix of nationalities that helps with atmosphere. I must figure that out at some point. For Cyberpunk it is really relevant. I best imagine cyberpunk worlds as being mixing pots of with all cultures, races, and social stata intermingling and clashing with each other. Making it a perfect player mix for the genre.

The Game

It was shennanigans time at the tenement. As you’d expect from a Cyberpunk event there were a lot of plot elements. A sythetic human (awesome costume), dubious recruiters for dodgy deep sea mining, gang warfare, reconstruction of digital personas, gangs clashing, corporate intrigue, dubious drugs, reality TV stars, striking workforces and I hope you’re starting to get the idea. And that’s just a sample. There was more than I have listed going on.
This larp is a long way from find the gold, kill the monster.
Which is my way of sayng that T67 is a great example of just how far Larps have come since the 1980’s.
It is emotionally demanding material. The content of Tenement 67 constantly makes you assese how you feel about things. My first game in March had a deeper emotional impact on me than I expected. This time again I had plenty of feelings. Its also worth noting that all the players and crew put themselves under pressure to create an incredible experience. From the get go you know this is a quality larp and everyone strives for this. This also amps up the pressure. Fortunately the team from Carcosa Dreams have this covered. They work under the assumption that larp can impact its players and are ready for such eventualities. Which is something I want. I game that gives its players a very real experience and then looks after them. Thank you Carcosa for both the creation of the larp and the understanding of your duty of care.

The Crew Area

I was crew. So it seems fitting to mention the crew quarters. A good many of us slept in one of the buildings away from the players. If you needed a rest – you could get a rest. The crew area in the main event building centred on a game control room and a the crews ready room. The ready room contianed plenty of food and chairs. We used this place to chill between scenes, chat, eat and figure what we were going to use when next called to action. Additionally sleeping areas were created for key crew who had to be available on 24 hour notice. It was an effective use of space. Everyhing you would expect from a well organised larp.

Would I play again?

That’s easy – in a heart beat!

The Photos

Would you like to see more?

Additional photos are available on Robs gallery – just click here

The Video

During my time at this event I paused to record short video diaries. These have all been collected into one short film; just click here. I tried a somewhat experimental take on the presentation of this one. Not everyone likes how it looks. My apologies if its at all disturbing to you.
Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

So we put Stuart in a field with an Outry stove and this is the result. A practical review of the 3500W Outry Camping stove. You’ll get all the information you need in the video. But in case you like spoilers – he likes it!

We’ve decided to do more reviews of things that may be useful to Larpers. Not just events, or larping gear; but things like camping gear. Larpers camp. So having larpers review camping gear for larpers made a whole lot of sense to us.

In fact we already one more of these good to go (well if we’re sticking Stu in a field – best to make good use of it), and another one in planning.

See The Full Review

Want to buy the Outry Stove?

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp sounds like an excuse to gratuitously add military vehicles to a larp. It does indeed add tanks and APC’s to larp. But it is done in a way that works with the plot, the world and the players.

Adding tanks is also very cool.

Making Tanks Larp Safe

Lets hit that big elephant in the room fast. How do you make a tank, Larp Safe? Tanks, after all, are not known for cuddliness. They’re known for crushing and destroying things.

Fortunately, this was not attempted with an insane amount of foam and gaffa tape. Although that would have been funny.

 

Instead, the focus was on missions. APCs would roll up to take players away on various missions. The tank training and battle part of the game was similarly a mission away from camp.

 

Safety precautions were taken to avoid player squishing. This included APCs having spotters, and tanks operating areas being carefully designated and non-pedestrian.

The Tanks Were real?

A lot of people believed that Tank Larp could not possibly use tanks. They did.

The Armoured Personnel Carrier

Players were ferried around in an APC. Her name was Connie. She was an FV432. THe FV432 is part of the FV430 series of armoured vehicles. Initially designed in the 1960s, but with updated and modified versions still in use today.

The Tanks

The tanks were actually FV432’s fitted with a 30mm cannon. These vehicles look like and act like light tanks.

In fact, take a look at a British 1970’s Scorpion tank and you’ll find something that looks a lot like the vehicles used in tank larp.

With a 30mm cannon and full turret, these could be classified as light tanks.

Structure of the LARP

I have to mention this it was unconventional but massively fitted in with the idea that the players were part of a larger war.

Time to expand.

In-Tank Larp the players are soldiers in a what is effectively a World War with one major neutral party. They are part of fast response teams that make use of newly invented tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

In a world has transitioned from medieval to a technology roughly analogous to WW1 in a far shorter time period than ours.

In our WW1 we have anachronisms like horses and sword carrying officers. In their version of things – swords and shields are in use alongside bolt action rifles.

It’s important to say this so that what follows makes sense.

The three days tank larp is played over (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) equate to 3 months of time in the game world.

Each day of the larp a newspaper would come out containing news about the game world. Sometimes mentioning the campaign’s players fought in.

The players could send out military orders and requisitions.

Time not on a mission was the players spending time in their base camp. This was pure role-play.

Impact on immersion

You might think that this putting of gameplay into a form of compressed time would mess up the immersion. It didn’t. Immersion was really high.

All the players worked with it beautifully and if anything being part of a larger world helped the players get into it. The break up between missions and camp time gave a breather where role-play thrived.

A lot of though went intoestablishing the world, it looks and feel really paid off here. Players quickly took on what it meant to be a soldier from their in game country,

Immersion levels were palpable.

Were there problems.

There were some,  often focussed on the learning curve of understanding how the game world worked and how that intersected with mechanics

Here’s an example. The players sent out military orders. The natural assumption was that these would be exactly carried out. This didn’t always happen.

Why?

Well, the commanders receiving the orders were being roleplayed behind the scenes. This led to order interpretation and local knowledge leading to adjustments in what happened.

It feels to me like a good approximation of the chaos of war. But that is something that needs to be made clear.

The good news was that the game team spoke to players, listened and learned a lot. So I’m going to bet fewer issues next time.

It’s a mark of a good larp that the organisers work with the players. This happened and that is great

Also, it’s particularly important here as the game has an unconventional structure.

.

Would I recommend Tank Larp

In a heartbeat!
Event 2 has been announced and I am going to be there!

Photo Gallery

 

 

Photos, Prints and Gifts

If you would like to see more Tank Larp photos or maybe show some support by buying a Hi-Res Version, Print or Photo-gift then please take a look in the photograph shop.

Videos

We started following Tank Larp months before the first event. In this  YouTube Play list you will find.

  • Pregame interview with an organiser
  • Interviews recorded at the event
  • Footage of the game.

More Tank

We have additional coverage of tank larp.

The original interview that started things

Footage of a Tank Larp Encounter

Pin It on Pinterest