Help Us Build A Better Studio

Help Us Build A Better Studio

I’d like to draw your attention to the video and link below.  Here at LARPBook we’re aiming to build a better studio to improve the quality and range of videos we produce.

The next stage is to buy a new computer and a set of studio software to go with it and we were hoping that the larp community might want to assist.

So I am going to ask you to do two things. First watch the video below. In it our lead host and all round video guy Stuart will explain what we’ve bought in the past and what we are hoping to buy next.

Secondly click on the link below the video and consider donating to the campaign. All the usual Go Fund Me rules apply. Please read these if you are not sure on how Go Fund Me works.

Finally I’d like to say thanks. Either for donating or just taking the time to listen.

 

Help Us Buy New Equipment

Click here to fund LARPBook
Creating Larp Atmosphere with Names

Creating Larp Atmosphere with Names

Here is the thought. Names give a culture flavour. You hear a name and you immediately start cultural associations. Rightly or wrongly a name trips your cognitive bias and imagery or assumptions about that person or place hit the imagination.

Names are powerful things.

So can we make use of this when bringing new players into a larp?

There are some fantastic settings and mythos in larp, I think it’s a natural trait of larpers and larp designers to come up with wonderful stories and settings.

I sometimes wonder though if writing a story or mythos with a some heroes and great places is enough.

Yet how do we do more. Chronicling every location, and every event isn’t realistically possible. Besides which trying to think of everything at once would probably not lead to anything useful. Settings need time and space to grow. They cannot be magicked out of a hat.

So here is the idea. Write the mythos and the setting. Create the backstory and in it leave enough mystery for future growth and surprise. Then in addition come up names. Names for the ordinary man and women in street. Not characters – just names you might hear. Come up with the names of towns and villages. Not whole maps. Just names you may hear. The same is true public locations – shops, hostelleries, meeting spaces, and so on.

What you are doing is not adding to your background; or detracting from it. You are just creating some flavour.

If you are then generating characters use the names you have written but do not be limited to them. Does a change to pronunciation of an existing name work – go for it. If you think of a new name then great – add it to the list. This evolves the name dictionary for your world.

If your players are creating characters then make sure thet have the list. Let them pick from it but also make it clear that this is an inspirational list. Not a rigid thing to select from. Instead more of a set of guidelines to help their imaginations along the right path. If you like the look of the names your players come up with then these can also go on the list.

Everytime a character is created you are then either using a name that fits or adding to the richness of your games mythology.

This should also help your plot writers when it comes to adding another story to the background of your larp.

Every story helps name the things in your world and every name helps build the world.

Of course the bonus is that all the characters will have names that help describe their shared heritage and background.

Names will make your world richer and more flavoursome.

Of course games set in the real world, or a previously highly developed fictional setting already have this advantage.

The image used in this page comes from Flickr User KyOn Cheng.

Learn more about the image
Review: Find My Larp

Review: Find My Larp

First Impressions

Clear simplicity are the two words that first come to mind. The start of the home page is dominated by a single search box; Google style. Type in what you are looking for and the site will try and find it.

Scrolling down takes us to instructor buttons that will help its two primary audiences (larp organisers and larpers), learn how to use Find My Larp. These help areas are simply written and should be a help to anyone. For me the focus is on organisers and there is some nice transparency on how payments later. I’ll come back to the payments later but for now lets say I like the method used.

Finally we come to options to select larp by country and genre. Arranged in a grid with large nicely illustrated buttons these are nice and easy to use.

Searching

So how easy is it to search?

Well the home search box didn’t immediately accept text for me. However clicking on the magnifying glass logo solved that. Simple text searches work well and bring up the available options

Also You move from into a search area with options for selecting, countries, genres, price ranges and if the larp is child friendly or not. I really applaud the indictor for child friendly. Very often it is not explicity stated on larp websites if an event is child appropriate or not. So making this a thing here is really important. Well done.

Putting in prices ranges is another smart move. It feels as if the price differentials in larp get bigger every year. Again leading this to be something that needs to be clearly illustrated.

Search results are shown on a grid of results, in a list, or on a map. The map is cool. Although personally I prefer the grid. This is a personal response – I just happen to find this view easy to read.

Search in Find My Larp

Listings

So now we now that we can find things what does a larp listing look like?

Like a product listing is the answwer. The illustration is from Bothwell School of Witchcraft. An inaugral listng for Find My Larp. You can see space for a large clear illustration and easy to use ticket selectors. Scrolling down there is plenty of space for descriptive text, a link to the larps creators, a Google map of its location.

Importantly there is plenty of space to describe both the larp and any payment options / terms. Flicking through the listings I haven’t found anything that looks like a larp that has run out of space describing itself. Big tick there.

Money

Find My Larp takes payments for tickets. This is done via Stripe. You may not have heard of Stripe before. Do not be concerned about that. Stripe is an online credit card processing system that has been making big inroads with Internet developers. It is very secure. It’s designed from the ground up to seamlessly integrate into websites. Outside of LARPBook I spend some of my time working on website development and technology consulting. Like a lot of people in my position I’ve been won over by Stripe so I am very pleased to see it being used instead of PayPal.

This is a great decision.

 

Final Thoughts

Find My Larp is a welcome addition to the websites on the Internet that list larps. It is well thought out and it is easy to use. I’ll admit I haven’t made a booking through it yet – though that is almost certainly only a matter of time.

If I was launching a new larp – I would list here. No question about it.

I particularly like its International slant. Travel for larp and in fact larp itself is becoming global. Working with that trend can only be the smart move for Find My Larp.

Click Here for Find My Larp

Visit Find My Larp
LARPBook Special: The Green Cloaks Interview

LARPBook Special: The Green Cloaks Interview

Green Cloaks is a larp that has been growing quickly and getting a lot of attention recently. It is a science fantasy tale about the fate of humanity amongst the distant stars.

Which means that we were delighted to have the opportunity to interview Enys Coggles and Sammy Kilsby about the Green Cloaks.

It was an interview beset with technical difficulties. Basically our normal interview system developed a rebellious streak and pretty much went on strike. We resorted to plan B. As a result we were only able to make an audio recording; but it is a good one.

We hope you enjoy it .

 

Listen Now

 

LARPBook Show Episode 58: Viva

LARPBook Show Episode 58: Viva

 

 

In Episidoe 58

In this episode we have a long list of topics, To start with we wanted to place our thoughts with the people of Las Vegas. led this necessarily sombre opening for the show.

Topics of Discussion

  • PBM / Downtime
  • Stag Do – What happens when non larpers want to have a larp for stag party
  • Twilight Realms – event report from Tom
  • Increase in Followers for Podcast
  • Update to our show notes archive
  • Update to our Live Page
  • New Phone Case
  • Heathen LARP – Crewing.

Thank you the Matthews – In this episode Matthew Webb and Matthew Moorhouse were very active in our chat room and became a key part of the show. Thank you both very much, you were awesome.

We wanted to have a discussion about how people run downtime / PBM. It turns out that the larpbook team like playing between games but that all bar Tom have a dislike for email. This want long enough for Stuarts new toy (a cry of “I’m bored”) to come into play. I suspect that we haven’t seen the end of this discussion yet

The Stag discussed a special event where larp was requested as the entertainment for some non larpers. We discussed this on show and there is a longer article here.

Tom had recently come back from “White Gate”. The latest larp from Twilight Realms set in its mythic world of Tempress. It sounds like it was a tough game and that the campaign ante is upping..

Some good news was that we’ve had a an upswing in podcast subscriptions. Thank all of you very much for that

We also announced that the Show Notes Archive and Live Page have been spruced up. The Show Notes Archive is now all LARPBook shows – including the original pocast. Whilst the Live Page is now a direct link to Facebook from which we are launching all live shows from this point on.

We also plugged the new Phone Case we’ve designed for the iPhone 8 plus. Actually its available across the Apple Range.

Finally a quite note that Rob has signed up to crew for Heathen Larp next Summer so you can expect a full report from there.

Of course this wasn’t the only plug in this episode. There were lots of them, and at times it seemed as if we were all in competition to see who could get the most plugs in. I almost renamed this episode – “This Week in Plugs”. You’ll have to listen to the whole show to catch them all! (yes I know shameless!).

As mentioned at the top of show Matthew and Matthew (each actually thousands of miles from the other) were awesome. Perhaps my favourite comment from this dynamic due was “Post Mortem Motively Gifted”, when looking for words to describe the undead.

Events

Coming up between Ocotber 2oth and 22nd is the Curious Pastimes Teutonia Faction Event and Banquet.

Also in October between the 28th and 29th is the Brancepeth Castle Ren-enactment and Larp Market.

 

END SHOW

If you would like to get in contact with the show just email [email protected], is there a topic you would like us to discuss or something cool you saw or fancy writing an article for the website then email the show [email protected]

Music provided by:http://www.bensound.com
Patreon – http://patreon.com/larpbook
Shop: http://www.redbubble.com/ search for Larpbook
You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Youtube, Twitch and Podbean just search for LARPBook
email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.larpbook.com
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus just search for Larpbook
Don’t forget to give us a five star review on iTunes

Larp as the entertainment for a stag party

Larp as the entertainment for a stag party

I was recently at a larp run as a stag party..

Now larpers putting events together to celebrate events isn’t too unusual. What made this one different is that none of the players were larpers; yet they had requested that a larp be put together for them.

So I was attending as crew and I personally had nothing to do with the stag party. I was there to help run a bespoke event. That was true for every larper there.

In fact a veritable who’s who of larp suppliers had been assembled for this.

I’ll try and explain how all of this worked and came together.

Who Did What

Larp design and event organisation
WyvernsTales History & Stories

Bar and Wench  –
The Crimson Moon

Food to die for
Mhorish Event Catering

The Venue
Oakraven Field Centre

The Overview

Wyvernstales History and Stories had been contacted to include about 16 participants in a larp event. As preparations developed this evolved into a bespoke event just for the stag party attendees. It turned out that this was far better than including the party in an existing game.

Tailoring everything to the participants created a friendly and intimate atmosphere that allowed guards to be dropped and concerns about not fitting into be removed. All the players could simply be themselves.

The reason for wanting a larp was it turned out quite simple and also a familiar story. The stag, his best man and a number of the others were all board game and D&D players. They were aware of larp as a thing but had never tried it. When the time came to organise a memorable stag event the idea of larp was posited and turned out to be the thing they did. This also means that not everyone had a gaming background. They really had no idea what to expect (beyond drinking).

The Rules

The players had no larp experience and so a very reduced set of rules were employed. Essentially enough to keep the players safe in combat. The players were given pre-generated characters complete with agendas, secrets and guides for how to play the character.

The Game

The setting was more medieval than fantasy, the story line focused on players interacting with duplicitous characters whilst trying to hide their own somewhat dubious pasts.

Of course the past has the habit of catching up with you; when you least expect it…

Essentially it was a group of people invited to meet up with a manorial lord only to find out that things were not as hoped. There were clues to find (and this group was great at that), characters to interact with, games to gamble on and of course mead to drink.

In addition to the main plot training had been laid on. The players were taught to fight with swords and to fire bows. A few of them were quite the natural Robin Hoods! Others revelled in picking up a sword or axe and being told to hit someone! Combat really opened things out for this group as they discovered that larp fighting is fun! They also discovered that it can be tiring too!

It wasn’t long before the realisation dawned that if they could do it, they could try it and that barriers and limitations were down. In effect they discovered that being in the larp was permission to play. This grew as the event progressed. They never took anything too far, they were always looking to make sure things were not being spoiled but they were also revelling in the all the options that were opening up in the game. They had learned that thing that every larper knows. Play is fun and its made all the better by letting your imagination go out for a run!

Flexibility

The game was simple. It did not constrain the players. Also time in and time out were dependent on their need. As was supporting what they wanted to do.

A surprise for me was being asked to help start of a mystery game where the poor stag had to undertake a series of challenges in order to unveil a murder. It ran for a set time and I have the utmost respect for the players and stag alike. I won’t say what happened, I will give applause. In other words just because a  larp had been ordered didn’t mean that other things can be done to suit the needs of the players.

The aim was fun and we succeeded.

The Photos

Just to give you a feel for things

Takeaways

So here are few things that were a result of this weekend.

Larps biggest problem is not being understood. On this weekend both gamers and non-gamers had a very good time. Once someone realises that larp is fun and that they have permission to play then amazing things happen. To grow larp needs to help get that message out.

Gaming culture has an impact on how a game is played. Non larpers placed in a larp do not behave like larpers. The extent of this is normally masked as most games contain old and new players; with the effect of moderating behaviour. Put all non larpers together and suddenly larp tropes are gone and a new dynamic is established.

A number of the players realised that they had opened the doors on a whole new world and they were fascinated. There were some fantastic conversations as a result. Experiencing is far better than any amount of show and tell.

A bespoke larp for people not used to the hobby can be a fantastic thing. It creates an atmosphere all of its own and it is something to be revelled in. Ask me to do another of these and I’ll be there in a heart beat.

And Finally

Thank you to everyone – for letting me work on and experienced such a great weekend.

LARPBook Show Episode 57: Feed the Baby to the Demon, What?

LARPBook Show Episode 57: Feed the Baby to the Demon, What?


Episode 57 and it’s our September show. As has become a tradition we chat about the major long larp events that we attended in August. We started with Thomas

Balrog Games

Thomas spent 4 days at the ongoing annual campaign that is run by Balrog Games every August. His is a good description. Giving plenty of insight into what kind of game this is. This year the organisers set up the plot in such a way that players would have to play their characters in an inverse manner. That is good became evil and vice versa. Thom talks about what happened, and how the players handled it  That’s worth listening to as it is a gambit that must become tempting from time to time for games writers. It ways should be weighed against “how would my players cope with this”. In Thoms case the results were mixed.

Curious Pastimes

Stuart and I visited Curious Pastimes and as you might expect we waxed lyrical over how much we enjoy this game, its atmosphere, players and crew. For a full review of our visit click here, Personally I’m impressed by how a large number of plots all run concurrently whilst giving players the option to pick the level of immersion they want.

Downtime

Then we moved onto what is likely to be the start of a bit of project for us. We want to turn our attention to the how different larps handle the period between events. Often called downtime.  Does  your larp allow for between event player actions? If it does do this how is it communicated between the ref team and other players. We would like to find out.

If you’d like to tell please send an email to [email protected]

Alternately we have a form for you here – please fill it in. We’ll also accept communication via Facebook.

The plan is a simple and very LARPBook one. We intend to collate information about Downtime. Publish case studies on how different larps do this and look for trends. We’ll also be bringing it into the discussion for a future show.

 

END SHOW

If you would like to get in contact with the show just email [email protected], is there a topic you would like us to discuss or something cool you saw or fancy writing an article for the website then email the show [email protected]

Music provided by:http://www.bensound.com
Patreon – http://patreon.com/larpbook
Shop: http://www.redbubble.com/ search for Larpbook
You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Youtube, Twitch and Podbean just search for LARPBook
email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.larpbook.com
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus just search for Larpbook
Don’t forget to give us a five star review on iTunes

Curious Pastimes – Renewal 2017

Curious Pastimes – Renewal 2017

Its time to think a little bit more about Curious Pastimes and more specifically Renewal 2017. Now we covered this is in a diary format. Writing on each of the event about the previous. If you’re interested in these look to the block of diary entry links in this post. These capture the day to day and the emotion of myself personally being in and around this event. However I wanted to round off the coverage with some other points of view.

We’ve another gallery for you. These photos were taken by Steve “Flasher” Mitchell. Steve is the longest standing CP photographer and I hope you like the gallery we’ve put together here for you.

First though I think it may be idea to try and describe what Curious Pastimes is not as a series of accounts or images but as a thing. So I’m going to break this down into a few sections for you and go from there. What I want to convey is that this is a good larp to go to. It can be as deep or shallow as you like. You will find help if are new to the game and it is a game that can grow with your experience. It’s also a great place to meet larpers from other systems.

The Mechanics

The rules and mechanics are from a UK perspective a traditional skill based method of defining a character. This means it’s a points based system. Points buy skills and the skills go on a character card. Your character only has the skills that the card says it has. However this does not stop role-play.

The skills system exists for game balance, but the level of role-play in the game goes from a high level of immersion to less if that is what you are looking for. All that is expected is that you don’t spoil anyone elses game. So its simple mechanics and the level of role-play is up to you. That’s a classic British larping approach and for a large scale game it really works

The Diary

These diary entries where written during the event. Mostly written at the start of the next day between breakfast and time in.

You’ll find comments and photos for each day

Day 1: Friday

Day 2: Saturday

Day 3: Sunday

Day 4: Monday

 

Learn More About Curious Pastimes

Where Real World Meets Game World

In the game there are two areas where real world is felt. The market-place and the food vendors area.

The market place is a collection of larp equipment and costume traders who are there for the length of the event. They tend to keep long opening hours. Although costumed they are not really in character and you are paying with actual real-world cash.

The same is true for the food vendors. Although in both cases every effort is made for that need for the real (money), to have as little impact as needed. Hats off for getting this right. In both these areas its not problem being in and out of character. So great

The Atmosphere

This is the part of Curious Pastimes that I love. In fact its one of the things that I love most about larp. This is a friendly place. People genuinely want to talk to you. They want to say hi and have conversations. They want to role play.

If you like combat then the battles are extraordinary, not just due to the number of players, but due to the way in which Renewal handles the terrain it has to hand. Its a place where you move for quite while without being sure where the other armed force is. When action happens you are working in the main with a woodland environment. It feels British and Mythic.

Coming away from the action I loved how the camps felt, and In particular the first time I walked into one and it felt not like a group of people camping but like a small community living in the open. I should point out that this was one of the in character areas. There is also out of character camping for people who prefer this.

This is a simply a safe and relaxed place to be. I can’t wait to go back.

Organisation

The word here is slick. CP have been running these games for a long time. Duties are clearly laid out for the crew. Radios are used effectively and from a players point of view its easy to ask questions. CP run a tight ship.

I wanted to wrap up the diaries so that I could give an overview. I’ve stayed away from World and Plot as these are things that players need to experience. There are also good references you can look at on the Curious Pastimes website. Instead its more of a system overview. High level I admit but I am also willing to answer questions.

The Photos

 

Our total and utter thanks to Steve “Flasher” Mitchell for these photographs

The Video

We also put together this short video to try and capture the feel of the event

 

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