At the end of May 2017 I was lucky enough to once again meet up with the people of Forest Argent. Before I talk about the event I’ll just explain what Forest Argent. Its a small larp based in the South West of the UK. Single day events are regular (a couple of times a month) and throughout the year there are a goodly number of weekend events. Convergence 2017 is one of the longer weekenders played across the end of May bank holiday. I need to point you at the setting for the game. Players come from one of 5 distinct worlds where travel between these worlds is known and possible. This link takes you to the world overview. This matters as its going to have an impact on the rest of this piece.
Convergence is an annual event in the Forest Argent calendar. It both wraps up old plots and kicks off new ones. This year was going to be a bit of a doozy as authorities were catching up with some players whilst others had characters that had an opportunity to blossom; if they dared. This may sound as if there is no cohesive plot and perhaps a bit messy. The start did feel a bit like that however has events built up, interacted and collided that was replaced with a sense of doom and opportunity. Players were faced with consequences of actions and ideas where played out to create new direction. More of the game setting was fleshed out.
I like this kind of game. It’s a sandbox for ideas and plot.
In fact this is one of the things that I love about Forest Argent. Its possible to anything from a lilly white hero through to a crooked dastardly villain and still have a place in the game. It allows for quiet characters to carefully move their way through the world as easily as it allows foe big characters to become living legends.
I’m not going to recount plot(s) as that really doesn’t suit this review. I will talk about scenes as interesting things did happen.
Attitude to Slavery: Member of one of the attending races – inspired by (Moorcocks Elric of Melnibone tales). decided to hold a slave market. First point of friction is that not all the characters believed in this but it went ahead through sheer force of will. What happened a little later though was something else. Somehow the slaver characters learned about pinatas. Took a human slave, forced that person to eat “prizes” and then proceeded to push other characters to beat this person to death. It was a disturbing part of the game. Yes some characters objected but what was interesting to see was how many would go along with it and then later suffer from the consequences of immoral action.
Faerie Folk: A key theme in Forest Argent is that of fey folk. Not as described by Disney or the cuter end of pop culture; but as described in story and legend. In an earlier game the players had release something akin to a Boggart and now they were coming to torment the players. Played out a night in pitch darkness the crew in appropriately creepy masks and costume snuck around in the dark. Creeping up behind players, calling out to them, dragging them away and being that feared hand that stalks the night. Somebody said that this part of the game was genuinely creepy. The crew should take a pat on the back for that.
The Galvanic Zombies: Imagine that you could use an electrical device to create zombies. Now imagine that the characters need that device. Fortunately the zombies were blind. Unfortunately they were attracted to sound. What followed was a long game of cat and mouse as the players attempted to turn off and secure the “galavanic” technology for themselves.
A couple of months ago we were poised a question. Which LARPs in the UK work hard to support children? Specifically Children aged 6 and over. This was a great question. A great many larpers have families and having larping as a family activity or break seems to me to be a great idea.
So we posted the question and put out feelers into the larp community at large. What came back was nothing but good news. From a UK perspective a number of groups with what appeared to be be excellent support for children. Internationally we had more groups, and in addition resources for accomplishing this goal of making sure that Children can indeed larp.
We’re starting here with where the question started. The United Kingdom. Here are comments and links to number of larps that offer a larping experience to children.
So here is the list.
If you would like to see your larp represented please get in touch. We are very keen to expand this to include as many eligible larps as possible.
All the responses below are direct quotes from our responders. Their names are at the end of the article and I’d like to thank them very much
What this System does for Children
Runs separate sessions for only kids in parallel with adult sessions during events….allows children and adults to participate in other sessions together. Has a 9 pm watershed
What this System does for Children
As much as I love Empire for ic activities as a parent CP has proven to be better events for us as a family. Straight away the kids can create a character and use the skills/magic without having to wait. Ooc CP has all their events at places with established toilets not portaloo. This is a massive plus. Ooc CP has all their events at places with established toilets not portaloo. This is a massive plus. There are kids linears organised but equally they can join in adult rp and rituals if they desire and have non com monster roles they can do.
Seaxe and Sorcery (HMS)
What this System does for Children
Our H.M.S. (Historical Mythological Society) is our primary LARP system, running at least 4 weekend events each year plus one-dayers. All weekend events have Squires Adventures, designed and run specifically for younglings. They are looked after by a set crew of adults however the parents of the squires are also required to look after them as much as possible. They are also welcome on the one-dayers, but the parents must look after them for these. Often the Squires are a lot more dangerous (and often lethal) compared to the adults because they are given a lot of abilities and protection – go up against them at your peril! 😀
What this System does for Children
here is a school system with drop in drop out services that teach the background, safe fighting and in game skills. They also do two tests, the test of citizenship after which the children become full characters and the test of arms after which they can take the battlefield. The academy also do specific, safe quests of their own. Each nation also does seasonal festivals that the children are encouraged to take part in
We received this update about Empire via Facebook from Monica Wells. It was so good I had to include it:
Empire in the UK encourages families to bring kids. The main encampment is kept apart from the combat area, and kids can either stay in the camp (also all kids weapons in camp are treated as wooden practice swords) or go through the ‘academy’ to learn the rules for combat and how to fight safely. When they are judged proficient enough to be safe they can take part in the mass combats. It really adds to the ‘village’ feel with people bringing their babies and kids running around.
The Lost Star Chronicles
What this System does for Children
offers children free larp at our day events providing they attend with an adult, our events normally last from about 11am to 4 pm.
Three Kingdoms LRP
What this System does for Children
Three Kingdoms LRP in South Wales caters for children as most of the older members have since started families. They run a few children only missions over the weekend, children are allowed in the bigger battles but when it comes to the big set pieces they are kept out of the way because of the large numbers and the complicated mechanics involved.
Generally the children have their own guild allowing them to try out a bit of everything (magic, alchemy, combat etc…) but cant get the advanced skills until they are old enough to decide the kind of character they want to play.
Monster crew is quite forgiving and will usually end up with two monsters dedicated to dealing with the child horde, bash their shield a load, let them get some epic kills and generally get them to waste their mana since they have a load of mana and good regen they can change the outcome of a battle (hence being kept away from big setpieces, usually on another plane), but they can keep an event going all the way through to the end of the weekend.
What this System does for Children
Based in Kent this system has a membership system that allows for both Adult and Child members. Child members play a reduced rate compared to adult members. Membership includes a price reduction for the events attended. Both one day and weekend events are run by the club and child members are encouraged to attend and interact. This club has been described as a good, low cost regular game.
What this System does for Children
Legend Quests takes the approach of a live interactive story telling experience that children from the age of 8 can take part in the experience .The stories are set in an alternative version of 1750’s England where the creatures from fairy tales are real. Whilst aimed at children parents and other attending adults can participate. An adult version of Legend Quests also exists.
Information on these systems provided by: Dave Buttery, Kathleen Valentine, Sam “Bifford”, Hemming Ross, Atsuri(c/o Reddit), Zara Keene, Jennifer Moyashi-Chan Wright. Olly Mc – thank you all.
The image for this post is c/o Rebecca Pitt. Thank you very much.
About Your Group: We have been running over 15 years using a variety of systems, currently we are running Forest Argent and occasionally Fairy Tales.
We run in both Exeter and Southampton day events, as well as between 3 – 4 weekend events a year.
With plenty of kit to lend to new people and many years of experience running events, our games are inclusive with a drive to make each one better due to an open ear to our participants.
The Game System
Forest Argent – Low hit, strange science and dangerous magic. Character creation is simple, with lots of room for players to personalise there characters. We use bead bags to work out the effects of certain skills. Leading to the infamous BOOM!!! Cards.
Fairy Tales – Low hit, with characters built around classic Archetype. Certain skills come with a wax seal of certain colours. If you can find a clue with the correct coloured wax seal on then you can open it. Notably there is no magic rules in FairyTales, if you think you have encountered it (which of course you haven’t) your discretion and roleplaying is trusted.
The Game Worlds
Forest Argent – A selection of worlds, which have come into conjunction through a nebulous area called “The Forest Argent”. Game themes include Exploration, Culture Clash, Trade, Combat and Negotiation.
Fairy Tales – At the end of the Great Anarchy in England strange mysteries and terrible spectacles are investigated by quite agents. Game themes Investigation, Combat, Murder Mystery, History and Occult Horror.
Your Play Style
Forest Argent – dangerous combat, big characters, sudden silliness or danger in equal amounts.
Fairy Tales – brutal combat, historical roleplay, lots of running away.
When Are Your Games
Three weekenders, one always over a May bank holiday.
Day events on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.
Email: [email protected]
Welcome to the future. A dangerous and post-apocalyptic future. The World Went Dark is a UK larp that takes its inspirations from Mad Max, Waterworld, The Book of Eli and so on. Gas Masks are a mandatory part of the costume. You should note that the gas masks are not just for look and feel or part of the necessary kit to survive this world. They are there to protect you as this is one of the increasing number of games that uses airsoft guns as a method of resolving ranged combat. Its nice that the protection for airsoft is written into the game itself. It’s good for immersion.
This gallery was taken during event 1 “The Signal”. Event 2 is later this year.
The photos in this gallery and the title picture used in this post were all taken by the talented Charlotte Moss. You can learn more about her work at http://charlottemoss.co.uk/ If you’d like to help Charlotte take her LARP photography further then take a look at her Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/CharlotteM?ty=h
Balrog as its affectionately known is older than it looks and was played years ago well ok before the year 2000. That makes it more than half the age of the hobby. So in LARP terms – Long Ago.
It then went through a period of Hiatus but was restarted in 2005. Balrogs original creator and group of LARPers who decided that the Gathering (UKs Biggest Fest LARP), was just not for them. The reasons where varied but all boiled down to the fact that they wanted a game on August Bank holiday. A game that had scope and a lot of plot. A game that could expand. That brought Balrog back into life.
The system is focussed on playing high fantasy. The basics are straightforward enough to follow and character creation is straight forward. In play the calls follow a common sense logic – so even if you’re no familiar with Balrog you can still pick up the game and get into it. This doesn’t mean to say the rules are lightweight. There is enough depth in them for anything – its just that common usage is easy.
A favourite inclusion is that weapons and armour can become damaged. This means quieter periods are often full of in character repairs and patching going on. So if you are in a slow part of the game you are going to wonder – have you missed something and also can I repair my kit before the next big thing happens.
The world is Yarm and Yarm is shaped like a doughnut. During an event this generally doesn’t matter but between games – this topology can make for some interesting travel plans. Yarm does not exist in isolation. Yarm exists as part of a connected multi-verse of worlds and travel between them is possible and does have an impact of the plot. You don’t have to understand all of the cosmology. Just that other places exist. People and things do travel to Yarm and nothing can be assumed to be what it is.
Like many fantasy world Yarm is full of races. Whilst you get the usual scattering of elves etc there are also all kinds of beast-men. Of the non human races my favourites are probably the icemen- proud, fierce, troublesome and blue (btw never call one a smurf!).
The plots are always deadly serious. The style is fun. The awesome ref team and the players themselves all want to have fun. So whilst the plots are big, world threatening and on a scale that really needs campaign play there is also an injection of humour. Making for game that has both moments of fear and also crazy laugher.
I mentioned campaign just now and that is critical. Balrog games are critical moments in a larger scheme of things. They are parts of a story that has been played in LARP over a period of years. The campaign also reaches beyond the event into an annual PBEM (play by email). Although being part of the play by email campaign is not essential or mandatory it is beneficial. Its used to flesh out the detail of what happens between events. It contains opportunity for character growth and for perhaps developing the play style for your character.
PBEM is also used to help acclimatise new players. Joining an ongoing game that has been going for a long time can be daunting. This method of allowing character interaction and conversation before a game means that characters have relationships before the players ever meet up in person . That is a huge boon.
Unlike some systems Balrog does not play often. There is a single 4 day event every year. Currently this played at Barnswood Scout Camp near Leek in Staffordshire.
How To Get in Touch
Balrog maintains its own website and Facebook group. You can find these at:
Photographs of Balrog in Action
A little while ago Brett of Swordcraft contacted LARPBook to talk to us about their combat based game and we really loved the idea.
Every Friday between 6.30pm and 11.00pm near Melbourne in Australia hundred of LARPers gather for battle games. These weekly battle games are just that – but it looks like there is more than melee going on here.
In addition to weekly games there are also planned larger scale events (sagas)- such as their upcoming Autumn Quest , monthly meets and costumed tavern nights.
This to me is sounding like a very vibrant community.
In order to give some context to the action Swordcraft have a Warband and Saga system. The game world contains a number of Warbands. These are given out of play orders, which are then worked out by the GMs. If these orders have consequences – such as conflict or plot then these are fed back into the Friday night games and sagas.
This means there is an active game world where politics, exploration and exploitation take place and a means of playing the outcomes of these.
This adding of depth means players can play the games at a combat level or work to become more involved in the greater game world.
Its all very clever.
Below are pictures from one of the Warbands- The Kingdom of Breton. This group are styled on 14th Century nights with inspiration from Warhammer.
My many thanks to Brett Marris for these pictures and introducing myself and the LARPBook team to Swordcraft.
If you’d like to know more about Swordcraft here are their website and Facebook addresses.
Social media is a wonderful thing. A request to pictures on Facebook led to a conversation with Tommy Brown of Neothera SAGA LARP. Not only did he supply some marvellous photos but also a sterling article that beautifully introduces his new system.
Here it is:
Based in a medieval, high fantasy setting with Steampunk elements, the
rift to the world of the Neothera Saga is due to open in Devon, United
Kingdom in 2015. This new system promises to provide our participants
with an authentic and realistic game-world that they can fully immerse
themselves in, with a high focus on plot, living history and player led
actions. The player characters will be thrown into a fantastical world
where war is once again upon the horizon. Their very actions will shape
the destiny of the lands, be it for better or worse!
The main reason for starting the system was to bring like-minded
individuals together to poor their creativity into a project that they
are passionate about. In the grand scheme of things we are fairly new to
the Larp scene; however everything about it has made perfect sense to us
since we first stepped into this territory: The way the rules work, the
improvisation in-character, how plot is written and shaped by the
players, the costume and prop making, even down to the admin work. It is
something that we excel at and want to invite both newbies and veterans
to join us as system plunges into action in 2015.
We have met a lot of people along the way who are eager to get Larping
but have never really known how or where to get involved, furthermore,
being apprehensive about learning a massive amount of rules, running
around dressed-up and bopping monsters with foam weapons, can seem a
disconcerting prospect for some. We hope that we can encourage our
Larpers-to-be to get involved and find something they really love doing
as we originally did, it’s all about making that initial jump into an
unknown world, and who knows, once you’ve landed you may not want to
The Neothera Saga is actually a family-run system, with my fiancé, dad
and cousin on the staff team. We hope to create an immersive game-world,
characters and plot lines that will enrapture and sometimes terrify the
players! We’re using a fairly basic rules system that allows for
fast-paced combat and creative game-play for any type of player
regardless of their experience or roleplaying abilities. Players can
choose from a wide number of colourful races and kingdoms, ranging from
mischievous Piskies, rowdy pirates, tribes of cannibals to dapper,
Steampunk ‘chaps’ and ‘chapesses’.
The Neothera family was previously involved with a system in the past
that saw players come and go frequently (mainly due to the attitude of
the management) and we always thought, hey, we can do this better! So,
we’ve learned a lesson from a poor system and picked up some good
pointers from other more established ones, we’ve mixed in our own brand
of creative madness and have almost finished producing something we hope
will become popular with new and old Larpers alike. It’s all coming
together nicely; it’s been a labour of love but a hell of a lot of fun
to work on so far. We hope those who attend our events have a great time
and we welcome anyone who wants to get involved in any shape or form.
Thanks for your interest in Neothera Saga LARP. Why not check out our
below to keep up to date with exciting Neothera Saga news, additional
information on the system and up and coming events.
Official Site: http://www.neotherasaga.com
The credits for this piece are
Article Text: Tommy Brown
Photography: Hannah Hackett and Neothera Saga LARP.
Maksimir 63 was highly anticipated – being the first Ognjeni Mač larp by it’s new OzOI (plot team), and after a long break where there haven’t been any Ognjeni Mač larps – Maksimir is back, and with its new monthly spring schedule (64 is announced for March 9th, and 65 for April 13th). Yesterday’s event in the Maksimir park drew in a large number of people despite the snowy weather – which made the entire park quite beautiful.
I did my best to appear the weirdest and most alien character of them all, by skulking around, eating snow (and offering it to other folks), looking broken, sniffing, being called a leper etc. This is certainly one challenging but fun character to play 🙂
I didn’t stay for the full duration – i left after the main photo shoot – so I can’t say I’ve seen it all. What I’ve seen though is this – the event seemed well integrated into the existing storylines, and while it was rather low on action (compared to what most people were expecting) it had some nice props made. There were plenty of new people, plus this OzOI’s new policy of allowing alternate characters was visibly seen this larp, as many players played their new alts and the difference in the character make-up was refreshing enough that it felt distinctively different from what was going on the last year, and it certainly looks like a start of an interesting Ognjeni Mač season.
The reason I left early is another larp. It was actually a playtest of the new one-shot larp by Ivana Delač and Vesna Kurilić – it’s interesting that it had one thing in common with Maksimir 63, both were larps which were run by two women (as Maksimir was ran by Ines and Tijana, since Petar is off to Czech Republic) – it’s probably a first in Croatia. Anyways, this larp had the working name of “Koliba” or “The Cabin” – we liked the name, so it’s possible that it will remain the final, production name. It was held in their apartment and they did their best to set the mood, by blocking the passageways and running under low light conditions (which is why my photos didn’t turn out well). We only had a vague description of it as something between Love is Blue and Death of the Japanese Emperor.
This was a modern chamber larp for a fixed number of players, with pre-written characters, lasting just over an hour. I got to play a character which was quite younger than me, which required some adjusting but in the end worked out quite well. I can’t share much details of the story, as this larp is not really replayable and can be spoiled easily. But it had some things which were uniquely new.
First of all was the slow take-off with the “shared fantasy” intro. After reading our characters, we sat down in places where we’d start, closed our eyes and one of the GMs would read us a 10 minute introduction (since she’s a published novelist, it was really well written) after which we’d end up in game. The larp turned out to be very intense, immersive and powerful. Much stronger than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised.
One of the things which particularly surprised me was the fact that most characters were gender-neutral, and the authors took the time to write different character descriptions for all permutations of the character’s all the related characters’ sexes. Which was something really awesome and detailed. I highly recommend this larp – you’ll get your chances to participate in it on the upcoming conventions, such as PoRtaL and Istrakon.
This post was originally posted in the Crolarper blog with additional images. Original Post here: