Questions To Ask When Going To A LARP

Questions To Ask When Going To A LARP

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.

 

Finally

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.

A Kickstarter for 12 Larps

A Kickstarter for 12 Larps

Welcome to Crescendo Giocoso, a Kickstarter project of 12 larps that exist as a play list. Why a play list? Well we have a good many styles of larp design – like Nordic, Freeform, Boffer and so on. Here’s a new one. a set of larps conceived of and put together by a team who’s method of working more resembles an orchestra than other traditional approaches. The result is that they call themselves the Larp Chamber Orchestra.

Lets look at this by playing their Kickstarer video

 

So you can see that this Kickstarter is designed to create a book of 12 larps. The number of players for these ranges from 2 to 30. Behind each of these larps is a common design mindset. That changes how the game is described to a group. Instead of one person explaining or running the larp, all players gain the understanding of how to play as a whole. A bit like a group of musicians learning to play a piece of music.

So instead of the idea of an author led larp (a bit like a novel), or director led larp (a bit like a film) to something that is more like a jam session. At least that’s the vibe I’m picking up on. I think the idea is that a group of people can just start to play the larp.

The 12 larps in this Kickstarter are arranged in a play list – starting with 2 players and then working up to 30 players. So if played in order the scale gets bigger and bigger. Just like a musical crescendo.

It’s a fascinating idea.

As I mentioned this is a Kickstarter so you can learn more about about this project by clicking here.

I really hope they reach their targets as its a cool concepts and the larps look good.

 

Twilight Realms – Black Heart – Event Overview

Twilight Realms – Black Heart – Event Overview

Last weekend (if you’re in the future that’s starting on March 24th 2017). I crewing at the Twilight Realms event “Black Heart”. The latest addition to an ongoing campaign in the clubs Tempress setting. This isn’t a review; I was playing a new NPC character so that makes me too close to the running of the event to do a proper impartial analysis.  This is more of an overview.

As with all Tempress games this was a high fantasy event. As an ongoing part of the latest campaign it was very high stakes.  The players are a party that have become embroiled in changes to the world following the rise of a resistance against a powerful and expanding empire (in game – the Helevetian Empire. Best thought of being very much this games version of the Roman Empire.)

The story was simple. Investigate what the “Empire” was doing in a seized portion of the country of Brindle. The problem, Brindle is a country once ruled by Vampires. Now at least a part of it is under the control of the empire who are undertaking some very unethical experiments on magic and immortality.

The game started on Friday night. Arrival on site was well organised in that – this is were you unload and this is your accommodation allocation.  You knew where to go and people pitched in, making the unloading of cars a breeze.

From a crew point of view we had individual briefings. Meaning each NPC player only knew the information they were supposed to know. There was also a lot of written material to digest. I like this approach of only knowing what you need to know. It makes playing your specific part easier as you can just focus on what matters to your character.

Set dressing also proceeded quickly. The game was ready to play.

In this event Twilight Realms refs were trying out some new Walkie Talkies. This worked out great and really added to creating good game flow.

The game structure was this. Friday night introduced the story. Saturday was an open sandbox larp. The players could do whatever they wanted. In any way they wanted. Success would give them information and resources. Failure would have anything from no effect on the game world through to dire consequences. However personal failures and problems were also possible.

The actual end was a success in terms of the story. However the majority of the party were left with personal issues that will have to be dealt with.

My NPC was a researcher driven mad by the unexpected consequences of his work. A beautiful role that gave me a chance to play a large range of emotions. Ok – it meant I could ham it up.  I was also able to work up some physical play using a walking stick. Perfect. Later in the game there was also a chance for a bit of monstering. So for me, this was a good event

In terms of game flow the players started as planned and then started to have all kinds of ideas.  Some of them uncannily accurate. Others were wild flights of fancy. The refs and crew adapted by making decisions on encounters, information dispersal and the timings of NPC appearances.

This made the event a highly interactive experience.

At this point I’d like to make a special note of thanks to the monster crew. This team worked non stop to give the players a good experience.

That’s one of the reasons I like the Twilight Realms experience. Everyone, players and crew alike set out to create a great experience.

The ending of this event leaves with a lot of story options. Already there more than a little curiosity as to how the impact of Black Heart plays out.

Event Photo Gallery

All the photos for this event were taken by the Twilight Realms team.

The Bat Creatures

Dark Heart featured some large bat like monsters. During the game they became the players nightmares.

This footage is of the costumes undergoing testing

Please note that as Facebook video

The Grange Live Gaming – Bravo One

The Grange Live Gaming – Bravo One

We were invited to visit The Grange Live Gaming in Birmingham. Not an opportunity we were going to miss; so on Sunday Stuart, Luke and Rob set off with Lukes daughter to take a look.

What we found was worth the trip (South Wales to Birmingham UK – not Alabama).

In the centre of Birmingham (and I do mean the centre) we found a larp and gaming centre that was operational across a number of floors and also in construction for 2 more. The first thing we all latched onto was the potential of the place, which is enormous. The gaming areas are on 5 floors of what would have been factory / warehouse space. It lends itself to being dressed as sets and that is exactly what is going on. The floors under construction gave us the size of the place. Those outfitted for gaming – gave us the realisation. Using simple wooden walls the team at the Grange have built configurable game spaces. Simply put the walls can be moved or even decorated to specification. You want simple walls and a maze to run around in – no problem. You want to design something more specific, that is possible. It becomes a question of planning and resourcing.

Right now plans for some specific designs are afoot. Such as a run down indoor fun fair. In place already are hospital beds and some old bits of medical machinery that may have once been surgical drain units. Creepy and very Silent Hill.

One feature that caught my attention were the security cameras. Yes these are for safety monitoring, but they can be brought in game. Which means if your game requires players to monitor a security feed – they really can do it. If you want your ref team to monitor the game – that can happen to. There is also the possibility of taking security footage after the event for promotional and documentary purposes. For me – it’s the in game stuff that excites. Whether its for the refs or players (or both); I love the idea of video monitoring. For the players it’s more immersion and for the refs its monitoring and being able to react to events without standing over the players shoulders. That too makes it a more real experience for the players.

There was something else that the ref in me liked too. The ability to build walls means that rooms and corridors can be hidden. Not in a maze like fashion. More in a this part of the facility is for crew only fashion. Remove the openness of the great outdoors, build the walls yourself and now the ability to have crew move from hidden crew rooms and through secret passageways. This caught the attention of the horror larp writer in me.

In fact this whole place is great for modern day, SF and horror larp.

It’s also nerdy inclusive. Which means a range of pursuits such as larp, airsoft, archery, hema, tabletop games and so on are all supported here. Its possibly Birmingham nerd central.

Any downsides? Just the one and I do not think it is a deal breaker. The site is not polished in a mainstream kind of way. Its bohemian and industrial in a larper kind of way.

If you haven’t guessed it – I love the place. Dale and Stephen whom we met were incredibly friendly and helpful. The venue is just one big pile of larping potential.

The good thing is that you do not have to take my word for it. While we were there we took quite a few photographs and a couple of videos. These are up next.

The Photo Gallery

Hopefully we’ve captured the feel of the place.

Interview With Dale

This first video is an interview with Dale. If you’re running a larp it is likely that you will be liaising with Dale over how you use The Grange Live Gaming.

Luke in the Rage Room

During the last few episodes of the LARPBook show Luke experienced some issues with his computer. This had hilarious results (here are the shows on youtube. Look at episodes 51.

The good news for Luke is that The Grange Live Gaming has a rage room. He used it to take vengeance on an unsuspecting computer.

Want to get in touch with The Grange Live Gaming?

Website: http://www.grangelivegaming.com

Faecbook: https://www.facebook.com/Grangelive/

We all hope this site goes from strength to strength. We’ll be back there to report on or play in a game. I see trips to Birmingham in our future.

UK LARP Awards 2017 – The Results

UK LARP Awards 2017 – The Results

On March 4th the UK LARP Awards were held. These are very much becoming very much an established part of the UK Larp scene and it looks as if they have already been booked for next year.

So here are the results

Player Run/Sanctioned Event

  • Do Not Go Gently – Slayers Lrp (Winner)

 

Club System of the Year

  • UNION at Nottingham Uni (Winner)

 

Player of the Year

  • Rosie Woolley (Winner)

 

Bard of the Year

  • Dred Roberts (Winner)

 

Small Larp of the Year

  • Hades (Winner)

 

Medium Larp of the Year

  • Future’s End (Winner)

 

Large Larp of the Year

  • Curious Pastimes (Winner)

 

Family event of the Year

  • Empire (Winner)

 

Grassroots system of the Year

  • Future’s End (Winner)

 

New Larp of the Year

  • Before the End (Winner)

 

Larp Producer – Foam/Latex

  • Saxon Violence (Winner)

 

Larp Producer – Leather

  • Darkblade (Winner)

 

Larp Producer – Costume

  • Craeftigan (Winner)

 

Larp Caterer of the Year

  • Warden’s Catering (Eid II) (Winner)

 

Creature Costume of the Year

  • Verdigris Mind-Forged Manacles – Clockwork Firebird Designs (Winner)

 

On-line Retailer of the Year

  • Larp Inn (Winner)

 

In-field Retailer of the Year

  • Das Shoppe (Winner)

 

NPC of the Year

  • Tin King – Strategy (Winner)

 

Event Crew Member of the Year

  • Charlotte Pirie (Winner)

 

Mainstream Event

  • Knightmare Live – Touring Production (Winner)

 

Unsung Hero – Andrew Jackson

Lifetime Achievement – Ian Andrews

Overall Best Larp of the Year – Curious Pastimes

Poker Player – Mark Annable

Combat Tournament – Neil Prior

LARPBook will like to extend hearty congratulations to all winners

 

International Educational Larp Conference

International Educational Larp Conference

Between April 10th and 11th 2017 Østerskov Efterskole (in Denmark), – the worlds first school where lessons are taught through the medium of roleplay will be holding an Edu-Larp conference.

What can you expect?

First of all the conference is being aimed at an international audience. This being the first year, the aim is to work on building an international community interested in using larp and situational gaming as part of education. That is cool. This is going to be an event that is focused on information sharing. Where attendees can learn from each others experience or just work together on ideas that will improve educational uses of larping.

The strategy to make this happen is use a combination of Keynote addresses, Lightening (Short) Talks and Workshops to promote the exchange of ideas.

Keynotes are aimed at being 30-45 minutes long. Sufficient for avgood address, but also a timing that should stop meandering speeches. The lightening talks have a length of 5 -7 minutes. Great for highlighting a specific point. Workshops will last 1 – 2 hours. Great for achieving an aim.

Its clear from these timings that this is meant to be an exciting and stimulating event.

The cost of this conference is 500Dkk (with a student discount of 250 dkk). At current exchange rates that puts a full ticket at approximately €67  or £58. That’s a very fair price. Not too unlike the cost of going to a larping event.

To learn more the website for the conference is at: http://osterskov.dk/arrangementer/international-edu-larp-conference/

You’ll find everything you need to know there.

I think its great that we have an expanding range of larp conferences. One that promotes an international community of larp using educators has I think a special potential for our schools.

 

 

UK Larp Awards 2017 – Nominations

UK Larp Awards 2017 – Nominations

Its that time of year when we get to see the nominations for the UK Larp Awards. The Awards themselves are on March 4th at the Century Theatre in Coalville. For the first time the awards being held in an actual Theatre. What happens when you fill a theatre with larpers? I guess we’ll find out.

These nominations are the result of an online poll held earlier this year, making these a public vote of appreciation for the nominees.

So here is the nomination shortlist

Best Player Run/Sanctioned Event

  • Do Not Go Gently – Slayers Lrp
  • It Tolls For Thee – Empire
  • Fae Fables – LT
  • Eid II – LT Wardens
  • Triage – Empire

Best Club system

  • Fools and Heroes
  • Aftermath
  • UNION at Nottingham Uni
  • Labyrinth
  • Rising of Chaos

Player of the Year

  • Chris Whitehead
  • Danny Leith
  • Marcus Riley
  • Sarah Cook
  • Rosie Woolley

Bard of the Year

  • Al Bevan
  • Dred Roberts
  • Esme Galea/Bessy the Bard
  • Golden Apple
  • Claire Sheridan

Best Small Larp of the Year

  • Twisted Tales
  • Hades
  • The World Went Dark
  • Neothera Saga
  • Faded Glory

Medium Larp of the Year

  • Age of Aether
  • Future’s End
  • Shadow Wars
  • Tales Out Of Anchor
  • Happily Ever After

Best Large Larp of the Year

  • Curious Pastimes
  • Empire
  • Odyssey
  • Lorien Trust
  • Green Cloaks

Best Family event of the Year

  • Empire
  • Lorien Trust
  • Outcast
  • Curious Pastimes
  • Fields of Illusion

Best Grassroots system of the Year

  • Future’s
  • Fools and Heroes
  • Lorien Trust
  • The World Went Dark
  • Neothera Saga

Best New Larp of the Year

  • Age of Aether
  • Cry Havoc
  • Before the End
  • Future’s End
  • Happily Ever After

Best Larp Producer – Foam/Latex

  • Dark Raven Armoury
  • Light Armouries
  • Eldritch
  • Medlock Armouries
  • Saxon Violence

Best Larp Producer – Leather

  • White Rose Apparel
  • Darkblade
  • Evenlode
  • Ben Loder
  • Dad’s Armoury

Best Larp Producer – Costume

  • White Star Clothing
  • Chow’s Emporium
  • Dusk Monkey
  • Cræftigan
  • Angrave Designs

Best Larp Caterer

  • The Right Wok
  • Caggles Catering Corps
  • Warden’s Catering (Eid II)
  • Mhorish Goodfood
  • Maria Frank (Triage event)

Best Creature Costume of the Year

  • The War Frame – Age of Aether
  • Kodiak Bear – Jerusalem Jones
  • Velociraptors – Mandala
  • Jack of Chains – Andy Rimmer
  • Verdigris – Mind-Forged Manacles

On-line Retailer of the Year

  • Having a Larp
  • Larp Inn
  • Darkblade
  • Gem’s Trading Company
  • Clutterbuys

In-field Retailer of the Year

  • Having a Larp
  • Das Shoppe
  • Light Armouries
  • Chow’s Emporium
  • Gem’s Trading Company

NPC of the Year

  • Matt Strange – Cael
  • Andrew ‘Fozz’ Forest – Ishtar
  • Jenny Barratt – Eloise Hunter
  • Tin King – Strategy
  • Tom McNaulty – Haphaestion

Event Crew Member of the Year

  • Katie Logan
  • Charlotte Pirie
  • David McBride
  • Katie Rogers
  • Rich McBride

Best Mainstream Event

  • Breakout – Manchester
  • Harry potter Tour – London
  • Crystal Maze – London
  • Knightmare Live – Touring Production
  • Undercover (Fire Hazard Games) – London

Best Larp Photograph

Please note that the links to best Larp photograph galleries take you to Facebook pages

The image for this post is the official header image for LARPCON 2017

LARPBook intends to cover the event in detail.

Larptickets and LARPBook

Larptickets and LARPBook

Early on this year (back in the first week of January), larptickets.com opened its doors for the first time. It is the official ticket selling arm of Dziobak studios. LARPBook had a hand in its creation and I thought now might be a good time to talk about that. I’ve waited till now for 2 reasons.

  1. I wanted to make sure it was working – I’d rather fix a fault than tell people to look at something with issues
  2. I wanted to let Dziobak go first, (and they did write a magnificent blog post about its launch.)

So let’s start with what larptickets is. It is an open system for selling both event tickets and additional purchases – such as transfer busses between airports and events.

Why am I going into detail? Well, LARPBook (Rob and Stuart on this job) wrote the system working closely with Dziobak (Claus and Agata on their side).

I thought it might be a good idea to talk about the process. I don’t see the need to go into the technology as the site is about 95% off the shelf open source components. We did write a few small software extensions to get it just right. The point though is by using tried and tested open source software the cost was low but the output was high.

The project started with Claus Raasted looking for an alternative to PayPal for taking payments. He is not alone in thinking that PayPal costs are high. Especially when you are selling items worth hundred of Euros. He asked his question to the larping community on Facebook and almost universally people said look at Stripe. We actually agree. Stripe is a great system for taking card payments. It will not however run the whole process. For that you need a website.

Stuart proposed the idea of building a bespoke website and the project was born.

Most of the work ran through the  week between Christmas and the New Year, and a few days into 2017. It was a quick turn around.

We worked in two ways. First of all roles were very quickly established based on ability. This broke down to

Stuart – liaison, and head copywriter. You may think of Stuart as being the podcast host. But he is actually excellent at  putting copy in place.

Claus – Visionary, and more importantly editor. You may now Claus as the great larp evangelist. However to work with he is great and quickly understands what he needs and how to express it.

Agata –  Awesome behind the scenes person and the one making sure the whole system could be worked.

Rob –  Explaining how things worked and hitting the internal machinery of the website with a very large hammer.

This meant the team was not too big (that would have just caused far too much debate) and more importantly that everyone understood what they were doing. Also critical. If a team gets too large the issue of who is responsible for what soon rears its ugly head.

Throughout the project Claus and Agata were in one country and we were in another. Fortunately we have the Internet. We did not use email. Instead all written communication went through a group on Facebook Messenger. This made it open to all, direct and easy to pass comment. In addition a great deal of conversation and screen sharing happened via appear.in. If you’re not aware of appear.in then take a look as it allows for the quick and easy creation of online meeting rooms with chat and screen sharing facilities. It is outstanding.

Stuart held the project together  during its life, by being the most active communicator, whilst the rest of us ran around and did our bits. That worked well.

If this project was about one thing it was about members of the larp community with varying backgrounds and skills coming together to achieve a common goal. I’ve often thought of larpers as being the nicest group of people I know and what happened here to quickly go through a process of ideas, decisions, education and construction really did prove that point to me. If the larp community works together then a lot of good things can happen.

Well larp tickets is up and running so what next?

Well first and foremost LARPBook will support larp tickets to help keep it running at its best. I’m sure also that Dziobak will keep coming up with cool larping ideas

It also marks an interesting point in LARPBook’s life as we created something new for another larp group. This is not going to be an isolated interested as we are already looking at an updated web site for a UK larp club and a major overhaul of larpbook itself.

Good things happen with cooperation.

 

 

 

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