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.

 

 

 

[StatusLARP] – Videos for LARP

[StatusLARP] – Videos for LARP

My journey into StatusLarp started when Reno sent me a link to his Random Character Generator. So here is that video!

Yes it really is rolling up a character the old fashioned way (with dice). Yes it is a lot of fun. Useful – potentially but I think that depends entirely on your game. And also if you really want a disposable fantasy character – awesome. I mention the disposable character as something that is created as an emergency fill in (for example death of a venerated character at a fest event), but when roll played takes on a life of its own. Here its not the generation process that matters – its what you do with it afterwards. So you know – no way am I knocking a random character generator. Also I now want to play a sweater knitting dwarf.

The Random Character Generator is the largest part of [StatusLARP] as I write. Its part of a playlist that is 54 vids long.

That in itself is an achievement. Although not the end of things. There are quite a few other uploads in this channel. Fun things like larp songs and practical things like using leather layers and thonging.

All in all a fun channel. Yes I have subscribed – which means there is a good chance of seeing more from Reno on LARPBook.

Here are some  [StatusLARP] links for you

The Random Character Generator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SA1s9gSBaw

The [StatusLARP] Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ6lcOMRTRTkWO4xllwceGg

 

 

 

Children’s LARPs – Europe

Children’s LARPs – Europe

We’ve been exploring LARPs that focus on children recently. This is out third set of listings – this time covering organisations in continental Europe.

Anecdotally we’ve heard of great things throughout Scandinavia and also the Netherlands. However for the purpose of this series we’ve focused on organisations where we either had an organiser talk directly to us or a champion come forward and evangelise to us. This is true of our lists for the UK and USA as well. We felt that as children were involved we needed just a little bit more than checking out a website. Its not possible for us to check everything in person so using these personal recommendations has been important to us.

We’re also very happy to expand this list. Keep sending in recommendations and we will happily keep adding them in.

However despite saying that we have been passed a list of larps in Denmark that includes larps for children. Here is the link to that resource: http://www.spilrollespil.dk/kampagner

Here is the list of Larps for Children.

Sindeon

Web : http://www.sindeon.hu/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sindeontabor
Country:  Hungary
Programs for Children 8 – 18 yeears of Age throughout the year. The main event is a 2 week summer camp. Educational goals are included within the games via both social inclusion (learn from anothers point of viwe) and more practical skills such as money management.

Games – N – Stuff

Web: http://gamesnstuff.com/cms/
Facebook: http://gamesnstuff.com/cms/
Country: Netherlands
Info: Runs games for Ages 6 to 12 and has been operating over the last decade. Many of the children who go here have moved onto play and NPC in big Fest larps such as Conquest of Mythodea.

Artago

Web: http://www.artago.nl/artago/
Country: Netherlands
Artago specialises in providing larp experiences for 8 – 13 year olds and runs 3 events per year.

Expatio

Web: http://expiatio.nl/
Country: Netherlands
Expatio is a long running larp in the Netherlands that provides a larp experience for 12-18 year olds. There seem to 4 games a year – including an introduction.

RollespilsFabrikken

Web: https://rollespilsfabrikken.dk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rollespilsfabrikken/
Web for Junior Games: http://juniorrollespil.dk/billeder/
Magic School (College of Wizardry Universe): http://rollespilsakademiet.wixsite.com/denmagiskeskole
Country: Denmark

Winners of a DUF award in Denmark. DUF is a national level organisation that promotes and enables the running of events of young people. In 2016 RollespilsFabrikken won the Youth organisation of the year award. Which is notable as it was a larping organisation up against all other types of youth activity. Though having met some of its members not too surprised.

WaldRitter

Web: http://waldritter.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waldritter
Country: Germany
Running accross Germany. WaldRitter aims to develop children in accordance with the guidelines of the UN Children’s Rights Covention. The result is a mix of events that work with youth clubs, schools and others which provides a range of experiences for young people. I’d recommend reading their website as there are a lot of good ideas going on here in the field of childrens larps

Cave Canem

Web: http://cavecanem.rolling.cz/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cave.canem.larp
Country: Czech Republic

Cave Canem runs events based around Baltic and Slavic fairy tales aiming to look at themes and content of these. Children have their own story lines in Cave Canem allowing them to take part at the clubs events.

Dromen van Ankoria

Web: http://www.oneiros.be/index.php/2016-02-29-11-02-52/dromen-van-ankoria
Country: Belgium
Operated by Oneiros, Dromen van Ankoria is a Belgium larp for children of the ages 6 – 13. Events generally run from a Friday Evening to a Sunday Afternoon. The game takes place in a fantastical world. Protagonists are either other children or adults.

Vortex

Web: http://www.oneiros.be/index.php/39-projecten/vortex/128-vortex
Country: Belgium
Also run bu Oneiros is Vortex. This larp is for players aged 12-18. Allowing a younger to player to experience larp in a peer group before moving on to adult events. Family group participation is encouraged in Vortex.

TidsReiser

Web: http://tidsreiser.no/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tidsreiser
Country: Norway

TidsReiser specialises in creating larps for children. In addition to their own planned events, Tidreiser can also supply larps to schools or as birthday entertainments. Providing both an educational and or fun experience.

Thanks to

Aaron Vanek, Will O’Bourne, Kelmon80 (via Reddit), Tar_alcaran (via Reddit), Zarremgregarrok Ondřej Palovský, Annelies Van Duppen, Arjen de Jong, Anders Gredal Berner

 

 

The image for this post comes via Flickr User Sam Byford. You can learn more about this image and it’s licence here.

Writing a World Building Style Guide — Quintessential Editor

This guide comes from the blog of the Quintessential Editor – which is a good read.  This particular piece is designed for writers. However if you are looking to create a world for a larp – there is good guidance here.

Today, I wanted to talk about style guides. No, not the Chicago Manual of Style. I’m talking about self-generated style guides that serve as a bible for your universe(s). I’ve been working with the Human Legion recently, and I’ve spent some time organizing world buildings notes spanning multiple authors. Different authors, writing different series, but […]

via Writing a World Building Style Guide — Quintessential Editor

Kickstarter: Change Blade

Kickstarter: Change Blade

So this is an interesting one. It’s a KickStarter that has the aim of building a facility to manufacturer “Change Blades”. Which are Larp  Safe weapons that can be broken down into components – such as Blade and Hilt or Blade and Pole or so on. The idea being that instead of owning individual weapons you buy the pieces you need to create a range of weapons.

That is an eye catching idea.

I’m also really happy to be able to say that the KickStarter page does into quite some details about construction, usage and safety. I think this is essential as I’m sure any approach like this will have many people wondering about safety when compared to more traditional weapon making techniques.

There are a number of weapons illustrated. Something about them makes me thing that they would be more suitable for the U.S. rather than by comparison. But I must stress this is just a personal reaction to the look of the weapons. Someone else may have an entirely different point of view.

One idea does come instantly to mind. This could be a very good idea for clubs. Where a stock of parts can equip crew with long swords for one encounter, naginata for another and quarterstaff for another all using the same items. That really could be very useful indeed.

If you’d like to learn more – then click here for the link.

 

 

20 Years of Curious Pastimes

20 Years of Curious Pastimes

LARP is a new hobby. Although playing roles goes back to time immemorial what we know of as being a Larp is realistically not much more than 30 years old. This means that not many groups have achieved big anniversary milestones, much less thought of good ways to mark the passage of time.

Well Curious Pastimes in the UK have made the 20 year mark. Starting in 1996, 2016 see’s their twentieth year of larping. They have chosen to commemorate this with a website. One that allows us to dip from the current moment and back to the origins of Curious Pastimes.

If you want to see it – this is the site:

https://curiouspastimes20yearsofheroes.wordpress.com/

Actually I say website as right now that is what it is and for many people interested that is all that can be seen. Attendees at this years “Renewal” event however will see this transformed into a physical display. That should be something to behold!

It’s arranged in chronological order – starting with the most current moment worth mentioning (in this case Vollsanger from the Crimson Moon), and each page takes us further back in time through the history of Curious Pastimes

Navigation is simple – you just drill back in time page by page. Unless you either take the search option. (So I duly typed in 1996 to see a smaller number of pictures than for a modern event (I think that is to expected), but they were good pictures. Try it and you’ll find UK Larp Fashion (and a lot of green skin paint), from the mid 90’s.), or click on a month and year from the Archives list at the bottom of the page. (So I duly clicked on August 2006 to go back 10 years – and ended up looking at the scene of a large battle).

It’s easy to spend an afternoon doing this. Come to think of it I did spend an afternoon going back and for through the Curious Pastimes archive. It was compulsive. I particularly like the review from Adventurer Magazine in 1997 that mentioned a Sheep/Koala. But that’s just me.

If you’re wondering how this timeline was made – well its all to do with the membership of Curious Pastimes chipping with items from their personal memories, old magazines and photographs. After all back in 1996 no one really thought about what would be going on 20 years later.

I do think we think we should thank everyone behind this timeline for putting it together. It’s a rare treat to be able to pour through the collective memory’s of a major larp gtoup and all involved deserve all the applause we can give them. I first discovered this project at Larpcon when EmmyLou Laird showed me the work in progress. Thank you EmmyLou!

 

The picture used in this post is by Oliver Facey – thank you Oliver. He’s a well known British Larp photographer and this is his website: http://oliverfacey.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

The LARP Safe Walking Stick – Redux

The LARP Safe Walking Stick – Redux

It seems that this is the project that will not die.

Our last foray into this area included a possible design based on the discussion that come out of earlier posts. This is the post with the design notes

Well there were great many comments on this. To me the most notable came from Kes Sampson of Balrog Games  and from  Drew from Role Playing Elements

Kes put his comments to use via Facebook. This is what he had to say

The tip could be an issue in weapons passing, it would need to be perhaps a piece of leather that you could replace as it became worn.

and

Leather end dies last quite a while. So its no big thing to stick another on. Even if you do not intend to hit with Ferrell end its too risky in the heat of battle. I have known swords to be failed because of a small gem in it as its hard same as a Ferrell

The big and legitimate concern being that a Ferule that impacts the group could become be see as too hard. and a big risk in combat.

Drew went a bit further with a longer discussion on the design and also a new design document that he has given me permission to share. The diagram is the main image for this post – and I’ll also post it at the end. This area Drews points.

Hi,
As I mentioned, it’s an interesting idea and probably a good option for people wanting to give some range for accessibility in a Larp game.

As it stands it would certainly work for smaller games I think where Refs could be convinced of the design but it poses an inherent degree of un-safety. Primarily from the exposed foot. I’d agree that the addition of a handle lower down directs people to hit with the head of the staff but the fact that people’s natural inclination would be to strike in the normal way they use the stick (if surprised etc). Also I don’t like weapons that are ‘safe’ for one user who knows the weapon, as there is always risk that some random will pick it up and use it.

I had some ideas based on a staff I made for an old character who, whilst I might be hale-and-hearty, relied on a stick for walking.

Though I didn’t need it I figured that I would be putting some weight on it so wanted it pretty resilient. It was used in the LT, so was checked reasonably well without issue. That said this is a modification of the design so for it to pass everywhere isn’t 100%.

jpg:

Or pdf version:
http://rpg-elements.com/images/Content/Plans/Walking-Stick-01—Sheet1.pdf

In principle the only difference between this and a normal LARP weapon is that the foot is a wholly encapsulated affair with a nylon (or similar) internal foot and neoprene/rubber backstop to stop the core projecting into the foam of the foot. Then there is an outer wrap to take off the hard edge of the neoprene disk, then a final outer covering of foam. Depending on load I’d go with 12mm rod or 16mm tube, 16mm rod is pretty heavy so I’d definitely go for tube unless it really needed the strength (hopefully not). Too big a core OD and you’ll be looking at a very chunky weapon.

Perpendicular top handle etc are all pretty much decorative and could be supported with leather wraps similar to an axe does:
http://rpg-elements.com/index.php/tutorials/10-let-s-make-a-post-apocalyptic-lrp-axe-part-1 (bottom of the article)

I should probably caveat that it’s going to make a big difference how much this staff is needing and what it will carry is really going to effect the life of it. 9 stone of Larper is a big difference to 20 and someone putting all their weight on it rather than just relying for some extra stability will again strongly effect the usage level.

I don’t think and staff would live forever but with this design a degree of preventative maintenance every few years replacing the tip of the foot (and if a wrap was positioned low down allowing just the base to be re-skinned) it as a whole weapon would have a long life.

If you wanted to do something properly clever I’d go for various densities of castable foams, maybe something like FlexFoam-iT 25 but as it stands I went for materials everyone would be familiar with.

 

As you can see the load bearing “foot” end or cap is encapsulated inside a replaceable section. The original discussions seemed to be around different end materials. This one though – of a load bearing area inside a something that is safe and replaceable makes so much more sense.

This will be the design I end up going for.

 

 

Is Adam Savages Tested a Good Place for LARPers?

Is Adam Savages Tested a Good Place for LARPers?

I first encountered Tested.com through a YouTube suggestion. In fact for a very long time I only watched the videos. I’d just pick one that sounded interesting and let it play. Over time I’ve realised that is more to offer than as a generic geek culture / maker culture place. It does in fact have really good information on it for larpers.

Take a look at this one on painting a zombie mask. The dialogue that considers thoughts on character, and colour really work for me and help understand perhaps the thought process that could lead to better prop preparation.

In fact prop construction and design is a big part of Tested. Adam Savage is well known as a movie and costume geek and this blasts in through in projects that cover the recreation of classic movie props. Like this fave from Barbarella (ok showing age) .

 

I completely understand the need for larpers to absolutely not copy movies. However since a lot of us are inspired by film why not look into how a prop is made to inspire the making of something bespoke for a game?

So far I’m coming down on the side that Tested is indeed a valuable resource.

Of course it’s not all prop making you’ll find gadget reviews; ranging from drone (possibly useful) to coffee makers (not so much). So it is not all gold; and there are some geeky discussions that may be fun to watch but in general they do not really directly help us out.

Then we find things like. Creature Geek.  Essentially a podcast where special effects artists talking about their trade – which puts is firmly back on the track for larp friendly content.

This bounce back between relevant and not so much simply highlights that Tested is not made with Larp in mind. Its a site for people who want to make and explore things.  It’s for people who want to think about the world and film culture. For me I believe this will entertain a lot of larpers. It also suggests to me that this may inspire good ideas in people and also show off techniques that you may want to use. It’s unlikely to make you a better story teller; but it may help figure out how to get that cool thing you want for the next event working.

So yes – Tested is good for larpers.

 

The image used in this article is from YouTube. We hope Adam doesn’t mind.

 

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