Preparing For A Larp

Preparing For A Larp

You’re getting ready for a LARP. What do you need to do?

If you’re an experienced larper then you probably have a good routine for this, but maybe an idea here may help. If larping is new to you – well I hope this gives a little insight into the things you need to remember.

The general mantra of this article is to do a little work in order take things as easily as possible when going to a larp.

Everything Takes Longer Than You Expect it too

Remember the law of larp  preparation says
“All estimates are wrong. Time taken is always greater than you expect to be”. So if you don’t want to spinning around like a crazed Tasmanian Devil on the day you are due to travel on then consider how much time you need to get ready – and then double it.

Preparation Depends on Accommodation

What you need to take depends on your sleeping arrangements. So we’ll start with things common to all larps and then get more specific from there.

Character, Costume and You

This can start weeks or months ahead of time. Why? Character Costume and props cost money. They also may need to be made from scratch of converted from something else. There’s no point in doing this at the last minute – take your time to put everything you need together.

Once you have everything there is the character pack.

Think of this as being separate to packing your other clothes. The aim here is to collect all of your costume and props to make sure everything you need is going with you. Once you’re sure this complete your character is done. In fact double check – especially the small fiddly props that are easy to miss but essential for characterisation.

Now you can focus on any out of character clothes you need. Make sure you have changes of clothes, toiletries and anything you may need for a trip away. I always include some basic first aid materials and pain-killers. The hope is never to use them but since in larp you do things you do not normally do – it is a good idea to carry medical supplies. Interestingly although I have used my medical packs in the past it is never as a direct consequence of larping. Most of the time its via slipping on tripping on things – the kind of accidents that can happen anywhere at anytime. Never as a result of role-play or combat.

Finally the last thing you should always check is personal medication. Should you have to take regular medication make sure you have it with you.

Ok that’s the character and yourself taken care of but it does not end there

Power and Gear

The 21st century larper is oft surrounded by power guzzling devices. Most visible of which is the ever present companion that is the smartphone. Now here’s the issue. Camping can mean no power. Shared accommodations like bunkhouses can mean limited access to power sockets. What’s a geek to do?

For no power get a good rechargeable power bank.Make sure it is fully charged before you leave. Check to make sure you have cables. This will help keep your phone running for several days if no other power is about. Solar charging power banks won’t fully replenish per day – but in good light you might just get an extra days power out of them.

If you’re sharing what may be limited sockets then take a multi-socket extension cable. If you’re sharing a room with a group of people and there is one power socket then the larper with the extension is the hero of the larp.

Camping

If the event involves camping just some thoughts

Always put up your tent before the event. This ensures that the event is in good condition and also means that you know you have everything that you need in that department. You may also want to consdier waterproofing your tent. A tent can never be too waterproof. Especially in the UK where the weather can be anything at anytime.

Although the actual camping gear you take is going to be down to a combination of personal preference and the event you are going to there is no harm in trying to be organised. Here’s an idea. I’ve been returning to fest larps so I’ve built a kitchen box for my tent. This is a heavy duty storage box into which I put a camp cooker, gas, collapsible wash bowls, cooking utensils, pans and so on. It makes it easy to carry and the box doubles as a small table.

So the idea is – find a way to pack and collate your equipment that works for you and your events. Use this to prepare things in advance in order to make your life a little easier.

Food and drink

It’s a good idea to make sure you know how you are getting fed and watered. On a catered event that’s largely take care of. Though you may want to carry some snacks and drinks of your choice just in case you need a little something extra.

Events without catering mean that you need to plan out your food. Its much easier to figure out what you can cook on location and taken matching supplies than to run around at the last minute trying to find something suitable, or worse still having to dash off the larp site. Remember that this is not limited to camping events. Locations with their own kitchens can be problematical. Never assume a certain size hob, oven or even the existence of a microwave.

Think simple and think easy to cook

That way you cannot go far wrong.

Things that are too easy to forget

Lights – make sure you have one more sources of light. Such as lanterns or torches. If possible these should be in character for the event. However having light is more important. Trying to wander through a forest in the middle of night to find your camp or a toilet is no fun without a light.

Drinking Vessels – I mentioned the camp kitchen but in game cups, mugs, tankards and goblets are vital and I keeping forgetting and losing mine – so get good ones and hang onto them

Makeup Remover – seriously – do not go without this.

I’m sure also have ideas on this an I am open to adding extensions to this list as required.

 

Most of all be as rested as you can be on the run up to the larp. You’ll have more fun if you are alert and awake.

LARPBook Show Episode 56: The Flem Paradox

LARPBook Show Episode 56: The Flem Paradox


A couple of things to note here – first of all we have a new audio streamer that will allow you to play not just this podcast but others as well. Enjoy the back catalogue!

The Flem Paradox is not about weird things in Netherlands larp. Though we would like to try those. It is instead a light hearted take on the fact that Rob does this podcast trying to avoid talking due to persisting flu like symptoms. However the PP of Phelgm Paradox sounds far too like an entry in the Marvel Cinematic universe.  So we had to go with Flem.

Recorded on  August the 8th this show is just days after an illness aborted attempted to get to the Lorien Trust Summer Moot in the UK.  I think this may have to be a future topic to consider. “What happens when a larper is ill?”. Obviously play stops but will there be a knock on effect at the event in question. Is there is how should this be managed by the games organisers.

This being our August show we get into stride of talking does and don’ts for people going into the field for a large camping larp. We tend to do this every year and if you listen to the show you’ll get our views on such things as camping and essential equipment / kit to take.

Time was spend on another topic that we will have to look at in more detail. That is weapons safety checking. Once upon a time the a weapons safety check really asked the questions – is the weapon likely to break in use and become dangerous? And is it to solid – will hitting someone with this do harm?

Good measures and ones that all weapons checks should stand by. However we are currently seeing a rise in weapons inclusion or exclusion by brand or model. I’m thinking hear of items made by brands such as Calimacil and the new Epic Armoury Hybrid ranges. These employ moulded foam and tend to be harder than traditional construction methods. This means that a new sword may be considered safe by one group and not by another. Its a confusing situation that needs to be examined. In the show we highlight the differences in UK fest larps but we may be reaching a point where equipment buyers will need buy different equipment for use with different groups. Not in itself a massive problem in of itself but one that could trip up newcomers to the hobby and life more complex and expensive for all.

This episode also sees another test of going live on Facebook. It seems likely that broadcast live on Facebook will be medium of choice in the future.

Finally – one last thing we have a new email address it is [email protected]. Use this address and your message will be forwarded to the best person to deal with it. Usually this is Rob if it is to do with the web site and Stu if its all about the show.

 

THANK YOU

A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.

END SHOW

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A Return to Fest Larps

A Return to Fest Larps

This is not a how to article. It really isn’t about the best way to do anything. Instead I thought it might be interesting to talk about getting ready to go back to large Fest Larps.

Once upon a time (back in the dimly remembered 90’s), I started larping. A few years into this I went to my first large scale larp – The Gathering.
I attended this off and on for a number of years. Then for a multiplicity of reasons I stopped and focussed on smaller more intimate events.

That is until 2016 when I attended Renewal by Curious Pastimes for a about a day (which instantly made me want more); and also Fairweather Manor 4. I began to realise that my absence from larger events had gone on for far too long.

So this is about a return. More especially getting ready for the Lorien Trust Summer Moot 2017 and full attendance at Renewal 2017.

Before I go on I’d just like to say that I had originally planned a 3 event cycle – Curious Pastimes Event 3, Summer Moot and Renewal. A cut foot meant that I had to drop out of Event 3. Next Year though now that I have the bug for event camping coursing through my vanes Curious Pastimes and the Lorien Trust can expect to see more of me, health willing.

Accommodation

So if you’re going to a fest larp you’re going to need a tent.

I definitely needed a new tent. My existing one was old and not really suitable anymore. It was time for tent shopping.

Although any tent will do, for a UK fest it soon became clear talking to people that the best option was going to be a bell tent. That allows the option of in character camping. Also I’ve camped off an on most of my life and I like a canvas tent. I also find that a tent I can stand up up in is really essential as a personal preference. Since I’ve got somewhat dubious balance something a bit wider also helps.

That led to my first investment – a 4m bell tent. An absolute shed load of camping space.

Sleeping in a tent needs a bed. I already have a comfortable camp cot and this year I’ve added a self-inflating mattress to it. I’d recommend that to anyone. If you have a camp bed, put a hikers self inflating mat on it. The result is very comfy

That’s the tent and I already had the bed.

If you’re camping you need a stove. I ended finding one on sale but in the process discovered more options than ever before – taking a break from something for years and coming back is a sure way to keenly observe change. This case it was the wide variety of inexpensive stoves of all sizes. In the end I opted for the type that takes a CP250 canister internally. It’s a long way from the smallest and not the hottest but it has stability on its side as it is wide, flat and low to the ground. I tend to favour stability.

I needed cooking implements. So stole a couple of old items from the kitchen (I’ll probably regret that and get ordered to buy some new by the missus!), and also some cheap camping pans.

All in all I was please by how the budget was shaping up. Sure the tent was not inexpensive. Everything else though was not. It turns out the camping basic kit set can be picked up easily and cheaply. For the record it was a combination of Amazon and supermarket sales that fulfilled my needs.

Other accessories included a table, and chair (I already had) and lamps. Like a lot of larpers I seem to have a quite turnover of lamps. Acquiring, using, losing, etc but at least means I already have some some.

Accommodation was sorted.

Costume and Character

I’m not going to use the dread word garb (if you listen to the show you may know I have a instinctive dislike of that word). However going to fest larp just the same as any other larp means costume. Now I could spend a lot of time researching the best possible character for myself. However when the situation allows I like organic evolution.

At the Lorien trust I have a large number of friends who play as Romans. Now I don’t want to play centurion but I already have costuming that could fit me into a more civilian role. So that’s the plan. I’ll play a less combatant civilian and build things up from there. Hopefully by the end of my first event I’ll have a nice character building up that I can continue to use.

Similarly at Renewal I intend to play with the Wolves and I’m already looking at a variations on a character that is older, experienced, whom no longer needs to fight but instead is closer to the Gods.

Both of these plans have a few things in common

  • I’m not planning to put my own creativity onto the game, I’m planning to learn about whats going on now and work within its plot and culture
  • To help get into things I will be playing with friends and not against them
  • The characters I’m playing will not be set in stone before the events. This allows space to adjust the character so it fits into how I want to experience the fest.
  • My plans allow for simple costume and props – that I can expand on using the fest traders

In other words – I’m going to try and make sure I play the fest in a way that allows me to build a character that works for me. I’m avoiding setting too many pre-conceived ideas

Also these characters work well with my existing costuming. And as I’ve suggested if that doesn’t work out there are the traders. Traders at fest games are a great resource. You can look, feel, try and buy. I fully intend to take advantage.

What Will I Be Doing

The answer to this one is quite a lot. I’ll probably come back needing some time away; or failing that a large pizza and a comfy sofa. So the plan is as follows

At The Summer Moot

  • Developing a character and playing with the Roman contingent of the Griffins Faction
  • Learning the media rules of the Lorien Trust and applying these to creating a large gallery and hopefully also conducting some interviews
  • Possibly running a video diary
  • Creating article(s) about the the event

At Renewal

Last year injury issues pushed us back to only one days coverage. This year the plan is to camp on site the day before the event starts (the Thursday). Curious Pastimes have again said I can have a working area – and I will be taking them up that. The working area will be used to edit photos and write artcles during the event. This should make for much livelier coverage.

  • I’ll be playing a character in the Wolves faction
  • Taking advantage of what I learned last year for more photos and interviews
  • Running a video diary
  • Hanging out with our Friends at the Crimson Moon
  • Writing articles and talking to / working with the other documentors

At before these events I’ll be prepping camping gear, cameras and other paraphernalia. Plus of course getting quite excited.

If you do see me at and event please come over, say hi and have chat. I’d love to meet you.

 

The photo with this post was one I took at last years Renewal.It was picked out due to the sense of atmosphere which I’m hoping to capture at these coming events.

Physical Contact in LARP: The Larpers BFF Edition

Physical Contact in LARP: The Larpers BFF Edition

We started with an article about physicality in LARP. You can read that article here. We also discussed it on the LARPBook Show.

Even before I finished this original article I’d realised two things. It was only scratching the surface of the topic and realistically I needed to learn more from the larp community to make something worthwhile.

To that end I posted in UK LRP and Larpers BFF; both on Facebook. My aim was to canvas a wider ranger of views What i got back was so useful, and well thought through that it became important not to lose those thoughts. I’ve already collated the responses from UK LRP  in a digest. You can find that here.

What follows are the responses from Larpers BFF.

Some of the points raised here especially from Tom Boeckx and Anders Wänn will need some more thought and quite likely another article.

From Larpers BFF

 

Pieter Siripik
I am just a bit curious what do you mean by safety consultant in this context “What you think safety is and what a health and safety consultant things safety is could well be two entirely different things.” or safety professional in this one “Don’t forget to a safety professional ”
Do you mean simply a dedicated person to have an eye on this, or does this have a specific meaning in your environment?

Reply:Robert Davies: I do mean having someone to keep an impartial eye on safety. I’ve been to some games where this is a thing and it seems to help. Especially with checking the play area

Sebastian Utbult
Sebastian Utbult Here’s what we did for a larp designed with heavy physical larping in mind, and I’d say it’s based on generally the same principles found at many larps here in scandinavia: Workshop (ie training) physical contact beforehand. Especially how to start “lo…See more

Reply: Robert Davies: Thanks Sebastian that’s a really considered approach to the problem.

Reply:Sebastian Utbult: Btw, our larp used “anything you could find that can be used as a weapon”, ie real stuff and no boffer weapons. Forgot to mention that another rule was you couldn’t have physical conflict while someone was armed – you had to find a way of resolving the conflict then and there (and also, remember “biggest weapon controls the situation”), either by yielding, or disengaging or leaving etc. That absolutely doesn’t work for all larps, but I found it worked really well in that specific setting and playerbase, and the rawness of violence/threats made with nailboards or real knives really added a layer of grit.

Reply: Robert Davies: I bet would be a really solid emotional reaction. Very immersive

Tom Boeckx
I’ve found these types of played (physical) conflict work best within a clearly defined rule set, and less so with relying only on trust.

One way of having implemented it in a system-light larp, included having a strength-stat (or toughness, or brawn, or whatnot) that has a rating of let’s say 1 to 3.

All unarmed physical conflict was regulated by a simple rule:

If you initiate a conflict, you put your hand on different parts of their body to show your level of “strength”:
– Wrist = 1
– Elbow = 2
– Shoulder = 3

The opponent responds in kind by placing his/her hand on your wrist/elbow/shoulder to indicate their lvl of strength.

All the rest is logic itself: If you trump your opponent, both parties clearly know who the winner is and act out a mock combat, clearly knowing who is supposed to come out on top. If the difference is more than one, the guidelines/rules encouraged you to exaggerate in taking the beating. In case of a draw, you could mock combat to your heart’s desire, but no one could emerge as a “victor”.
Mass combat simply required you to add 1 to your own level for each combattant on your side.

This still calls for common sense and a good eye for spotting unsafe situations/obstacles, etc… but this is a responsibility all participants at our events have learned admirably.

Reply: Tom Boeckx Just realized this is more of a rules thing, and you weren’t really looking for that I suppose

Reply: Robert Davies I wasn’t looking for rules but this is a really interesting technique – that adds a guide as to how the roleplay should turn out. I’ll have to remember this

Anders Wänn
Interesting topic!

I think of boffers/foam-swords as a very widely spread (meta-)technique for playing violence one step away from direct touching played violence. So I read your article as if it was about boffer violence, and it made a lot of sense that way too.

Most of these points are things that I have seen the boffer larp community painfully learn over the decades. And it makes a big difference, boffer fights used to be much more dangerous than they are now. That implies that your points are sound!

(Related: Much of this applies to airsoft weapons in larps as well. Even if I think of their role as usually more simulationist and less meta than boffers. But I suspect it is because I have done some proper historical swordfighting so I notice the huge difference compared to boffers. And I assume that someone with comparable levels of expertise in proper firefights would consider the way airsoft weapons are used in larp as a meta-technique.)

Enough with the boffers and on to more serious stuff: I am missing a very important segment from your article. There are a number of factors that are much more important than rules or the actual physical prowess of other players, when it comes to how safe I feel to partake in/encourage a larp with a lot of aggressive/violent contact and themese:
– Play to win mentality
– Rape culture
– Homophobia
– Racism
(I’m pretty sure this list is longer, these were simply top of my head)
The less there are of those attitudes among the participants, the more confident I am that all is going to go well. Because those are so present in our off culture they will bleed strongly into the larp if left unchecked and unaddressed by organisers.

When I feel safe among the players, when I believe that they truly strive for my enjoyment at least as much as their own, then it is much easier to let down my guard (figuratively and practically) and get seriously involved in receiving a decorative enjoyable beating.

PS: I do not mean that it is within the scope of an article like this to write a guide on how to fix rape culture and sexism in larps. But those are certainly subjects that should be mentioned in a guide about safety and physical violence.

PPS: “teach people to trust” should probably be changed to “teach people to behave in a way that merits trust”. (NB: I’m probably missing some cultural difference regarding “the NPC or Monster crew…”. When I larp I expect the vast majority of my interactions, including violence, to be with other players, not with NPCs.)

Beth A-b
“Don’t Expect People to Read the Rules” is my least-favorite thing ever: pre-game meetings going over things I already know are extremely boring and frustrating and I hates them. I don’t know a great solution, though community-wide norms help a lot.

Reply:Robert Davies I hate boring meetings, but have also seen a lot of people turn up with no rules experience. The trick must be not to bore the regulars but make sure the new comers are ok?

Beth A-b
“As in the NPC or Monster crew would not be trying to do something they cannot do – after all they have the information on what all the characters are capable of. So go with it.” is entirely inapplicable to New England sports larps: the staff will be expecting the player to decide whether or not to resist, and the combat systems are designed for competition. That norm will depend a lot on what norms staff have created in the game.

Reply: Sebastian Utbult What’s a “sport larp”? I take it it’s not an actual larp about sports, right? 😀

Reply: Beth A-b Right! It is what people have been calling a particular group of larps. They are called “sports” larps because they include competitive physical combat under defined rules sets.

They tend to have narrative arcs over repeating weekends, sometimes for years, use boffers and/or bird seed packets and/or airsoft weapons to play out physical combat, have divided staff/players with primary narrative being players vs. NPCs rather than player vs. player or player with player, and have player characters created by the players rather than pre-written characters.

Contact and Physicality in LARP: The UK LRP Digest

Contact and Physicality in LARP: The UK LRP Digest

We started by talking about direct physical action in larp. Such as restraining someone, or manhandling them. Looking at this idea evolved into an article that considered things to think about if this is to be included. You can read that article here. This spilled over into the LARPBook show.

However I was aware that this is a complex issue where the value is in more than one point of view. I was also aware of the valuable differences between different game cultures. Both in terms of genre and nationality.

In order to learn more I asked the Facebook communities UK LRP  and Larpers BFF, These were quite intentional selections. LARPBook is UK based so I wanted to solicit more information from the UK. However we’ve always been about learning from other nations. So that it why I also looked at Larpers BFF. Its a good source of international discussion.

The original plan was to put both digests in the same post. However it soon became apparent that this would not work. Simply put there was far too much comment. Using a single post would have created something that was long, unwieldy and ultimately hard to read. Therefore we are breaking things down by group. What follows is the UK LRP digest.

From UK LRP

 

Ross Allan:
Much as I’m not adverse to a bit of grapplin’, it’s not something I think should occur in LARP.

Yes, we could wear some kind of signifier, perhaps a Body Dev like coloured ribbon, but the issue comes when people aren’t as skilled as they think.

I’m well versed in pratfalls. It’s a skill I’ve had ever since I was a nipper, and I’ve never broken a bone in my body (so far as I’m aware). So one could argue that I know how to land myself.

But I’m also 17 stone of muscle, bone, lard and stupid. If someone of a lighter build tries to grapple me and I end up landing on top of them, there’s only one outcome. That’s just not worth the risk.

So whilst ‘consenting adults’ might seem the rational answer, it’s not.

Example of it going wrong? I was helping to IC restrain someone according to the rules (three people needed), and wound up with my hand cheese grattered between two sets of chain mail.

Little lasting harm done, but not something to be repeated, even though it was all well within the established and accepted rules

Simon Brind:
I’m a massive fan of larps with proper violence. As long as there is a solid escalation and de-escalation mechanic in place.

EmmM Dewey:
As I had to explain to a couple of capable chaps who wanted to try some grappling at an event I was crewing. “The test is not, can you do it safely. The test is, can a brand new player see what you did, think it’s cool, and try it on a random bloke later that evening, after a beer or so. And say said random bloke has a bad back…” (I’ve had to first aid a bloke who grappled someone at a non-grappling event. His excuse that it wasn’t time in yet, and the target was a mate, didn’t stop the necessity of us calling an ambulance.

Gareth Farrant – Kit Goblins:
Honest answer bit of grappling if it makes sense is fine… but fake punches, or headbuts and expecting other player to fall unconscious is balls (especially if its some mage type swinging) and annoys me.

Reply: Gideon Lawrence Aww… I like fake punches… but I rarely expect anyone to fall unconscious I just like the rp aspect.

Reply: Gareth Farrant Yes, but you are normaly playing some fighter type npc when doing so.. its the wimpy, bookworm type plyers/npc who annoy me (who seem to think the world have glass jaws)

Benedict Walsh
Touch not, lest ye be touched harder.

Hemming Ross
Should not happen at all. It is injuries waiting to happen.

Jayce Antique – Manticore:
From a safety perspective it’s just down to the group your with.

If you know your crowd is skilled in handling themselves with the appropriate break fall techniques , happy to take a bit of bumping around and know when to use a safe signal (normally tapping yourself several times on the chest or arm is enough) and there are enough watchers to keep an eye. It should be encouraged.

But if the crew is learning and not had much form in breaking a fall or signals- just no.

Ideally no anyway because most LARP has such a diverse mix of skill level and where they are at… I wouldn’t

Reply: Jayce Antique Also probably take on board colour coding. Have been in games where there are people that have light blue or red ribbons to signal they are trained in some form of martial art so you’re ok to proceed in some fancy grappling or weapon work. But most of those guys already now it takes 2 hits to kill someone

Reply: Brian C – k It’s down to the organisers whether they except that on site or not, not the players regardless of what they agree among themselves. Mainly because the organisers are responsible for what happens at their event and insurance etc.

Reply: Jayce Antique That’s the be all and end all.

It’s all good to suggest it but the Insurance and safety procedures you need to have is nuts to setup but once your team knows how to handle it – it becomes normal

Morgan Wilkinson
I think the bar isn’t just consent, it’s knowing the other person well enough to be comfortable working with their limits as well as your own. So anything more than very minor physical contact either wants to be discussed beforehand or to be with someone you have enough of an OC rapport with to be more or less on the same page improvising, and know what they’re likely to be comfortable with and what’s likely to hurt them or freak them out.

That’s not something you can really legislate for, or control in anything beyond a very small system, because it relies on players trusting each other and being trustworthy, and that’s not something you can police easily.
Which is a shame, because a good bit of grappling among friends is generally awesome fun. But the fact that there are people I can trust to safely pick me up and throw me around, and people who can trust me to do the same to them, doesn’t mean I can or should do that with just anyone.
I think the bar isn’t just consent, it’s knowing the other person well enough to be comfortable working with their limits as well as your own. So anything more than very minor physical contact either wants to be discussed beforehand or to be with someone you have enough of an OC rapport with to be more or less on the same page improvising, and know what they’re likely to be comfortable with and what’s likely to hurt them or freak them out.

That’s not something you can really legislate for, or control in anything beyond a very small system, because it relies on players trusting each other and being trustworthy, and that’s not something you can police easily.
Which is a shame, because a good bit of grappling among friends is generally awesome fun. But the fact that there are people I can trust to safely pick me up and throw me around, and people who can trust me to do the same to them, doesn’t mean I can or should do that with just anyone.

Reply: Robert Davies I like the bar being I’m comfortable with this thats a good idea

Maximas Von Bracey
Please note, this is very common place at fest events in Germany, ergo Drachenfest.

Reply: Jayce Antique Let’s just face it- Germany is light years ahead in LARP than most countries are. Not to mention German mentality is so much different to that of the others. They have compliance and safety hard wired into them. Seldom do we hear a game with someone recklessly getting injured because of IC combat.
Reply: John Cattes Don’t you believe it. Drachenfest is a game of 5000 nerds with swords, drinking heavily. The injury rates are comparable to those at a UK fest event.
Drachenfest is also not really representative of German LARP. It’s very much it’s own thing tailored to be accessible to international players.

Paul O’ Neill To wade in with a slight variation on the theme of physical risk in LARP…
…what are community member’s feelings vis-a-vis an individual taking personal risks at an event? By this, I mean risks outside of combat – for example, someone climbing a tree to loose arrows at monsters …or, climbing up a building to get into a first floor window (etc.)… any thoughts from organisers perspective (e.g. insurance)?
Reply: Neil Gunfield If you do something outside of the bounds of the game and injure yourself, such as climbing a tree, I doubt you would be covered by the insurance. So, go for your life! lol
Reply: Paul O’ Neill 😀 awesome! You know I will ^_^

Neil Gunfield If both are willing then, in my opinion, go for it. BUT it’s always important to check first, rather than just randomly grabbing someone.

Reply: Paul O’ Neill …but if I were running a game, and several players started taking such risks, should I be worried and intervene? If so, what justification would I have? If they injure themselves (e.g. break a leg) and attempted to sue me/us/the game organisation… as adults in the eyes of the law, I can only assume that they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on – ha! (pls ignore the pun it is a serious question)

Reply:
Neil Gunfield If it were my game, I would risk assess each circumstance as it occurred and react accordingly. If my mate, the rock climber, decides to scale a cliff I’d probably be fine with that. If my mate, the student with zero upper body strength or coordination…See more

John Cattes Depends on the game. At a big mechanically complex game like a fest I’d just say no and maybe have a game mechanic to simulate fistfights.
At a smaller game if might be possible build workshops and safety training into the pregame window so everyone can be safe. This is quite common in continental larps but very rare in the UK.

LARPBook Show Episode 55: The Flying Gimp

LARPBook Show Episode 55: The Flying Gimp

In the run up to this episode of the podcast I’d published an article about using physical force during a larp.  The response to us posting about this in a couple of Facebook groups was both immediate and interesting. As I’d suspect there are multiple points of view on this topic within the larping community.  At this he point of writing this I’m drawing to the conclusion that this is something with no absolute answer. That’s why I believe there will be other articles in the future.

But I digress the feedback gave us to devote this episode to the singular topic of physicality in larp. For a lot of the show it’s expressed as combat; but the principles remain the same in or out of a fighting context.

I have to apologise for the technical difficulties we faced in this episode regarding bringing Luke in. We’d been expecting him to join us from an undisclosed location in London via a good Internet connection, It turns out that terrible Internet was something that was not previously disclosed to Luke. As a result we’ll be reprieving the points in this show with Luke as he is our regular Health and Safety expert. Having talked to Luke at some length on this topic I feel that you may be surprised by some of the answers.

THANK YOU

A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.

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].

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You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Youtube, Twitch and Podbean just search for LARPBook
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Contact and Physicality in LARP

Contact and Physicality in LARP

This is going to be about touching and physical contact in larp. It is not going to be portraying intimacy in any shape or form. Instead this is an examination of all things to do with manhandling of other players in character. It’s about carrying, lifting, restraining, blocking, roughhousing and generally all things to do with physically manipulating another player. Also don’t go looking for hand to hand combat rules – that’s also not part of this discussion.

What are the rules?

If I want to say pick up or physically restrain someone what are the rules? This is where we get into one of larps big problem areas. In one part of the culture there may be one set of does and don’ts. But as you travel around locations and larps these may vary. Some will say that under no circumstances will physical contact prevail. Others will thrive on it as a means to immersion and emotional reaction.

The question becomes how do we handle this disparity?

So lets break down manhandling into digestible topics and look at what we can learn.

No One Gets Hurt But…

I’m going to kick off with the idea that the only absolute we work with is that nobody gets hurt. We have a responsibility to make our larps safe. Being safe however does not have to mean wrapping the players in cotton wool. It does not mean we ban acts because there is a physicality to them. Take sports. Many sports can result in injury. These are not banned because the risks are understood. In larp we should be thinking about this lead. Work to be safe, but allow all players to understand the risks they are taking, the culture they will be playing in and they expectations that will be placed on them.

We can work towards safety but allow rough treatment if everyone understands how to behave and what is expected.

And Don’t Expect People to Read the Rules

Its an odd fact that intelligent, creative and problem solving people like larpers are also capable of making illogical assumptions. In other words – “my group has always done things one way. Therefore this is the only way. I don’t need to read your rules or policies”. That is an assumption. Due to this its also possible that rules or policies that you write down will be left unread. Why? Because people will assume how you play. Assumptions are dangerous. Especially if a game can get rough.

The answer – always find a way to brief or workshop with as many of the players as possible before play begins.

Also keep reminding them about the documentation. Especially if it is updated. Reminding people to read is never a bad thing.

Make Sure Someone Understands Safety

What you think safety is and what a health and safety consultant things safety is could well be two entirely different things.

Why? Well your assumption may be avoidance of the possibility of injury under any circumstance. The professional will be more interested in defining the circumstances. Don’t forget to a safety professional – 100% safety is impossible. Educating people, making provision for the unexpected, and following good practise’s is not. If your game says yes to a hard form of touching then getting the opinion of a friendly health and safety person is no bad thing.

Also remember health and safety legislation. It is different in different countries. Don’t expect advice from an expect of one nationality to match that of a colleague elsewhere. Always remember that local legislation always trumps what you believe if there is a difference.

Be Mindful and Respect Your Environment

If the rules say you can push someone up against a wall just remember that’s only ok if the environment your in is not inherently dangerous. Modify your behaviour according to geography or the lay of land. Should you really be shoving someone around on the edge of a cliff? Even if the policies say Yay. Mountain Rescue says Nay!

How about some training?

If you’re going to allow rough stuff in your game then it might be a good idea to teach crew of possibly willing players how to do this kind of stuff as safely as possible. If its practical consider running a workshop on manhandling. You should find that martial arts instructors are more than willing to help out.

Teach People to Trust

Ok so here’s the scenario. A bunch of crew are pulling a player somewhere. The player doesn’t like this idea and reacts with force. A tussle ensues and someone gets hurt. An act of force turning into something more competitive like this is essentially wrestling and that can get dangerous. How do you get around this. Well teach people when to yield. Give the crew something to say that will let the player know that representing a struggle is ok, but keep it calm -as you are being dragged away. In a small to medium a game a good rule is “trust the crew”. As in the NPC or Monster crew would not be trying to do something they cannot do – after all they have the information on what all the characters are capable of. So go with it.

Develop Meta Techniques

We are not our characters. It may be that you want a rough styled game but to be honest you cannot assume that any player is capable of doing this well. So if you want dragging off, picking up and pushing against walls then consider using a combination of words and actions. Let your action become not who has the strength – but who can role-play it.

Involve Plenty of People

One person physically dominating another on a one to one basis can be pretty terrifying. Always have someone else around – even if only monitoring, to stop things from going to far. If you’re going to push people around, again make sure there are several people around. The general rule here – always have someone who can call a halt or deal with unexpected outcomes.

So what’s been going on

The aim here has become to get you thinking about ways you can make things feel real by physically making games more challenging whilst always keeping a watch ful eye to player safety. You may find some contrary ideas. That doesn’t make one thing right or one wrong. It simply illustrates the complexity of the topic. I shied away from how to advice – as that it part of the social contract for each larp. You have to figure out what’s allowed and how to tell players what that is. I haven’t issued health and safety advice as LARPBook is international. Ok in one country may not be Ok in another. I haven’t mentioned how to manhandle someone as that is best instructed person to person.

What I hope I’ve is made you thing about how to go about this safely in the context of your own events. And also how to far to go or not go with it.

I’m going to open this question up to the larger larp community and hopefully publish some feedback. I’m hoping there will be points and ideas that we can all learn from.

 

 

I’d like to thank Luke Pitt from L&RP Safety for discussing this topic with me at greatly helping in its outcome

The Forest Argent Larp International Player Interview

The Forest Argent Larp International Player Interview

At the end of May we visited Forest Argent – Convergence. Whilst we were there we shot some video and this is the first piece to emerge. It is an interview with two larpers from the Netherlands – Yasmijn Kok and Rein De Vries. They were attending the game as part of a trip to the UK. We’re used now to international travel for large fest or blockbuster events but travel to a club game is still a little unusual. So we thought we would ask

We ended up learning a little about the differences between larp groups in the Netherlands and the UK. It was good to see the affirmation that people will travel a long way to larp to be with friends.

I won’t say anymore. The interview can speak for itself.

 

Our apologies for the quality of Stuarts sound during this interview.

We’d also like to thank our interviewees.

Impact Earth: A Tool for Defining The Apocalypse

Impact Earth: A Tool for Defining The Apocalypse

Post apocalyptic larp is becoming increasingly popular. That’s great. But what happens if you want to run a game where you can define, the start of apocalypse in detail?. For a zombie larp you could refer to many books, films and TV shows that exist for inspiration. If you want to talk about the end of world via war there is no end of real and imagined resources to draw on.

But lets say you want to impose the same end of the world that the dinosaurs faced on mankind; or perhaps a prelude to alien invasion.

Well fear not – there is a web page for this and you can find it at

http://34.201.137.35/ImpactEarth

 

Allow me to explain what this is.

It is a tool for looking at the results of impact by meteor, asteroid and comet on the Earth. You define the point of impact (its horribly good fun to pick a city and visit all kinds of impact on it). You can also define the size, speed and composition of the impacting body. Since we’re not all space scientists there are examples to help you to define all of these variables in a reasonable manner.

Once you’ve popped these in you’ll get a Bing Map and plotted onto it you can select effects like crater size, airblast diameter, size of the resulting fireball or area effected by seismic shock. This lets you easily figure out not just the scale of the disaster but also what you might have seen or felt at the time of impact, depending on where you were.

This all makes for good storytelling and character development.

Since its easy to use you can use it as a tool to help players develop their characters. They can answer questions about which relatives and friends would have been killed, and who may still be wandering a devastated earth.

In case you’re wondering how accurate it is I’ll just mention who’s behind Earth Impact. Its Imperial College London and Purdue University. I’ll take their data as being worth playing with.

So next time you feel the need to end the Earth, consider impacts. Be it one big asteroid squishing us or marauding aliens using space rubble as shotgun shells, you’ll at least be able to say what happened.

 

 

The image used for this post is BENNU’S JOURNEY – Early Earth  and its via the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab Flickr Account. Click here to see the image and its licence.

 

LARPBook Show Episode 54: Wax Lyrical

LARPBook Show Episode 54: Wax Lyrical

 


This episode we did a little shift in format and returned to our four presenters talking to each other. As a result this very nearly became our gibberish episode.

We’d planned a considered discussion on the perils of playing a self isolating character that did not want to talk to anyone. Somehow this turned into a very Welsh Darth Vader (see excerpt below)

 

This pretty much did set the tone for the rest of tone.

However we managed to rant – don’t larp if you don’t want to talk. But then countered that with reasons why someone might want to be to quiet.

Rant number 2 was all about the overuse of magical healing

We frothed about the past considerably.

We talked about some of the differences between role playing at fest larps and smaller more intimate games. I think we all get a little bit more out of the roleplaying at smaller events but there is a lot to be said for the scale of a fest larp.

I’m keeping these notes short. This show quickly became a stream of consciousness and laughter. It doesn’t segment that well. I hope you enjoy it and let us know what you think.

 

THANK YOU
A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.

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

 

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