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Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Apparently there was enough interest over in the How Not To Run A Game Business thread that people wanted to talk a little bit more about general LARP/LRP/Lajv/Playing Woods Dress-Up that isn't related to the WoD Storyteller systems. I figure this is a good enough place to discuss the whole broad field, as it is one of the most pathetically nerdy activities that anyone could ever get involved in.

As god-drat hilarious as it is, I'd rather not deal with some of the horrendous internet drama generated by some of the LARP groups with a larger internet presence. If you're going to mock a particular system/group/person, don't drag that poo poo here. If you want to point out flaws, give valid critiques - point out why rules are lovely, where costumes are failing, or simply allow the insanity to speak for itself. There is a lot of stupid out there

If you're looking for WoD LARP, you have your own thread here. This is a thread that's a little more focused on fantasy/sci-fi/post-apoc/etc games, although you're free to let us know how nerdy we are for dressing like medieval peasants to go beat up tabard-orcs for the weekend.

Okay, now that I've gotten that little warning over with, we may as well talk about LARP!

What the hell is LARP/LRP/Lajv/Various Other Words?
Larp is an abbreviation for Live Action Role-Play(ing). The others are regional variants you might see. At its core, LARP is based on a combination of playing pretend in the woods and taking those complicated game systems (such as Dungeons and Dragons) out into the woods to play.

Unfortunately, it's also about as generic as you could possibly get. This is a forum for "Traditional Games", which ends up encompassing a whole slew of mechanically distinct but thematically similar-ish things. LARP is similarly diffuse. Here's some of the more common terms for various games and genres.

  • Combat game: Used by folks in the US to describe Belegarth, Dagorhir, Amtgard, and (rarely) by some SCA folks to describe the combat events. In these games, roleplaying is generally minimal, combat is the main focus, and there are really stringent safety regulations (in part due to and part due to the nature and focus of the events). While broadly falling within LARP, many of those involved will say that they're not LARPers. This is perfectly acceptable - people can choose to define it as more of a sport, and while some folks adopt the label of LARPer, others do not.
  • Parlour LARP: On the opposite end of the spectrum, parlour LARP de-emphasizes combat to an extreme degree - most interactions are either RP-based or stat-based, with combat being a rare feature. Many Nordic LARPs are designed around this style, although there are some differences. Cthulhu Live! is a good system for this, designed around Call of Cthulhu games.
  • Full Immersion LARP: Called by a variety of names (360 degree experience, "Always-On" game), these types of games emphasize staying in character, representing everything physically, and making sure that everything at the site fits with the game world. This is mostly used to describe fantasy games, and tends to be somewhat more prevalent in Europe than the US, although it is currently gaining ground across the pond.
  • Nordic LARP: A bit of a unique beast, Nordic LARP tends to emphasize immersion, careful character construction, writing manifestos about the genre, and exploring emotions. Half of the time, it seems more like performance art when people describe it to you. They have an annual convention, Knutpunkt, where they talk about the theory of LARP, invent words you can use to better discuss vague concepts, and otherwise be pretentious as gently caress.
  • American LARP: Generally used online as a derogatory reference to what is seen as the "typical" American game - poor costuming, weapons made primarily of duct tape, an over-emphasis on levels and magic versus the actual skill of the player, and a whole host of other problems. Generally, everyone has an opinion about it, but the people who scream the loudest haven't actually seen a game like this. It can be stupid and fun if you don't take it seriously - while I won't defend the mechanics of NERO/Laire/SOLAR/Alliance, I will say that people have fun with them and that they are actually looking for a game that does just what they do.
  • Persistent World Game: A LARP that is played continuously throughout the year - oftentimes, these are modern-day games, intrigue-based, or related to offshoots of the WoD line. There are some interesting examples that are just starting to gain traction based off of the Internet and smartphones, and there have been a few articles written discussing these things.

I am clearly missing a lot of good terms for game definitions, and I shall add them in at some later date as clarification is requested.

So what do I do at these things?
It's just like playing a tabletop game, except you're ostensible in a different location and might be acting out a little more of your character than usual. A lot of this is apples-to-oranges: saying "You'll be hitting people with sticks" is kind of accurate . . . unless you're in a game that uses dancing as the mechanic to resolve conflict and interact with people. You could say that you leave the dice at home . . . except some systems use dice to resolve things on the field. Basically, if you're looking to LARP, read the rules and talk to people in the established group before showing up so you can know what to expect.

Isn't this incredibly dorky?
Yes. I am a huge loving nerd for doing this, and so is anyone else who goes LARPing. It is also incredibly fun and lets me go outside, wear a variety of outfits, and hit people while roleplaying.

So how do I get started?
First off, you're going to need to find a group (or form one, but that has its own challenges). If you're in the United States, I recommend checking your local gaming store - there are often posters up for groups. Otherwise, I can heartily recommend checking the following websites.
  • Shade's Live Action Roleplaying List is a moderately well-updated list of groups. It's generally better for looking up groups in the US.
  • If you're in , why not try the forums at Sverok?
  • Germans, I tend to use inLarp's forums when I'm looking for costuming advice and checking if there will be anything going on while I'm in your magical lands. LarpWiki also seems to be pretty useful.
There are also a couple of famous events in Germany that most people should be aware of: DrachenFest and ConQuest of Mythodea. It's good to just browse the pictures to see what a whole bunch of nerds can do when given enough time, resources, and sheer force of will.

If you are looking for a LARP group, feel free to post your location in here, along with what you're looking for. I've done a lot of research, and I'm sure other LARPing Goons are more than willing to help out with that. Just try and say something else, too - this isn't the Meet-up thread.


What are some notable rulesets?

Well, there's a lot. I'll just link/explain a few that I know of - quite a few of them will be American, but I'll try and toss in some of the more entertaining European ones that I at least know of.
  • NERO is one of the oldest, longest-running games in the US. It's got a lot of players and chapters, but the system is somewhat mechanically-lacking - there's a large imbalance between players of different levels, years without reset have bloated the game, and it wasn't designed for high-level play. There are a bunch of NERO offshoots in the US - they're similar, but may fix some problems
  • DragonSys is the name for a set of German LARP rules that a number of groups use. Fairly good overall - point-based, unless I'm misremembering.
  • Fools and Heroes is a fairly prominent system in the UK.
  • IFGS is a US-based system. Low-immersion, designed to be played in parks and on nature trails.
  • Cthulhu Live! is a Call of Cthulhu-based LARP system, designed for players interested in recreating mythos action. It's fairly fun.
  • DKWDDK, an acronym for "Du Kannst, Was Du Darstellen Kannst, or "You can do what you can represent", is a bit of a hybrid ruleset/philosophy. Essentially, if you can represent it physically or show it in-game, you can do it. I am a big nerd for this style of gaming.
  • Empire has its very own post in this thread - I'll let the experts explain that one.

If anyone else has suggestions for systems that should get tossed up in the OP, let me know - I'd like to include as many mechanics for people to debate as possible. I can answer questions on most of the major (and some not-so-major) manufacturers of weapons and gear for fantasy games, give some tips for sewing garb and composing costumes, and otherwise provide a wealth of advice for someone starting out in this wonderful world of hypernerding.

So, yeah . . . let's talk us some LARP! I'd like to begin with a wise man's quote about running a LARP, taken from Aura Unveiled's website around the time of some rage-quits.

quote:

If you want to start a LARP? Do this first. Take the entirety of your bank account, put enough money back into your account to pay your minimum bills and an occasional visit to Wendy's. Take the rest and give it to the Salvation Army and a local camp for kids. Take your free time and donate it to a charity or EMS/Fire at one of those busy-rear end companies that want you there for every call no matter if you have to be up for work or if you're sick or if you're 300 miles away on vacation. Take anything left and learn to herd cats. Once you are done all that, take a poo poo ton of your friends and realize that they're going to let you down in a big way and you won?t be friends with them anymore in a year. You'll make new ones but hey, who needs the people you came of age with? Be ready to be hosed over by anyone at any time (but hey, that's a requirement for being a human). Realize that at least one of your friends will go insane. Then plan on going insane yourself. Do this for about two years. If at the end of the two years you're okay with this--start a LARP. You'll do fine.

Hedningen fucked around with this message at Jul 9, 2013 around 00:09

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cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

It's just so good!


I'm currently in the final stages of writing a 160-player Parlour Style game for Chimera, NZLARPs' annual convention. Our team started about 9 months ago, and are hoping to be done any day now. It's a hell of a lot of work, but I think it'll all be worth it.

Though LARPing is reasonably nerdy, there's definitely a lot fewer basement dwelling neckbeards than I expected before I started.

cptn_dr fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2013 around 08:30

Gameko
Feb 23, 2006

The friend of all children!

Having watched some of the bigger documentaries on LARP, it seems like something I'd like to try at least once. That being said it feels harder to get into than even the typical ubernerd hobbies. Where do the larpers hang out? Surely they must have some internet forums somewhere...but the only pages I find googling are relics on Angelfire with three active members.

How would you recommend a newbie try out the hobby? I'd really prefer to go to a large event to get the most robust experience I can. How terrible are the people at these events?

Mince Pieface
Feb 1, 2006



OOh, we finally have a LARP thread! I've been playing in a social LARP at the UCI RPG club for about four years now. The game system started off as a modification of the House of the Blooded LARP rules, but has changed a lot over time to cut off the unneeded parts and add some interesting new systems. It's also made to be a GM-less system, which I think makes it great.
The game operates on a kind of shared reality where what is 'true' is defined only by what you can convince people to believe (you can bribe them with game resources to convince them). This makes the game awesome for political backstabbery, and everyone gets a chance to contribute to the setting.

If anyone's interested the latest rules are here.
The document is undergoing some revisions at the moment since we just finished our fourth year long arc, and we usually revise the rules after each year based on what we saw. Also, if there's any Goons around Orange County, you should come join us when we start back up again!

Gameko, I recommend checking local universities and board game conventions for LARPs. While the Con crowd can vary, it's usually a decent experience since the GMs usually spend the time to make a good session. Universities usually have more consistently good players in my experience, but tend to have less in the way of props/GM prep due to being poor students.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Gameko posted:

Having watched some of the bigger documentaries on LARP, it seems like something I'd like to try at least once. That being said it feels harder to get into than even the typical ubernerd hobbies. Where do the larpers hang out? Surely they must have some internet forums somewhere...but the only pages I find googling are relics on Angelfire with three active members.

How would you recommend a newbie try out the hobby? I'd really prefer to go to a large event to get the most robust experience I can. How terrible are the people at these events?

It is a little harder to get into in some ways, mostly due to the experiences of some of the earlier groups, the ridiculous continuity of some games, and the intentional lack of visibility cultivated by some LARPers (at least in reference to some of the US games - I'm going to be an rear end and assume you're in land), which can make things super-frustrating.

To start, try searching Facebook - a LOT of groups have migrated there. I know of a few orgs that have decided it's the way of the future and are aggressively advertising on it. Set your search radius and go from there.

If you're looking for a really large event, you don't have a whole lot of options unless you're willing to deal with NERO politics, find a good convention, or travel out to Europe (unless you're in Europe, in which case you just need to plan and budget for it). Most of the larger US events are either within larger organizations that tend to be somewhat level-imbalanced or by the less-LARPy, more 'foam-fighting' sorts.

There are also plenty of groups that just don't advertise or put anything up - the stigma from bad groups, people's desire to keep their lives private, and a general desire to avoid "the wrong sort of player" can lead to those things. If you've got a local gaming shop, check it out and see if there's anything placed up there. Uni campuses can also help, as there's generally at least a Combat game going on somewhere, as everyone loves violence-as-a-safe-thing.

The other big barrier to entry is costuming - I always tell people that the easiest first costume is a basic t-tunic and a great kilt, because it takes minimal skill, looks pretty drat good, and acts as an excellent base for other garments, plus it's period-looking for most games that allow grittier looks. I do a lot of sewing and costuming (currently up to around 5 distinct outfits, including a Landsknecht-inspired piece with ridiculous colours, puffy sleeves, and a glorious hat), so I can give some tips if that's what you're looking for.

What sort of game are you interested in? There's a wide range of things, including sci-fi, modern, and other games of that nature out there, most of which are a little easier to costume for.

Little_wh0re
Jan 27, 2005



UK LARP!

If, like me, you're a UK goon you might find SA can be a bit american-centric so lets also discuss UK LARPs.

First the smaller scale. Most universities have local larp groups so if you want to play some live elfgame they can be the best place to start looking. If you want to look online then the UK LARP group on facebook seems to be the best place to start.

For bigger, national events there are a few big players.

Currently (I think) still the biggest is Lorien Trust. Last I heard their summer event, the Gathering, is the biggest UK larp event.
Profound Decisions run two different LARPs, Empire and Odyssey. I've never been to Odyssey but it sounds pretty interesting. I managed to get to event one of Empire, which is in it's first year, and it was pretty good. It was also the coldest larp event I've ever been to.
Curious Pastimes, I've never been to. But the people I know who go are generally pretty cool. I'd love to hear more about it if you know anything.
Outkast is specifically aimed at families more. As a grumpy person who is wedded to swearing I've never been so if anyones heard anything I'd appreaciate it.

There are lots, lots of other games out there that I know I'll miss if I try and list them all but I'm friends with some of the organisers of Serenety, I'm one of the organisers of Zombie Larp and I really, really, really, really want to play Death unto Darkness at some point.

Little_wh0re
Jan 27, 2005



So, Kids at events, for big events where a lot of the event is walking about trading and chatting and drinking or whatever quite a lot of the time people want to bring their families along. Some systems allow it, some don't. Some say "please don't swear around children", some say "please don't swear" and some say "if you bring your kids they're gonna hear rude things". Whatever, each place does it differently. Now most places have some refs dedicated to running stuff for kids but what I've found really interesting is the way Profound Decisions (PD) have done things in Empire.

What PD has decided to do is theme the kids stuff around an Acadamy. Kids turn up and learn everything they need to learn about how to be a citizen of the Empire. They learn about magic, about the Imperial Orks and when they're old enough they learn about combat.

The interesting part of this is that they tie this in to approving younger people for combat OC. I've talked to the refs about how pleased they were when the first kid, a 14 year old, passed his combat test and was allowed to go on the battlefield later that event. One of refs who works at the academy plays in my group and the excitement they show in getting to RP and teach RP to the younger generation is really wonderful to see.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Little_wh0re posted:

So, Kids at events, for big events where a lot of the event is walking about trading and chatting and drinking or whatever quite a lot of the time people want to bring their families along. Some systems allow it, some don't. Some say "please don't swear around children", some say "please don't swear" and some say "if you bring your kids they're gonna hear rude things". Whatever, each place does it differently. Now most places have some refs dedicated to running stuff for kids but what I've found really interesting is the way Profound Decisions (PD) have done things in Empire.

What PD has decided to do is theme the kids stuff around an Acadamy. Kids turn up and learn everything they need to learn about how to be a citizen of the Empire. They learn about magic, about the Imperial Orks and when they're old enough they learn about combat.

The interesting part of this is that they tie this in to approving younger people for combat OC. I've talked to the refs about how pleased they were when the first kid, a 14 year old, passed his combat test and was allowed to go on the battlefield later that event. One of refs who works at the academy plays in my group and the excitement they show in getting to RP and teach RP to the younger generation is really wonderful to see.

First off, thanks for covering the UK - aside from a couple events and maybe one system, I am pretty drat clueless as to what you folks are doing over there. I can add a condensed list to the OP at some point. It's nice to see that there are some parallels, too - I'll be heading over to Freefall in a few weeks, and it's another interesting take on combining LARP with an existing universe. Neat to see how two different sets of mechanics aim to model similar things.

Secondly, I completely agree that mentor roles are a key if you're going to allow kids there. I've generally followed the rule that "If they're young, give them a mentor and teach them something every game." We saw a dramatic improvement in some of our younger players when they ended up working with an older, more experienced LARPer, to the point that we're considering extending it to some of our more problematic players. It's a great tool for longevity. I like seeing some younger kids at events, especially if they want to be there and understand what's going on - unsupervised kids are always a no, as it's a game, not a babysitting service, but if they're engaged, then it's good.

I'm beginning to gear up for a game in the fall - looking to do a week-long persistent world game in a somewhat cyberpunk setting. It's halfway between an ARG and a LARP, as the week is primarily for resource gathering, preparation, and alliances, all leading up to the event. Still finishing up some mechanics, as I will never be satisfied with how hacking works - it's gone through a few revisions. I may as well ask some goons what they think of the following:
  • The Basic: Several 'burner' e-mail accounts are registered. Players with Hacking can commit resources (essentially running calculations on a system and outputting the results) to get the password, whereupon they're given the password to the e-mail account.
  • Location-based: Hacking is purely about spending time at a certain location - players must check into specific places utilizing GPS services/Foursquare/Whatever, and remain in that area for a certain amount of time without corporate security catching them
  • Pointlessly Complex: A programmer friend of mine talked about making some simple little logic games to represent hacking - harder ones represent harder security. They're all accessible from a domain, with different 'accounts' leading to different things. Obviously would take a lot of time to set up.

If anyone has any suggestions for how to handle this sort of thing, I'd love to hear it. I'm not too experienced with really complex, large-spanning ARG-type games, so this has been a bit of a new experience for me to set up.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid


Hedningen posted:


[*]Fools and Heroes is a fairly prominent system in the UK.

Ah Fools and Heroes. I've been part of this system for five years and have been to two of the national events. It's pretty cool, and if anyone has questions I'll do my best to answer them. However a lot of the system mechanics are only told to you on a need to know basis. So if you'd like to know how mages work, I can only give you a summary since I've never played one. Additionally I can't tell you what each of the different venues are like since I've only been to Leeds Branch (Which is awesome, go there)

Are there any other fools and heroes folks on here? It'd be easier to give a better idea of the system from several different viewpoints.

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009


Here's a post about Profound Decisions' Empire LRP!


When you play the game of Orcs, you get cold or you die.

Location: UK
Started: 2013
Size: About 1000 players per event
Website: http://www.profounddecisions.co.uk and in particular http://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Main_Page.

Empire is PD's flagship game, and is set in an Empire of ten nations fraught with problems. Barbarian orcs on the Empire's borders are gaining ground, the eldritch influence of the six Realms threatens to corrupt the citizenry who haven't already been corrupted by wealth and power, and the only halfway competent Empress in a century (who was just starting to put things right again) was killed on campaign just under a year ago, along with most of the upper echelons of the government.

All that's left running the Empire now is a bunch of unstable, self-interested borderline sociopaths. Or, as we call them, the players.

The Empire has a government -- nothing in this game is hereditary, so your power in-game depends entirely on how many other players you can get to back you. There are a bunch of different bits of government, all with their own role, and all of which you can be elected into: the Senate do most of the domestic decision-making, pass laws, and raise taxes, but there is also the Synod, who handle religion (and have the political right to veto motions and remove people from office if they piss them off aren't pious enough; there's also the Bourse (roll around in big swimming-pools filled with money), the Conclave (bicker over wizard politics) and the Military Council (try to organise these chucklefucks into being a half-competent fighting force). There's also a big, large, empty throne that the Senate have yet to elect anyone onto.

The GM team don't have positions of power here: they play the civil servants who carry out your orders. When the Senate (who are all players) meet, it's the civil service (who are GMs) who tell them what their options are, count the votes, and figure out how their dumbass policies will impact the game world.


Or you could just get drunk in the tavern. (Photo by Clare Selley)

In-character, the events are a sort of combination of sessions of the Imperial government and war summits. Some sort of flangy magic allows the Empire to teleport its best fighters (that'd be the players again) deep into enemy territory for surgical strikes: there are two of these that take place each event, with one half of the field playing their main characters and the other half playing the monsters they fight. But where on the map these battles take place, and what mission they're trying to accomplish, is entirely in the hands of the players.

The best thing about Empire is that PD have obviously put a lot of thought into what will make a fun game, and built the world around that. The combat system is a great example of this. In a fight, it's really difficult to make out what spell someone who is shouting and pointing at you is actually casting, so there are no ranged spells. To cast anything, you have to strike someone with a weapon -- at which point they're close enough to hear what special damage call you're making. This is just one example, but basically everything in the game is designed to be that elegant.

The other best thing is the size. The game is big enough and complex enough for players to pull off ridiculous feats of scamming and rumourmongering; not only that, but since the main field is at peace you can walk around freely without fear of someone mugging you.


Also, the monster costuming looks amazing. (Photo by Charlotte Moss.)
The other other best thing is the costumes. PD, and the Empire community in general, are really great at providing people with guides and help on how to make themselves look better. The combination of awesome costumes and set dressing make walking onto the field an incredibly immersive experience.

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009


On a lighter note, there is the recently-released Ten Kingdoms larp, at http://www.10-kingdoms.com/ about which... well... it's probably better if I let the site speak for itself.

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


Hedningen posted:

I'm beginning to gear up for a game in the fall - looking to do a week-long persistent world game in a somewhat cyberpunk setting. It's halfway between an ARG and a LARP, as the week is primarily for resource gathering, preparation, and alliances, all leading up to the event. Still finishing up some mechanics, as I will never be satisfied with how hacking works - it's gone through a few revisions. I may as well ask some goons what they think of the following:
  • The Basic: Several 'burner' e-mail accounts are registered. Players with Hacking can commit resources (essentially running calculations on a system and outputting the results) to get the password, whereupon they're given the password to the e-mail account.
  • Location-based: Hacking is purely about spending time at a certain location - players must check into specific places utilizing GPS services/Foursquare/Whatever, and remain in that area for a certain amount of time without corporate security catching them
  • Pointlessly Complex: A programmer friend of mine talked about making some simple little logic games to represent hacking - harder ones represent harder security. They're all accessible from a domain, with different 'accounts' leading to different things. Obviously would take a lot of time to set up.

If anyone has any suggestions for how to handle this sort of thing, I'd love to hear it. I'm not too experienced with really complex, large-spanning ARG-type games, so this has been a bit of a new experience for me to set up.

The local club I attend organises regular 7/14 week run parlour LARP games. A few years back some friends and I ran a near future (2019-2021) sci-fi game centring around an internet chat room for people who look into conspiracy theories, and we tried a few things to add a slight ARG slant to it. For example, when a player in game set up a pyramid scam, we found that we could get hold of the DNS name they'd chosen for it for only 10, so we did, set up a basic html front page and then when other players ran internet wide campaigns distributing secret messages we started embedding them in the otherwise boilerplate pyramid scam write up that was on the page. We then made sure that there were links to the site in the weekly in-character news. Some people did read it, but I think if we were doing it again I'd want to flag it up much more obviously. The thing we did that worked much better, since one of the GMs had access to a pile of USB sticks he'd been handed by various companies at a careers fair, was format them (to make sure we weren't accidentally distributing real-world viruses) then put some autorun stuff on there that did things when plugged into a player's real computer. The rule was, if you chose to plug the stick in that represented your character doing the same, so you had to do whatever the messages that came up said, which usually ran to maybe one binary choice and went to "Email the GMs and tell them that this happened".

That idea could be developed significantly further that we took it, I think, and we also had fun turning the USB sticks into cool props which were very well received by the players (Including embedded in a plastic rose where your revealed the connector by detaching the stem). Having tangible things to take away is cool. You could easily include some puzzles etc. as you suggested. THe only concern would be that you'd want to only do this with a playerbase computer savvy enough, again, to not start a Conficker infestation by passing USB sticks between them.

The other memorable thing from that game was one player explaining the type of cryptography they were going to use in-game by sending us some files encoded that way. My computer still complains about those files every time I run a full virus scan. It doesn't trust what it cannot understand.

I'll also join those saying that Empire is awesome - the company running it have done a fantastic job creating a system that is just non-stop fun to play, and this is only two games into its run, with both so far having had some major problems with British weather (-14 degrees centigrade at night at the first event, 46 MPH gusts of wind during set-up at the second).

Little_wh0re
Jan 27, 2005



Being cold at empire 1 is going to be some kind of badge of honor for a long time.

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

I'm actually pretty interested in Empire (and so are two of my equally nerdy friends) but I'm a bit overwhelmed with what to do next.

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


atal posted:

I'm actually pretty interested in Empire (and so are two of my equally nerdy friends) but I'm a bit overwhelmed with what to do next.

What, in particular, are you stuck on, and is there anything you want to ask, as it would appear that there are several Empire players in the thread? As LARP events go, it's relatively accessible for new players, and the game is well set up to make sure that even people who come in fresh have plenty to do. If you want advice on choosing skills, obtaining costume or what actually goes on at an event I'm more than happy to give it.

Little_wh0re
Jan 27, 2005



If you want to go to Empire I would suggest the following

Work out what you want to play, if you have a few friends then plan a rough group.
Ask around locally to see if there are people who already go, see what they do. If there are multiple groups maybe you can find one that you could join. If not I would suggest arranging OC to be friends IC with them in advance.
Maybe join the facebook group, if you need it there is also the group "Empire LRP: Travel Arrangements" which is really worth joining.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Awesome to hear there are folks involved with Empire - I totally blanked on including it in the OP (which has been rectified, along with a link to Whybird's excellent post on it). I'd echo what everyone else is saying in terms of heading to a new LRP - talk to people involved, find a group to go with, and think about what you're making beforehand.

Just finished the weekly weapons maintenance - I think that my kit has gotten a bit excessive at this point. On the plus side, variety is the spice of life, and having options and loaner gear for people is always a good thing. I'd be interested in hearing what people think of certain manufacturers versus homemade gear. Right now, I've got fightin' gear from Calimacil, Forgotten Dreams, IDV, and Ateliers Nemesis (who make some of the prettiest swords I've ever seen), which is pointlessly excessive. Still haven't found a good source for a decent halberd, although I hear Wyvern Crafts makes some good ones.

The biggest point of contention I've seen on weapons is usually in regards to two manufacturers - Calimacil and IDV. I'm quite fond of them both (especially IDV's round-headed arrows), but I know they hit pretty drat hard, so a lot of US games are pretty cautious about allowing them. Anyone have any thoughts on this? For IDV, I know it's a cut-and-dried "Some players are not comfortable allowing them", but I've been shot in the eye/face/groin at close range and seen no safety issues beyond it hurting like a bitch, so I tend to argue for them.Calimacil, on the other hand, seems to be a lot about "If players aren't controlling their gear, it hits too hard".

The rapiers they make are amazing, though. If ever there was a piece of gear I'd recommend, it would be those swords.

I've got a bunch of garb-making links - should I toss 'em up?

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


I don't think I've encountered much fo Calimacil's stuff in the UK so I can't really comment. IDV arrows cause arguments over here as well however, arguably with good cause as I feel that overdrawn IDV shots are some of the least safe blows I've taken in all my time LARPing. Recently in the UK there's been a huge upswing in the use of blue foam heads formed into a shape like an IDV, as can be seen on the LARP archery page of the following site:

http://www.fairbowuk.com/

I can't recommend these enough - they fly better than traditional foam heads due to improved aerodynamics, but don't hit as hard as an IDV, so bring a substantial part of the best of both worlds. I'm not sure what the source is, but a whole bunch of traders have started stocking arrows made with them - I believe I heard that a company has started selling the heads, and people are buying them and making the shafts to go with.

Beef Steakwell
Jul 30, 2012


I've got quite a lot of friends who have gone to the first two Empire events and talk very highly of them, but I'm still rather intimidated by it as a LARP, my main problem is that I've been really lacking in money for a fair while and don't want to show up until I can afford to get the materials to make my costume and some props (I've got my weapons and a few more general things like pouches ready from when I did Maelstrom). My group is probably going to be Varushkan (http://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Varushka), I found the article on costume for them to not be very helpful and I was wondering if anyone had any general advice for costuming on a budget.

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009


Beef Steakwell posted:

I've got quite a lot of friends who have gone to the first two Empire events and talk very highly of them, but I'm still rather intimidated by it as a LARP, my main problem is that I've been really lacking in money for a fair while and don't want to show up until I can afford to get the materials to make my costume and some props (I've got my weapons and a few more general things like pouches ready from when I did Maelstrom). My group is probably going to be Varushkan (http://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Varushka), I found the article on costume for them to not be very helpful and I was wondering if anyone had any general advice for costuming on a budget.

The thing to remember is that what's on the website is a standard of kit to work towards. If you have a basic larp shirt, trousers and cloak nobody is going to kick up a fuss, but the more indicators of nation you can stick onto that the better. For Varushka, I would reckon the key stuff to sort is a big furry hat and big baggy trousers, and to put fur trims on as many bits of costume as you can.

What costume do you have left over from Maelstrom? It's likely some of that can be modded into what you want.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


One_Wing posted:

I don't think I've encountered much fo Calimacil's stuff in the UK so I can't really comment. IDV arrows cause arguments over here as well however, arguably with good cause as I feel that overdrawn IDV shots are some of the least safe blows I've taken in all my time LARPing. Recently in the UK there's been a huge upswing in the use of blue foam heads formed into a shape like an IDV, as can be seen on the LARP archery page of the following site:

http://www.fairbowuk.com/

I can't recommend these enough - they fly better than traditional foam heads due to improved aerodynamics, but don't hit as hard as an IDV, so bring a substantial part of the best of both worlds. I'm not sure what the source is, but a whole bunch of traders have started stocking arrows made with them - I believe I heard that a company has started selling the heads, and people are buying them and making the shafts to go with.

That looks pretty drat good. I'd be interested in trying to get a few and test 'em out. Performance is always a big issue with LARP arrows, mostly due to the weird shapes. I've seen a lot of weird arguments on every side for things - this is kind of interesting for looking at the performance of LARP arrows versus safety, and how keeping to lower-poundage bows doesn't make a whole lot of difference from the math. The original is in German, but I checked over the Google translate, and it's not horrendous - mostly, it gets the idea across and explains some of the inherent safety issues. It's also why I get nervous whenever anyone proposes a heavy increase in bow strength - someone who fucks up with archery can put someone in a hospital. I've seen bow shenanigans that make me fear for my safety at some games.

At the moment, my system has only cleared the round IDVs for crossbows, and only at distances greater than 15 feet - the performance is high enough that we haven't had a lot of trouble, but we're definitely looking for alternatives, as they hit really drat hard. The crossbow is horrendously underused (thanks in part to the lack of good manufacturers, no real useful heads, and the really strict safety guidelines supported by the US), and I'd love to see more of them, but it's hard to make them anything more than an oddity thanks to safety issues.

Commercial arrowheads are always a mixed bag - I've used some of the Live Action Products heads and been pretty disappointed compared to home-built ones. Biggest problem so far is the cushioning foam completely debonding after a few dozen shots and getting ripped to poo poo by trees, despite claims of "No covers required". Covered, they're just like heavy homebuilts, with slightly worse performance due to weight and the whole modular thing. Certainly not bad arrowheads - I like the modular aspect, and I figure they had to sacrifice something for an industrial product, but it's still a little frustrating. Good if you're pressed for time or trying to get a bunch of arrows ready for an event without too much work, but otherwise, properly-balanced and tested homebuilts all the way. In the process of stripping out the shaft stops to make some of my own modular heads - I'll see how it goes.

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

Bah, I could have gone to the Empire on the 26th but I'm not gonna have time to make a costume before then - sad times.

e: screw it, does anyone have a link to the FB travel group?

atal fucked around with this message at Jul 11, 2013 around 22:17

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


atal posted:

Bah, I could have gone to the Empire on the 23rd but I'm not gonna have time to make a costume before then - sad times.

e: screw it, does anyone have a link to the FB travel group?

The travel group is here. What nation are you looking at?

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

Thanks! Realistically I'll go as whatever I can source a costume for in two weeks - I'm not sure if I could just turn up and be an NPC with rented gear but I'd be up for that. Do you have PM's? I don't want to poo poo up the thread.

Basically it looks to be an awesome setup. The Orc background appeals and they seem to be quite close-knit but having looked into the various groups they also seem to be pretty hardcore about costuming/make up and I'm not sure I want that kind of mess.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

Entropy in protein form

atal posted:

Thanks! Realistically I'll go as whatever I can source a costume for in two weeks - I'm not sure if I could just turn up and be an NPC with rented gear but I'd be up for that. Do you have PM's? I don't want to poo poo up the thread.

Basically it looks to be an awesome setup. The Orc background appeals and they seem to be quite close-knit but having looked into the various groups they also seem to be pretty hardcore about costuming/make up and I'm not sure I want that kind of mess.

If you want to NPC you won't need any kind of kit iirc (barring appropriate footwear). Certainly the NPC kit tent is massive and awe inspiring!

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009


Orcs are and aren't one of the most effort-heavy nations for costume. If you have a mask (and there are masks for sale on-site, I believe) you can throw on any basic larp gear you have, tie some rags around your neck and wrists, and call it done. I don't play an orc myself but I imagine if you ask others from the nation for help with the finer points of makeup they'd be happy to help out a new player.

If money's tight I can appreciate you not wanting to drop money on a mask you might not end up using though! In which case my advice would be to gen up a disposable character based on what you already have kit for and play that to get a feel for the setting. Monstering is great fun, but you miss out on a lot of the best bits of the game if you spend all your time off away from the politics.

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


atal posted:

Thanks! Realistically I'll go as whatever I can source a costume for in two weeks - I'm not sure if I could just turn up and be an NPC with rented gear but I'd be up for that. Do you have PM's? I don't want to poo poo up the thread.

Basically it looks to be an awesome setup. The Orc background appeals and they seem to be quite close-knit but having looked into the various groups they also seem to be pretty hardcore about costuming/make up and I'm not sure I want that kind of mess.

PCing doesn't require that much costume, and the nations are diverse enough that you probably have the right kit for at least one of them somewhere.

On the other hand, PD are looking for more dedicated monster crew (see their blog post, which includes contact details for those interested, here), so if you want to come and monster/NPC, they can probably find a place for you!

PST
Jul 5, 2012


atal posted:

Thanks! Realistically I'll go as whatever I can source a costume for in two weeks - I'm not sure if I could just turn up and be an NPC with rented gear but I'd be up for that. Do you have PM's? I don't want to poo poo up the thread.

Basically it looks to be an awesome setup. The Orc background appeals and they seem to be quite close-knit but having looked into the various groups they also seem to be pretty hardcore about costuming/make up and I'm not sure I want that kind of mess.

Atal, if you wanted to come and join the skirmish crew for your first event then we can provide you with kit to wear.

I'm one of the two head refs for Empire and I know we can sort you out with anything you'd need (potentially including a tent to sleep in, but I can't guarantee that) to try it out for a first time. Crewing means free entry, we feed you etc. That said, and not wanting to discourage it, we deliberately designed a game we all wished we could play, so I can understand prefering to play rather than crew. If you really need kit then I can probably sort something appropriate for most of the nations (if you want a rich Dawnish knight in plate then you're on your own).

PST fucked around with this message at Jul 12, 2013 around 23:13

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


PST posted:

I'm one of the two head refs for Empire
That's pretty loving awesome. I've been talking with the organizer I'm on staff with, and Empire was one of the games we looked at while designing our system.

Freefall was pretty goddamn entertaining this year - the guys representing Weyland-Yutani did a great job of building some awesome props and equipment, including a full website, stable WiFi for the site, and constant media broadcasting and props. If people are interested in pictures, I can post the link to them. Otherwise, I can say that it's one of those weird games that could be absolute chaos (minimal ruleset, crossover with people who aren't interesting in the LARP aspect and just want to shoot guns, fully player-run with roughly one staff member for 150+ people) and yet somehow manages to be a fantastic experience every year.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

Entropy in protein form

Hedningen posted:

That's pretty loving awesome. I've been talking with the organizer I'm on staff with, and Empire was one of the games we looked at while designing our system.

Freefall was pretty goddamn entertaining this year - the guys representing Weyland-Yutani did a great job of building some awesome props and equipment, including a full website, stable WiFi for the site, and constant media broadcasting and props. If people are interested in pictures, I can post the link to them. Otherwise, I can say that it's one of those weird games that could be absolute chaos (minimal ruleset, crossover with people who aren't interesting in the LARP aspect and just want to shoot guns, fully player-run with roughly one staff member for 150+ people) and yet somehow manages to be a fantastic experience every year.

Sure, pictures would be great!

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


All right, pictures from Freefall. As a note - there are all taken from the event photographer's Photobucket.. (For those worried - the is for one of the in-game whores, a fairly large man wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, a speedo, and suspenders. View at your own risk!) Feel free to browse it - he actually does a lot of photos for various groups, and while there's some variable costuming levels and other things of that nature, there are some pretty good pictures hanging around. I'm going to be going through in chronological order (Last page to first page) picking out some shots I think were pretty good.


I just like the framing on this one.


Shepherd on hand and the list of sins. Sort of a microcosm of how this whole game works - humour, punctuated by firefights and political dealings.


Crowd shot. I believe there were roughly 150+ people there.


Part of the plot involved the Alliance pulling out last year, and the change in government/increase in corporate involvement led to a bunch of disaffected and relocated refugees. In-game, it was a way to deal with all of the dying players - just dress 'em up in dissident masks and gear, and have them roam the town, silently distributing propaganda. This was their leader and organizer, who is in that nebulous position of Not-Staff-but-organizer.


Two on-site vehicles, both trucked in and built by players.


Picture of the brothel's bar.


Some on-site structures out on the airsoft field.


One of the aforementioned dissidents. They all did a good job - never heard one of them speak, and the masks/bags worked great in terms of alienation and marking them as distinct.

In general, there are some pretty variable costumes in there, and a good portion of the people came for the airsoft portion of the game more than the LARP elements, but it was a really good time. I feel bad that there aren't more pictures of the set-up Weyland-Yutani had; the guy built a full website for jobs, printed checks for easy tracking, and did a ton of other little details to make it work. I also wish there was a better picture of the field - it's enormous, and has such gems as two little towns with multiple-story buildings, a gigantic mine with trenches and a three-level tower, and a 40k sq. ft. castle with ramparts and such.

If anyone is in Wisconsin in a year, I heartily recommend Freefall - it's a big (for US games, at least) weird experience that catches the feel of that particular universe pretty drat well.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Well, things are a bit less hectic, so I may as well post some more useful LARPing tips. I figure now is a good time to consider garb and costuming. I figure I'll start with the less link-spammy elements of costume construction - mostly general tips and things to think about while costuming.

Starting Garb From Scratch
The biggest hurdle for someone to start LARPing is usually garb. First off, if you have no experience sewing and aren't willing to spend a lot to start off, see if you can borrow some loaner kit from someone while you're just starting off. We've already had a great example of this in the thread - larger organizations will have some loaner gear available, especially if they're high-immersion or really have good established costuming standards. Start off by contacting the group's leader or organizer - indicate your interest, point out that you'd like to try things out, and ask if they've got any loaner gear available. If they do, then work with them, see what other people are wearing, and give it a shot.

If they don't have loaner gear, you're interested in making gear, or you have the cash to spend to get some garb, then things get a little bit more interesting. To start, here are the things you'll need to know.

  • What's the time period or genre of the game?
  • What are the costuming standards of the game? Are there specific rules for certain types of characters, guilds, or nations?
  • How much are you willing to spend? Are you willing to put in the work to do the sewing?
  • What sort of character are you planning on playing?
  • What's the climate like in the area you're going to be gaming in?

Sit down, think about all those questions, and start gathering together materials or pricing out specific pieces. At this point, you can begin assembling your basic kit.

Basic kit
Ideally, when you go to your first game, you'll have a basic kit assembled. I always recommend avoiding overly complex gear for your first major costume. If the pieces are simple enough, you can layer other pieces over them so that you can make a variety of costumes for multiple roles - I don't know of many LARPers who don't have at least two costumes.

A basic kit should consist of the following:
  • Pants, kilt, or skirt
  • Shirt or tunic
  • Sturdy shoes that look fairly period/are period
  • Good, comfortable undergarments for temperature regulation
  • A belt with some sort of pouch
This is the absolute minimum kit I'd recommend for most people - it covers everything you'll need, it gives you something to layer other gear over, and you can start acquiring pieces like cloaks, doublets, tabards, and other 'layered' garments.

If you're making your own garb, stick to non-synthetic materials - they look wrong, they don't drape correctly, and they never, ever breathe. In general, they're more expensive, but they'll also hold up really well.

As far as making garb, always give yourself more time than you expect you'll take when you're making something. In general, start new projects at least a week before an event if it's simple, a month if it's complex/requires some tailoring. Try to avoid last-minute projects, because you'll have trouble completing things on time.

If you're buying kit, look into reputable sellers. You should also see if anyone within the group makes garb - if they're good, have some examples, and other people can vouch for their skills, then go for it. Otherwise, you should look into some of the online sellers - I'll have a recommend list at some point.

Gravitas Shortfall
Jul 17, 2007

Utility is seven-eighths Proximity.


Not going to lie, I would love to see a LARP Fashion Swat.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Gravitas Shortfall posted:

Not going to lie, I would love to see a LARP Fashion Swat.

If you're at a good event, they'll have enough loaner gear that people with really awful garb are ambushed, forcibly given acceptable gear, and then chastised until they get their poo poo together.

This is especially hilarious when the person doing so is dressed exceedingly fancifully. Nothing inspires good costuming like some resident Landsknechts, because those are dudes who take their costuming seriously.



For some more amusing elements, here's the complaint form for the Landsknechts at Drachenfest. I forget who sent it to me, but it's highly amusing.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


All right, to add more content for people looking into this fascinating microcosm of games, I may as well talk about one of the most appealing parts of playing Pretend Forest Elf - weapons.

A Basic Primer On LARP Weapons
The earliest weapons used for what we consider "LARP" were nothing more than barely-padded, duct-tape covered sticks. Wood was commonly used as a core, they hit like bricks, and injuries were fairly common, but restricted. As time went on, regulations were made, and the first 'standard' LARP weapon came into play - the noble Duct Tape Boffer. This was typically a tube of PVC pipe, wrapped in pipe insulation foam or a pool noodle, and then covered in a shiny coat of silver duct tape. These looked about as good as one might expect, and suffered from a few problems - they only approximated the look of swords, they tend to hurt more in cold weather due to the tape stiffening, and they were virtually impossible to repair. On the plus side, they were cheap as poo poo, so no one cared if they were tossed out.

Soon, an evolution came - the cloth-covered camping mat sword, normally referred to as a Boffer Sword. These hit much softer than duct tape weapons, avoided the problem of stiffened duct tape, and could be made to approximate axes, maces, and other, non-sword weapons. They (arguably) looked better, and are still in use in some foam fighting games out there. It also shows some evolution - fiberglass and carbon fibre are now the de facto core choices, and there are some people who make good looking gear using these techniques.

Then, an interesting thing happened. A few prop makers decided weapons needed to look better than gigantic clubs, and took to shaping the foam on the edges. Because adding a duct tape cover would cause them to hit too hard and a cloth cover would be problematic to make, they began painting weapons with latex, which forms a waterproof skin over the weapon. They hit slightly harder than the safety-conscious boffer blades, but are the ancestors of the modern LARP weapon. They have the advantage of looking fantastic, to the point where they are the standard in most (if not all) European games and are gradually gaining ground in the US as more systems begin to emulate Euro-style LARP. On the negative, you need to maintain latex with silicone spray, and rips can make a weapon look somewhat ridiculous.

Nowadays, there are a great number of manufacturers of LARP weapons. It's still a labour-intensive process - most companies still make weapons by hand, although templates and standard "lines" of weapons have made it so that, rather than having to contact a lone guy making variable weapons in his garage, there are a number of standardized weapon designs.

The next frontier is the use of injection moulding - currently, I know Calimacil produces weapons this way. They make consistent weapons, and thanks to the properties of Calimacil foam, they're latex-free. On the negative side, they look a little less 'real' than a good quality latex weapon (at least, according to some highly-opinionated Germans I was interviewing), they're considerably more expensive than a lot of other groups, and they hit harder - "Full contact with Calimacil" is something I've never heard anyone request.

If you're looking for a weapon, there's a great deal of manufacturers out there, suitable for all price levels. Again, rather than flooding this area with links (especially considering the somewhat international sense of the community), I'll just talk a bit about some manufacturers.

  • Forgotten Dreams makes a wide variety of good weapons. They run the gamut from low fantasy to high fantasy, are durable, and are of high quality. They're around mid-range in terms of price - a basic sword can run from 60-70, while a spear might set you back around 200 bucks. As for testimonials? I've got an axe from them, and it's a good axe. On a larger scale, they're involved with Mythodea, producing special swords for them.
  • Iron Fortress is a Danish brand that has three distinct weapon lines - Epic Armoury, Dark Moon, and Ready For Battle. EA is their higher-end gear, RFB is starter equipment - swords start at around 40 bucks at some retailers - and DM is their modern/post-apocalyptic line. They're good weapons, if a bit light-feeling, and their basic stuff holds up well enough (two years of weekly fight practice with some of their long swords, and we've only had two break so far). They also make a nifty chainsword, which isn't half-bad.
  • Calimacil is where you start seeing some variation. As I said, they make injection-moulded blades out of a proprietary foam that self-skins. That means that it's durable as poo poo, doesn't mind the occasional cut, and requires almost zero maintenance. We've had swords left on the land and retrieved after a month - aside from discolouration, they still work. Negatives? They hit hard, they're expensive, some games don't allow them, and they only have a few "standard lengths" to work with. Additionally, they've started making a lot of high-fantasy/post-apoc gear as of late, which makes my low-fantasy game playing heart sad. A basic sword is around 80-90, with more expensive weapons reaching 250$. They also don't make any shields or (pre-made) pole-arms, which is a negative for some folks.
  • Small companies abound as well - there are a lot of folks doing custom work out there. Personally, I like Ateliers Nemesis, as they make gorgeous gear and are really easy to work with if you want some custom work done. They're pricey, but their weapons hit like a dream, are stable, and are of excellent workmanship.

Choosing A Weapon
Okay, first off, if you've never handled a weapon before and are looking to buy something for a game, start with an inexpensive (I recommend RFB) sword and a shield. Sword and board is easy to pick up and helps you survive - 'hiding behind something' has been an effective tactic for mankind for thousands of years.

Another tip - buy weapons that fit with your character(s). A well-matched weapon looks like part of your garb and accentuates your character, while a ridiculous fantasy blade in the hands of Generic Rogue In Overly Noticeable Cloak #6 makes little sense. If you're getting a weapon, think about how it fits in with this character or a future one.

In general, for someone just starting out, here's how the various strategies play out.
  • Polearms and large two-handed swords When you're good, it's hard to touch you. When you're bad? People will close the distance and shank you. Distance is always your friend, as is having someone nearby to hold a shield up. Generally, look for a group to work with.
  • Two weapons At first, you will suck. Then, you will suck less. Then, you will go through the magical period of realizing that your off hand can also do things, and you will suddenly get more effective. However, if you're expecting larger line battles or massed formations, this gets a little less effective - it's mostly a light skirmishing thing, especially if you're trying the long weapon/short weapon combo, as most LARP weapons do not behave the same way as steel ones, and so a lot of parries are functionally useless due to the weight of the blades involved.
  • Throwing weapons First off, mark all throwing weapons that you own. Then, prepare to lose some of them if you lose track of them, as well as seeing them thrown back at you. They're a backup or an opening line, not the basis for how you should fight.
  • Archery Expensive to start, and with the range of bows, it's not exactly forgiving for the beginner, but a good archer is invaluable. Always have a back-up weapon, and maintain your goddamn arrows, because watching an arrow fail a safety check sends chills down my spine every time.

I'm sure this can be expanded more - I've dabbled in everything from ridiculous swashbuckling with Calimacil rapiers to sword and shield in lines, so while I'm far from an expert, I can at least get people started on how things tend to behave. The biggest thing to remember - these things will be moving fast because they're so light, and parries will not stick, so the best you can hope for is a deflection if people aren't using RP'd strikes (which some systems require and others don't). Avoid trying flashy poo poo, because it inevitably doesn't work - the best way to hit someone is to aim a blade at them and swing, and most people whose experience consists of watching old Sword and Sorcery films will inevitably try weird spins and flourishes that look incredibly dorky, even for LARP.

Well, to round things off, I may as well show my latest project. I do some homecrafting of LARP gear, as I am one of those Americans who has figured out how Liquid Latex works. One of my biggest problem with LARP polearms is the fact that they don't really get to the length that some older polearms would get to - the point of a blade on a stick is keeping your opponent as far away from you as possible while still being able to make him bleed profusely and die.

In that spirit, I began constructing this beauty - one of Calimacil's halberd heads, mounted on an eight-foot fiberglass pole.


Materials used - stock head and fiberglass pole.


Preparing the head for insertion - athletic tape is wrapped around the 'core', to ensure a tight fit in the pole. My workspace is also hideously messy.


The fully-wrapped head.

After all of this, I checked the fit twice, added contact cement to the interior of the pole and the outside of the head's stabilizing core, and attached the two. It's a really good fit - test hits on the pell show that it's firmly attached. This monstrosity is roughly nine and a half feet long, and still needs some balancing to really work - I'll continue to post updates, especially as I'll be going through the process of padding and latexing the shaft of the blade.

Here's a couple of parting links for those interested in some other weapon stuff.

One_Wing
Feb 18, 2012


Hedningen posted:


Well, to round things off, I may as well show my latest project. I do some homecrafting of LARP gear, as I am one of those Americans who has figured out how Liquid Latex works. One of my biggest problem with LARP polearms is the fact that they don't really get to the length that some older polearms would get to - the point of a blade on a stick is keeping your opponent as far away from you as possible while still being able to make him bleed profusely and die.


One of the new features at Empire, compared to other games, is that pikes up to nine foot are allowed. Given that almost no-one has much practice fighting against them, the few full length ones around are terrifying weapons of death. Have fun with your new toy!

jazzbanjo
Jan 12, 2010

Improvisational jazz banjoists will be shot on sight.

PST posted:

Atal, if you wanted to come and join the skirmish crew for your first event then we can provide you with kit to wear.

I'm one of the two head refs for Empire and I know we can sort you out with anything you'd need (potentially including a tent to sleep in, but I can't guarantee that) to try it out for a first time. Crewing means free entry, we feed you etc. That said, and not wanting to discourage it, we deliberately designed a game we all wished we could play, so I can understand prefering to play rather than crew. If you really need kit then I can probably sort something appropriate for most of the nations (if you want a rich Dawnish knight in plate then you're on your own).

I can fully support this. I signed on for the Skirmish team last event and both had an incredible amount of fun (normally I attend Curious Pastimes, so I wanted a combat kick), but at the same time I missed playing properly with my regular crew. Skirmish crew would be a great way to get a feel for the events, if you wanted to do that before rolling your own character.

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

Thanks guys - I've sent an email to the Empire Crew email addy telling them what I'm most interested in - I guess I'll hear back from them next week. I think it will just be fun being a nerd and knowing that I'm helping vastly more nerds have a fun weekend. Also, as mentioned it will be a good way to get a good feel for Empire and LARP in general.

As an aside, goddamn some of those weapons look amazing - what are the fights like? I imagine it's all very fast and 'whippy' with everything being so light. Do people ever sort of slow things down to give a more 'realistic' feel?

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


atal posted:

Thanks guys - I've sent an email to the Empire Crew email addy telling them what I'm most interested in - I guess I'll hear back from them next week. I think it will just be fun being a nerd and knowing that I'm helping vastly more nerds have a fun weekend. Also, as mentioned it will be a good way to get a good feel for Empire and LARP in general.

As an aside, goddamn some of those weapons look amazing - what are the fights like? I imagine it's all very fast and 'whippy' with everything being so light. Do people ever sort of slow things down to give a more 'realistic' feel?

That really depends on the system. If you're asking about Empire, I have no idea. Otherwise, yes, light weapons can be ridiculously fast and whippy.

I've seen several ways to handle it. The most basic is a catch-all rule of "Roleplay your swings", enforced by having a few weapons from the organizer's reenactor days around. You get to swing them around for a few minutes to get a feel, then try and match it. I've seen various other rule-hacks lately, as well - usually, there's a minimum arc the weapon has to travel through, a minimum time between valid strikes (which can be bad - it leads to problems with feints and people gradually speeding up, until it's abandoned) and various other methods of regulating swing speed. There are a lot of these sorts of things - the weirdest has to be, "weapons may not make a whooshing sound when swung", which, along with other hilarious errors in that particular rulebook, had me laughing at the nerdy arguments it must have spawned.

Other games don't bother. This is where you see hilarious machine-gun tapping and a lot of numbers being called if there's no minimum hit strength, or you start seeing full-contact ridiculousness.

I'm pretty happy, because I just got confirmation of site usage and insurance coverage for a horror game I've had sitting around for want of wherewithal to actually put it on. Proud of this one, although some of my prep work has been weirding out my neighbors.

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Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

Entropy in protein form

Empire basically addresses this with its 1-second rule - essentially, you can only make a call/do damage once per second, and any hits the target takes in excess of that can be ignored. It means there's no incentive to drumroll your hits, and in any case as a PC you're often looking to defend yourself and snipe out hits where you can rather than go all out. People also mainly fight to have fun, and the game emphasises 'heroic' fighting, so you can generally expect people not to be taking the piss. As for whipping to swords too fast, it's a core tenet that if you tell someone they're hitting you too hard they're hitting you too hard, no exceptions, and they'll try and pull their blows more. The presence of tons of refs in every fight help keep things safe and cool-looking.

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