Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Homework: LARP Resources

We live in the age of the Internets, where anyone can find out what Sesquipedalophobia is (go ahead, I know you're doing it right now.) Even so, I have found it incredibly hard to find any quality, solid resources for LARP.

I think the biggest reason for this is that there isn't a large enough vocal following for the few sites that have tried it, and so people burn out and stop.

So here's the homework for today - I want you to go out and find a resource on the internet for LARPing of any kind. It could be a list of LARPs, information on how to run a LARP, or even better, a blog about LARP. And once you've found it, I want you to drop a comment telling them that their ideas are good, that you appreciate the work that they're doing, or even that you think they're totally hot. All comments are good comments.

The content doesn't matter as much as the fact that they will know someone is out there reading their stuff. Please don't use my stuff at for this assignment.

I mean, you can totally go there and comment on my articles, but it won't count towards this homework.

Resources you find will be added to this post, and we'll put them up in their own Links section. I'll get the ball rolling with this gem that Tim showed me last year.

Nerology - "But Is It Fun?"

Drop links to the resource, preferably where you put your comment. You only get credit if you actually leave some feedback. Go make someone's day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Origins Recap

Last weekend, I got to do some serious gaming at the Origins Game Fair. Since I write about LARP for a gaming website, I figured I'd get as much LARPing in as possible and get some company names out.

All in all, we participated in 6 LARPs. Belegarth, Amtgard, Amber, 10 Bad LARPs, Rising, and Dark Aeons. Here's what I thought of each.

Monday, June 28, 2010

This Week In LARP - June 28th

Get yer fix, ye dirty scalawags!


NERO PRO will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend, July 2nd through July 4th. It will be taking place at the IG town of Vindale. The game will cost $35 to PC ($25 with a good ratio) and $10 to NPC, with an additional $10 fee to register on-site (preregistration is already closed). The game will be at Raccoon State Park in Pennsylvania.


Triumph will be running a 1-day event on Saturday, July 3rd. The game starts at 10:00 AM and will run until 8:00 PM at Sycamore State Park. I couldn't find what the cost was at the website, so if anyone knows, I would appreciate the input!

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting small

Most of the time, Larp plot tends to focus on the grand, the large scale, the war and the quest. These are the broad sweeping strokes of the brush, the background of an event. Without the broad background the event would be dull and boring, but it is the small, the details that make the event great. The formula for a good NERO event is simple, randoms every 45 minutes, a staged large scale battle Friday, and Saturday evenings and at least 3 hooked mods on Friday and 8 on Saturday makes for a well balanced and fast paced event. There doesn't even have to be any plot at this event, these could all be unconnected mods and events and people would still have fun. The personal, the details, the histories are what draw a player out of the state of disbelief. Below are some simple ideas to help you in drawing the players in on an individual basis.

Players love to feel connected to the world that their characters live in. Letters, scraps of ancient books, references to past events all allow for this sort of connection. Pick a a character from a players background story, write a letter to the player from that character and reference something that is currently happening in the game world. Five minutes of your time deepens someones experience considerably, for bonus points hook a module off of your letter. Now the player feels connected and you do not have to send an NPC to hook a mod, it is a win win.

Self driven plot is the staple of the personal plot. You the plot person are attempting to run the schedule that I have laid out above, your assistants are...assisting you we assume, where is there time for the individual roleplay that your players so desperately crave? The simplest form of the self directed plot is the riddle or puzzle, make up something hard enough and it can entertain certain groups of players for hours, make solving the riddle a contingency for a pre-written module and you have just saved an NPC from hooking once again. If you wish to be more creative than just a simple riddle, try a series of interconnected riddles which culminate in a translation of some sort of ancient text, brains crave patterns this will definitely entertain. Make sure however that the reward offered is always equivalent to the mental effort put in, make the module an excellent one and the players will solve your riddles again in the future.

The easiest way to manage the schedule of the standard event and someones personal plot at the same time is to make them the same thing. If you cast a wide enough net with your weekend plot and involve enough groups, you can introduce letters and puzzles from the weekend plot into smaller groups of players. This technique also allows for a very satisfying aha moment when the climax for the weekend involves many groups of players bringing all of their personal plot together to solve the weekend plot.

With this sort of planning and thought put in before the event, the schedule of an event becomes simpler. It is far easier to realize that you must run module one in which the players receive the puzzles that lead to the climax module on Saturday night, after you have determined what those puzzles are. Remember that tying players in personally is always secondary to running the framework of the event that entertains everyone but the rewards of pulling off both are a great event that gets the rave reviews.

This is my opinion, it was drawn from personal experience and it is something that I use when thinking about writing plot, let me know if you like it feel free to tear it up in the comments, I like talking about things.

YouTube Thursday: Live Avatar Role Playing

A lot of the videos out there depicting LARPers make me sad, but this one's just too funny to pass up on.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Event Update

Michael pointed out that the Nero KY event in the This Week In LARP post was actually for last year, so I am sorry for anyone who got their hopes up. But all is not lost, since there is a one day event at NERO SWV! The event will cost $20 to PC while NPCing is free, with $5 discounts to active and veteran military personnel. See the sidebar for further details!

Thanks a lot, Michael!

Cross-Gaming Made Me a Better (Plot) Person

Innovation is key when running LARP Plot. It's hard to keep everything fresh and new for the players, because they're all special snowflakes who need you to cater to their every whim. Okay, maybe not every whim.

I had long been a staff or plot member at various camps for WAR, a NERO chapter, and I was happy. I felt like I was doing everything to be creative, but still something was missing. Life moved along at a snails pace.

Then one day, there was a new game called Exiles. Benson Green (credit where credit's due) brought this little western gem to us from down south. Add one part romantic horror, one part steampunk, and one part supernatural monsters, stirring the whole thing with a couple of six-shooters, and Exiles is what you'll get.

Exiles was a smaller game, and relied more heavily on the spirit of the rules than anything else. If you got hit by some crazy spell and didn't know what it did, then it had no effect on you. And since it was an incredibly lethal game (at the time), any jerks who tried to ruin the game could essentially get run out of town on a rail, in the corpse camping metaphorical sense (thankfully it never came to this).

But at Exiles, we had modules where Benson just made up environmental rules. Riverboat, runaway stagecoach, train, and horse modules all had some sort of environmental effect that, while not gamebreaking, really added a new level to those modules.

Running stuff like this outside of normal rules was nothing more than a second thought in Exiles. Rather than having the benefit of being able to play anywhere in the US in different games as the same character, we didn't have to worry about someone on the other side of the nation getting angry that someone else was playing a different game then them. I found a different perspective that would have been difficult to find in WAR - not because the game was bad, but because the game was different.

So what did I do? I started to run modules in WAR using some of the mechanics I had stolen been inspired with. Some of the players were also Exiles players, which helped them convince some of the NERO only players to relax and enjoy the ride. And you know what? They loved it.

Now this story is not a dig on WAR or NERO in any way. It was intended to show you the kind of benefits you can see by cross gaming. More recently, I've been running some plot for Exiles, and I've been able to incorporate some of the organizational skills a few of us got from WAR in order to reduce downtime, and so far, I think it's worked.

Remember - LARPs don't have to be mutually exclusive. Try another game every now and again. If you find that you don't have any fun at the other game, at least now you'll appreciate your game that much more.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things that I have learned, Dungeon Crawl Northcoast

This last weekend, Bill and I and one of our friends named Ryan ran a multi level, unscaled, hard core, dungeon crawl for the lovely larpers of NERO Northcoast. We basically took a few weeks and designed a very large(For NERO), relatively complex, story based set of puzzles and fights and traps and then opened it up to allcomers on Saturday of the Northcoast Mod day. All in all it was fairly well recieved. We had three groups enter the dungeon, one of them made it all the way down to level 3(The dungeon gets progressively harder as you get deeper), the other two stayed on the earlier levels. I am going to look at some of the things that went very well, and some of the things that could have gone better.

NERO is a bit of an odd rules system for a dungeon crawl, to many effects result in immediate incapacitation if they are not stopped in some way. We made the decision before we ran this dungeon to limit the number of these takeout effects to specific rooms, thus allowing most of the fighting to play itself out based on skill rather than statistics on a monster card. This was an excellent decision, the players who fought their way down to the lower levels were forced to deal with a higher and higher density of takedowns which amped up the volume nicely. NERO also requires a certain amount of setup for each portion of a module, costumes must be changed, monster stats gone over and weapons prepared, our pre organization of all of those things made for fast change overs, we were able to get most rooms set up in less than 5 minutes. We as a group also decided that most NERO dungeon crawls just end up being a grind through a constant flood of monsters, we got around this by interspersing puzzle and flavor rooms into all levels of the dungeon, this paced the fighting out, and let people catch their breath in between combats. All in all i was very pleased with this module and we will be running it again, players seemed to enjoy it and I enjoyed the variety of encounters that we were able to run within the context.

There are of course things that we can do better. One of the concepts behind this module was that players could map out the dungeon, all of the rooms are static, if you enter the dungeon a second or even a third time you should be able to find things in the same spot that they were before. We need to do more to emphasize this, detailed mapping can be a mainstay for fantasy RPGs, the idea of a party getting lost in a deep dark cave is frightening and interesting, and I think that we can better represent this through our NPC interactions. Going along with this first thing, we did have a number of non combat encounters, but I and the others on the team would like to see a higher percentage of actual roleplay encounters. It is far easier to advance a story with a roleplay encounter, environment encounters are wonderful for feeling but require to much interpretation to be relied upon for story continuity. To cap off our areas of improvement I am going to touch on one that was also a strength, organization, we did very well with this, but we can do better. My goal is to create monster boxes for all commonly occuring monsters in the dungeon, containing costuming, statistic cards and props. Doing this will aloow us to cut down on the turn around time in between rooms and insure that all monsters are properly costumed in all iterations of the dungeon. Continuity in a module like this is paramount, since players know what to expect in each room after the first run through, giving them what they expect allows you to surprise them in later, new rooms.

A lot of thought goes into creating and perfecting a module like this, I hope people that read this gain something from looking at our strengths and weaknesses. Anyone who has been in our dungeon, feel free to comment on what I have said. Anyone who hasn't, come check it out at WARs Lumberton event in July or August or September. It is only going to get better from here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Week In LARP - June 21st

This week, there are a number of LARP activities going on in the area.

If you didn't know, the Origins Game Fair is this weekend, from Thursday through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Origins is a gaming faire that covers all kinds of media in basically any genre. There will be tons of Board Games, CCGs, and, of course, LARPs. Try out a one-shot game for a local LARP to see if you like it, or just try acting like a different person with a bunch of strangers you've never seen before.

If conventions aren't your thing, you still have a few options.


NERO WAR will be hosting a 2-day event, starting June 25th. The in-game town is Vargus, a free city outside the bounds of the Kingdom of Stonegate. The game will be played at Camp Myeerah (7405 State Route 540, Bellefontaine OH 43311), and will cost $50 to PC ($30 with a good NPC Ratio) while NPCing is free.

NERO SWV will also be hosting a 1-day event on Saturday, June 26th. The game will be held at Camp Arrowhead in Ona, WV. The event will cost $20 to PC while NPCing is free, with $5 discounts to active and veteran military personnel.

Thanks go out to Michael, who pointed out that I looked at Nero KY's 2009 calendar (get it together guys!). All is not lost, as there is still an event, but now it's at Ona, WV instead of KY.

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dungeon Crawl

Just in case anyone reading this doesn't know, we will be running a dungeon at this weekends NERO Northcoast mod day. It is a preplanned, premapped, giant dungeon crawl with some pretty neat costuming and effects and a whole lot of rooms. If you come out, you can run through it a couple of times, if you like it, I promise you will see it again at at least 3 more events this year. Come on and give it a try. See the side bar for camp location.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

YouTube Thursday: Modified Saber Grip

For all you cool kids out that that want to get better at fighting, here's a excellent place to start. The modified saber grip is excellent for boffer combat, because it gives you the control of the saber grip, but also protects your forearm from getting hit. The downside to this grip is the chance for your thumb getting hurt from the force on a weapon, but for lightest touch games like NERO and Alliance, you shouldn't have to worry about that.

I will note I played for years without using a saber grip (I used a hammer grip), and it took nearly breaking my thumb from hand matching that I learned to use this grip. It really does help control your shots and protect your sword arm.

Courtesy of Brennon and Spyn, two of the premier fighters in Amtgard and partners of Warlord Sports.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking For Contributors

If we're to truly cover all LARPs in the Ohio area, we'll be needing a few more contributors. Tim and I really only cover two game systems - NERO and Exiles, so there's a pretty big need for help from other games!

Next week, we'll be heading for Origins and we'll be twisting some arms to get some help on the blog. In the meantime, if you know someone who is involved in any of the following games who might be interested in contributing to this site, let us know in the comments or send an email to!


Or, of course, any other organized game I may have forgotten. We want you all.

Edit: We would also take contributors from historical re-enactors, like the SCA, as there is a lot of crossover from LARP combat to what they do.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Homework: Fortress

Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to make a module based around this wonderful water fortress, which is available at Sam's Club for about $600).

Kids Today are Completely Spoiled
Kids Today are Completely Spoiled

The please limit the responses to 200 words or less in the comments. Other than that, there are no rules or limitations.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week In LARP - June 14th

So you're a LARPer and you need to get your fix?


Northcoast NERO will be running a mod day on Saturday, June 19th. You'll be able to relax in an IG tavern, explore the repeatable dungeon (run by our very own Tim), attend a premade module, or request your own personal plot!

The game is at Camp Tuscazoar and starts at Noon and runs until about 10PM. $25 gets you in the door to PC, and players who NPC the whole thing will be receiving NPC rewards as if it were a full weekend event!

For more info, hit the NCN Forums:

PS - If you will be attending, help Mike out and let him know in this thread: If you don't have an account, you must use your actual name when registering for the forum.


Alliance Ohio will be hosting a full weekend event, starting Friday, June 18th and running until Sunday, June 20th. Cost will be $60 to PC ($50 pre-registered) or $10 to NPC, and this includes the food costs. The game will be at Lewis Arboretum. For more information, visit

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Hello all, my name is Tim Holt and I have been playing NERO for about 9 years. I have done a lot of table topping and played some pretty serious paintball too. At heart I am a stick jock which means, for the uninitiated, that I belong to the fraternal order of the foam samurai. I have been running plot for a few months in the WAR organization, and was on staff at one camp for about 3 seasons. At this point I am unsure of my goals, I suppose that organization is one, we the larpers of this state must stand together against the tyranny of the norms and all that. Cross game gaming seems like a strong objective as well, I would love to see some Amtgard or Dagorhir guys come and give NERO a try and vice versa, bring down the wall.

That is all I have for now, I will try to think of something else to post later.

Welcome to LARP Ohio

My name is Bill, and I'm a long-time LARPer. I started back when I was 16, over ten years ago, and I'm still playing today. In that time, I've been a player, staff member, plot member, part owner, and rules marshal for "We Are Roleplayers," one of the local NERO International chapters. I've also been playing "Exiles" for about 5 years now, in which I've been a player, plot member, and I've done some minor rules consulting.

Aside from that, I've done a few one shot LARPs at gaming conventions, and I've been waiting to sink my teeth into some more physical games, like Amtgard, Belegarth, or Dagorhir. I've also done some work for the gaming site, writing articles with tips for creating your own LARP group, or simply some tips for running a better game.

Since there appears to be a serious lack of LARP content on the internet, I've decided to compile a news like feed for all the local LARP games in this area. My goal is to create a cross game community within Ohio (and the surrounding states), because as I once checked, there are about 70 organized groups within 4 hours of Colombus, making Ohio the LARPing Mecca.

So, if you're running a game in Ohio or any bordering state and you'd like to advertise, send me an email at