Friday, October 29, 2010

Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like To Make Weapons

So I put this post up so you can read about making weapons while you're making weapons.

It's been a while since I made my last weapon, but I'll be making a pair of shortswords for someone who was coveting one of mine at the last NCN event. I figured, while I do this, I might as well drop some hints and include you all in the process.

Today, we're talking about materials.

There's a lot of different ways to make a weapon, which includes a lot of variants on materials. I'm going to try and include everything I can. Before I start, I can't stress that a good looking weapons means nothing (or at least very little) if you don't meet the minimum safety requirements for your game. Foam thickness, weight (if appropriate) and length are the big three, while some games also have some additional requirements for covers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

YouTube Thursday: Prehistoric Dog

I found this little gem online a while back. The metal band Red Fang did a music video for their song "Prehistoric Dog" where they start out making fun of LARPers. The band then builds their own armor and weapons out of beer cans to harass the players. However, it doesn't end how you might expect it.

The video is kind of graphic. This is a metal band, so they're not afraid to show excessive blood or band members throwing up from drinking too much. You've been warned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lesson Learned NorthCoast Halloween Event

So, Jenn, Noah, and I ran an event at NERO Northcoast last weekend, in case you didn't note the three other posts on the same subject. These are my musings on what went well, what went poorly, and what I can do better.

Lets start with what went well. We had an incredible plot team. Working with Jenn and Noah was a joy. Before the event started we had well over 50 pages of plot written, we had nailed down our entire schedule, and we knew what costuming we needed. Mike added to this stew further by getting us the best possible camp for our needs and providing the costuming and props necessary to add an additional wow factor. IN addition to an awesome plot team we had a great staff team, my fellow blog writer Bill Tobin and Noah's buddies from ARGO formed a solid core upon whom we could rely. Any mod that we needed run could be handled by any of the experienced staff people on hand, it was amazing. Along with all of these prerequisites we added an on the site whiteboard scheduling session with a few quick update sessions and constant communication amongst the plot and staff. All of these things came together to make an amazing event.

I have been asked to briefly describe the structure of the event, and to explain how it differed from normal events. A specialty event like this one is strange, it has no plot arcs to follow. It requires that all plots be introduced, ran, and concluded in a single weekend and that requires stellar timing. We began with the premise of a tomb opening and releasing some great evil thing into the world( Not particularly unique but horror appropriate), we then designed a number of preset, size limited mods which could directly effect the power level of the end fight. Preset in size because this allows for prescaling and also prevents the mosh pit that is generally involved in a town fight. Each of the plot people wrote 1/3 of these core modules all of which had 2 similar traits. 1. They were all fights that also involved a puzzle and 2. They all had a second level which allowed for deeper exploration into the tomb for the hard core adventurer. Using these mods and their completion as the foundation of the event, we scheduled randoms based on which module was running at any given time. We wrote up specific random charts to differentiate between the tombs and turned those charts over to the staff. Then we ran a field battle every Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday late to punctuate different events. That was the event structure all fully planned and executed. It differs from a normal event only in its tie ins to other plot arcs, meaning that our stuff needed to be done by Saturday at 3 am.

So what went wrong. Medical holds, oh man did we have medical holds. Two trips to the hospital and a LOOOONNGGG hold to get them off site made for a tough Saturday night. We had a hard time keeping everyone interested after a 2 and half hour hold, but somehow, everyone got back into it and we managed to finish with a bang. In addition my obsessive compulsive went a bit overboard. We had this staff member who was quite possibly the greatest modshack builder I have ever seen. The guy could make a tarp maze look like the Taj Mahal but I had a hard time using him to his fullest potential because I had a preset notion of a simple modshack, this was a failing on my part and hopefully I can correct it easily. I heard a few complaints about the scaling but honestly the level variance was huge so I felt pretty good about our fights. Generally speaking our failings were either me being hyper critical or uncontrollable incidents.

So we did not run a perfect event but I think we came as close as we could with the external circumstances. I had a great time and think most other people did too. Let me know what you thought, if you went, or what you think of this write up!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NPC Speech

As many of you know, the LARP Ohio contributors helped run most recent NCN event. The plot team consisted of Tim, Noah (frequent commenter), and Jenn, my wife, with me backing them up as general staff. The event was amazing (not to toot my own horn), but the biggest thing that stood out in my mind was the quality of our NPCs.

I've had events with lots of NPCs in the past, but generally they're uncontrolled balls of energy, some of which require more effort to corral than they make our jobs easier. This event, though, everyone was on the same page. NPCs were taking effects and hits, weren't blood-thirsty, roleplayed very well, and were willing to take on any role.

You guys/gals were amazing. Simply amazing.

Everyone runs different styles of games, so it can be very difficult as an NPC to understand the type of game that is expected of you. That's why we did something that I've always wanted to do but have never really been able to pull off - an honest to God NPC speech.

What makes a good NPC speech? Here are the key components:
- Key rules of the game
- Basic plan for the event
- Special effects for cards
- Things to focus on
- Things to Avoid
- Questions

After that speech, we were all part of the same team and were on the same track with what we expected out of the event. I didn't have a single complaint about any of our NPCs, and from what I saw, it was the best NPC performance I've seen in my 11 years of NERO.

Once again, Bravo to each and every one of our NPCs this past weekend. You guys showed everyone what it means to NPC.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Week In LARP - October 25th

Last Week In LARP

Did you attend a LARP event last weekend? Let us know how it was in the comments!

This Week In LARP

Halloween is a special time of year, where we can go to Sheetz after an event, while in costume, and no one will look at us funny. Take advantage!


WAR will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, October 29th and ending Sunday, October 31st. The game will be held at Camp Myeerah at the IG location of Vargus. It's $50 to PC ($30 with a good NPC ratio) and is free to NPC.

NERO Northlands will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, October 29th and ending Sunday, October 31st. The game will be held at Rolling Hills (Lodges) at the IG location of Bramblethorn Glade. It's $40 to PC ($35 if you preregistered) and I believe it is free to NPC.

NERO Elkins will be hosting a 1-day event this weekend on Sunday, October 30th. The game will be held at Riverbend Park at the IG location of Oilios (previously Freetown). It's $10 to PC and is free to NPC.

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, October 22, 2010

Running a North Coast NERO event!

I am off to run a Northcoast NERO event, all of you should drop what you are doing and come on down. I promise it is going to rock!

Contest Time!

Thanks to our dedicated readers, we broke the threshold of 4000 hits in 100 posts. As promised, we're going to have a little contest.

A while back, I was given a few weapons to review from At the time, I had been writing for regularly, and he wanted to know what I thought of their weapons. All in all, I like the foam they use. It's dense enough to prevent damage from the core, but at the same time, they're soft enough that they don't hurt. What really impressed me was the Axe they sent, which some of you may have seen, as Tim used them for his Golems in this year's Lumberton plot.

It just so happens that one of the swords saw no more than preliminary use, and we're going to give that away to one of our lucky readers.

Here are the rules:

- Anyone who is not a writer for the blog or a relative of a writer for the blog may enter.
- Entries can come in one of two ways
  1. Send an email to that includes your name, LARPs that you play, and how you found the blog.
  2. Like us on facebook.
- Each person can have up to two entries (one from email, one from Facebook)
- Entries must be made by Midnight on Sunday, Novermber 7th.

From those entries, a winner will be drawn at random (or pseudo-random for you computer nerds). If you win, we'll contact you and figure out the best way to get you the sword, whether it's shipping or having it hand delivered by one of the bloggers.

But there's more!

In addition, we're looking for some sort of Logo/Graphic for LARP Ohio that could be used for the banner as well as for a T-shirt. The logo could be multiple colors, but for the sake of T-shirts would need to have a black/white design. If we pick your logo, we'll give you a shout-out and you'll get a free shirt (once they become available).

Logos can be sent to with the word "Logo" in the subject.

Good Luck and have a great weekend. Hope to see you out at NCN!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

YouTube Thursday: Darkon

Mark brought this up last week, so I figured this would be worth showing for all the people who are not aware of Darkon. Darkon is a documentation that follows a few members of the game of the same name. From my understanding, it's a combat intensive game, much like Dagorhir, except that there is a territory game that exists, and each battle represents an attempt to expand on the territory for the country you fight for.

In the grand scheme of movies, it's not as demeaning as Monster Camp, because you get the feeling that they took a larger cross section of people who are moderately successful in real life. However, there are still a few people who make us look bad, like cardboard armor guy.

If you're interested and want to see more, you can pick up the DVD for this movie at Amazon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Larp games come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. Most of them involve as system and most systems lend themselves to particular tactics that make the most sense. In NERO for instance a classic tactical decision is the backpack fighter combination. For those of you who do not play NERO this involves a fighter with a healer stuck to his back, always touching him and healing or fixing disabling effects as they are called. Tactical decision making is really the core of any combat system, here are a few differentiators which help you make tactical decisions in new games.

One: How debilitating are the games effects? If a game has very debilitating effects, ones that make it impossible to continue interacting in combat, then the game generally has a tight tactical layout. Tight meaning that the game is intended to be played in groups that stay together so that they can fix or protect those who have been debilitated. Most boffer larps fall into this category, it is difficult to solo a boffer larp encounter because so many of the effects make it impossible to continue fighting! One exception to this rule is the Amtgard or location style fighting games, these games have very easy takedowns but since the battlegame is not persistent, tight group fighting is not always the best tactical decision.

Two: Are the classes differentiated or do they mix roles. In some games it is evident what role each class plays, the classic example in a tabletop is Dungeons and Dragons, a single class fighter can never heal, a single class cleric cannot really fight. If you examine the classes available in your game, you should be able to determine the level of specialization in each class. Many larp games allow characters to fill multiple roles, in NERO for instance a rogue or templar can fill a fighter role in a pinch. By determining the differentiation level of your larp you will better be able to determine your expected role which should make your combat positioning better.

Three: How fast moving is the combat? In a location based system, especially one with backstabs, battlefield positioning is everything. A character who does more damage from behind the enemy needs to be able to execute tactical plans to get into that position. A character who requires range needs to partner with a melee character to insure that the intended target stays at range for sufficient time. Battlefield positioning based games can be boiled down to an almost chess like game if slowed down sufficiently, understanding the position that you should be in on the battlefield will allow you to be as effective as possible in your class.

Most larp games have fairly obvious tactics but there is still value in analyzing them to make yourself more efficent. What are your games tactics? How do you think that a player of your class can be better at the game?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They Wanted Puzzles...

So apparently someone keeps getting to this blog by searching for combinations of the keywords puzzle, riddle, and LARP. So far, we haven't had anything where we talked about specific puzzles you can use, although Tim did talk about integrating the puzzles into combat. We strive to give the people what they want, so here are some games that I would use, and have used, as mechanics for various LARP actions.

The greatest thing about using puzzle type games as mechanics for LARP is that these games have a predetermined difficulty and are well known by the players. Less explanation means more immersion. Also, puzzles like this make everyone else feel involved, because they can actually gauge how well you're doing without having to understand some unique system.

1. Mastermind
This game is a gem that you can use to symbolize picking a lock or trying to enter a combination. The great thing about it is that the mechanic is simple enough that you don't even need the game itself in order to use it. But with a little work, you can build your own pimped-out mastermind game (either physically or in software).

2. Kerplunk
I like the idea of using this game to symbolize some sort of stealth action that the players are trying to perform. Make it so that each character going has to draw a stick, and if a marble falls, the players are spotted/heard. This makes the players gauge how many people they want to take, as the more you bring, the more likely it is that a marble will drop. Unfortunately, recreating Kerplunk could be kind of difficult, so you might have to suck it up and buy this one.

3. Jenga
Using Jenga as a representation of a power source of some kind could add a lot to a module. The more you use the power source, the more likely it is to break. It also adds an additional element of keeping the area around the power source safe, since that tower could easily topple if people are stomping too loud around the set. While you could build something like Jenga yourself, the wood blocks in that game have very high dimension tolerances and have just the right amount of friction to make it possible, but difficult.

4. Tangrams
Another favorite that's used by a lot of plot teams in this area is Tangrams. I prefer to use it as a way of channeling magical spells several times. That way, different shapes might activate a different part of the spell, and as the players perform the shapes, they'll get faster and faster at it. At the very basic level, make one shape open a door and the other shape close it. That way, they'll have to open it to let their friends in, but then they'll have to make the other shape to close the door and keep the NPCs out.

5. Simon
Using mechanics from any game that requires you to repeat patters can always make for an interesting mechanic. For more interesting results, have two games set up and have the PCs face off against the NPCs. Each player will go as far as they can, hoping the other will fail and cause them to suffer the consequences in a horse-esque battle of wits. That, or recreate the Goonies piano scene.

What the Hell is Blue, Blue, Red, Green, Blue?

So there you have it, my top five games to use as LARP puzzle mechanics. If I had more time, I could add a few more (may warrant a follow-up post). Next time you're running a game, think about implementing a few of these into the game, since they've got predictable durations and there fun for everyone.

Got any games you like to use for plot puzzles?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Week In LARP - October 18th

Last Week In LARP

Did you attend a LARP event last weekend? Let us know how it was in the comments!

This Week In LARP

Celebrate National Mole Day by swinging some pipe at your friends. Also, if you're swinging pipe at your friends and know what National Mole Day is, there's a pretty good chance that you're a geek. Just sayin'.


Northcoast NERO will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, October 22nd and ending Sunday, October 24th. The game will be held at Camp Neosa at the IG location of Syrinx. It's $40 to PC and is free to NPC. Tim, fellow writer for LARP Ohio, will be one of the plot members for this event, and I will be helping as a staff member. Hope to see you there!

NERO SWV will be at CharCon starting Friday, October 22nd and ending Sunday, October 24th at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia. If you're in the area or attending CharCon, stop on by!

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, October 15, 2010

Bring On the Costumes

The guys over at the Mid Level Crisis Podcast had an interesting conversation regarding the problem with trying to improve new player costuming. Clearly, you want to give positive reinforcement for new costuming, but you don't want to be so blatant as saying "Hey new kid, you need to work on your costuming.

As many know, you get costume armor, but is that really enough? Especially when you compare it to the armor you get for wearing football pads (don't wear football pads).

So what are some ways to get better costuming?

1.) Experience Bonuses
Five points of armor might not mean a lot, but additional experience can usually drive players to extreme measures. Exiles uses this, where you get an additional learnin' (build point) every event for having no anachronistic elements in your costume. If you go so far as to add to the town atmosphere, you get even more.

The downside is that personalized experience might cause players to worry about favoritism, and in the case of larger games, adds an extra level of complexity on logistics that are often overworked as is.

2.) Use Chapter Resources
This is an idea that Tim and I had a while ago. When you have players NPC for you for so many events, you can provide some benefits like a decent double-sided tabard. Sure, these are intended for use while NPCing, but these can also give a basic level of costuming that would prevent new player costuming from detracting from the game.

Of course, the downside of this is that you need to either pay for costuming (very expensive) or have some dedicated crafters donating time to make the costuming.

3.) Mentoring
In my opinion, Mentoring is the best way to improve new player costuming. Telling a player that he needs to get better costuming could create some negative reactions. However, their reaction would be completely different if a player who took them onto their team said "We need to work on your costuming so people can tell that you're a part of the team. I'll help you with it." In that case, you not only get better costuming for the new player, but they actually start to feel like part of the group.

Promoting this maker culture has worked pretty well for games like Amtgard, Belegarth, and even the SCA. The downside of this is that it requires a significant level of involvement from veteran players and willingness to mentor those players.

Any of these three should be able to get the job done, but each of them has possible downsides associated with it. Got any suggestions for how to improve new player costuming?

PS: If you're interested in trying Exiles out and are free this weekend, come out to the game at Lewis Arboretum this weekend. It's going to be an excellent, season ending event with a spectacular plot team (not that I'm biased or anything). See you out there!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

YouTube Thursday: Illinois Newscast

I had to do some digging into the archives for this week's video. Now, I know this is a bit old (a year plus), but I figured this is a very good example of positive press for LARPs in general.

While this video is primarily about Dagorhir and Belegarth, there is a healthy use of the word "LARP," and none of the people interviewed are sad, obsessive, or weird enough to make fun of LARPers. In addition, no one in the video tries to hide what they're doing or pretend that they're just doing it for the lulz. Thank you Medill Reports!

Edit: Apparently, the user dropped this video and I can't find any copies of it on YouTube. If you find a copy anywhere on the internet, drop the link in the comments.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

100 Posts!

I wasn't really sure what to expect when we started this blog. Maybe we'd get people to look at it, maybe not. I just figured there weren't too many resources on LARP on the internet that were topical or reliable.

4 Months and 100 posts later, and I'm flabbergasted at the success so far. We've had a lot of support and we've started to gain a significant following by NERO players in the Ohio area (and beyond!)

People I'd Like to Thank

We're going to keep it up and keep giving you guys as much information as possible to help improve all LARPs and grow our hobby. Let us know what you like and don't like, what questions you might have, and what topics you'd like us to talk about!

Wait for Part 2 of this post, where I talk about all the things I'd like to grow on the blog, as well as the wonderful contest we're going to post for getting to 4000 hits on the 100th post (bet you thought I forgot!)

Thanks Everyone!

Bill Tobin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Simulation versus Mechanics

fairly frequently I hear people utter such phrases as " But that just doesn't make sense" in reference to a larp rule. Now I am all for the multitple views of gaming, I understand that some players want a simulation and some want a story. I can wrap my mind around the desire to simulate medieval life with some canon fantasy elements thrown in, but the most basic rule must still survive, everyone must have fun.

Simulationist systems like the SCA or Dagorhir are fun on a limited scale. Generally speaking the games take place with combat games interspersed with hanging out, maybe some of the hanging out is in character but mostly not. I love these types of games, I have fun when I go to them, I started in the SCA but these are not really LARP in the strictest sense. They do not schedule like a larp, there is not a constant state of in game that lasts for an entire weekend. They do not generally run modules and field battles and they do not have to scale their encounters. IN a simulationist game like this, "Making Sense" has some relevance. It is far easier to determine what is making sense in a limited, combat only capacity, when only interplayer combat needs to be scaled. Also scaling issues are far less prevalent in a game with a combat system as simple as most of these games, most of them do not use hit points, weapons all do the same damage, there are not spells or classes. These games are the essense of larp combat without the complex rule system, and the can make sense.

The more standard view of a larp game is NERO and its cousins and brothers. "Making Sense" from the perspective of these types of games makes less sense(Heh). The whole rule system is a series of mechanics for governing the game, none of them should be required to simulate anything. Boffer combat resembles sword combat, barely. It is fun and exhilirating, but there is no reason that a hammer should do more damage than a dagger unless the mechanics call for it. A spell has no real world equivalent so it lends no credence to its realism to make a fire spell set someone on fire unless of course the effect is desired for a story reason or for scaling. The concept of realism in a fantasy game is limited by the canon of the fantasy and by the mechanics of the game, no rule should be implemented which does not increase the fun factor for at least one group of players.

This gets us to my premise that realism makes sense in a combat game larp but not in a traditional larp. The limited scope in which we do need to insure realism in our fantasy games extends only so long as the mechanics in question are as fun as possible. Discuss.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Week In LARP - October 11th

Last Week In LARP

Not much to talk about. There were no LARPs last week.

This Week In LARP

Get into the thick of it this weekend at LARP.


NERO Cincinnati will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, October 15th and ending Sunday, October 17th. The game will be held at Camp Graham at the IG location of Ironpost. It's $50 to PC and is free to NPC.


Alliance South Michigan will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, October 15th and ending Sunday, October 17th. The game will be held at Camp Kiwanis. I am not sure of the cost of the event.


Exiles will be hosting a 2-day event, featuring yours truly on plot, this weekend starting Friday, October 15th and ending Sunday, October 17th. The game will be held at Lewis Arboretum at the IG location of Redemption Hills. It's $40 to PC and is free to NPC.

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, October 8, 2010

The Future of LARPing

For my career, I do a fair amount of travel and work in the field. I work with plenty of individuals, both technicians and engineers at the sites I go to, and there's really only one thing we have in common.

I know there's a lot of smart phones out there, but due to it's professional attitude and open source, versions of the Droid are starting to pop up everywhere. Hell, even the iPhone has a lot of the same functionality (although it's a bit harder to replicate full interfaces like Droid).

And I'll tell you what - these smart phones could be the future of LARP as we know it.

There are so many different things you can do with this phone. Things I've heard of or thought about doing include:

- Spellbook applications
- GPS locations for players, in case you're interested in running a pervasive LARP.
- Bluetooth Apps that run programs (picking a lock mini-game when you get close to a lock, combat sims)
- Motion sensors for simulated striking/casting (like MagiQuest)
- Barcode scanner and camera apps for collecting IG data

Really, the possibilities are endless, especially compared to what we've had at our disposal in the previous decade. Sure, it might be harder for these phones to make it into a lot of medieval fantasy games, but you certainly can go a lot farther with ideas for cyberpunk style LARPs. I think I'm going to have to start learning how to write Droid apps.

Got any good idea for some LARP apps for smart phones?

Disclaimer: This blog reflects my personal opinions and in no way represents the opinions of the company I work for. This statement is actually required by our Employee Handbook. I love technology.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

YouTube Thursday: The Colony

I started watching this show in its second season on the Discovery Channel. The plotline of the show is that some sort of worldwide catastrophic event has occurred, and a small cross-section of the population has to rebuild and survive with the limited resources around them.

It wasn't until I watched about 5 episodes when it dawned on me. Discovery Channel as tricked the world into watching an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), a form of LARP. And they don't even know it.

They disguised it as a reality TV show, except there was no voting off of players and no prize winners at the end. At first, they just had to focus on surviving with their resources, but then they started testing their security... by attacking with NPCs. It got to the point where the players were going on modules to investigate the bayou and, well, I'm not going to spoil everything. You're just going to have to watch it.

If you haven't already started watching this series, I highly suggest you start. If not for the fact that these people do some ridiculous shit (like building a windmill out of scrap), then do it to support ARG and LARP within the mainstream media.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fighting Fit: How to get there

Larp fighting is a reasonably intense hobby. On any given weekend I may swing my foam sword thousands of times or throw hundreds of packets. I may have to run or die, I may have to jump or climb, we play a physical game. Generally speaking the larp crowd is not in particularly great shape, but what if there was a workout that revolved around larp fighting? What if every day someone gave you something different to do to make yourself better at your game? Crossfit is a training theory in which a short 5-15 minute workout every day is used to increase overall fitness level while also preparing someone for a particular sport. Many variations of the crossfit theory are available on the internet and each one has a workout of the day, a short workout that focuses on the goals of the program. Generally all of the exercises are explained and demonstrated with short videos and then broken down into a new unique workout which goes up every day. A larp crossfit workout may look like this.

Monday Workout of the Day: Run fight Run
50 Jumping jacks
100 High Cross swings
100 Darkside Swings
50 Jumping jacks
Repeat 3 times for time post time to comments

Its short

Its sweet

And when you get done you will be briefly tired, but if done correctly you will be better at shooting high crosses and darksides and after four weeks or so, you will be in better shape. The time posted to comments allows for people who are competetive to compete with one another.

So what do people think about this? Would you do a workout like this? Do you think it would be helpful?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dealing with Firearm Mechanics at LARPs

Editors Note: This post is not suggesting the use of any kind of real firearm at a LARP. Real firearms are not toys.

For more discussion on the subject, listen in to my guest appearance on the Mid-Level Crisis Podcast.

While we've got a ton of high fantasy LARPs around, there tends to be a lack of more modern or post apocalyptic LARPs, at least in the US. I find that the biggest reason for that is that adding a gun mechanic to the game makes scaling a lot more difficult.

Currently, I know of three different games that use guns, and each approaches it differently than the others. Those LARPs are Rising, Exiles, and Wastelands.

Rising uses NERF guns for the gun mechanic in their game. The base damage of guns is only slightly higher than the base damage of weapons, and ammunition is severly limited. The common zombie in that game would normally take three shots (or one aimed shot) or five melee strikes. The big benefit of range is the severity of damage in that game (if they get through your armor, you're a one-hit wonder). Their design is even damage with melee with limited ammunition.

Exiles uses rubber band guns. They do a pretty decent job of portraying the inaccuracy of weapons at that time, and bands are pretty safe. In-game, guns are the great equalizer. Even measly pistols do 20 damage (much more than most people can handle.) In addition, every shot carries a stun effect that knocks you out of the fight for five minutes, unless you're revived or you purchase a very expensive skill. Guns are IG items, and you can't fire them very fast unless you have a very nice gun. Finally, if you're hit in the gun with a melee weapon, you have to drop it. Their design is extreme damage with unreliable weapons with externally limited firing speed.

Wastelands uses nerf and rubber band guns, but they also use Airsoft guns. Guns in that game carry a smaller stun effect (1 minute) and do less damage than Exiles, but far more than rising. They have many limiters on what guns can come into game for safety sake (spring and electric airsoft guns, less than 250 fps, no post-factory mods), and you can only fire your guns once a second. Also, there are zones where you cannot fire your guns and you can never fire at individuals that are within 5 feet of you. Their design is increased gun tech and reduced effectiveness of guns, compared to Exiles.

All of these games have a tough time scaling around the gun mechanic. This is mostly due to the fact that guns are so much more effective (but not necessarily more powerful) than melee weapons in real life, and we have a hard time getting over the real life perceptions of weapons when designing our games. But I also think they've each got some clever ways of equalizing the game around firearms.

So how do we get past this?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Week In LARP - October 4th

Last Week In LARP

For those of you who got to go out and LARP, let us know how it was. Drop a review for the event you attended in the comments!

This Week In LARP

Uhh... yeah. I think there was a bit of a miscommunication. I guess you can use this weekend to see the family who hasn't seen you in months, get a Jugger team started, or, in my case, celebrate your Wedding Anniversary.


No NERO Events.


No Alliance Events.


No normal Independent events.

Triumph is having a potluck night on Saturday though! It's $5 and you get an experience point! Check it out on their site.

For the love of God, 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, October 1, 2010

How To: Jugging Chain

As I finally got a day off work, I decided to sit down for some nice relaxing video games and podcast or two. I was tipped off to the Mid-Level Crisis Podcast a while back, but I hadn't got around to listening to it until just recently, so I'm working through the archives. I got to their episode where they talked about jugging. Needless to say, I decided to be productive for a change and I did something I've been waiting to do for a long time - build a Jugging Chain.

We've got a number of people in this area who said that they'd be interested in playing Jugger or even starting a team on the USJL. The only thing stopping us at this point is the equipment required. Sure, we can make the Q-Tip and the Bludgeoner, as those are essentally common boffer weapons. And even making the skull and the spike is easy enough. But what's really tricky, is the chain. Here's what you'll need to make a bitchin' chain.