Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Case for Winter LARPing

If you don't LARP in winter, that means you may not play from November through March in Ohio. Or later! But besides getting your fix, there are a few things to be said about LARPing in the winter – you should just be prepared.

A lot of games don’t run in the cold months for various reasons. If you can find one that does, this might be a good chance to try out a game you haven’t encountered yet. Check around with those games you’ve been eyeballing to see if they run in the months when your main game doesn’t. Since you might be looking at a long stretch of empty weekends, you may be able to get your fix AND try something new.

Because of the above, the games running in winter can get some bigger than usual turnouts. This can give a really unique and immersive atmosphere. LARPing with a big group gives the feeling of being part of a town, when everywhere you look you see other characters. And with new people in the mix, you don’t always know what’s going on with everyone, so there’s more to discover. Players might have to work a little harder to investigate and balance all the factions, which can make the game a little more intense. Plus, you can meet new people and learn new things! :)

In some ways, winter even helps with atmosphere. Anachronistic elements are hidden by snow, campfires roar, and the nights are long. People often look most impressive at colder games where they haven’t forsaken all their costuming and good make-up for not overheating :) Plus, everyone is huddled inside more, making it easier for staff teams to launch attacks without being seen; so you don’t always know who’s knocking at the door!

Staff people, take advantage of the above! Consider running an indoor event at a unique location. “Trap” the characters somewhere and lay on the suspense – like a murder mystery or race against time. You can even have smaller events during this time, such as role-play encounters specific to a plotline that can be done indoors, but that might not interest everyone. Make it a fundraiser and have a fantastic period feast at someone’s house.

Even if you don’t change the location, plan ahead so that your mods can be done inside where possible. Staying warm will make your PCs happy.

That said, downsides are obvious. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s cold. We Ohioans know this, but still at cold events I always saw someone without a warm place to sleep, a hat, or gloves. Like your mom always said, make sure you pack for the weather. Bring layers, and lots of extra socks. Change out elements of your costume to ward off the winter – don’t just wear the same light or short clothes! This might be a good time to add some Under Armour, a cloak, a hood, or gloves. Bring an extra pair of gloves and shoes if you can. Check your sleeping gear to make sure it’s rated for the anticipated temperature, and maybe bring an extra blanket.

If you still look at the event with dread, consider getting a hotel. Yes, I know, I used to think it was a little silly. But the older I get, the better that warm bed, shower, and good night’s sleep looks. Coming into game clean, warm, and dry can make it much more enjoyable! Plus then you are guaranteed a place to dry off and warm up.

If you’re running the event, check with the camp to make sure there are appropriate places for everyone to sleep. Ask to make sure the heat is working, if you have it, and that there’s firewood on site. Ask how many space heaters you can have before blowing the system. Alert players in advance of the weather, any needs you have (like firewood and space heaters) and any additional concerns. Try to coordinate with the food people to have warm food and drinks available. It may not seem like it, but you can still get dehydrated in the cold, so watch to make sure everyone is drinking plenty of water in some form!

Still, even all the prep and benefits in the world can't change the bare facts that it'll be cold and wet, so it's okay if winter LARPing isn't for you. Stay inside and dream of next season. :)

What do you think about playing in the winter?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Know Your Roots

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers decided to run a LARP that got way to real...

No, this is not actually a post about the history of LARP. Instead, it's a post about integrating your character into the setting for the game you're playing. You see, we have to use a lot of imagination to build a world that we all live in. And in order for us to operate on that:

There needs to be canon.

You see, when some other dwarf talk's about the hero Ulric who fought in the Orc War, it's important that I, as a dwarf, also know the story of Ulric. If I do, then we can use that as a jumping point for meaningful roleplay about what it means to be a dwarf.

On the other hand, if this guy stars talking about Jeremy the Dwarf, the greatest of all the heroes, and I've never heard of him at all, I can't really participate from an immersive standpoint. Sure, I could just do "Yes, And...", but that changes quickly from immersion to putting on a performance.

This is why we have canon.

Most story-driven games have a wide selection of cultural, historical, and setting packets for you to pull from. Use them. I can't begin to explain how many doors you'll open by knowing the canon. When someone talks about the dwarf war, you can participate as an educated individual. When you ask someone where they are from, you can actually identify the lands that they speak of. When someone mentions a word or phrase that means something to a specific culture, you will be able to react accordingly.

Don't worry about knowing everyone's culture at first. Just know your culture/background. You can find out a lot of information about other cultures in-game by asking questions, as your character might not know much about other cultures either.

Finally, don't come up with some crazy fantastical story that lies outside of canon. If you're not going with canon, then your history is either not noteworthy (which is fine), or your history is amazing and you're God Moding (making up story that is unrefutable). And in the case of the latter, no one will take you seriously, or let you play in any of their reindeer games.

So if the game you're playing has racial packets or background information, learn it and use it. You'll find it's easier to achieve a rich, immersive experience when you're following canon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Week In LARP - November 28th

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

Work off some of that turkey with a boffer LARP!


NCN will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, December 2nd and ending Sunday, December 4th. The game will be held at Camp Muskingum at the IG location of the Hudor. It's $45 to PC and is $2 to NPC (for insurance). This game wll be using 9th edition rules.

NERO Indiana will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, December 2nd and ending Sunday, December 4th. The game will be held at Columbus Youth Camp (IN) at the IG location of the Southlands. It's $50 to PC ($40 with prepay) and is free to NPC. This game wll be using 9th edition rules.

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, November 24, 2011

Give the Gift of LARP

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to get your favorite LARPers! Last year LARP Ohio threw out some ideas for gifts, but here are some more specific to start you out – links included so you can get some examples!

Do It Yourself - If your LARPer is the crafty kind, a gift card to Jo-Ann Fabrics, Michael’s, or Home Depot might be just what they need to start a new project. Better yet, if you know what they want, get them the supplies and help them make it. Maybe they’ve always wanted to work with velvet, make their own rubberband gun, or create a book of spells. And if you’re the crafty one, you can do it for them! Or pay a crafty friend :)

This is also a great time to get someone a starter kit for something they’ve wanted to try. For example, Tandy Leather offers leatherworking start-up kits for a reasonable price.

Costuming - Chances are that some aspect of your recipient’s costume has never gotten upgraded. In the past decade, sites and stores directed to LARPers have sprung up, so it’s easier than ever to find the things you need. You probably already shop here, but you can get latex and more at stores like By the Sword, LRP Store, The Badger’s Den and others that cater specifically to the genre. These places carry everything from costume to contacts.

That doesn’t mean they have the best deals or the best quality. You can get good quality basic costuming and other items at places that specialize in these things. Stores like have great quality costuming (or at least they used to - I still have a skirt from 1997 and bought more in 2006), and Garb the World has all the basics covered for pretty cheap.

Leather goods like pouches, belts, baldrics, and holsters can not only look great, but add convenience to a costume. Check out the Inner Bailey for quality at wonderful prices – and their customer service is fantastic. Along those lines, I think everyone should have a boffer frog - they give every LARPer a place to put their favorite melee weapon.

And for leather created specifically for LARP, check out the British site Darkblade. Because it’s in the UK, it’s a bit more expensive, but you can get things here specific to LARP that I haven't seen other places. Pop bottle pouch, anyone?

A little more expensive, but greatly appreciated, would be a pair of semi-period boots or shoes, or really nice boots from Catskill Mountain (make sure to get their measurements). And don’t underestimate the style and utility of a new cloak or hood, like these from Half Moon; available in custom colors. Wool of the right quality is warm, water resistant, and can double for a blanket. Leather is super stylish, but expensive - click on the products at Ravenswood Leather to get your envy on (the creepy mannequins on the main page don't do them justice).

Gear - Since you’re probably spending your time at a camp site several times a year, why not make it more comfortable? You can go almost anywhere from Wal-Mart to Cabela's and get them a camping chair, nice sleeping bag, camping pillow, camp towel, lantern, and other accessories. LL Bean offers my favorite shower caddy, which makes packing and trekking to the bathhouse much more convenient.

For their body, waterproof socks can change your LARPing life. Also, Under Armour. Not only is it protection against all weather, it’s slimming, too! And if you’re playing a race that has a different body color, it can add to your look. And for gloves, I’ve known fighters from various genres who swear by weightlifting gloves. You can also go for basic gauntlets, or fingerless for ease of movement.

Accessories - The world is your oyster here. Steampunk? Check out these brassy bits. Western? Add a bandana, historical playing cards, or gloves (even bloomers or a parasol!). Jewelry that fits your character is always nice – I don’t have a specific example of all the options, but you can find inexpensive charms and beads and make your own. Get blank books and write inside and/or decorate for your preferred spellcaster or note-keeper. You can even make a pocket-size rulebook or cheatsheet for them – not expensive, but greatly appreciated.

Hopefully that helps your gift gears start turning! Got any more ideas?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Selling IG Items for OOG Money Revisited

Turns out the selling of magic items is allowed, according to Joe V. I imagine this is going to get very hairy, very fast. Especially since they probably won't be able to show where the money goes.

As for what this means for the current game policy which disallows said action, none can say.


*Just kidding

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Selling IG Items for OOG Money

Anyone who follows the NERO National boards probably already heard about all the hub-bub regarding the selling of magic items.

Unbeknownst to the rules team, someone decided to sell items in the National Newsletter and on the national online store. While they were technically selling the phys-rep with the tag as an added bonus, this is clearly against NERO policy.

Here's the excerpt from the NERO General Policy that forbids it:

Selling NERO ® Items for Out of Game Money: Tagged NERO ® Items cannot be sold for out of game currency. This applies to both chapters and players. Any items sold in violation of this policy will be destroyed and the involved players will be suspended from all NERO ® International events for a minimum of 3 months. Physical Representations can still be sold, however the NERO ® tags that represent the In-Game item cannot be sold, nor can they be "included" with the physical representation sale.

I will note that the rules team flagged this incident as breaking policy, but unfortunately policy enforcement is outside of our jurisdiction. But I highly suggest none of the local players purchasing these items, since if this is ruled against policy, the new owners of the items may be suspended as well.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the effect of a game selling IG benefits for OOG cash.

I know, everyone immediately leans towards saying something like this is terrible. To put it simply, people want to compete on a fair playing field. Having some guy pay his way into being a superpower without putting in the time can be devastating for game morale.

But the truth is, "micro-transactions" could be one of the few ways for a struggling LARP to maintain stability and keep running. I know of several instances where players have kept a game up financially through a tough time. Should they be crucified if given thanks in the form of IG benefits?

I might get strung up for suggesting something like this, but I would like to see more LARP games utilize the idea of micro-transactions in order to help support the game. But here are some important rules when implementing those micro-transactions.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Week In LARP - November 21st

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

As far as I know, there are NO LARP events, most likely due to Thanksgiving. So focus your abilities on trying to eat 10 pounds worth of turkey in a 3 day period.

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, November 18, 2011

YouTube Friday: MP3 Experiment

Alright, maybe this one isn't so LARP-centric. But it's pretty boss, and really made me think.

We've always talked about ways to disseminate information to the players and to deal with the narration that breaks immersion. Well, MP3 players are pretty ubiquitous now, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that 95% of the players have an MP3 player, and you could probably provide one for the other 5% if needed.

Now, as long as you can keep the headphones from breaking immersion, you could use this to represent some loud noise that players should be able to hear everywhere, or as some omnipotent bad guy who can talk into people's thoughts (Cthulhu anyone?) It could really cause some dramatic moments.

The big problem is making sure players don't listen to the MP3 ahead of time, but in games with a lot of trust between the players and the staff, you should be able to pull this off.

And even if you can't pull it off at LARP, I think it would be tons of fun to take part in one of these MP3 Experiments.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

LARPing with the Ones You Love

If you’re a lucky person who gets to share your love of LARP with the love of your life, here are a few considerations. Many of these apply to close friends too.

PC’ing Together - Whether you’re going together to your first event or your five hundredth, it’s a good idea to talk about what you both want out of the game. You'll probably be hanging together, so this can help you set things up so you both support each other doing what you like!

Think about starting characters as a unit of some kind, maybe even bringing in some other friends. Whether you’re just the same race, after the same thing, or an entire adventuring company; you can add flair to your character and atmosphere to the game. You can do the fighter-healer combo, or perhaps you’re both rogues or templars with complimenting skills. And for role-play, there’s immersion in numbers – you can both learn the background information and bring it into game through your interactions. You can even decorate or set up your own camp area to fit your theme.

It’s a bit harder to reconcile characters who have been around a while. At first, you probably aren’t sure if you want to give up years of character development for a person you might soon be referring to as “my crazy ex”. :) After that period, consider touching base with how you want to LARP together. This goes for goals and role-play. Everyone will know why you’re hanging out, of course, but it adds to game immersion if your can role-play hiring your s/o as a bodyguard, joining the same group, or otherwise having a reason to hang out in game.

There’s something to be said for staying separate too. Sometimes you just want to escape the real world, and not look at someone who reminds you that you need new tires :) Plus, it’s nice just to be able to do your own thing! If you’re both okay with it, that is.

NPCing - Couples who NPC together can be an unstoppable force for plot goodness. But they can also bicker and fight more than people who aren’t as close. Know your limits before you both take on a position in the same place. It’s good for your relationship and everyone around you :)

If you’re NPCing and your s/o is PCing, the basic rule is to avoid favoritism. Don't go too easy, or too hard, on them. If you notice you can't help yourself, try getting another NPC to interact with the person instead.

Now, probably no one knows your s/o better than you, so if you see they’re not having a good time and want to do something extra, talk to Staff. They might be able to throw a little something their way, without it looking like you’re just making stuff up for them.

If you’re writing plotlines for the other person, this is very touchy. It’s always a good idea to try to funnel it through someone else on your team, if possible. Run ideas by them, at least, and have someone else run it if you can. This will help weed out any favoritism – sometimes it’s hard to notice when you’re excited about making someone happy! And it helps other players from assuming you're loading up your s/o with awesome.

When you’re writing things up, ask yourself if you’d do the same thing for another player. Think of an example of someone you may not get along with. If they were in the same position as your s/o, did the same work, and asked for the same thing – would you give it to them? If not, it may be too much. Your s/o could be way cooler, and a better player, – but you want to avoid having people think that you’re just giving them things. Even if you’re being fair, perception is reality to your players.

Try to stick to one storyline at a time per player. If someone is pursuing being the captain of the space pirates, don’t also give them plot for finding an alien artifact of ultimate power. At least not at the same time. That can look like favoritism, and take a lot of your resources. Instead, try hooking another player into a storyline who isn’t expecting it, they’ll probably be thrilled!

So there you go. Remember, the couple that has dressed up together as cat-people can probably support each other through anything :)

Got any tips or suggestions for LARPing with someone close to you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I've Been Hiding Something From You

I have to say, I've been keeping secrets from you, blog. I didn't want to. I really long to be true to you. But the truth is, I didn't know how legit the information was. I didn't know if I was supposed to keep it under wraps, and I didn't know if there was some shadowy figure that could swoop down at any time to take me out of the picture.

But at this point, I think I can finally come clean. You see, I'm one of the new members of NERO International staff, holding a position on the National Rules committee.

It took a lot of thought on whether I would become part of the rules committee. My main worry was that my buddy Mickey was done wrong by the position. Since I podcast with him, I felt like I was betraying him by taking the position. But I've decided to learn from his experiences.

You see, I now know how bad it can get. And if I brace for impact, I can lessen the damage. I mean, worst case, I drop out of the rules committee. But the fact is, NERO has been a major part of my LARPing career, and this is my opportunity to make things better, to make things fresh. And I had to take it.

I'm looking forward to working with the team to improve the game. My personal goal for national rules is to streamline (read: create) a system for playtest submittals and to fix formal magic. If I can help implement those two things, I'll consider it a success.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm expecting an influx of email. You know what? Bring it on. One of the problems I've felt have existed in the national level of NERO is that the staff members aren't really in touch with what the players think. I think I can bring that to the table.

So tell me what you think. My email is

PS: I will try to respond to your emails, at least to tell you that I've received it. But that's going to depend on my workload and the number of emails received. But don't automatically assume I've ignored you if you don't get a quick turn-around, and after a while feel free to send another email asking if I got it. I won't mind.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maintaining Event Momentum With IBGAs

Everyone gets that addiction after a good event. They send a lot of IG emails. They post on IG forums. They go through tags. They figure out what skills they'll get next.

They're totally hooked from the event momentum.

But the problem is that they can only do so much in between events before they lose interest. That's when we see the lulls in forum activity or lacking responses to IG emails.

But what if you could cultivate that momentum year round?

You see, we've always had a strange relationship with IBGAs. The problem is that there's only so much that can be done between events. Maybe this is due to lack of time for the plot team to get back with people. Maybe it's just that the players run out of activities that can realistically be done off-board.

But what if your IBGAs were semi-automated? What if you gave the players a field in which they could trade, politic, and interact with others without involving plot. And what if you could link that activity back into events?

Well, I bet you'd have a perfect storm of enthusiasm for your game.

Let's take a look at games like Darkon*. In that game, there is a whole world involving grids that people fight over. And they can do interactions with those grids outside of the game. I love the idea.

The real difficulty is balance. You need to make sure that the system has some effect on the event, but you don't want it to have more impact than actions performed at the event.

So what's the solution? Universal benefits.

Create a goal that the players need to work together to obtain. In my mind, it would look something like this web-browser game Pardus** that I played back in the day. As long as the players can pool together enough resources, an effect happens that is beneficial to everyone at the event. Maybe all craftsman can make twice as many items as normal. Maybe everyone trains for free. Maybe a certain module area is unlocked, where players can get the phat lootz. Any of those would work.

And to keep them involved, make it so that interactions can happen monthly, and benefits can stock up if, say, you don't have another event for 3 months.

The big downside is that you need to find a way to involve everyone, and to do that probably requires some considerable work - not just in design, but also in programming.

But it would be awesome, wouldn't it?

Edit: I realize I probably should have used links for Darkon and Pardus.

*Darkon - or YouTube Thursday: Darkon
**Pardus -

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Week In LARP - November 14th

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

Worried about spending time with the family for Thanksgiving? Use this weekend to relieve stress by wailing on things.


NERO Cincinnati will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, November 18th and ending Sunday, November 20th. The game will be held at Camp Friedlander at the IG location of Beronis. It's $50 to PC ($45 with prepay) and is free to NPC. This game wll be using 9th edition rules.


Einherjar will be hosting their September battle this weekend on Sunday, November 20th at Plum Creek, South Side in Medina. Weapon Check starts at Noon and fighting starts at 1:00 PM. It's $3 and minimum garb rules apply. This will be the last Einherjar battle of the year.

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, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

One of the nice things about having a blog with a fair number of readers, is that I can just use it as a platform for talking. I know a number of LARPers who are also veterans (and some still serving!)

And with today being Veteran's day, I want to thank all the veterans for everything they've done throughout the years for the US.

So, on behalf of LARP Ohio, Thank you.

YouTube Friday: Senior Prank

Despite the fact that it's still a rather small hobby, it's interesting to see how many people actually know what LARPing is. While we have to deal with the fact that we're often misrepresented, this is definitely the first step to breaking the stigma of LARPing.

Today's video comes from a Senior prank at Southern Regional High School. They decided to have an impromptu LARP Fest on school grounds. Now, before you watch the video, it's important to note that people who take their LARP seriously might be shocked at the rag-tag kit used by these students, but don't let that fool you. At the end of the video, they ask a few students how it went, and they all enjoyed themselves. See, even when people are making a parody of LARP, they can have a ton of fun.

Anyways, Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dealing With Drama

Last week I talked a bit about women in LARPing. There’s a stigma that women cause drama – and that’s true. But just as much as men. Drama can be minor, but here I’m thinking of things like injuries, cheating, stealing, fighting, and the accusations of all that and more. How to deal with drama? Here are a few tips.

Rule 1: Don’t get involved. Especially as someone running a game, try to stay away from gossip, rumors, and taking sides. If you can avoid it, it’s best to stay as neutral and as calm as possible. Except, of course, you can't avoid it! So...

Rule 2: Be prepared. Some drama comes in the form of injuries or illness, so know who your on-site first responders are, have a first aid kit on hand, and have the information and route to the nearest hospital. Players and Staff alike! Know how to get a hold of the ranger or camp owner. And in the worst case, something might happen where you’ve got to call in The Law, so have the number or location for the nearest enforcement on hand. Also, if you haven’t already, you may want to check in with a lawyer from time to time – if something comes down to a legal issue you’ll be able to get advice asap.

Rule 3: Don’t wait. If you experience or witness something directly, take it to someone in charge as soon as you can. Even if the information is just a rumor (but a serious one, not that Bobby called Sam fat). If it’s true, it should be nipped in the bud right away – or at least investigated. If it’s not true, the object of that rumor would probably appreciate it if everyone didn’t think they’re a dirty cheater :) Once you hand it off, step back, and see Rule 1.

Unfortunately you have to use best judgment on what is serious. It should be something that will impact the game and/or players’ safety. Staff might like to know about personal issues as well, if they might impact the game, but it can be done more informally.

Rule 4: Hear them out. Whenever someone brings you an issue, and it could be whether you run the game or are just someone they trust, try to listen to whoever is reporting and promise to investigate their issue and get back to them. Then do that – even if it’s just to give them a generic response or to confirm that you passed on their concern.

Rule 5: Investigate. Get all sides of the story first and get as much truth as you can before you respond. Try not to spread rumors, and keep the information to who needs to know. If it’s a major thing, make sure and tell your Staff and anyone else so they are warned and so they know the real deal.

Rule 6: Safety in Numbers. When going to talk to someone, don’t go alone. I’m not just talking about safety, since physical altercations are pretty rare at LARP, but so that there’s another witness to the discussion. If you are sending someone an email, make sure to keep a record of these messages, and/or copy other appropriate people. In fact, it’s good to keep all the messages you send saved if you can. Aside from the c.y.a. aspect, it's great to have easy-to-access reminders!

Rule 7: Stick to the point. When it comes to having "a Talk" in some format, sugar-coating, or dancing around the point, or sugar dancing, may cause your message to be misinterpreted. Smiley faces and the like are ok if you want to soften the blow, as being over-professional can come off as rude. :( See how that works? :)

Finally, try to let it go once you've dealt with it. Easy, right? :)

Got any other tips?

Off-Season Kit Work

We're at the point in the season where people begin to start putting their gear away for the season. Due to all the holidays and winter weather (at least here in Ohio), numbers start to dwindle at events. So, if you're planning on putting your LARP stuff away for a few months, now is a great time to do some maintenance on your kit.


Can you feel pipe? This may seem obvious, but it's something you need to check. Sometimes people have weapons that are borderline, but end up using them at events because they don't have a spare. Now is the time to be extra critical of your weapons. If there's any doubt that it's safe, it might be time for a rebuild.

Even if the rest of the weapon is fine, you should check and see if it would be worth replacing the tip of the weapon. Even in games without thrusting tips, most hits are along the top 6" to 8" of the weapon. Sometimes replacing that part is worthwhile, even if it hasn't yet become unsafe.

Sometimes the cloth covers on boffer weapons get pretty ragged after a season of play. It's fairly easy to make a new one for your weapon, and now is as good a time as any.

Unfortunately, if you use Duct Tape, if the tape goes south, there's not a lot you can do apart from a full rebuild. If it's starting to get too rigid or too dry, you might have some work to do.


In regards to Kit, is anything ripped or torn? Maybe it's something that's not critical now, but if left alone might cause a catastrophic failure in the costume. Now's the time to bust it out and do some stitch/patch work on your duds.

Are there any accessories that you've been meaning to make/buy? Now might be the time to give it a shot. Set a goal for the one or two things that you really want to try, and give it an honest go. You can't get better at prop/kit work without actual practice. Now's the time.

My goal is working on a new costume for Exiles. It might be biting off more than I can chew, but I'm going to give it a shot.

What's your off-season kit goal?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


No, this isn't a post about gang affiliations. Instead, it's a post about immersion.

I have had this conversation a few times with Mickey (from Larpcast), and over time my opinion has been molded a fair amount. And it's something that isn't shared a lot in this region of the country.

You see, we tend to prefer high fantasy and rely on a lot of imagination in Ohio.

But while imagination is good, it's actually counter to game immersion.

You see, immersion is the act of a person losing their self awareness based on perceived surroundings. You know, things that you see/hear/feel, not things that you imagine. So when someone says "you see a 9 foot troll," while it might help players with a good imagination to understand the situation a give an appropriate reaction, it doesn't help create the emotions (fear/joy/pride) that's normally associated with players who are immersed in the game.

I thought about this on a recent post where people were talking about roleplaying with animals. While I'm a staunch supporter of players resorting to RP in many situations, I simply don't care for extended use of NPCs as animals. Because they don't look, move, or act like animals (unless there's a particularly good costume). So while you are improving the imagination of the world, your actually harming immersion. Bringing things like this to the forefront just means it impacts the immersion of more players.

Just something to think about next time you send in an NPC to play something without actually looking like that creature.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Throwing In The Towel

So, for those of you following the local LARP news, two games have had major upheavals in the past few weeks.

For one, Mike, the owner of NCN, is stepping down from duties related to the operation of NCN. He's still the owner, but he's taking a break from the logistical duties regarding the game.

Additionally, Raging Gargoyle Games (Bloodlines) is now on Hiatus, due to low player turnout.

Running a game sucks ass. It's a ton of work, and unless you have made some sort of breakthrough that no one else in the US has pulled off, you probably don't make too much (if you even break a profit at all).

And yet, people tend to overextend themselves for the games they love, the games they run. And I think that helped cause some of the burnout that causes games to change administration.

For this reason, game owners need to reach out more to rely on others. Sure, you won't get the EXACT result that you're looking for, but in general you will be able to find people who will meet your goals the best way they know how.

So, let this be a word of advice to game administrators everywhere. Learn to delegate. Having your vision slightly changed when run by others is a lot better than pulling the plug on your dream altogether.

Additionally, I applaud both the owners of NCN and Bloodlines. You guys lived the dream, and I hope you get a chance to live the dream again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Week In LARP - November 7th

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

It's too cold to come up with a colorful tag line.


NERO Northlands will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, November 11th and ending Sunday, November 13th. The game will be held at the Rolling Hills Lodges at the IG location of Redstone Village. It's $40 to PC and is free to NPC. This game wll be using 9th edition rules.

OGRE will be hosting a 1-day event this weekend on Friday, November 11th and a mod day on Saturday, November 12th (those may be reversed). The game will be held at the Camp Lazarus at the IG location of Andorn. To PC, it's $20 for the 1-day and is $10 for the mod day. It's $5 to NPC either. This game wll be using 9th edition rules.

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, November 4, 2011

YouTube Friday: Winter War IX

It's been a while since I've talked about anything Amtgard, and that's largely because there's very little presence in the area for that game. But, if you're interested in doing some Amtgard, the nearest big thing is probably the Kingdom of the Rising Wind's Winter War IX.

Anyone interested in repping from Cleveland?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ladies Who LARP

Introduction: Hi! I’m Karin, and I’ve been LARPing since 2000 (unless you count SCA, which I don’t :) ). I joined a Plot team in 2002, and have been Plot, Campaign Plot, and Coordinator at NERO WAR, and have co-run Exiles since 2008. And, as this post will discuss, I am often the voice of the minority on the teams I’ve been on – women! This is a longer post, but I hope you'll bear with me and I'll shorten them up for the future :)

If you LARP or game, you know that women are already there, playing, whether or not we admitted early on that we’re into the nerd scene. And, in case you didn’t get the memo in kindergarten, girls are different from boys. :) While in general all we want is some r-e-s-p-e-c-t, there are some general concepts for players and plot alike to keep in mind when thinking about satisfying female gamers, so to speak.

Just to put in the disclaimer, these are very general concepts that may or may not apply to all us lady LARPers to some degree. There are plenty of examples of tough dames who LARP - and could kick the butts of many of the guys around them.

First, I’ve noticed that there tend to be two basic groups of women who come to games (we could break it down past that, but I don’t want to go far into psychology here). There are those who come because they’re honestly interested intrying it out, and those who come because their significant other is (I call them Girlfriends).

In the first situation, you have an interested player right away. The second group is often not interested in the game, can be a challenge to get involved, and they often don’t turn into long-term players. But don't mistake one for the other; being shy isn't the same as being disinterested. Try throwing them something they can get involved with, and see if you can hook them into your game (your male players will thank you). Try making your NPC take a shine to them, or make it so that they have that one specific trait or skill that is needed for the ritual. See who bites.

Okay, so, you’ve got an interested player. Now what do ladies want out of a game?

Sparkling vampires, fairy princesses, and babies.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post: 6 Big Mistakes... (Part 2)

Hi, I'm Scott Eerie, and I've been playing, running, and staffing larp events for over 20 years in the New England area. I'm going to be talking about behind-the-scenes larp stuff, mainly advice on running larp games.

And now for part 2 of "6 Big Mistakes When Running An Event."

4. Key Staff Members Showing Up Late

I have a habit of showing up early to events, sometimes even around 2 or 3PM on Friday. At an appallingly high number of events I've attended, I showed up before (sometimes hours before) the guys RUNNING the event.

If you're running an event and you are one of the key, top-tier staff members (I'm looking at you, Mr. Game Director), show up early. Like, show up the day before if you can. If you can't be on the site until Friday, show up at 7am. If you can't be there early enough to make sure things get done and the game can start at a reasonable time, then maybe you shouldn't be running a LARP.

Also, make sure you get the stuff you need to run the event there as early as possible. These are things like costumes, tags, props, floating skulls, etc. Trucks full of such necessities tend to break down, get stuck in the mud, get lost, run out of gas, or get stolen. All of these things have happened at least once at various games I've attended.

5. Mistreating or Misusing NPCs

Ah, the grunt. The lowly NPC. The guy/gal who's there to play the crunchies, wandering monsters, the minions. A role I've played many times.

These people can also be your most valuable asset. You can't run a good game without them, but they are often treated as second class citizens or relegated to the role of an extra.

They need leadership, guidance, and training. NPCs are there to help, but you can't just throw them out there with a stat card and some weapons. Hordes of untrained NPCs can ruin the players' fun and possibly the game. It's up to the game staff to prepare them.

NPCs are not "Non Paying Customers." They are unpaid workers who volunteer their time and effort to help entertain your players. Learn to love them for it.

6. Forgetting That Players Paid To Be There

In New England, LARP events commonly cost between $80 and $100, which may or may not include the cost of food. Throw in a yearly membership fee on top of that and it's quite a hefty sum for many to play a game.

Most games just expect their players to understand (and talk amongst themselves) when things are running late, when there aren't enough NPCs, or when nothing has been going on for hours at a time. At most businesses, this would be unnaceptable, and refunds and apology gifts would be given to the customers. At a LARP, this is just considered "part of playing a LARP".

I guess this is why expectations are so low across the board. This is where many would say the "club" aspect of LARP shows its head. I'm hoping we'll grow out of this particular attitude.

There you have it. These topics will be explored (and exploited) in loving detail in future posts. Until then, happy LARPing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Day After Halloween Day

Hooray Everyone! I hope you had a fun and eventful Halloween. But don't worry. You didn't miss the important holiday.

The Day after Halloween.

Halloween is the one night where regular men and women can dress up as whatever fantasy creation they want to be, and they pay big bucks. Supposedly "normal" people litter their lawn with spooky (although sometimes cheesy) decorations. And now, the normal people want nothing to do with Halloween.

It's a LARPers dream.

So go forth and plunder all the Halloween stores for the upcoming LARP year! Make up, costuming, and accessories like rope lights could be on heavy discount, and you should take advantage of that.

I, however, am stuck in Phoenix. Someone get me some rope lights!

What are you hoping to plunder after Halloween?