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?

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