Friday, March 30, 2012

Larpcast 26: World Building

Brand new episode of Larpcast went up today!  In this episode, Mickey and I talk about world building in LARP, with a guest spot from WAR's Bryan Mularcik (GM and Plot member for Rage Hollow).

Dig it!

YouTube Friday: My Apology

Now that it looks like the dust has mostly settled in the whole NERO International thing, I think it's ok to put this out there.

Some things were said by both parties, and I think it's important to view it from the other person's shoes to see what kinds of things you should apologize for.

So here's my apology for rocking too hard.  


PS: Did you guys notice the Skyrim reference in the video?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fighting LARP Funk

In the light of all the serious business that has been discussed lately, I'd like to go for a slightly lighter topic that is dear to my heart: stinkiness. Yes, we are usually camping in the woods, so there is a certain level of hygiene that cannot be attained. But there are ways we can fight the funk, and germs, that come with sweating in the dirt for 3 days :)

First, a few supplies can go a long way. Easy: a small bottle of anti-bacterial gel. If you're eating on the go, or just don't have easy access to running water, this can save your immune system. A lot of LARP foods are handheld: burgers, grilled cheese, packaged snacks, etc. When you think about where your hands have been at a camp without many bathrooms, and how often you eat with those fingers, well, it may just be a good idea :)

I also like to bring a jug of water and a bar of soap. You never know when you might need it. If you do have to use latrines, this way you know you can wash your hands. I also use it for brushing my teeth and washing the worst of the grime off when showers aren't available. It makes me feel better, and even a washcloth bath is better than no bath - your friends and bunk-mates will thank you!

And don't forget the simple things. Wear extra deodorant. Re-apply. Freshen your smell with a little body spray - you can get travel size for men or women at most any drug store. You may not realize that your aroma has gone a bit south, so apply lightly for the good of those around you. :)

Next, try bringing some extra costuming. Friday nights are dark and short, so putting your B-Team costume on then to get it dirty can be worth it when you get to enjoy fresh, clean garb the next day. Especially socks and undies of course, but having a cheap alternate shirt and pants can really help making you feel cleaner and smell better. Not to mention being useful if it's raining or muddy! If you don't have alternates, try hanging up what you can to air out. You could even bring some Febreeze. I also like to bring a few small plastic bags and use one to quarantine dirty clothes!

Make sure you're cleaning your costume between games too!

And finally, keep the area clean. It's not only considerate, but it helps fight down on yuck. Put away your food, drinks, and dirty clothes so they don't stink up the place! :) Bring a trash bag, or just use one of your shopping bags, where you can contain half-eaten food, wrappers, and sticky pop cans. Leaving these out attracts bugs and even animals to your cabin, which is not a fun thing to wake up to!

It's just common sense, but I've often encountered a feeling of "it's hardcore to be dirty". I'm not saying we should all live in a hypoallergenic bubble, but I'm always surprised at people who just choose not to take a few steps in the cleanly direction. And I know that showers at a camp are often kind of weird/scary - but so was whatever I rolled in last night :) Not only will it wash off the grime, but I always feel refreshed and revitalized afterward. Everyone's got different levels of what's comfortable, though.

Just a few ounces of prevention are good for you, and those around you! :) So help a girl out and fight the funk!

Got any more ideas for fighting LARP funk and keeping germs at bay?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

LARPs Can Change the World

In the midst of all this drama, I think it's important to point out some of the wonderful, positive benefits that LARPs can show us. So, as usual, we should take a look to the Norwegians, who have recently appointed a long time gamer and LARPer to the position of Minister of International Development. Here's the article.

Not only is this guy totally in the open about his hobby (which, admittedly is easier in Norway), but he's actually using strategies and tactics from various LARPs in his work as Minister. He claims that "LARP can change the world, because it lets people understand that humans under pressure may act differently than in the normal life, when you’re safe." Then he talks about a LARP project where they are trying to have Israelis and Palestinians in each others shoes, in hopes of building bridges.

It's pretty easy for people (including ourselves) to focus on the surface of what we do without looking at the deeper impact and value that LARPs provide. I, for one, cannot wait until the day when we can feel proud to say "I'm a LARPer" and actually have our hobby make a difference.

How about you? Are you proud and open about what you do, and have you ever used concepts from LARP, and not just skills acquired at LARP, in the professional world?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Who Has Two Thumbs...

And was banned from the NERO National boards?


It was about time. I had known it was coming for some while, since someone at National had been on the rampage about banning accounts, deleting threads, and changing signatures.

I've had a long talk with Dan Comstock on the topic of proper forum moderation etiquette, and the consensus is that the National boards are doing it wrong. I understand there's a time and a place for posts to be removed or people banned, but when that happens, it's supposed to be a last ditch effort.

You see, if a thread strays off topic or into a bad place, you normally post a warning or lock the thread. You don't delete the whole thread. And you don't do it without communication.

Additionally, you don't delete accounts simply because they say things you don't want to say. A person needs to do a number of malicious acts, post pornography, or hack another account to get banned. It's not something you secretly do in the dead of night, hoping no one finds out.

I don't like to toot my own horn (but I do it anyways) but I feel like after much of the drama that was posted here, the activity on the NERO boards actually picked up. There was a brief, shining moment where if NERO went hands off, they may have actually jump-started their boards.

But the ownership doesn't want that, because the ownership doesn't really know how internet communities work.

I'm back on for now (but imagine I'll get banned the moment a certain someone sees this), but it really seems like yet another nail in the coffin that represents NERO's national community.

BTW, a question for our NERO readers: If someone were to put up an unofficial NERO forum for national inqueries and discussion in hopes of less ridiculous moderation, would you use them? Or do you think that it's too little, too late?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Week In LARP - March 26th

This Week In LARP

Spring LARPing is finally here. Let's hope the weather stays dry!


NCN will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, March 30th and ends on Sunday, April 1st. The game will be held at Camp NEOSA at the IG location Onar on the Isle of Dream. It's $50 to PC and is free to NPC.


Triumph, in their Triumphant return, (see what I did there?) will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Saturday, March 31st and ends on Sunday, April 1st. The game will be held at Sycamore State Park. It's $35 to PC ($30 if you prepay by Wednesday) and is free to NPC. A $5 food donation is suggested.

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, March 23, 2012

YouTube Friday: Organs

Sometimes, you just want to have a gruesome module. You know, the kind that invokes realistic fear and horror in the characters. And nothing can do it quite as well as organs.

I'm really on a kick about cheap props, and I figure this one shouldn't be too hard to pull off. And can you imagine having something like that beating heart on a module? Or better yet, on an NPC?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Business of LARP

Money is one of the largest causes of argument in any relationship. Everyone wants more of it, and everyone has different ideas of how to get it. From a LARP perspective, it's been a lot on my mind lately. With the NERO potential issue of buying magic items, I've been wondering more and more: Should a LARP operate like other for-profit businesses?

Let me just say first off that I've never owned a for-profit LARP, and I don't know the specifics of how any of the local games do things. So I am not trying to call anyone out or point fingers or say what anyone is doing wrong. I don't know what goes on, so my thoughts are just based on general observations and curiosity. There's a disclaimer for you :)

If you're running a LARP as a business, then obviously a goal, if not THE goal, is to make money. You should create a product that people want - which means running a game at consistent quality (rules, mechanics, plot, phys reps, all that). It should follow all the laws and guidelines of the business - whether that means acting ethically or not is probably a philosophical issue that's too big for this post :) However, if you're not creating an environment where your customers are treated well and fairly, you're likely to go out of business.

So on the thought of "LARP as money-maker" - is there a problem with offering in-game items for out of game money? Well, in the world, if you have more money, you get better stuff. From that perspective, then it makes sense. Heck, look at the free to play mmo's that are everywhere - that's how they make their money. It seems things are shifting in that direction.

But a LARP, to many people, is more than just a business out to make a buck. First, they don't often make much money, so operating like they're Apple might seem silly. :) Second, the community becomes very close-knit, and is small enough that it's hard to say "it's not personal, it's business." It becomes very personal to the people who play, and they become very invested in the game and the society that grows around it. Making decisions based just off of the "it's a business" aspect can be tough if they're unpopular - especially at smaller games.

In the end, most people run games for the same reason they play them. They enjoy a story where they can act out an adventure, they like the role-play, and they enjoy the people. They want a good game. Most people aren't thinking of making money off of it. And those that are, I think they eventually want to share the profit with their "employees" - after all, it's the staff who make the game what it is! But I think that most games can't get that far.

The game should make enough money to break even, pay for upgrades, and maybe even pay out to the people running it (gas money? prop budget? Ahh, I can dream!). But is there enough capital, and is it worth it, to make it for-profit in the very business sense of the idea? Or is it enough to run the game, since the people running it are doing it for-the-love anyway in most cases, give people a good time, and put any profit right back into the pot rather than worrying about who's getting paid? Do you think that kind of game is successful?

As I said, I don't know how for-profit games do it. I'd be interested to hear how the LARP business works for them!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OOG money for IG items

So it has recently come to my attention that not only National but Chapters can now sell magic items for oog money. I guess this is a 2 year trial period for this type of thing.

I for one am against the buying and selling of ig items for oog money. It retards the economy and separates the haves from the have nots. Therefore, I am going to do a test to see how broken this is. I am going to buy all the magic items that I can, as fast as I can and see how many I can get. So far, in the two days I have been doing this, I have purchased 6 and am only out 200 bucks. You are only allowed to have 1 for yourself but can purchase as many as you want for "gifts". My question is, what is to stop people from buying a bunch and just use them all? Wonder How many I can get with 1200 bucks? hmmm...

What do you guys think? How do you think this will affect your game?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Canvas: The High Tech Tarp

Part of this post was spurned off of my recent search for tenting, and part of it came from Zoe's post on Inexpensive Interior Decorating at CollabNarration.

I don't know about you all, but I've seen enough plastic tarps used as walls to last a life time.

Don't get me wrong. Tarps have some pretty serious function and can be used for a number of things. And you can't beat the price, so I'm not suggesting that anyone throw out all their old tarps.

But I do want to suggest another option for walls and decor - Canvas Drop Cloths.

Canvas beats out tarps in almost every category. It's easier to fold. It's easy to dye. It takes paint well. It's easily molded. It doesn't make a lot of unnecessary noise.

However, there is one striking difference between the two. Plastic tarps are significantly less expensive. You can get two tarps for the price of one drop cloth, and that doesn't come with any grommets. And if you want your canvas to be water resilient, then you'll probably have to spend more. Fire resistant, and you're talking even more.

But man, can they ever look awesome!

So if you're trying to find a way to level up your game, getting some canvas for decor might be a great thing to try. You can make some really excellent, immersive props if make the leap.

You can find canvas painter's drop cloths at any major hardware store, and they come in some large sizes. If you're not worried about using your canvas to keep water out, you could easily go with a 6 oz (rarer) or 8 oz (common) to save money and weight. If you need to protect from water, you'll probably need to move up to 10 or 12 oz stuff.

You guys have any other good ideas for props used to decor/walls?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Week In LARP - March 19th

This Week In LARP

Sober up, get out there, and LARP!


NERO SWV will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, March 23rd and ends on Sunday, March 25th. The game will be held at Camp Chief Logan (WV) at the IG location of Haven. It's $50 to PC ($40 with pre-registration) 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, March 16, 2012

YouTube Friday: Authenticity

Here's another video from the LARPers TV show that Three Hat Productions is trying to put together.

Seriously, if you want to see a TV show like this, I suggest you donate $10 through their Indiegogo page. They've only got a little more than 2 weeks left to raise $4,000!

LARPers - Jeremy from Three Hat Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting Lucky at LARP

It's mid-March, and that means people are thinking about wearing green, drinking beer, and touting their 1/32nd Irish ancestry :) And when people think Irish, they think of luck, right?

Lucky characters pop up in various media all the time - either because they actually do have luck above and beyond the norm, or just because they happen to be in the right place at the right time. But it's harder to represent in any kind of game, at least in a way that's fair and not cumbersome. Dice games have it easier, since you can simply add or subtract modifiers or re-roll your results.

But what about at a LARP? Is there any way to make a lucky hobling or fate-favored son?

I asked my favorite game mechanic guru, Mr. Bill Tobin, about luck mechanics at different games. And you know what, he didn't really know of any. In Exiles we used to have a "Cheat" ability that allowed a particular persona to be able to manipulate luck so they could basically win at cards, but we changed it to Staff discretion because it was kind of not fun. So back to the drawing board. Maybe these things are out there, and I'd love to see some comments about how your game handles luck! But for the post, I'll have to speculate on how it could be done.

First, obviously if a game has any sort of randomized component, there could be a skill or ability that allows the character to add or subtract a modifier to it. For example, I've seen some staff who roll a percentage when deciding what the PCs stumble upon (such as when trying to find a particular good or person, tracking, or searching for knowledge), and at Exiles we use card draws for a few things (because you use cards in the wild west!). So a lucky character could act in a way similar to a table-top game and get a re-roll/re-draw, or they could add or subtract a certain percentage from the result.

So that's the easy one, and something that can be done while oog, setting up for a mod, and in that way it wouldn't interrupt the flow of the game. But what about trying to create a more dynamic mechanic that you can use while in-game, or even in combat?

Well, per Bill's suggestion, in Accelerant (you know you love it!), you can create a flavor and add it to any game effect. So it could be as simple as changing the call phrase on existing ability. If you want your lucky effect to represent a blow missing their lucky target, it could be a protective (“Grant 2 protection by luck” or “Imbue Dodge by Luck”). In the case of an attack ("Lucky Strike" anyone?), you could do the same thing with a slay ability or other attack. This would keep the important parts of the call (like "grant" and "imbue") but the flavor text just allows you to add that concept into the game without making an entirely new mechanic.

I think most games probably decide it's not worth the trouble of a new call to portray something that doesn't actually give you a new ability, it just gives you more of the same ability (dodges, resists, slays, etc). But it could be interesting to games that might want to play with a new type of class or who want to add some new flavor to the game (like having a luck deity).

What do you think? Do you feel lucky, readers? Do ya?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In-Period Tenting

It's tough to find an inexpensive camp these days. This is particularly true if you're looking for camps that have lots of cabins. But one of the ways to mitigate this is to convince your players to get some tents!

Let's not kid ourselves. In-period tents are expensive. While you can make your own, a lot of people don't want to do it. But tents that hold more than 2 people will often cost you easily over $400.


I would encourage games to give discounts to players that bring their own tents, and possibly require that the tents be in-period. While game owners won't make money off those players having tents to begin with, once players reach a critical mass of tenting, you can move to a camp with only 1 or 2 buildings and lots of open space. That could mean a lower cost and room for more players.

And then you'll have Conquest of Mythodia!

For anyone interested in tenting, I highly suggest you do some searching, specifically in resources from the SCA.

If you know of a resource for tents, drop it in the comments!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Acceptable Levels of Cheating

I'll be the first to admit that cheating really pushes my buttons. I'm not talking about crazy level cheating where players simply don't play by the rules of the game at all. I'm talking about throwing too many spells, taking too much damage, fake protectives, etc.

But Mickey turned me on to the idea of acceptable levels of cheating.

It's hard, but I'm starting to wrap my mind around it. You see, we're in an honor based game where cheating is going to happen. Sometimes people will do it accidentally because too many things are happening at once and they simply lose track. Sometimes people do it because they're afraid of loss and might cheese something to make their character seem cool.

And you know what? Who cares?

I mean, in a perfect world, we should all strive to be better at keeping track of things and we should all play by the rules. But fact is, cheaters gonna cheat. You can yell about it until you're blue in the face, but unless they're maliciously and severely cheating, noting will really come from this. So why bother?

You see, it's more fun to LARP with people than to LARP alone. Incidental cheating is kind of like the friend who has a lazy eye. They're fun to have around, if you can overlook the creepy eye thing*.

I think this is an important bit to hold on to when designing new policies. Almost any rule or policy change can be argued against by focusing on how the world will end if someone cheats a little bit. I assure you, it will happen and the world won't end. The real trick is making it so that malicious or severe cheating is either easy to spot or limited in some way.

But don't dwell on incidental cheating though. You'll never get anything done and you'll probably give yourself ulcers.

*It's cool, I've got a lazy eye so I can say whatever I want.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Week In LARP - March 12th

This Week In LARP



NERO Cincinnati will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, March 16th and ends on Sunday, March 18th. 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.

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, March 9, 2012

YouTube Friday: Larping Around

Once again, I'm bringing a gem that I got from the UK Grand Expedition. Here's a video from the UK that does a great job of explaining what a LARP is.

I really want to play some Eurolarp.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Wish I Was Special - Character Backgrounds

I've been thinking a lot about character histories and origin stories lately. Most people who want to play a LARP want to have a unique and interesting character who gets to be a hero in their own way. And plenty of folks use their backgrounds as a way to get there - but sometimes not in the right way.

Maybe there's nothing in them that makes their character unique (I was a farmer then my family was killed by undead so I took to the road), but a lot of times they're attempting to do too much (I'm the secret heir to the elven kingdom). Not everyone is into giving their character a rich background story, and that's okay. Some people don't LARP for that sort of thing. And for those that do, a lot of your character will be defined when you actually play them.

And that's kind of my first point. Some people seem to want to make their characters interesting by virtue of what they are instead of who they are. They want to be half-fae, or secret royals, or destined artifact wielders. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I find that the character rather than their bloodline is more interesting. Examples: "The Phantom Menace" explaining Anakin's midi-chlorians are the reason he's the way he is; versus "The Dark Knight" where the Joker's background is unclear. Joker's the better character, hands down, right? Didn't most of us roll our eyes at the whole midi-chlorians thing? And what happened in "Highlander 2" when they tried to create an explanation for the whole "immortal" thing? Anyway, the point is that not everything has to have a direct, biological reason, and forcing one can take away the magic.

I'm not saying it's not cool to be the child of the prophecy or find out you're the scion of a lost alien race. But I think you've got to have a strong character before you do that, and characters, like people, aren't made interesting based solely on their bloodline. Sure, that can add to it, but it's what the person does with it that makes them who they are. It's their experiences that shape them, just like us. Sometimes it's more interesting to see someone pull themselves out of a normal background and become a hero because of their character rather than special abilities. So instead of telling me what the character is, I'd rather see what happened to them to make them who they are.

The other obvious problem with these types of backgrounds is that they set the expectation that the player/character wants to be more powerful than the average bear already. They're trying to skip in line, so to speak, and start out with a character that has personal plot attention and is ready to receive their pew pew special powers. In most LARPs, that kind of personal attention is earned by being a good player and pursuing it in game. Plot can certainly pick out someone to hook without that, but by creating a background that asks for extra attention, that player can come across as greedy and entitled at worst, or maybe just clueless.

And for me, at least, I don't find it fun to just be handed things - a reward isn't a reward unless you did something to earn it. I know some people don't mind coming out of the gate with eye lasers and an "I win" card, but for me I might as well stay home and write myself into some fan fiction. :) Heroes are heroes because they overcome obstacles, imo. But that's not everyone.

So, if you want to be special, as we all do, but you can't ask for it, what can you do? Well, there are certainly exceptions to the above. For example, a long term player creating a new character with Plot's help.

But the backgrounds I appreciate the most are those that demonstrate an understanding of the setting, based on reading whatever in game material is available, and sets up the character within the world instead of the exception to it. They explain the character's goals, motivations, fears and loves so that Plot can get an idea for what they're trying to play. They do it in a way that shows how the events in their life made them who they are.

And they leave a little room open for Plot to play with. I'm not talking the "I've forgotten everything about my past" cliche, but just a few things that Plot can use as your character develops. If you want to steer the plot in a certain way, steer your background in that direction without coming out and telling plot what to give you. For example, if you want to be more magical, maybe the character's father was on the council at the school of magic and was involved in secret experiments. This could go in a lot of different directions, making for interesting plot and possibly even those coveted special abilities (maybe the experiment was done on the character as a baby!) A lot of times, Plot can be creative in unexpected ways, so giving them room to work not only avoids hubris, but could open the door to something more interesting than you thought!

So put in some side characters and facts that Plot can use to make your story come to life in game. Have siblings, old lovers, best friends; throw in mysterious encounters or significant events your character witnessed. You don't need to write a novel, here, although I'm making it sound like it :) Keep to the main points, and if you have an idea for your character's goals, tell Plot! (although if it's a super powerful artifact or something, that may again come across as greedy).

For the Plot side of things, when I get a character history I usually try to work in some extra information to throw to the player. Even if it's just giving some names to their people and places to get them into the setting. This is especially nice for new players - you can give them not only some more in game info to help them play their character, but you can make them feel special just by throwing some tidbits their way. Give out a few hints that have to do with the plot you're running maybe, so the player can jump in and feel useful right away. This is a great way to hook people in! Maybe while on their farm they witnessed a secret meeting of your evil NPC group and overheard a few things they didn't understand out of context. Maybe one of your NPCs is their uncle. It doesn't have to be a major spoiler or connection, but just something to get them going.

For both player and plot, it's important to be willing to work together. Plot should have an open mind and be willing to maybe add a little spice to a character history. The player should be aware of what they're asking in terms of fairness and setting, and be willing to work with plot to create something that fits for everyone.

What do you think about character backgrounds? Do you use them? What do you like or dislike about them?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making People Mingle: Part 2

Yesterday I showed you all an example from Final Haven on how you can drive the Zero NPC moment home with game design that fosters a high level of PC on PC interaction.

So now you're interested in trying to put something like this in your game. Here are some things you need to know.

1. Greater Than a Team
LARPs tend to already be team sports. Adding mechanics that require 2-4 people is probably not going to change a whole lot for the game. In order to get people to go outside of their normal group, you're going to have to set goals at a much higher number of people than normally travel together.

2. Competitive Nature
While the system should encourage cooperation, it should also foster a form of competition. Anyone who has played a German board game like Settlers of Catan should have an idea of what we're talking about. To be successful, you need to work well with others. However, as Dan put it yesterday, your success may mean that someone else does not succeed. This is how you create the political aspect of the game, where start making deals to get the support they need.

3. Sky's the Limit
You don't want to build the system to a point where it caps out. Once that happens, people will go back to business as usual. Make it so that people can continue to grow, but like most things, slow down the rate of growth. That way up-and-comers can at least try and compete with the big dogs.

4. Emphasize Players
There are a lot of things in LARPs that higher players can do way better than lower level players. But when we're talking about politicking and gaining support, try and balance the power towards number of players instead of number of levels. Now, feel free to give a little bit more power to higher level players (like Final Haven did), but make sure that everyone has a chance to have a voice and to create sway in your system. That helps it feel like an immersive world where even a new player can feel like they're making a difference.

Get crackin'!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Making People Mingle: Part 1

I've talked before about the legendary Zero NPC Moment, and how you as plot can get there. But now I want to take a step back and talk about how game designers can make that step.

I recently heard a story from Dan Comstock about a game (Final Haven) whose entire political and macro-economic system was organically created by the players based off a very simple principle - Influence.

Dan, forgive me if I get details wrong. Feel free to elaborate in the comments!

You see, in order to buy new skills in this game, you need experience and you need a consumable item that matches the type of skill. So mages would need scrolls, psionic skills would require crystals, and so on.

Back to influence! Each player had a certain amount of influence based on their level and race. The sole purpose of this influence was to throw it behind someone in hopes of creating a guild. Guilds were the primary means of making the items used for purchasing new skills. But each guild can only produce one type of item.

Shortly after the game started, they formed the first guild. Inevitably, some of the people in that guild were disappointed, as they didn't choose the items they wanted. At some point, a large portion of the first guild broke off to form a second one.

4 years later, those two guilds represent two warring kingdoms...

Tomorrow, I'll talk about how you can try and get these moments in your game.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Week In LARP - March 5th

This Week In LARP

It's March, which means that the LARP season is starting to ramp up. Get in there!


WAR will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, March 9th and ends on Sunday, March 11th. The game will be held at Camp Oyo at the IG location of Ashton. It's $50 to PC ($30 with a good NPC ratio) and is free to NPC.

NCN will be hosting a module day event this weekend starting at 1:00 PM on Saturday and ends that night. The game will be held at Camp Tuscazoar. It's $20 to PC, but players are encouraged to NPC as well to get more mods in. Players doing both the module day and the Yoggies Horror LARP will be able to do both for $35.


In conjunction with the NCN module day, Yoggie's Generic Horror LARP will be hosting a 1 day event starting Friday, March 9th and ending Saturday, March 10th. The game will be held at Camp Tuscazoar. It's $20 to PC and $10 to PC, but players who also play the NCN module day can do both for $35.

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, March 2, 2012

YouTube Friday: 2.8 Hours Later

I hate how Europe always has the best games.

Let me introduce you to 2.8 Hours Later. It's a zombie survival game, with no weapons or anything. You just have to survive. It takes place in a town and lasts for about 3 hours (hence the 2.8 hours later), and after the event everyone gets together and drinks some beer.

Why, oh why can't we have games like this in the US?

So this video is a player capture montage from the run in Bristol. For a general overview of the game, feel free to visit their website and watch the videos there.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dream a Little Dream - Tips on Dreams & Prophecies

I'm not sure if the NERO drama is still going on, so I hope I'm not missing out on a great blog post idea!

As we get more into the season, it's time for all you plot & staff types to start cooking up stories and prepping your hooks. One of the fastest, easiest ways to hook a plotline is the prophecy or dream mechanic.

This is great, because you can do it via email or letter, and you can make it as long and as detailed as you want. You can describe things you could never rep in game. And having a prophecy immediately adds tension to what you're doing, hopefully encouraging the PCs to act! So there are a lot of good things to be said. However, here are a few tips to keep things interesting.

Don't make it too easy. It's really easy to fall into the rut of just giving the PCs a more flowery description of an obvious clue or hook. But dreams are seldom straightforward, and prophecies are mysterious. Don't make the answer too obvious to the PC, as long as you have the time to spare. Shroud clues in metaphor and symbolism (if you can't think of any, do some research!). Is the villain they're seeking by the sea? Don't just tell them "you see the ocean" but maybe instead tell them "you see a whale walking down a path." You can also add some aspects that don't mean anything, such as having the whale lose her hat - every mystery has a red herring or two after all. :) A lot of players love figuring out clues and puzzles like this, and it can add a lot to the atmosphere. But on the other hand...

Make it count. There shouldn't be a major prophecy on every mod, and if you keep hooking your players with dramatic dreams, they won't be so impressed. So use these mechanics when they'll have the best effect. You may not be able to control how often this comes up if the PCs have a mechanic (Dreamvision, anyone?). But even if it gets frustrating, try to do a good job and make the results in game instead of out-of-game via the grumpy plot person (even if deserved). Materials are usually being spent on this, after all. And if they do abuse it, give them a consequence, like angry dream elementals, nightmare effects, etc.

When you're writing things up, don't make things too obscure :) Avoid putting in too much nonsense, and throw in a few clear clues to compliment the mysterious ones. For the example above, have the whale find the villain sitting in a cave, with the sound of thunder (waves). So at least they'll know he's in a cave! Remember it may be obvious to you, but it's usually not to the PCs, and not being able to figure anything out can make them frustrated and disintersted in your plot.

Write it ahead of time. Dreams, visions, and prophecies are often the types of flavor that get left till the last minute and then hurriedly scribbled on the back of a logistics sheet before the mod. If you know you want to put it out, or if you know the PC is going to seek out the information, take the time to write it ahead of the event. It's a lot easier to be clever when you're not sleep deprived and hopped up on energy drinks. :) It's worth it to see your players excitedly trying to figure out what's going on.

Put a little bit in game. If the player is going to get hit with this at the event, it can be fun to turn up the immersion a little. Record some sound effects or even a voiceover to play while they read your write up. Have the prophet go into a trance right in the middle of the tavern to deliver their message. Act out what they see. You could even go so far as to make a game out of it, such as having the player put together a puzzle, or dropping random pieces of the dream/prophecy for them throughout the event and letting them put it together. You can still have a lot of the benefits the written word can bring, but really bring it home by having it done in character.

Include their characters. Most everyone wants to be the hero of their story, so hook in multiple PCs by giving them a starring role. Allow for little things that the characters can do to make a difference so that you can show them being important. Maybe only a dwarf will recognize the entrance to the cave, or you need an alchemist to make a potion. It can be dangerous to hook to a specific player, in case they don't make the event, but on the other hand, it's hard to resist the draw of starring in your own prophecy!

Got any other neat things you've done with dreams & prophecies?