Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer LARPin'

Ah, it's summer!  Maybe not officially, but at least in Ohio the sun is here, along with the heat.  Summer is the busiest time to LARP, so you're probably planning on having quite a few weekends dedicated to games over the next few months. 

Summer offers relatively clear weather where you can get camps that don't require heat.  You can enjoy sleeping under the stars!  You don't have to be weighed down by layers!  People have more free time to get out there, and it's just generally good to be outside. But it's hot.  Those high temperatures can be just as much, if not more, of a damper to your game than winter chill, so here are a few things you can do to beat the heat.

Water - this is a priority.  Drink it.  Don't drink pop or anything else sugary or hyper-caffeinated unless you're drinking a lot more water to balance it out.  I've gotten dehydrated because all I was drinking was sugar, and it's icky. :( Worried about carrying it around? Try a camelback.  You can put it in another bag or just cover it with some cloth to give it a more period look.  You can also get leather bottle holders!

Summer Costume - First, cut down on unnecessary armor, or even go to a lighter version.  You don't want to trap all that sweat and heat in - ask yourself if it's worth the armor points.  You don't need to reduce yourself to a Metallica t-shirt and sweat shorts to stay cool (unless that's already good for your game!).  There are all sorts of short-sleeved blouses for ladies that still look pretty period.  Or try a gauzy shirt and just roll up the sleeves. You can also make sleeve ties or use sleeve garters.  Now's a good time to wear lighter skirts, and open-sided wrap pants allow for ventilation. These can all be pretty cheap, and your friendly neighborhood seam-person can help :)  Also, a little more expensive, think about getting some summer Under Armor, which is designed to help keep your body cool.

Cool Down - Make sure that you make time to cool off.  Take a break and rest, drink some water, and let yourself air out :)  Related to the hygiene post, take off some of the heat-traping aspects of your costume and sit in the shade.  Take a cool shower to bring your body temperature down.  Change out your socks and other sweat-soaked elements - you'll feel better & smell better!  Think about bringing things like freezie pops for the tavern and extra water in a cooler.  Staff, coordinate to make sure that you have access to cool water for your team, and think about bringing them some extra heat-beating treats! :)  Cooling down the inside can help cool down the outside!

Take it Easy - Don't push yourself during the heat of those scorchers, if you can.  Try to go on role-play or investigation mods in the hottest part of the day.  Plot, think about planning those kinds of things so that they can take place during that time.  Also, think ahead and consider where you're having your mods - try to make them in shaded areas that no one will pass out getting to (hopefully).  It's hard when you're NPCing, but try to rotate out people to give everyone time to cool down.  Yes, you want everyone to have fun, but having someone pass out from heat exhaustion won't make it better!! :)

Beat the Bugs - Let's not forget summer mosquitos! :)  Don't forget your bug spray, and think about bringing a citronella candle to keep them away from your sleeping area (if you can burn it safely).  Keep lights out where you can so the bugs don't swarm inside your tent/cabin in the dark (especially while you're out - your tent/cabin mates will be thankful!).  They do have silent mosquito repellers, which I've used and seem to work pretty well.  I got it from a guy in Louisiana, and you know they've got bugs down there!  Also, people sometimes forget, but this is tick season - give yourself a check before you go to bed to make sure you haven't picked up any hitchhikers. 

Got any more tips on beating the heat at LARP?


  1. Bring a fan. Especially for when you're trying to sleep and need some air flow.

    Credit to Jyn: Wash/face cloths soaked in water and thrown into a freezer, cooler, fridge. Heaven.

    Adapt your fighting style. There are ways to fight more or less energetically. It's part of a much MUCH longer rant, but basically, the more you increase your situational awareness in battle the less you have to move to be effective.

    Depending on the site and event, sometimes it's worth it to actually leave site and grab dinner at an A/C restaurant. Though usually I wait until after the event for this delicious experience.

  2. Two things that have greatly helped my enjoyment of summer LARPs:

    The Knargasm (from now-defunct Indiana KANAR): pouring cold water onto the back of a player's neck causes an immediate reduced-temperature sensation. The water need not even be terribly cold; it is just the difference between its heat and body temp that makes the difference.

    In-character sales of iced beverages. A couple of characters pioneered selling glass-bottles sodas (considered to be slightly closer to "period" than cans, disposable cups, etc). These help make an in-game economy move, and likewise keep people hydrated.