Want to LARP but don’t know what it’s like? Fiona Dann returns with a look at larping and details what she got up to during her first big event of 2015.
Last year our bar tent was destroyed by a combination of clumsy players and bad weather, and so this event we had a new one. Three old military cook tents that happily slot together, to make one awesome looking bar. But also our first disaster. The seller of the tents had put the wrong sized canvas in one of the bags. So we could only put up two tents.
Then I had my own little disaster. We camp over Thursday nights, and I had to scramble to get everything packed and ready in the morning. So like always things got forgotten. Such as our sleeping bag. A pretty major thing to forget. Thankfully we were allowed to borrow some spares, but of course we were greeted by the wonderful spring freeze of April. You always forget how cold camping is until you do it again. It proved too much, and I ended up driving to the 24 hour supermarket to get emergency blankets. £60 poorer but significantly warmer we survived the night.
We time in at 8PM on Fridays, with a flaky period of timeish in from 3PM. But there’s still a decent amount of set up to be done in the morning. More boxes to be brought down to the hut, fences to be put up. People to be battle boarded. The bar tent to be fitted with alcohol. And our LARP village is forming quite well.
Finally the event began, and like always the ref team likes to start with dramatics. Every arcane magic caster down in the ritual circle to be trapped until they managed to work together. Organising LARPers is very much like trying to herd cats. Difficult, and near impossible at the best of times. So getting thirty players, who all have different ideas to work together is quite a trial.
Surprisingly we came up with a solution fairly quickly. Our idea, which was essentially getting one person of each magic type to channel forth their magic into a conduit and blast open the ritual circle was scrapped, simply because we couldn’t figure out who the eighth person should be. Mage, four different types of elementalists, necromancer and alchemists. Who is number eight? We were a little stuck.
Eventually we decided to just have everyone channel forth magic into a conduit to break the ritual circle. Then it was just a matter deciding who had to stand in the centre. Guess who that lucky person was? Yes me. I am blessed in being a special snowflake with access to prismatic magic. Which is every magic combined. It’s less amazing then it sounds. I make people be bedazzled for a minute. But I was the most likely to succeed, and not blow myself up by having too much magic channelled directly through me and then back out again. It worked and we all returned back to the bar, the whole thing had taken three hours. Other things had been going on, a mission to rescue the children by the royal guard, goblins being sneaky, but for me it was bottles of cider and catching up with friends till 4AM.
Our system runs by players organising their missions. If you want to have something done you’ve got to let the ref team know prior so they can plan it, and if you’re organised enough it goes ahead during the event. I’d organised two adventures for this event for the two factions I control. The elves, and the church. The elves were more organised, probably because I pushed it a lot more than the other, to finally wrap up a plot that has been in the back burner for a while. Saving my sort of elven mother. It’s complicated. She’d been corrupted by an undead entity known as a wyrd. We had a staff that could banish wyrds. So it was just a matter of locating her, pointing it at her and banishing it and then restore her soul. Simple? In principle yes, in practice… no.
We had to break into a brothel. We probably should have just paid for the best whore. What we did instead was try and sneak in. This inevitably lead to the mass slaughter of every guard and whore in the building, as we failed in our sneakiness. Killing everyone in the building as we came across them of course further lead to our big bad guy knowing we approached. And so when we ascended the ‘stairs’ to her room, a nice big group of guards awaited our arrival, and of course the wyrd. What occurred was a flash of death as she threw an entropy bomb at us, which would have killed us all. But the luck of the gods were on our side, literally, we spent god boons, and all were saved.
Fighting commenced, which was a terrifying prospect, we only had one healer on this mission and she was recharging. I stood there with my wyrd banish staff, sending out fire balls to destroy the enemy and of course the dreaded words were spoken “time freeze”. Everyone stopped, closed their eyes and hummed until time in was called. The awkward pause afterwards followed by “triple, triple, triple” as the wyrd queen stabbed me in the back and vanished with the staff.
We guessed she had blinked towards the exit outside the room, and lead a desperate chase down the corridor, catching her up and banishing the undead within her. We had almost royally screwed up.
We returned for lunch, then many different groups were out and about. I helped gather firewood as that evening we were to have a funeral for one of the longer played characters within the system General Tilsburg.
After I gathered my church members and we headed out into the woods to recover an artefact. We were on a tight time schedule of an hour before dinner. We battled our way through a catacomb until we hit a puzzle wall. I personally hate puzzles, and this one had us stuck there for an hour. We returned for dinner, and the healers decided to continue it as a tabletop as it was getting late.
While they finished I changed into an NPC I’d been asked to play, one that would cause controversy. I was a member of an evil organisation the player party had made peace with recently, as well as being part demon. Needless to say quite a few people wanted to kill me, as I made friends with the powerful members of the player base.
Soon after dinner we went up to the ritual circle, where a guy of the general had been placed upon a pyre, and the ceremony began. It was touching, as each member of the society stood and spoke of the legend of Tilsburg. The pyre was lit, and we spoke more of him. Tears were shed, and the community paid their respect to our lost hero.
Afterwards we went back to the bar, to celebrate Tilsburg’s life with alcohol, and this was where my evening got cut a little short. The players didn’t really have the guts to try and kill me. Other NPC’s on the other hand… Well it wasn’t really a shock when one of the NPC’s decided the clearly evil woman should die. It was an amusing moment as he struck me with a fatal and walked away, expecting me to fall down dead, pausing as he realised I hadn’t and went for me again. I ‘vanished’ and simply walked away as everyone behind me tried to stop him. An amusing end, to a grand day.
Sunday was probably not as well arranged as it could have been, two parties went off for real adventures. The low levelled adventurers, and the notorious Goblins. I was made to go with the council to make a peace treaty with some undead. A thing I personally didn’t agree with for a long list of political reasons.
And then things got weird. As one of the goblin players came up behind me hand in the air to show his not there, and tells me that I am compulsed to bark and announce I am a dog. Chaos went wild, as any player in the vicinity started developing ticks and twitches as the goblin’s commanded them to do so. Our treaty making was ruined, as everyone was forced to take part in some sort of ridiculousness.
They had their fun, and we wrapped up the event to learn they’d killed off their characters, blown up half the town we were in, and caused the evil forest the player base had been trying to deal with for the last five years to expand drastically. But Sunday silliness aside, it was a great event. As new players join, we become more organised, and the ref team have been putting in more player lead infrastructure, so that we are better than ever at getting everything done.
Got any LARP tips to share? Anything you want to know? Let us know in the comments.