New Player FAQ

Welcome to Alliance LARP Oregon!  This is the New Player FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for people who are interested in getting into LARPing.  We hope that this guide will answer your basic questions. If you are here, you probably already know what LARPing is.  If you do not, here is a brief blurb from Wikipedia:

A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules, or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called gamemasters decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate play.

In Alliance, we are a medieval fantasy LARP.  That means that in our game we include medieval staples such as brave fighters, cutthroat rogues, noble royalty and crafty artisans combined with fantasy tropes such as magic, sorcerers and undead.

Unlike in a typical role-playing game, no interactions in Alliance are decided with the roll of a die.  If you wish to turn a member of the nobility to your cause then you must actually earn their trust and work with them to aid you.  If you wish to strike an evil creature with your arrow then you must physically throw your arrow representation and hit them with it.

All combat in our game is done with padded foam weapons or beanbag-like packets of birdseed wrapped in cloth.  As such, Alliance is a very safe game for everyone involved.  The vast majority of people are injured by spraining their ankles or tripping over something in the woods, not by any of our fighting equipment or combat.  Absolutely no physical contact by anything other than approved foam weapons or packets are allowed during combat.

If after reading this guide and the official handbook (link located below under Resources) we would be happy to answer any of your questions over at newplayer@allianceoregon.com.

Resources

  1. Handbook (the PDF version is free!): http://alliancelarp.com/rule-book/
  2. Alliance article “A Typical Event”: http://alliancelarp.com/player-resources/a-typical-event/
  3. Official Alliance forums: http://alliancelarp.com/forum/index.php
  4. Alliance Oregon forums: http://alliancelarp.com/forum/categories/oregon.80/
  5. Event calendar: http://allianceoregon.com/events/
  6. Page policy, for younger players: http://alliancelarp.com/forum/threads/alliance-oregon-page-policy.12287/

Contact Information

  1. New Player Representative: newplayer@allianceoregon.com
  2. Plot Committee: plot@allianceoregon.com
  3. Logistics: logistics@allianceoregon.com
  4. Owner: owner@allianceoregon.com
  5. Player Liaison: playerrep@allianceoregon.com

Combat

We are asked a lot about the fighting style in Alliance.  Alliance is a boffer combat system which allows for physical contact but only with approved foam weapons and bird seed packets.  There is absolutely no physical contact allowed with unapproved weapons, hand-to-hand or ground combat.  Think of Alliance as a representational system than an actual fighting system.  A tap with a weapon is just as effective in delivering damage to your opponent as a 90-degree axe-chop is.

Each character has armor points and body points which are subtracted mentally when you are struck.  This is an honor system!  You have to trust your opponents and allies to keep score and in return you must respect them and do the same.

NPCing

The world of Alliance is full of characters.  These characters might be assassins, townspeople, politicians, traders, soldiers or craftsmen.  They might be dragons, ghouls, undead, lizards, or other nasty things.  These characters are overseen by the Plot Committee who control the general course of the game and present challenges for the players to overcome to move the story forward.  These people are Non-Player Characters or “NPCs”.  NPCs are very important to have in Alliance as without them there are no outside forces for the players to interact with besides themselves.

There are four major advantages to NPCing when you are just getting into Alliance: Firstly, NPCing is free!  That’s right, free!  As in you don’t pay a dime.  If you would like, you can have our NPC cook prepare all of your meals for you during a normal weekend event for a modest sum of $15 which is a great deal.  Yes, for only a little more than the price of a movie ticket you get to be instrumental in the telling of an epic tale while enjoying nature and we’ll even prepare all of your meals for you.  What’s not to love? Secondly, NPCs will have all of their equipment provided to them by Monster Camp.  All weapons, masks, prosthetics, makeup, spell packets, etc will be lent to you while you are an NPC.  PCs must provide all of these things themselves. The only gear you must bring as an NPC is dark clothing; preferably sweats, sturdy footwear and a lot of socks.  Trust us on the sock thing, you’ll thank us later.

Additionally, NPCing allows you to try out the game before you sink a bunch of money or time into it.  You can see if the combat system is a system that you enjoy.  You can try out different combat styles and see what you enjoy playing the most.  Let the people running Monster Camp know that you’d like to try different combat styles and they will do everything they can to accommodate you.  This can mean that the first time you go out and fight you might be a dual-wielding lizard and then the next time you’ll go out as a townsman who is an archer.  As long as you are vocal about your desire to try a lot of things, or specific things even, the people running Monster Camp will do everything they can to see that you have an opportunity to try those things out.

Lastly, everyone will love you.  The game can’t happen without NPCs!  You will work hard for the acclaim but there won’t be a single participant of one of our events who will not be thankful that you were there and for everything that you did.

There are people who enjoy NPCing so much that it is all they do!  What does that say about our system, eh?

PCing

The heroes of the story in Alliance are the Player Characters (or “PCs”).  These are the personas that people put on for an entire event and interact with the other PCs and the NPCs that are sent out by the Plot Committee. If you have those daydreams of being the knight in shining armor or the sorcerer hurling bolts of fire at your enemies, then you likely want to be a PC.

Being a PC, just like NPCing, has unique advantages and disadvantages.  When you PC, you have absolute freedom to do anything you want at any time that you want. If you wish to run head-long into fights you are free to do so.  If you want to stay in your cabin and talk with other PCs all day you are free to do that as well.

As a PC in Alliance you are responsible for your own entry fees, food and garb.  Unlike NPCs who are given nearly all of the equipment that they need for the entirety of the event, as a PC you are responsible for having garb and weaponry that looks in-genre.

Remember that as a PC you are never safe!  While you are in-game, even while sleeping, you can be attacked by monsters and even other PCs!  Alliance is a game that rarely ever has a break.

The usual fee for a typical three-day event that runs from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon is $50 – $60 if you PC.

Safety

Included here are a couple of our most basic safety rules.  More in-depth rules can be found in our free PDF rulebook mentioned in the Introduction portion of this document.

Holds:

As outlined in the rulebook, whenever the call of “HOLD!” is yelled, it must be repeated by all players.  All combat and other in-game interactions must cease immediately until the hold is resolved.  You must call a hold personally if you encounter an unsafe situation (someone falls, is injured, etc).

Flames:

Absolutely no open flames are allowed inside of any buildings.  This includes the tavern, out buildings or cabins.  Depending on the venue and the time of year, open fire pits may be allowed outside so long as they are tended by someone at all times.

Smoking:

Smoking is only allowed in designated out-of-game areas.  Please make sure to fully extinguish flame and ash, and to dispose of all butts and other refuse properly.

Light:

Alliance is a 24-hour event, meaning that there is action going on at all hours, even at night!  This means that moving between areas in the dark can be potentially hazardous and a light will be required.  Remember, please, that all lights must be in-period!  We recommend Coleman LED lanterns as they can be decorated to look proper and they will save you from falling.  If you are a character who can cast a “Light” spell then a small flashlight with a red cover to diffuse the light is allowed to be used.  The light should always be pointed at the ground; never shine a light in another player’s face.

Alcohol and drugs:

Absolutely no alcohol or illicit substances are allowed to be consumed at any Alliance events.  Period.  This includes imbibing off-site and then returning to the event later.

Creating a Character

The specifics about creating a character are outlined in our free PDF rulebook starting on page 13.  Aside from that, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when first creating your character:

  1. What are their motivations?
  2. What are their strengths?
  3. What are their weaknesses?

I personally recommend creating a character with at least one of each of those things and, in fact, some of them can overlap.  Perhaps your loyalty is one of your strengths but makes you blind to betrayal. If you are new to LARPing, you might want to think about characters who have traits that fit with your idea of the character you want to play.  Be they a leader, a scoundrel, a knight, a rogue, a member of the nobility, a savage or what have you.  It is often easier to think about how these characters that you know and love might react to a situation.  Over time as you grow into your character you might discover that they are being molded into the kind of character you enjoy playing. All characters should have a backstory created for them.  In fact, in the Alliance Oregon chapter, if you create a character a submit a backstory that gets approved by the Plot team, then you will start your first event at level two instead of level one.  This will give you much greater flexibility in terms of the in-game skills that you know right off of the bat! The official rulebook goes into quite some detail about creating a character background starting in page 13. Remember that our official rulebook is absolutely free in PDF format and you should definitely read it! You can get a general idea of the history of our chapter in three places:

  1. “History of the Alliance Oregon Chapter” section lower down in this document.
  2. The in-game newsletters location here: http://alliancelarp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=13174
  3. If you have any other questions left over, you can always email plot at plot@allianceoregon.com.

Once you have submitted a background to plot for their consideration, you should consider getting your costume in order.  If you are new to LARPing then I urge you to read the section of this document called “Costuming” for some ideas on how to get started.

Costuming

Alliance is a live action role playing game that takes place in a high-fantasy medieval environment and all of your costuming (commonly referred to as “garb”) should keep that time period in mind.  For your first event you’re going to want to make sure you have a basic form of garb so you look the part that you are trying to represent. Things to avoid:

  1. Tennis shoes
  2. Blue jeans
  3. T-shirts
  4. Wristwatches

The best place to look for starter gear is actually thrift shops.  Goodwill, Salvation Army and other can have the look and price you want if you just have the patience to look around a bit.  If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty you can even buy some clothing dye from a fabric store for a couple of dollars and change the color of a piece entirely to suit your needs. In addition, a thrift shop can be an amazing resource for the little trinkets and other details that really bring your character to life.  Jewelry, a brooch for your tunic or cloak, a celtic-themed book, a worn belt buckle; these are all things that go together and give your character more personality.

Shirt:

  1. For the crafty types, you might find that a t-tunic (pattern here), is everything you want for your starting look.  They are simple to make with a little sewing skill and some patience.
  2. If you have a little money to spare, then something like this “knight’s shirt” would be a good thing to go for.

 

Pants:

  1. An inexpensive first pair of pants to buy is unisex draw-string scrub pants.  They look great and they are cheap!  What more could you ask for?
  2. If you are handy with a sewing machine and you want to try your hand at making wrap pants, that is an option too!
  3. If you simply cannot find anything, then a pair of lightly-colored sweats that you dye yourself with some cheap Rit dye can hold you over for a few events while you decided if Alliance is the game for you.  Rit dye is easy to find locally if you have a craft shop nearby.  A bottle or box is usually around $3.

Footwear:

The key point here is comfort and stability!  While hardly anyone is hurt in LARPing from the weapons, sprained ankles are the most common injury.  Many rules marshals and staff are very lenient in terms of footwear in regards to period authenticity.  Since footwear is so vitally important to being comfortable in LARPing, if you show up with a sturdy pair of hiking boots no one is going to fault you for that.  It is handy to pick up a pair of leather swiss gaiters to cover them and stay more in-period but this is definitely not required, especially for a new player. The biggest no-no for footwear is to wear tennis shoes!  Do not wear tennis shoes!

Videos:

Here is a comical video for making quick and dirty garb in under four minutes!  You’ll want to eventually graduate into something much period-looking if you decide to stick with the hobby but this will get you started for sure!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaH6v70h3ys

Note:

Something to keep in mind is that Alliance is a LARP without a pantheon of gods.  In fact, Alliance avoids religion in any way that it can so as to not offend any of our player base.  This means that it is a good idea to avoid any religious symbolism in your background or your costuming.

Synopsis of the current story of Alliance Oregon

We find the heroes in the Kingdom of Sedovia, on the island of Aer’Astria.

An ancient threat threatens the people of Aer’Astria in the form of a magical plague… The Lumos Affliction.  The forces working against the heroes are some of the Transformed Races, victims of the Lumos Affliction, and their leader, Lumos himself.

Meanwhile, the Celestial Dragon of Aer’Astria, Mandara Bolla, grows weaker.  He is also a victim of the Lumos Affliction, and is somehow shares an unnatural bond with Lumos.  Everytime Lumos is killed he reforms from the body of the Dragon, and the Dragon grows weaker still.

Can the heroes stop Lumos, cure the Dragon, and hold the Void at bay?  Can they keep oblivion from rising?

Finding An Event

The Alliance Oregon and Alliance Seattle chapters are sister chapters and many people play in both chapters.  As such, it would be silly for us to try to tell you only about Alliance Oregon events because there are plenty of events hosted by Alliance Seattle as well!

Between these resources you should be able to find any of the information necessary to attend one of our events.  If you cannot find the information you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact the New Player Representative at newplayer@allianceoregon.com.

What To Bring To An Event

Alliance Oregon is very lucky in that we host all of our events at locations with cabins.  That means that you will not need to worry about sleeping in a tent. Things you should always bring:

  • Socks and underwear (especially socks)
  • Bedding (sleeping bag or blankets, camp pad)
    • Note: Camp Kiwanilong, our primary site, does not include mattresses with their cabin bunks.  With that in mind, remember to bring a camp pad or something to sleep on.
  • Spare clothing layers
    • Moisture-whisking clothing like polypro and the like which you can wear under your garb will help keep you cool and dry.
  • Medications
    • Note: If you have a life-threatening disease or severe allergy, please inform logistics of it when you come to the camp and carry whatever medication you need on you at all times.
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Extra TP
    • Deodorant
    • Soap
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Towel for showering

Things that are good to have:

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Special cookware (if necessary for a meal you are making)
  • Cell phone charger (let’s be honest, we all love our electronic leashes)

 

Lexicon

Boffer: Weapons that are made from either PVC or graphite cores covered in foam and then wrapped in cloth or duct tape.

Latex: Usually refers to weapons that are more realistic looking than their boffer cousins.  Latex weapons look better but cost significantly more than boffers.

NPC: Non-Player Character.  These are the volunteers that make up all of the non-adventurers you see during an event.  They are spiders, ghouls, townspeople, wizards, merchants or whatever else the Plot Committee needs them to be.  Someone playing an NPC will have dozens of roles over the course of an event.

PC: Player Character.  These are the people who play adventurers and play the one character for the entirety of the event.  They are the protagonists of the story and are not tied down into doing anything by the Plot Committee.

Packet: A packet is a piece of cloth that has birdseed placed within it and tied together with a rubber band.  They are then thrown as representations of the ability, spell or arrow being used by the character.

Garb: A character’s in-game outfit or costuming.

Logistics: A band of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that all character sheets, experience points, event participation and any number of other behind-the-scenes work is done so that the rest of us can have a great time.

Logistics Period: A Logistics Period is a day of game time, usually starting around 5pm to 6pm in the evening and going to the same time the following day.  During a Logistics Period you may use the spells and abilities on your character sheet.  You then regain the use of these abilities after the next Logistics Period has started.

Page: A Page is a player that has certain physical combat limits placed on them for safety reasons.  They cannot attack or be attacked by melee weapons, for instance.  These policies are in place for our younger players and our players who are physically injured but still wish to participate.

Plot Team: Most of the time this team of volunteers is referred to just as “Plot”.  They are the ones that come up with the overarching storylines, the main villains, the

Item Tag: This is the in-game representation for an item.  If they are used for something like a potion, once that potion has been used the tag is torn up.  This means that other players can no longer use it, even if the potion bottle physrep is still useable.

Physrep: Shortened from “physical representation”.  That is, the actual physical out-of-game item that you use to represent an in-game item.  As an example, your latex sword or your leather armor.  Your in-game sword might end up shattered or stolen but your physrep that you shelled out real life dollars for will always remain with you or will at least be returned to you shortly.

Carrier: A carrier is the type of damage called after the number in our combat system.  “Two Normal” is a call for two points of normal damage.  Other carriers include Flame, Ice, Silver, Disease and others.  Certain carriers will have certain effects on different creatures or on a PC themselves.  Refer to the rulebook for more about the specific carriers and what they do.

Celestial Magic: Celestial magic is magic used mainly for offense and empowerment.  These include bolts of flame or ice, spell shields, building wards, ice storms and dragon’s breath.

Earth Magic: Earth magic is magic that is used mainly for defense and buffing.  An Earth Caster is a well-loved member of an adventuring group!  Their spells include healing, purify, destroy undead, restore, earth blade and even the power of life and death itself.  Earth magic in Alliance is a reversible power force, meaning that if you are able to cast the healing spell “Cure Critical Wounds” you are also automatically able to cast the necromantic version of the spell called “Cause Critical Wounds”.  This means that Earth magic is a double-edged sword, especially in a land where necromancy is illegal.

Module: A module is a quest or battle that is held for a small group of players.  A module may take up most of an entire day during a weekend event or it might be a quick skirmish with some lizards.

Turtling: Turtling is the act of crouching down low behind your shield making it nearly impossible to hit you without breaking the charging rule.  This is not allowed.  Do not do it.

FOIG: Acronym for “Find Out In Game”.

IG: Acronym for “in-game”.

OOG: Acronym for “out-of-game”.

Goblin Points: Goblin Points (or Goblin Stamps, GP or Gobbies) are the reward that our volunteers who NPC, staff or donate items receive.  These GP may be be spent for slight experience boosts or magic items.