What is LARPING all about?
According to the Boston Globe, Live Action Role Playing (LARP) “blends elements of the legend of Robin Hood, classical fantasy fiction such as Lord of the Rings, improvisational theatre, the epic of King Arthur, tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, a Renaissance fair and maybe a little psychodrama.” It’s all of these and more.
Alliance LARP is trying to recreate the Days of Legend as we would like them to be and not how they actually were. We were originally formed in 1989, changed our name from NERO Alliance to Alliance LARP in 2007. Since we are the oldest and one of the largest live action fantasy medieval game in the Americas, we must be doing something right!
What happens on a weekend event?
When you come to one of our weekend events, you will come to our campsite that we have decorated to be a fantasy medieval town. Most chapters will assign you a bed in a cabin, but some use tents. The game will begin Friday night. From that point on until the game ends on Sunday afternoon (Monday afternoon on long weekends) there is no stopping; not for dinner, not for sleeping, not for anything short of an emergency. Adventuring will be going on around you at all times, and sometimes something as simple as traveling from your cabin to the tavern can be a matter of life and (game) death.
Does Alliance LARP only do weekend events?
No! We also run faires, which are like weekend events but there is no sleepover. You can also attend just one day of these events. It’s much easier on those with hectic schedules. Some campaigns also do set-alone “modules.”
What is a module?
A “module” has a definite objective and entry point. You and a few of your friends will have several encounters along the way to your goal that will be necessary for you to complete in order to achieve your quest. It sounds simple explained in those terms, but when you are in the middle of a dungeon, with shadowy shapes moving towards you and strange sounds echoing down the halls, and you are trying to remember what that fellow in the tavern said a half hour ago about how to get through this infernal door, your perspective on the difficulty of the situation may change.
Where are the events held?
When do you hold these events?
With chapters all over the US and Canada, there is something happening just about every weekend.
What is the plot like?
The plot is continuous and ever-changing, due partly to imaginative players. It is open ended and runs from event to event, so if a plot thread isn’t resolved by the end of the event, it will be picked up at the start of the next one.
Don’t worry if you are at a loss of ideas; there are always fearsome monsters lurking just outside of town, and plenty of political intrigue within. There are mysteries to solve, battles to plan, friends to make, and enemies to break.
Remember that we are a role-playing game. Although there are battles, we are not a war game. Plots are intricate and logical. The “bad guys” have real personalities and are not merely cartoonish cliched villains. Expect to have your morals and perceptions challenged by our plots.
Most importantly, your character will be an active participant in every plot action! What your character does and says can affect the outcome of the game tremendously. Do not expect to just sit back and watch what happens.
Lots of them! Using approved padded weapons, you will test your swashbuckling skills against the mightiest in the Kingdom. Each type of weapon is assigned a number based on the amount of damage that weapon would do if it were real. In addition, each player can buy skills to increase this number. You will have a certain number of points based on your skills and the type of armor worn. As you attack, you will call out that amount. As you are struck, you subtract the amount by which you have been hit. When you reach zero, you are unconscious, and you’d better hope there is someone nearby with a healing spell.
How safe is the game?
It is very safe. No one has ever been seriously injured using our padded swords. The worst injuries we have ever had were caused by people running into trees and tripping over stumps in the dark. Our insurance company has commented that we have had less injuries than a little league softball team.
Is there Magic?
You bet! Merlin himself would be proud. We represent magical spells with small beanbags or “packets” filled with birdseed. To cast a spell, you say a short phrase (such as “I call forth a Flame Bolt!”) and throw the packet at your target. If you say the words correctly and hit your target, the spell works. If you miss with either, the spell fails. You are limited in how many spells you can cast each day, so use them wisely. When you are more advanced, you can learn “formal magic” spells and create magical weapons and perform other amazing feats.
How do you decide what skills my character can have?
We don’t — you do. You “buy” your own skills with Experience Points that you earn at an event. These skills allow you to improve your character’s abilities. Because each player picks skills based on his or her own desires, no two characters are alike. Skills include magical spellcasting, alchemy, magical potion and scroll creation, armorsmithing, trap disarming, and many weapon skills.
You are automatically given a basic number of “XP” for each event based on your current skill level and the length of the event. Unlike other similar games, we do not believe that experience should only be given out for beating up monsters. We think that the bard in the tavern contributes just as much (if not more) to the game than the “stick jocks” and therefore we reward all players equally.
How good need my costume be?
The better your costume, the more respect you will get in-game and the more fun you will have. We do not allow t-shirts, tennis shoes that aren’t black, shorts, baseball caps, and other modern clothing. Dark colored sweat suits are a good start, covered by a tabard or armor.
How do I write a character history?
Part of the fun of the game is creating a history for your character which will help you to play your character appropriately when confronted with game situations. You cannot start off the game as nobility or with great wealth or magic items (or anything else that would place your character above other starting characters), but other than that, you are fairly free to create your own personality. Be sure to download the free Rule Book first, and read the chapter on creating a character history so that you don’t write one that would be rejected.
Can I be an elf?
Our fantasy world is mainly filled with humans, but there are many types of elves, dwarves, high orcs, hoblings, barbarians, and other unusual and interesting races to play, each with their own special abilities.
Nonplayer characters (NPCs) such as monsters are controlled by a “Monster Master.” If you wish to play a monster on a weekend, you do not have to pay to attend (although you do have to be a current member for insurance reasons). In exchange, you must do what the Monster Master tells you and play the parts he or she needs you to play. Brand new players are encouraged to “NPC” their first event, as it is a great way to try many different styles of combat, learn the rules quickly, have mentoring and training, and get a good feel for what kind of character you would eventually like to play.
What about religion?
Although religion played a large role in actual medieval life, we do not wish to offend anyone’s beliefs. There is no religion in an Alliance game. There are no fantasy gods or demons, and players are not allowed to create their own.
How do you do traps?
Traps are usually electronic in nature. You will have to open the box (or door or whatever) slowly and check for threads or wires or other methods of releasing the trap. If you are able to cut a string, remove a battery clip, or otherwise prevent the trap from buzzing, ringing, or making a noise, you have disarmed it. It is imperative that you have some tools.
How do you pick a lock?
With your tools! We use simple locks on our doors and boxes and with the proper tools and picks (available from certain shifty individuals in the game), you should with practice be able to become adept at getting past those pesky locks. Note that if you haven’t bought the proper skill with your Experience Points, then you are not even allowed to try.
What’s in the Rule Book?
The Rule Book lists all the rules and spells you will need for playing the game as well as lots of graphs, charts, photos, advice sections and more to make your game a fulfilling one. It is fairly certain that all of your questions are answered in this comprehensive book. We cannot overemphasize how important it is to read this free book prior to playing if you want to get the most out of the game.
Each campaign has its own Player’s Guide has large sections describing the fantasy world in which your character will live. You will learn about the cultures of the various races and countries, how a medieval society works, and what the monsters are like. Most campaigns provide this material for free on their web sites.
How much does all this cost?
Each chapter is different, based on their expenses (renting a site can be expensive). Many have a yearly membership fee of $30. A typical weekend usually runs around $60.
Is there an age limit?
Some chapters allow for “pages” as well, where if you are underage, you may attend only if your parent or guardian (not an older sibling!) is also present and playing. If you are under 18, you should check with each chapter to see what their policy is before attending. Do not show up at the door and then find out that they won’t let you play.
Can I transfer in my character from other LARPs?
No. We believe it is important to our players, who have worked very hard to get where they are, to know that someone from another separate game which may have completely different progression rates and standards can’t just come in.
Can I start a chapter in my area?
Sure. But be forewarned — we are picky! We want you to run the absolute best game you possibly can, and we don’t just give chapters to anyone who has start-up money (unlike some games out there).
What if I have other questions?
Visit our Message Board, where you can post your questions in the “New Player” section. Players from all over will be more than happy to help you there