Introduction: How Does This LARP Work?




Due to the limitations of trying to represent high-fantasy adventure safely on a low budget with no special effects or CGI, almost everything in LARP comes down to hitting people with padded foam weapons or calling things out. Except when hitting somebody with a padded foam weapon, there should be no forceful physical contact.


Looking After The Weapons
The weapons are expensive and relatively easily damaged, so there are some basic rules on using them. Never rest your weight on a weapon, never lean swords point down, never throw any weapon (except for the special throwing daggers), never attack trees and undergrowth with a weapon, never grab hold of somebody else's weapon. If arrows and crossbow bolts are being shot around, there will occasionally be brief pauses during combat to pick them up and move them out of the way where they won't be stepped on and broken.
See the Safety Rules page for more information.


Safety & Fighting
Fighting involves hitting somebody with a padded foam weapon, and occasionally throwing a special throwing dagger at them or shooting them with a LARP-safe bow or crossbow. Unarmed attacks take the form of a light tap with an open palm - never punch, kick, push or grab somebody.
There are three cardinal safety rules:
No stabbing - always swing your weapon from the side in a slashing attack. Stabbing damages people and damages weapons.
No head hits - Never hit somebody else in the head or neck. To avoid this happening accidentally, it's best not to aim any of your blows above the level of the upper arms and to bring blows in from the side rather than above.
Pull your blows - try not to hit people too hard, and remember that some people are more sensitive than others. If somebody says that you're hitting them too hard, then you're hitting them too hard.
In addition to the above rules, don't duck (as this can get your head hit), never parry arrows or crossbow bolts, never grab somebody else's weapon during a fight, don't hit bows or crossbows and don't hit or push anyone with a shield.
See the Safety Rules page for more information.


Locations & Damage
Each character has their body divided into five locations - Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg and Right Leg (hits to the head are ignored). Each location has a set number of hits (usually between two and eight) and once that location loses all its hits it stops working - if your leg loses all of its hits then go down on one knee, if your arm loses all of its hits then drop anything held in it and leave it hanging limply by your side, if your torso loses all of its hits then your character falls unconscious and will die in sixty seconds unless healed.
Each time somebody lands a blow they will call an amount of damage, e.g. Half (which takes off half a hit), Single (which takes off one hit), Double (which takes off two hits), Triple (which takes off three hits) or Quad (which takes off four hits). If the blow lands, then the location struck loses the appropriate number of hits - e.g. if your left arm has four hits and gets hit with two Halves, a Single and a Double then it has lost all four hits and stops working.
Certain skills and equipment can give you more hits, let you call Dodges or Parries to avoid blows, or enable you to heal damage and repair armour.
See the Combat page for more information.


Special Calls
There are a number of special calls used to tell people what they should be doing:
Time In - Start acting In Character, you can assume that any of the other players and monsters around are also there In Character unless they're waving their finger in the air and saying "you can't see me" or "I'm not here".
Time Out - The encounter is over. Drop Out of Character for a bit.
Time Faff - The players remain In Character and stay in one place while the GM and the monsters go off and set things up.
Time Freeze - Everybody stops where they are but stays In Character. Game time is frozen while something is described. The players may be asked to close their eyes and hum so that they don't see or hear what's being set up. This may also be used as a general purpose call to stop the game mid-Encounter for any reason.
MAN DOWN! - Stop what you're doing, don't move (unless you're standing on the person who's down, or on their glasses, etc.) and wait to find out who fell over and whether or not they're okay. You will be timing back in as if from a time-freeze, and people moving over or crowding round may make the situation worse, so don't move from your current position unless there's a very good reason to do so.
Walkers - Non-roleplayers are approaching the game. Shotover is a public common, so stop fighting or roleplaying and stand aside so that they can get through and you don't accidentally hit their kids or trip over their dog. Be polite and inoffensive, don't threaten them with weapons or say things which may be misunderstood.
See the Safety Rules page and the Combat page for more information.


Psyche & Fatigue Damage
Most damage will be physical damage represented by your being struck on a particular location and losing hits from that location (whether those hits come from the armour you're wearing or your character's physical toughness). Occasionally, you will lose Psyche and Fatigue hits. Rather than being divided up into locations, you have one pool of Psyche hits and one pool of Fatigue hits to cover your whole body (and mind).
Psyche hits are lost in psychic combat, which is a battle of wills as represented by, you guessed it, hitting each other with padded foam weapons! Each blow takes Psyche hits off your main pool regardless of where it lands, once you run out of Psyche hits you lose consciousness and something strange happens to your mind. Psyche hits can also be lost as a result of certain kinds of magic and not getting a good night's sleep. Virtually the only way to recover Psyche hits is by getting a good night's sleep.
Fatigue hits are lost when you're hit for subdual damage (anyone hitting you on the torso and calling "Subdue!" or "Subdue Double!" will lose you one or two Fatigue hits). They are also lost as a result of certain kinds of magic and not getting a good night's sleep. Fatigue hits can normally be recovered by five to ten minutes of rest in a non-threatening situation.
Certain skills can give you more Fatigue and Psyche hits.
See the Combat page for more information.


Classes, Skills & Equipment
A character's Class limits which skills they can buy (and a character can gain one new Class level after an adventure). A character's number of experience points limits how many skills they can buy. A character's money limits how much equipment they can buy.
Some skills give you more hits (Tough, Strong Willed), wearing armour also gives you more hits.
Some skills let you use certain equipment (such as Great Weapon for two-handed weapons, Ambidextrous for fighting with two weapons at once, Archer for bows and crossbows, Armoured Combat for medium and heavy armour, Shield, Throwing Weapons), give you an income to buy more equipment or let you create it from scratch (such as Day Job, Night Job, Wealth, Alchemist) or let you repair damaged equipment (such as Armour Repair).
Some skills and equipment affect the amount of damage you can do in combat (such as Weapon Master, Strong, Leadership, high or low quality weapons, Strength potions).
Some skills and equipment let you call more Dodges or Parries or limit how many you can call (Quick, Weapon Master, Duellist, Survival, Tactician, high or low quality weapons, armour and shields).
Most other skills and equipment give you the ability to make other calls during an adventure or are handled in discussion with the GM.
See the Character Creation page, the Skills page, the Money & Equipment page and the Experience & Advancement page for more information.




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This page last updated: 10th May 2005

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