How to Beholder

Behold! Gerald!

Concept art for the classic monster of fantasy myth.

Recently I helped to construct a beholder for Alliance South Michigan. The goal was to get the flying eyeball up in the air to a certain degree. More than that as this was our second “backpack puppet” monster I wanted to focus on making the monster modular for easy access and reusing constructed works for more projects going forward.

First we got a design document going of what we were looking to try and do.

The idea was a pilot in all black straps into a column also in all black to have an illuminated beholder appear to “fly” over the heads of the players.  Originally the height would have checked in at over 12ft in the air. After motion testing the weight of the skeleton the frame was reinforced and dropped by about 2+ ft getting it to roughly 10ft high. This kept it in range of melee weapons… but really difficult to engage. Only the beholder itself was a viable target. The column and pilot could not be attacked. Even then an in-game effect punished melee strikes. Thus melee fighters were regulated to striking out only with their very best skills and/or protecting the ranged attacks coming from the rest of the players from the beholder foot soldiers. read more

PC Nobles and Plot

Note, do not actually light your LARP arrows on fire.

First off, let’s establish that by agreeing to be a PC noble you’re creating a contract with the Plot team. You have a responsibility to play your Character in a manner that doesn’t drive people away from the game. This doesn’t mean your Character needs to be loved and adored by your fellow Players, but since you have the potential to have an outsized impact on the game you have a responsibility to your organization to be a good Player and a good representative for the game. Conveniently, there are a few things that your Plot/GM team can do to help you be a good representative. read more

How To Hook Horror

To get started here was the concept art found online (not sure who the artist was but the image linked back to this forum), and the final results and a 30 second video demonstration of:

The Hook Horror

(who I nick named: “Janet”)

Image result for mardi gras puppetThe inspiration and design came from Chad, one of our heads of plot when he saw these Mardi Gras puppets. The idea was that previous prop monsters were often using what we call “Bucket Shoes” stilts. This is where we take snow board bindings and bolt them to thick 3 gallon buckets and use them like huge shoes. This made the prop monster more combat effective but not so much that it couldn’t be handled easily enough due to how slow it was. So the monster’s card/stats had to become stupidly huge thus it was certain death to make even one mistake around their slow truging selves. Compensating with stats to make them boss-monster challenging wasn’t anywhere near as much fun as a spectacle like this should be. By example for here is a past bucket shoes monster Thomm the Troll turned ally of the town. read more

Simple Lock boxes on the cheap

Having a cool treasure box for your character, or for players to find really helps step up your game immersion. But, sometimes these boxes cost a ton of money for just a simple box.

Using my internet sloth skills I was able to build one of these for just under 10 dollars.

What you’ll need is a simple wooden box. Amazon has super cheap ones.

Most boxes don’t have the right kind of clasp to lock with. So you’ll need to buy a new one.

These look nice and are cheap.

You’ll nee some wood stain.  I used this stuff but, it’s a bit pricier. read more

The Basics of PC Nobles

Most LARPs reach a point where one or more of the PCs, either by luck, purposeful effort, or being in the wrong place at the right time, becomes a leader in the In Game (IG) community. Eventually Plot may want to solidify that position and reward a Player with position in the setting’s nobility. This is a great opportunity for unique role-play and the possible source of substantial conflict. With proper Plot effort, PC nobles can be a huge resource but there is also the potential for that Player to abuse their position within the game. This blog however isn’t about Plot and the PC noble, instead it’s about my experiences playing a PC noble and my suggestions to others in similar positions. read more

Mistakes I Made Making My First Character

Everyone, meet Jynx.

Jynx was the very first PC I ever made for Alliance.
The problems with Jynx are common problems that aren’t really talked about much when new players come into game.
Let’s go through these problems together and how, in retrospect, I would have changed her so that I wouldn’t have ended up retiring her early in my LARP career.

Mistake Number One In Creating Jynx

I didn’t.

When NPCing you need to be versatile

Yup, I didn’t create Jynx.
You see, I had been LARPing as an NPC at my old home chapter [Traverse City] for a year or so before choosing to travel to South Michigan for the first time. read more

My Alignment Playlist

When I’m making a character, even if its just an NPC, I tend to seek out songs to inspire the process. There are a bunch of different ways to go about character development, and I tend to differ in where I start, but sometimes I start with a D&D based Alignment.

When I do this is great to get into the right mood with some music, here are some of the best songs to do just that.

Lawful Good

Delerium – Silence

The stereotype about Lawful Good is that its a boring alignment to play. I feel that this is failure of imagination. People build Lawful Good characters lacking any kind of moral conundrum, they always know the answer and it’s always the least fun choice; I propose another path, namely conflict. read more

Weapon Building

Building the Larp Boffer
-or-
How to complicate the simple effectively.

This article will just be a handful of tips and tricks to building your standard round-closed-cell-foam-and-duct-tape weapons. There are a number of advantages to these classic weapons over the newer latex weapons.

Just to name a few advantages:

  1. More aerodynamic
  2. Cheaper and easier to repair
  3. Resilient to weather, abuse, and terrible packing and storage jobs by monster camp.
  4. Cheaper and easier to repair

On point #3 we are going to focus on construction rather than cosmetics. So I am going to quickly whip together 10 basic and ugly claw reps for our monster camp.

BASIC CONSTRUCTION

  • Standard materials used here:
    • 1/2″ cpvc pipe
    • _______ Brand Pipe insulation (most others are too thin and break down fast)
    • Duct Tape
    • Your personal choice of grip tape (I prefer hockey tape and electrical for my rough and tumble weapons)

    Tape: I’ve never become loyal to a certain brand of Duct tape that makes me happy over all. 3M comes cheaper in big roles and often works well enough. Duck brand seems to have more bonding/sticking issues than others… I could go on and on. Today I’m using the more plastic 3M because it typically works fine and I need a bunch for 10 claws. read more

Back In My Day We Used PEE-VEE-CEE

LARP has grown and changed a lot in the last two decades; it’s been great to watch.

A lot of these changes have focused on the sophistication of the setting. With specialty shops, like Dark Knight Armory, setting up online instead of just in the back alleys of Renaissance Fairs and the rise of Etsy, intricate costumes have become available to everyone with a dream and a few bucks to spend. I’ve watched plot teams venture into theatrical lighting effects and cosplayers teach us all how to do exquisite makeup on YouTube. read more

A Few Simple Rules for Stating in Alliance

So you’ve decided you want to take a go at writing monster cards? This can be a stressful endeavor. Too much in one direction, and you’ve killed all the people you intended to entertain. Too much in the other direction and the fight was largely a joke.

Here are a few simple rules.

Follow the 1 damage for 10 body rule

Generally a really easy want to create monster cards is with the 1/10 rule. For every one damage your monster swings, it should have 10 body (or armor if you’re willing to rep out npcs in heavy armor).  This seems to be a great easy rule to follow. Your baddies can last long enough  to hit a wall with a line of players and still get some damage in. The scale on these monsters body gets ahead of pcs body pretty quickly but, generally your npc ratio isn’t 1:1. So that extra body helps keep them entertaining players. read more