Live roleplay and the Lorien Trust
Created | Updated Jan 21, 2003
Information about Live Role-Playing (LRP), character generation and events.
If you've got this far chances are you know what role-playing is. There's a very useful entry here A134795 about roleplaying in general If you have heard of or played any of the "table top" role-playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons, Rune Quest or Earthdawn), you're over the worst of it. If not let me briefly explain, LRP is like writing your own part in a play. You make up a part (a character) within a given background and get together with other people doing the same thing. You decide who/what you want to be, make some costume, find, make or buy some props and join the increasing number of LRPers who spend their weekends away at local, national and international events!
What is an LRP event?
Events are where groups of characters get together with their imagination and some background information (the world they live in, the places they come from, the people they might represent) and have fun living in an imaginary world! For some it's the world of Vampires or Cthulu, others Tolkien or Dragonlance. The Dragon Faction is one faction on the fantasy world of Edrejya run by the Lorien Trust. Events can be political, social or military and differ in size. Unlike historical re-enactment, we only use mock up weapons that are heavy enough to fight with but only imitate real weapons. The smallest events may have 50 characters and 50 monsters to the largest which may involve several thousand people.
At many events you may have the chance to "monster" rather then "Play" - and this is usually free or very cheap (events can range from about £20 for a weekend to £50 for a 4 or 5 day event). At events the players form natural units who come together under Factions and they may encounter all sorts of creatures. They may be at war with another faction or their lands may be overrun by an invading army or monsters e.g. Vampires, Trolls, Wild Fey, Orcs or Goblins. At each event people are needed to dress up in costume (masks and some kit is usually supplied) to play the "other" side. These "monsters" aren't always evil, are certainly not always stupid and add real excitement to any event. Coupled with the fact that it is often fun to relax and just ambush your friends on the other side, monstering can be a good introduction to events and give you an idea of what is involved and how it all works.
What is a character and how do I make one up?
OK so you're interested! Characters are taken from event to event and take on a life of their own. In this case I work within the framework of rules used by the Lorien Trust (one of the organisations who run and sanction events throughout the UK Lorient Trust website). To generate a character for this system you have 17 points to allocate to skills. You must initially decide what race your character is (e.g. Human, Elf, Drow, Orc, Fey - the list is endless! ) and whether you intend to play a combat or non combat character - there are plenty of both! What skills your character has depends on what sort of thing you want to be. Each skill is worth a number of points and you choose skills until you have used up all 17.
For example, I played a Mermaid Healer character. She spent a lot of time crewing and captaining boats in Dragon waters. She took One Handed Weapon (1 pts), Light Armour (2pts), Literacy (1pts), Shield Use (2pts), 9 points worth of Healing, Numeracy (free), Small Weapons (free) and a Lore skill, Make and Read Maps... She was combat character who has worked for the Chancellor of Erin.
A more specialist fighter character might take Body development (6 points) which means they are tougher, or heavier armour which means it takes more to "kill" them. Anyone interested in playing a magic user has a variety of combinations available. If you want to play a Cleric character you would take some level of Incantation, a Mage would take some measure of Spellcasting. You could decide that you want to be a Ritualist and take Ritual Magic alongside either Incantation or Spellcasting. There is a detailed breakdown of the rules and skills in the Lorien Trust Handbook and it can be found here
So who are the Dragons?
The Dragons are a Faction (equivalent to a Nation) in the gameworld of Edrejya. There are others - Harts, Wolves, Vipers, Lions, Bears, Gryphons, Unicorns, Jackals and Tarantulas. These Factions make up the nations of the Heartlands (which have great similarities with Europe) and like the nations of the real world each has a very different culture. Although it varies slightly it would be fair to say that the setting is late Dark Ages - Early Medieval. However in Edreyja things are never that simple! Some characters seem to revel in the distant past and a few have arrived from the future!
The Dragon Faction is a Celtic Nation set in the Dark Ages. Dragons live in the lands of Erin and Cymrija. If you've read any Celtic Mythology (the Mabinogi or any of the Irish cycles), are interested in the Celts, or like Bernard Cornwell or Katharine Kerr then this may be a good place to start. You don't have to come from the culture, we even had a Roman or two to argue with! But if you'd enjoy the environment - join the Dragons!
The other Factions all have their own approximate identities but you're not restricted in choosing which Faction to join. The Vipers are known for their "Greenskins" - they're not all green but this is where you'll find the Goblins, Orcs, Ogres and Trolls. They are based in Teutonia.
At the other extreme you have the Harts. They are a very medieval and courtly faction (very English!) Known for tea drinking and cake eating, they are ruled by Queen Elspeth and her consort. They replaced The Lions as rulers of Albion , the Lions travelling through the mists to the magical realms of Avalon. Arthurian legend abounds both there, within the Lions, and in the Harts.
The Unicorns are a trading nation, they are the merchants, the privateers and (often rumoured ) the pirates. The Gryphons inhabit the realm of Estragales to the South and are home to the Elven Alliance.
Our wilder cousins live to the North. The Bears are a kilt wearing nation (think Highlander!), known for hunting the Haggis over the mountains of Caledonia! They are ruled by a tripartite of Queens and are rumoured to be a most hospitable Faction! Over the Northern seas are the Wolves, known for fearsome army and feats of drinking. Their Viking Lands cover Norsca and Orkneyja.
The Jackals are a new faction, who are based in Aegyptus.
Finally there are the Tarantulas. This is where you will find a lot of Drow (think Forgotten Realms) and their lands lie beneath the surface in the Underdark. The extent of their realm is unknown. They are led by a council of Matron Mothers.
So what happens at an event? And what do I need?
This varies depending on the size of an event but there are common factors so I shall try and cover most of them. LRP events are on the whole held outside either on private lands or on campsites hired for the weekend. So yes you guessed it, the majority of events need you to own or share a tent! Winter events are often held in youth hostels or scout camps. Aside from a tent I would say that the next most important things are: a decent sleeping bag and a decent pair of comfortable, waterproof boots! There is nothing more miserable than being cold and wet!
The weather is unpredictable in the UK and even the hottest of summer days can turn into the coldest of nights. A variety of clothing and costume is a good idea. You don't need to worry about spending a lot of money on, or making a vast amount of, costume but a variety of plain clothes to layer under a cloak or tabard means you'll be warm when you need to be. A basic costume could be a cowl and a cloak. Avoid any modern clothing with distinctive logos and slogans. Often valued more highly than any other piece of kit is a decent belt. Swords, tankards and pouches can all hang from them and they often prove a necessity.
If you're not sure whether you'll enjoy LRP stick to something improvised from your wardrobe or something quickly and cheaply made and work on improving your costume later. At many events there are traders who sell weapons and all sorts of other "kit" (costume, props etc) and this can give you ideas.
As far as weapons are concerned, I would attempt to borrow a safe sword from friends. These weapons and mock-ups can be made with a carbon fibre core, surrounded by padding, shaped and then either covered in gaffer tape or painted with many layers of coloured latex. All weapons must meet certain safety standards and are checked at each event to ensure that the safety of all involved is as high as possible. You don't have to fight in the battles - many do enjoy it - but no one will think the worst of you if you are apprehensive!
So you've booked a place and arrive at an event...
First thing to realise is that at the majority of events the day is divided into time in and time out. This is time "In Character" (IC) and time "Out of character" (OOC). Even when events are billed as 24 hr time in, there is often a time when the fighting stops so that people can get some rest. At any point in the day (unless you're up to your neck in plot!) you can go back to your tent and relax. Most people find that they are so interested and involved in what is happening that they don't spend much time in their tents, but its reassuring to know you can take some time out and rest.
On a similar note - anyone who has a medical condition that may affect them e.g. asthma or diabetes must register this when booking a place so that arrangements can be made and staff are aware of any potential difficulties. There are always first aiders on site and if you are in any form of distress approach any member of staff, referees or other players. People come first and the LRP community is generally very helpful.
These vary from site to site and event to event. The bare minimum is running water and toilet facilities. Other sites have showers available, although it seems to be down to potluck as to whether you get hot water throughout your shower! The sites are usually chosen so that there are areas of shelter if the weather turns really bad and often fire pits are provided. There are to be no other fires but camping cooking equipment is fine as long as it used safely. Many events have some catering facilities so that hot drinks and some hot food as available for sale. It is always best to be sure you have plenty of food with you. Some sites are near supermarkets and people often go off site for a pre 'Time In' hot breakfast.
So you set up your tent, get into costume and join other players in the communal IC areas...
The scenario for an event is often given in a description of the event. Within the Faction there is an IC Command Group of players, usually those most experienced and with a considerable character history who OOC often take responsibility for Faction level plot, liasing with the Lorien Trust and event staffing. At each event you will have referees to follow groups of players through plot and see that people are playing by the rules and that certain events happen. There are referees for both Players and Monsters. They are also there to maximise the safety of all involved.
What happens next depends on what is plotted for an event and how the Players react to it! Expect to be awake at strange hours, there are often opportunities for those interested to be involved into the early hours of the morning. A typical Time in is 10.00am or midday.At the end of an event, 'Time Out' will be declared and you can then relax and pack up your kit, tent and say goodbye to friends and leave the site in a decent state. Often we have to be off site by a certain time.
What about fighting and spell-casting?
Each character has a certain number of hits per location, if during combat they are hit on that location they reduce the number of hits that location has until it goes to zero when that location becomes useless. Obviously depending on the location this is more or less crippling. Most wounds can be healed by an IC Healer but if you're in a bad way in the head/chest region and don't get healed within ten minutes, your character dies. If this happens - you can go to the refs. and roll up a new character there and then. There are some weapons that do different types of damage and have different effects, when someone has a special weapon they will have to call out something every time they use it e.g. "silver" or "blunt" or "enchanted". You'll get the hang of these calls, certain things affect certain beings and there is some guidance available in the Players Guide or the Dragons Combat Guide.
Spells are done with vocals and gestures. You get a certain number of spells per day and at most events you are issued with spell cards which you must rip up every time you use a spell. You cannot carry spells over to the next day, each dawn you are assumed to have fresh power for that day. Healers use different numbers of spell cards depending on the type of injury they are healing. Again see the Players Handbook for a full description.
Refs. are particularly helpful in these areas !
There are a number of "calls" that are yelled out during combat situations and the most important of these is "Man Down" this is a call for OOC aid when someone is in distress or has been inadvertently injured. Anyone in genuine distress can call out and everyone takes this seriously. If you ever hear this then cease fighting and let people through to help whoever is involved. Common sense really! Another call is "Time Freeze" and this is to allow something to happen, sometimes it is necessary to yell "Time Out" (often happens with a "Man Down" call). If this happens "Time In" will be called when everyone is ready.
This is only a summary and there are a lot of links to other resources on the Internet from the Resources section of my website here . Please feel free to get in touch with questions, queries or suggestions
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