I have had some interesting experiences over the years creating unusual games for camp. This is the latest - the LARPing rules for our new game "By the Lion's Mane", set in fictional Narnia. Read - Enjoy - Get Excited.
BY THE LION’S MANE
Rules (modified 5/17/2017)
First and foremost By the Lion’s Mane is an event of LARPing fun designed specifically to escape the everyday rigors of modern life. It is aimed primarily at role playing, Christian faith building, and team spirit and we have deliberately kept the combat system basic and easy to use for everyone. It is a youth friendly LARP System.
By the Lion’s Mane is a Live Action Role-Playing, Live Role Playing ( LARP/LRP) game set in the fantasy world of Narnia.
The priority for Sound View Camp is to give everybody the opportunity to fully participate in a LARP event and interact with others as part of a team. By the Lion’s Mane events are ideal for both veteran live action role players and for those that are new to the concept. They also provide friends of current role-players the chance to see what LARP is all about and become as little or greatly involved as they wish.
Everything has been simplified to allow young people to turn up and commence play with minimal preparation.
Each event is designed as a stand-alone adventure that has its own aims and objectives, but is also an integral part of an ongoing history with a Christian focus, where characters actions will have an impact on future events. Therefore it does not matter whether you have been to a By the Lion’s Mane LARP event before everybody is just as important, no one player has an advantage over another and everybody will be able to contribute to the event.
By the Lion’s Mane uses a live combat system. This means that all participants agree to being hit by and hitting others with live role-playing weapons that have passed a safety check by Sound View Camp staff.
The character is the focus of By the Lion’s Mane and generally has a personality that is separate from your own (although this is not essential). This personality can either be developed before play or during events, allowing Narnia to shape your character.
To start the ball rolling, the first thing you should consider is what name you are going to give your character. This can be something from your favourite fantasy book or from a movie or entirely made up. Do not worry too much about this if it is your first ever LARP event, you can always change it once you have seen how our weekends work and have a better idea about how to play your character.
Every live role playing character should have a personal background or history. This is not essential for your first LARP event or even your second or future events. As you come to more of our live role playing weekends you will begin to develop your character and a history and background will emerge. It is easier to not have a background and create it as you go along than to try and start with one that doesn't quite fit and then have to change it if you decide you aren't happy with how it is progressing.
When you are happy with how you want the characters past to be revealed the starting point for this process is often to invent a background for the character, which can be anything from a few lines of personal history or a detailed brief. The types of things normally included in a background are your relationship to other group members as well as what your character's aims and objectives are (although clearly these may change).
The next step of character generation is to choose the live role playing race that you wish your character to be part of. There are two generic races within Narnia which your character should form a part of; Human (Son of Adam/Daughter of Eve), or Talking Beast.
Human - No explanation should be required to play a human. If in doubt we will of course explain!
Talking Beast - Choose an animal of your liking.
The talking beasts have certain LARP physical representations (requirements, which players should observe for authenticity). This includes the application of make-up to change skin color or applying certain prosthetics (e.g. ears, tails, horns). What method you use to act as a phys-rep for your character is up to you, but you should produce something to clearly identify what race your character is – if in doubt, play a human!
The costume is another identifying feature of your character, which helps you to stand out and should be appropriate for the character that you are playing. Obtaining a good LARPing costume may appear daunting for newcomers but need not be. A basic under costume (brown or black trousers and a shirt (with no buttons), with sturdy footwear, a plain belt and gloves) is a good start and can be further supplemented by other attire.
The addition of suitable props for your character will also help set the scene, but are not essential. Props are used to act as a visual aid to role-playing and are substituted for real objects that are either dangerous or expensive to use (i.e. swords, money, fake jewellery, tankards or fantasy LARP objects like wands or banners, that have no real world equivalent).
There is no benefit to wearing armour within the By the Lion’s Mane system. However it may be worn as part of your LARPing costume or to enhance it, but armour made of metal or other hard materials should not have any protruding burrs or snags that could cause injury or damage to other player’s or their boffer weapons.
Every character within the By the Lion’s Mane game has sworn allegiance to Narnia. There are no traitors among true Narnians.
Each player picks a Character Class for their first event, or for a new character, their character gets the skills associated with that class
After your first event, or the first event with a new character, you gain your first additional skill, which can be selected from the list of character skills. After your second event, or second event with a new character, you get your second additional skill, and then finally after your 3rd event or 3rd event with your new character, you get your third additional skill.
This means that each character can end up with 5 skills in total
The final thing to decide is your character class. There are a number of different LARPing classes available that define what your character can do on an event
Each player picks a Character Class for their first event or the first event with a new character, and their character gets the skills associated with that class
After your first event, you gain your first additional skill, which can be selected from the lists of character skills. After your second event you get your second additional skill, and then finally after your 3rd event, you get your third additional skill.
This means that each character can end up with 5 skills in total
Knight of Queen Susan
Bow, One Handed Weapon
Knight of Queen Lucy
First Aid, One-handed weapon
Knight of King Edmund
Two-weapon fighting, One-Handed weapon
Knight of King Peter
Shield use, One-Handed weapon
LARP General Skill Descriptions
Allows a character to be able to use any bow. (Max 30 pound pull) For younger players, this will be a thrown boffer ball.
Allows a character to be able to use a one handed weapon.
Size to be between 12” – 42” only (from tip to pommel).
Allows a character to use a one-handed weapon in each hand.
Allows a character to be able to use a shield.
Size to be no larger than shoulder width and neck to groin of wielder.
LARP Medicinal Skill Descriptions
Allows a character to be able to apply healing to themselves and others, and to determine how injured they are.
Allows the character to remove the effects of a standard poison, or to delay the onset of the effects of unique poisons.
Suitable role playing should be used to treat Poisoned wounds, and if in any doubt about which type of poison, then treat them as unique poisons
Allows the character to remove the effects of a standard magic spell, or to delay the onset of the effects of unique diseases.
IN AND OUT OF CHARACTER
Due to the nature of By the Lion’s Mane LARP it is designed that you will always be in character. The only occasions that Time Out or Man Down (explained below) will be called is for safety reasons.
Stop role-playing when you hear this call. This call is used when the Referee needs to suspend role-playing for a period of time (normally for safety reasons). You should remain in your current position but may talk out of character with people nearby. You may resume role-playing when Time In is called by a staff member.
Stop role-playing immediately when you hear this call. This call can be used by anyone and is used to indicate that a real injury has occurred (although this is a rare occurrence). You may resume role-playing when Time In has been called by a staff member.
Stop role-playing immediately when you hear this call. Stop moving and stand still with your eyes closed. You may be asked to hum whilst doing this. You may resume role-playing when Time In has been called by a staff member.
Resume role-playing when you hear this call. This call is used by a staff member to start or restart the game after it has been stopped for any reason.
AURA OF SERENITY
We have an in Game Term called the Aura of Serenity
This stops all living creatures from dealing damage in certain areas of the site.
The Dining Hall and about 3m around it.
This is so that people can dine, and use the faciltites in peace, and so that peoples own property doesn't get damaged.
One thing we would say, is that should enemies be waiting outside an area of serenity, then please go out and fight them, don't encourage them / entice them into the Aura area. And do not use the Aura of Serenity to nip in & out of during a combat.
At each By the Lion’s Mane LARP event there will be a number of staff who will act as Referees throughout the LARPing event. These Referees will be made known to you at the start of the event, but will always be in character and not wear any distinctive clothing. The Referees are there to ensure that the rules are being followed and to act as an arbitrator, if required, for certain actions. The staff who run the dining hall are also available to help with most problems whether LARP related or otherwise so please ask.
NON PLAYER LARP CHARACTERS
We use a dedicated NPC team during each event. These change, depending on the nature of the event and the age group it is targeted toward. Sometimes, players will be asked, for a time, to take on NPC roles.
By the Lion’s Mane is based on the world of Narnia in the books written by C.S. Lewis. In Narnia, Jesus Christ was known as Aslan and appeared usually in the form of a Lion. By the Lion’s Mane is a Christian LARP where the message of the game is of great importance.
The By the Lion’s Mane LARP combat system is a simple locational hit system. All characters when LARPing have the same number of locations; 5 - body, both arms and both legs. The head is normally not a viable location for LARP combat and has no effect on the character when struck; this is to discourage head hits. The only time when the head is a viable location is when a character uses a shield in combat; for these purposes the head will have one hit. Therefore, you should only use a shield if you are prepared to be hit on the head, if you would prefer not to be hit on the head, then do not use a shield. Shield users are advised to wear an in character LARP helmet. However, players should still try and avoid head hits where there is a viable alternative target.
Each time that you are struck you lose your one hit and that location stops working; multiple hits on a location do no further damage. You should role-play the fact that the struck location no longer works (i.e. do not use the struck limb, or hop on the non damaged leg or leave the damaged arm dangling by your side). If both legs are struck you are unable to do anything other than seek healing of some kind. This also applies if your body or head (Shield users) is struck.
When fighting in live role playing, there should be at least a full second between each blow/strike with the weapon, regardless of how many LARP weapons you are using. There should be no “drum rolling” or swift strikes with weapons and each blow should be aimed at a different location. The By the Lion’s Mane LARP system encourages good role-playing whilst fighting and effective parrying and striking. There will always be the opportunity to practice weapon fighting and different styles upon each By the Lion’s Mane event – this is completed both in and out of character.
Everyone attending a By the Lion’s Mane LARP event should know how to fight in a safe manner, and we will demonstrate this at a player briefing, held at each event. In combat you must pull all your blows so that they land with negligible force. Thrusting with weapons is not permitted.
Fighting should only be conducted within the in character areas and is not to take place around any of out-of-play areas. Any character that has fallen over in combat should be given the chance to crawl out of the way of the melee (if they wish)..
Our fighting system is a trust based system; We trust all of our players to own up to the hits they have received, and role play their effects suitably.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING
If a character has an issue or problem with another characters fighting style then they should make one of the By the Lion’s Mane staff aware and they will deal with the problem. The staff are there to ensure that all combat is as safe as possible and will, if necessary, arrange for extra training in fighting styles. If your character is approached by a staff member to discuss your fighting style, please adhere to their instructions.
Types of Weapons
There are different types of weapons available for use when LARPing within the By the Lion’s Mane system as described in the Skills paragraph of the Character Section. If you do not possess the skill to use a certain type of weapon, then you should not carry or use one. Daggers may be used in combat however these count as a single handed weapon and should have a minimum length of 12" / 300mm from tip to pommel.
Safety is the single most important aspect of LARP combat. Every weapon, shield or projectile (bolt or arrow no throwing weapons!) that you bring onto the site must be checked by a staff member. Any item that is judged to be unsafe cannot be used and you must not carry the item for the duration of the event. In general, items will be checked for serviceability, the integrity of its core, to ensure that there are no hard or unsafe edges and that they are of the correct length and have sufficient foam/protection so as not to cause injury to other players.
Any non boffer or real items that are normally held in a characters hand during combat, such as wands, lanterns, bags or banners should be dropped or discarded when LARP fighting occurs; preferably to the side of any fighting area, out of the way and not used to parry with.
The following items are not considered LARP/LRP safe and cannot be used whilst LARPing at By the Lion’s Mane events.
Real weapons, including camping knives and re-enactment weapons.
Javelins and wrist-mounted hand crossbows.
Flexible weapons such as flails and whips.
No fireworks or pyrotechnics of any sort may be brought onto the site
Any Thrusting weapons
There are certain styles of fighting that are not permitted at By the Lion’s Mane LARPing events. These techniques include shield bashing/charging or striking someone with the pommel/hilt of a weapon. Grappling and other types of physical contact are also not permitted.
It should also be noted that the striking of flying arrows with weapons is dangerous, and it can cause them to spin in the air, and someone could get struck with the nock. Please do not do it.
If you do not wish to be involved in combat then you can be a non-combatant.
Non combatants should not be attacked or struck by any person.
To identify yourself as a non combatant you must wear a white sash at all times – the bigger the better. You will need to provide your own white sash.
If it is dark or if you think that for any reason nearby combatants will be unable to see your sash then you should call out “non combatant” and move away from any fighting immediately.
Non Combatants should make every effort not to put themselves into areas of fighting.
Please note that non combatants cannot carry any treasure, items of trade or any other in character valuables.
HEALTH IN BY THE LION’S MANE
Each LARP character has only one hit per location (5 hits in total – body, both arms and legs – head only for those who use shields). When LARPing, if a weapon strikes a location it ceases to work and cannot be used until it is healed. It is not possible to remove/sever locations or to take multiple hits to one location – once a location ceases to work it can take no further damage. Players with damaged locations should not use them.
If a player is struck upon the body (or the head if applicable), they must retire from combat immediately, and find a suitable place to lie down, as YOU CANNOT BIND YOUR OWN WOUNDS WHEN INJURED IN THE HEAD AND BODY.
Only Knights of Queen Lucy or players who have taken the first aid skill are able to use bandages and therefore bind a character’s wound; this includes being able to bind their own wounds. It takes one minute to bind either your own or another characters wound; once bound, the location can be used again as normal. In order to bind a wound, a bandage must be placed upon the damaged location and you must role-play staunching the wound for one minute. Individuals who play a LARP Healer character are advised to carry a sufficient quantity of bandages in order to bind wounds; bandages can be re-used. To bind wounds you must have both hands free and cannot perform any other action whilst using this skill or whilst having this skill used on you by another character. If you are interrupted before you have spent one minute binding a characters wound, you must start again once the interruption has gone. Bandages may be removed from a characters location fifteen minutes after they have been applied. It is advisable for all characters when LARPing to carry their own bandages in case healers have run out, this way you can still be healed.
Characters with the First Aid skill are also able to Discern Nature of Wounds - where they spend 10 seconds checking over an injured person, and then they can ascertain where they are wounded. They can then apply their bandages to the suitable location.
MORTAL WOUNDS IN NARNIA
There are no such things as wounds that will instantly kill a character. However if every location is struck before any location has been bandaged then the character is considered to have a mortal wound. Mortal wounds cannot be cured by the use of bandages;
A mortally wounded character can only be healed by Queen’ Lucy’s Cordial which is kept at the dining hall. The character has 15 minutes to walk slowly, with their entire group, to receive the cure.
A MORTALLY WOUNDED CHARACTER MAY ONLY WALK IF AIDED, AND MAY ONLY SPEAK QUIETLY
DEATH IN NARNIA
It is possible for a character to die in Narnia. If you receive a mortal wound and you cannot receive the appropriate Healing within 15 minutes then you are dead. Death is a part of any live action role playing event and the fear of this happening is one of the main things that LARPing so much fun.
Enemies (NPCs) who arise in Narnia may have skills in magic as well as the other weapons that they possess. Enemies are also wounded differently and will often take several blows to be vanquished. Be wary of all enemies introduced in the game.
If the monster shouts 'paralysis' when they strike you, in addition to being injured on the location that you were struck you must remain totally stationary for 60 seconds (once the 60 seconds are over no further ill effects are suffered – other than the wound)
If the monster shouts 'fear' when they strike you, in addition to being injured on the location that you were struck you must flee the sight of the monster for 60 seconds (once the 60 seconds are over no further ill effects are suffered – other than the wound)
If the monster shouts 'Mortal' when they strike you, then you must consider yourself mortally wounded. Iif you do not receive the Cordial of Queen Lucy in 15 minutes, the character will die.
If the monster strikes your weapon, and shouts 'disarm', you must drop your weapon to the floor. Once your weapon has hit the floor, you may attempt to pick it up again.