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What is LARPing?

Live Action Roleplaying, also called LARPing, is a hobby that has spread throughout the world in the last 20 years. As a participant in a Live Action Game, one takes on a persona or character, and interacts with other participants, both as players and staff (such as people who are playing monsters or other story personae). Settings can be past, present or even future. NERO World takes place in a Medieval-style world, where intrigue, action and strategy rule.

LARPing can be great exercise for the body and brain.
NERO World simulates combat with medieval "weapons" made with foam. Spells are represented by soft packets which are hand-thrown at an intended target. Groups often form teams to work together to overcome obstacles that any one individual could not otherwise overcome, promoting teamwork. All foam weapons are safety checked before use at any NERO World game to help ensure the safety of all participants. Somewhat like paintball or airsoft, storyline scenarios and goals are often a part of the game.

Interaction with staff and players creates an environment where players can exercise their creativity and problem solving skills. Sportsmanship is also extremely important in LARPing, as most games are self-regulating.
NERO World uses an honor system to maintain even adherence to the rules, though staff is always available for questions. Individuals and groups work together to overcome obstacles and mysteries, sometimes gaining wealth or fame within the context of the game. In the NERO world, players can become part of the storyline, unlike watching a movie or following plotlines of a computer game. 
  
NERO started in 1988 as the New England Roleplaying Organization, in Massachusetts. Over time, local chapters were founded across America, each using the same concepts and ideas, while at the same time representing a unique story location within the NERO game. Players at one game can also play in another with the same persona, retaining any skills or other rewards earned by playing elsewhere. We have set safety standards for our light-touch foam (boffer) combat, and rules that are used by all NERO groups in order to assure safety. Participants can act at their own personal comfort level and progress at their own speed. 
  
Please take a few minutes to review our site, see our pictures or ask for more information. We are happy to answer any questions you have!

What Do these words mean???

New Players are bound to come across words they aren't familiar with at LARP. Here are a few;

PC: "Player Character" Someone who is playing their own character at a LARP. Is there to be the hero or villain or whatever their quest!

NPC: "Non-Player Character" Someone who is playing a monster or plot character on behalf of the plot team. Often referred to as "crunchies".
GM: "Game Marshall/Master" The boss of the plot team, although there may be more than one. They supervise and run the LARP.
IG: "In Game" In character and/or exists in the game. Could refer to someone's backstory, an item/phys rep, or someone's roleplay style, etc.

OOG: "Out of Game" This might refer to an area, such as bathrooms, or something that is "out of character/does not exist in the game". If you see someone with a white headband on or their hand is on their head, they are signaling that they are Out of Game and are not there.

FOIG: "Find out in Game" This means that you need to be in character and at a game to find out something ;)

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Some Initial Tips:
 

  • Read the rulebook! You may not be able to cast high level spells, but you may be hit with them. By reading the rulebook prior to New Player Training, you will enable yourself to ask better questions.
     

  • If available, read the Player's Guide too. This will provide you with basic in-game information that everyone should know. It will also prove quite helpful in writing your character history. If your character is from far away, you can find the name of a city and the history of the area in the Player's Guide.
     

  • Don't assume everyone you meet in-game is your enemy, but don't trust everyone either. You have to look for adventure. If adventure just finds you, it may be a trap (although those can be fun, too)!
     

  • Join a team or guild or start your own, as there is safety in numbers (and it makes things more fun)!
     

  • Find a mentor. There are a number of high level players who would be willing to take on an apprentice.
     

Safety Rules:
 

  • The Hold rule is one of the most important rules in the game. When a Hold is called, the game stops completely. Holds are called for serious reasons: injuries, broken weapons that pose a safety hazard, lost glasses, major rules problems, et cetera - it is a way to stop all in game actions, when something happens that should be handled out of game. Do not call a Hold if you run out of spell packets! A Hold is called by yelling the word "hold" as loudly as you can. During a Hold you should stop moving, casting, fighting - any actions that you are taking in-game, and kneel, so that people can tell that there is a Hold from a distance. Do not talk in-game (particularly to revise your battle plan) during a hold: that is cheating! When the reason for the Hold has been resolved, either the person who called the Hold or a marshal in the area will call a "Lay On", signaling that the game may continue, by saying loudly, "Three...two...one...Lay On!".
     

  • NERO World uses a "hit point" system, where each player has a set amount of "hit points", which is the total of several things like body points, armor points, and spell protections. You fight until these points are gone (or your opponents' are!), then "die". As a result of this system, note that illegal targets are the head, neck, groin and hands. If you are hit on an illegal target with a weapon, you do not take damage (although you must take the effect of spell and poison packets). We are also a "lightest touch" combat system: when fighting, hit hard enough to make contact, without inflicting pain. 
     

  • Charging is also illegal. Charging occurs when you are chasing someone so closely that when they stop running, you will run them over. To avoid this, never "advance" unless your opponent retreats.
     

  • Body contact is not allowed in combat, meaning no headlocks, punches, shoving, et cetera. Anytime you touch another player (to touch cast, drag off, et cetera), you must have their permission.
     

  • Spell packets must be made with small, soft birdseed. Sunflower seeds, sand, rocks, and other hard objects are not legal filling for spell packets. Spell packets should be tied with string, tape, or elastic bands. They must be fairly loose so as to make them soft, you must be able to pinch the middle of the packet and touch your finger and thumb together. If you cannot, the packet is not legal. Never use wire twisty ties. If in doubt, just remember that people are often hit in the face with packets. Gas globes are made the same as spell packets, only they should be made with orange fabric (spell packets may be any color at all...other than orange). All spell packets and gas globes should be able to fit into a 35mm film canister - bigger than that is too big. A good rule of thumb is to use one measuring tablespoon per packet. This will make your packets uniform in weight and size.
     

  • Pages are players that are either too young to be in combat or have chosen to assume page status due to an injury or illness. You cannot involve them in combat in any way, shape, or form. They will wear an orange headband with the word "page" written on the front. If you wish to kill them, simply say, "I kill you one, I kill you two, I kill you three".
     

  • To be "out of game" on site during an event, you must have on a white headband. Putting your weapon on your head is done so that from a distance, people know you are out of game, but this is not an official NERO World rule. You may do this in addition to, but not instead of, wearing a white headband. A piece of string does not a headband make. Please do not abuse being out of game. You may go out of game to use the showers or bathroom, sleep, or eat. It is cheating to go out of game just to escape your enemies.
     

Role-playing Tips

Role-playing is an important part of the game, hence the name New England Role-playing Organization. The following are basic pointers.

 

  • Avoid out-of game terms and actions. For example, instead of using the word "module", use "adventure", or describe the task. "Would you like to help us rescue Duke Roderick?" sounds better than "We need some more people for this module." Avoid asking people about their character's "level" and "class": instead, ask their occupation. Low level players may say " I'm inexperienced." Higher level characters may claim to be the finest in their field. Attempt to stay in-game in your speech and actions as much as possible - it adds to the atmosphere of the game for everyone. If you must discuss out-of-game things with another player, do so quietly, and try not to do so in public, where other players will have to hear you and be forced to "break character" to interact with you. Better yet, go inside a cabin, out into the parking lot (or another out-of-game area), or go off-site altogether. It may sound harsh, but realize that when a NERO World event is running, the site is technically in-game 24 hours a day, for as many days as the event runs. The goal of the game is to create an all-encompassing other world, where you and everyone else may interact as your characters. Speaking or acting in an out-of-game manner on site, during an event, in front of other players, detracts from the game for everyone.
     

  • Never ask a player if s/he is an NPC (non-player character) or a PC (player-characters). If they are a human, treat them as you would any other human. If you are an NPC, this rule also applies, as there are a few PCs which may play "monster races," so try to ignore the presence or absence of NPC medallions, or who you saw hanging around in NPC Camp. Also, sometimes PCs will choose to do an "NPC Shift" for a few hours, to help out, so assuming someone is PCing or NPCing can be tricky. Better to react to everything In Game, according to how your character would react to anyone.
     

  • Only ask, "What do I see?", when you can clearly see a person, yet cannot tell what they are representing. For example, most Undead creatures are white or wear white masks/makeup, but usually Undead don't come out during the day. Therefore, if I were to see an NPC wearing a white mask in midday, I would probably ask "What do I see?", to find out what they were representing. At night, when you cannot see, ask "Who goes?", but realize that monsters will probably lie to you, since "Who goes?" is an in-game question. Do not ask "What do I see?" if you cannot clearly see the creature out-of-game: this is cheating!
     

  • Write a detailed, believable character history, and submit it to the Plot Committee of the campaign you are going to attend. For NERO Massachusetts, this means the Ravenholt Committee (Plot@neromass.com). Include where you are from, why you left home (if you did), your life history, likes, dislikes, fears, et cetera. Since you will be first level, you do not need to include a long history of being a war hero. A "regular guy" history is fine. After all, the really adventurous part of your life is just starting! Avoid being a cliche: the bastard son of a noble, an escaped slave, or a long lost twin. If you need help with your character history, ask during New Player Training, which will take place on-site before or during the event: others may have a similar question. Also, on occasion, the Plot Committee of the campaign may have some character histories available to give you (such as playing relatives, friends, and enemies of current characters).
     

  • If you are going to play a non-human race, you may want to speak with a New Player Adviser about how to do so.
     

  • Role-playing is possible even during combat! Say, for example, that you've been hit by a Lightning Bolt spell: not only does it do 8 points of damage, you get hit by a lightning bolt, so act as if you've been struck by lightning. When you take body damage act as if you can feel pain, when you die, die; don't just say "Okay, I'm down now." or "Okay, you got me." - fall down and die!
     

Costuming Tips:
 

  • Costumes need not cost a fortune. It is very easy to improvise medieval-style garb. If you already own armor of some sort, a black sweatsuit (or black sweatpants and a dark t-shirt) under full body armor works fine. Otherwise, just try to avoid items of clothing with out-of-game insignia or designs on them. An oversized, plain shirt (don't tuck it in!), dark sweatpants or leggings, and/or a skirt (for women, mostly) with a tabard thrown over everything and belted is perfectly acceptable. To make a tabard, take a rectangular piece of material, fold it the long way, and cut a hole for your head. Or join a team, and they'll give you one! If you must wear sneakers, wear solid black, but boots are advisable as your sneakers will get wet, and they look better, anyway.
     

  • If you plan on buying only one nice costume piece, buy a cloak. Some of our weekends get pretty cold, and since the cloak is worn outside, it is the most visible item of clothing. Wool cloaks are also good for when it rains, as they "wick" water away from you while keeping you warm - the game runs, rain or shine!
     

  • We have compiled a list of some costumers and armorers on our Resource Page, but many more exist. If you see someone wearing something you really like at an event, feel free to ask them where they got it (after game, of course)!
     

Miscellaneous Tips:
 

  • Packing: Pack lightly! The following is a list of necessary items, which will come in extremely handy at any NERO World event: bedding (and don't forget blankets, because even in the summer it gets cold at night), pillows, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, shampoo (sample sizes are best, as they take up less room) towel, extra TP, aspirin, insect repellent, a drinking mug, a container to carry water, "normal clothes" for going home and forays into the real world, lots of extra dry socks and underwear, spare shoes, garbage bags, duct tape, foam (for weapon repair, if you're a fighter type), birdseed and scraps of material (for spell packets/gas globes/arrows, if you're a spell/poisoner/archer), a small first aid kit, string, all in-game items, costumes, make-up, makeup remover, a mirror (if you play a makeup-intensive race. Not all campsite bathrooms will have mirrors), armor, and cabin decorations. Cabins will often have electricity, but do not bring items that will overload the circuits. Open flames, space heaters and electric blankets are forbidden.
     

  • Showers are usually available on-site: ask for directions if needed. Sometimes, a few cabins may have their own showers, but this will depend on the campsite.
     

  • Smoking is permitted only in the "smoker's guild", which will be clearly marked. This is an in-game town law, which must be obeyed, as well as an out-out-game requirement by the campsite. Please take care to throw your butts away in the buckets provided when finished. Do not leave cigarette butts on the ground or in fire pits.
     

  • Cabins must be clean at the end of an event. All personal items should be packed up and removed, trash should be collected and disposed of, cabins should be swept, and, if there are bathrooms in the cabins, sinks should be completely wiped down and cleaned of all makeup residue. Trash bags will be made available, and the location of the dumpster will be announced at Closing Ceremonies (if it is not immediately obvious). If your cabin is left dirty at the end of the event, you will be fined $10.00 and will not get your experience points for the event until the fine is paid. It is important that we all pitch in. When NERO World is renting a campsite, how you, the player, treat the campsite reflects on NERO World as a whole to the campsite administrators.
     

  • The game goes on all night. If you must sleep out-of-game for medical or personal reasons, you may sleep with a white headband on or, if the campsite has them, in an out-of-game room. However, if you sleep out-of-game, you must place your in-game items in an in-game location where they may be stolen during the night, or you may be "killed" (would-be assassins should leave a note telling the person to resurrect in the morning).