Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Propmaster goes to the Larp

Hiho friends;

I'm going to tell you a secret....Keep this between us.

I like Larps. I like them a lot.

Most sane decent honest salt-o'-the-earth type gamers look upon Larpers with disgust and horror for their deviant behavior and strange tendencies. If this ain't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is, but that's a rant for another time. Suffice it to say that I like the improvisational and acting end of things. It appeals to me.

To this end, I've been thinking lately about props use in Larps. It would seem to be a natural to me, but there are few things to keep in mind and a few special cases to be considered...So without further ado.


There are a couple of things to know about blood in Larps.

1) Check with your local Larping powers that be. Some gamers might be squeamish about the use of blood in the Larp and also do not care for the unwanted attentions of law enforcement or the neighbors. If it's cool ,go with it.
2) Most forms of fake blood stain clothing. Care should be taken with fake blood of any type because you will make a mortal enemy of the PLAYER of the Tremere Primogen if you ruin his suit.
3) If preparing liquid blood to be consumed, Find out if the players prefer Hawaiian Punch, Red cream Soda, or Cherry Kool-Aid. Be sensitive. Nothing ruins dark ritual like a coughing fit brought on by allergies
4) If you purchase a chalice of some type for use in Cthulhu Larp or Vampire lean towards glass. Certain metals are actively poisonous when you drink from them and you can make yourself sick. I think pewter is O.K,but copper or lead is not good.(somebody out there get me hip.) but I'm not sure. Some goblets are meant to be purely ornamental
5) Vampire Larpers who have thaumaturgy might be interested to know that there is a great prop for a principle focus of vitae infusion. It's called Abra Cabubble. It's like a Charms blow pop without the stick. They are made by Brach's and available in bulk in most large groceries. They are individually packaged and they taste great too.

Here's a useful Recipe for fake blood:

Go to your local grocery and look in the baking aisle. Find yourself a bottle of clear Caro Syrup. In the same aisle you'll probably find food coloring. Naturally you'll need red but also just a small touch of blue.Mix it up in bottle and shake well. Let stand until the color has worked it's way entirely into the syrup. Keep the top on and don't let this stuff dry out. Don't refrigerate it either.

Post-it notes

Quite possibly the most massively useful and flexible prop for use in a Larp is a largish pad of post it notes. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas:
1) I've used post it notes in a larp to indicate an area or door that has been warded with thaumaturgy. This is useful for keeping people away from areas where you don't want them to go. Also it's useful as a trap. (Such as a ward placed on a chair's underside)
2) Post-its can be used by the staff to indicate important props or conditions that must be searched for and found. (Such as a body or a bomb.) in such cases it might indicate a codeword that must be spoken to a GM to move the story along. (I.E. "Find storyteller X and say the word Croatan")
3) Post-its can be used to indicate conditions that enable further clues to be found. In one larp, I found an envelope that had a post-it on it that said "Open only if you possess auspex 2" Which, sadly, I did not.
4) Post-its are good for impromptu sign making if it becomes necessary. In most Con larps, at least one or two players rooms end up being used as chantries, or Giovanni command posts or what have you. It may advertise your position to your enemies but at least your allies will be able to find you as well.
5) A Malkavian could leave Post-its all over the place with messages like " You're getting warmer." or "I know your secret." or even just, "Boom!"
Sadly, Post-it notes don't stick to clothing or flesh all that well. Adhesive name badges could be used instead.

Business card stock

My advice to you is to lay in an amount of Business card stock for use in your printer. You can also create the graphics and text and pay other people to run of the cards (I think the going rate for 1000 cards is something like 12 bucks.)

1) Brian Pemberton came up with a fairly brilliant system for using cards for a number of things useful for larp play. (Boons, Resources,Props, etc...)
2) I think it would be mighty cool to be able to run off a business card for the character that you happen to be playing. It certainly makes an impression.
3) It's also a good idea to have a contact card of your own. Say you go to a Larp at a con and meet a lot of really cool people there. This would be a good way to kick them the various addresses and the URL of the fabu website that you do.

The Little Black Book

Get yourself a dayrunner...Er..I mean a nightrunner. This bad boy is just a good idea for most players,including those with somewhat frangible memory, like me. But it has numerous use in larp play:

1) Most come with calendar which enable you to keep track of when the larp is going to be.
2) Most also come with pockets or plastic sleeves which are made for holding business cards.
3) Make sure you keep track of your Prestation in there.
4) It's a good place to keep track of notes and such. I also like to make a list of question. I never like to pester the GM with less than 3 things to ask him. That way I'm not wasting his time nor do I have to go find him every 10 minutes.
5) Makes it easier to keep track of your sheet and writing implements. A lot less wear and tear.

Miscellaneous Props

1) I bought a large pink rubber ball about the size of a fist and wrote Vessel of Transference on one side of it. ( "Here catch!") I also carried around a set of tongs so that I could handle it without falling victim to it's effects. I irritated the shit out of my friend Justin by sneakily making off with his blood and bringing it back to my Tremere masters.
2) Stakes are very easily made. If you got an old broom or mop with a wooden handle or have access to wooden dowel stock you can make stakes with a simple hacksaw. The key is not to put a point on the stake (which would turn it into a weapon which is a no-no) Some butcher paper and twine turns a simple stake into a Splinter Servant. A touch of black paint on one end of a stake turns it into a Shaft of Belated Quiescence.
3) A good thaumaturgist kit should also include these items: rubber examination gloves (1,000 uses) Tweezers,and Chalk.
4) True Story: During a con larp one of the players,playing a Setite, brought in a attache case filled with ziploc baggies of confectioners sugar. It almost got us tossed out of the hotel. But I still thought it was a cool idea. Oregano might be a good substitute for grass.
5) True Story: Once for a larp I built a fake bomb. It was made with some foam core and newspaper which I'd painted red.Itt also had a small clock,some wiring.Somee grey clay.And a small cardboard box. I can't imagine the kind of trouble we might have gotten into if the cops has crashed that party but it was a really cool prop and I got a lot of compliments on it.
6) I bought an actual working mini tape recorder with a lapel mike. I haven't used it yet.But I can't wait....
7) I always carry a tarot deck..Because you just never know when it will come in handy.

Carrying the Gear

In closing I should say a few words about containers and such. If you're going to bring a lot of props to a game it behooves you to keep up with them. To this end, you'll want to have something to carry them all in. (Be aware of how much you'll have to carry.You might have to tote it all weekend, if you're at a con.)

For the well dressed Ventrue on the go, nothing accessorizes as completely as an Attache Case. Younger kindred might even consider a soft sided case or laptop bag.

Tzimisce and Tremere will want something like a doctor bag. While I haven't seen a lot of those. I did find a neat doctor-like bag made by Great Neck Tools for holding car tools. It's real sturdy and fairly light. and it only cost me about 17 bucks at Advance Auto Parts.

For other less affluent vampires, it might be imperative to get a gym bag or backpack. my advice is to shell out and get leather.(it's far more durable.)

Sono Finito.


Post a Comment

<< Home