Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

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Nate
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Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Nate » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:11 am

So, you’re new to LARP? First off, welcome to Skullduggery, it’s a great system for new players, being a bit less intimidating and a lot more friendly than the bigger ‘Fest’ systems out there. It’s my first LARP, and it’s the one I won’t miss, come hell or high water (which occasionally happens, especially in October…)

There are a lot of questions that get asked on a regular basis, and whilst we’re always happy to answer, I keep forgetting to save my answers, resulting in a lot of extra typing when I could be spending time working… well browsing Wikipedia and refreshing this forum, mostly. So I’ll start from the top, and work my way down, in an arbitrary and rambling manner as is my style.

This guide is written with Skullduggery Classic in mind (as Wyldfire didn't exist when I wrote it first, and I'm too lazy to totally rewrite), however the advice applies to both Classic and Wyldfire, with the exception of the background/history. It also probably applies to any other LARP you might try, but I'd probably question why you're reading this one and not coming. Come to this one. Go on, it's good. Feel free however to ignore the background/groups bit if you intend to come to Wyldfire instead of Classic. I go to both, and you should too.

What do I need to start?

Firstly, you’ll need a costume. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend much; in fact I really wouldn’t recommend it. If you rip your £100 velvet lined real fur cloak you’ll be a bit upset, but if you wreck a blanket you bought for 2 quid down a charity shop, you’ll get over it a lot quicker. At the most basic, what you want for a first costume is plain dark trousers (not denim or logoed, but otherwise you should be fine), a plain long sleeved top, and a tabard, which is effectively a sheet with a hole in it as wide as your body, and long enough to go to your thighs front and back. Wrap a belt around your waist, and you’re good to go for your first LARP. Of course, if you want to do more, then fantastic, some people have come in with amazing first costumes, showing veteran LARPers to shame, and we love to see that (have you ever seen a grown man cry? It’s quite funny.) But it’s really not expected, and it’s much easier to get inspiration after seeing the different costumes that are around. In addition, I personally suggest a nice cloak, the simplest being a rectangle of material, about a metre wide, and long enough to reach mid-calf (1.5 metres is usually ok.) Some sort of brooch for a fastener (look in the counter in most charity shops, old lady brooches are great for this) and you have a piece of kit that can double as an extra blanket, and give you a dramatic swirl, which every LARPer needs to do once in a while, or constantly if you’re anything like me. One final thought; footwear. This should be your single most expensive piece of kit, as a good pair of shoes will save you a world of pain (memories of my first LARP in a pair of boots a size too small still brings tears to my eyes…) Boots are the be all and end all of LARP footwear, on a budget I’d say go to a surplus store. I personally buy expensive magnum boots because I love them so, but I’ve been told by more than one person that Belgian army boots are cheap and very comfy. If you really can’t get boots, then boot tops can be bought from LARP stockists to go over boots, but be warned that your trainers may not be in great shape after a LARP.

Costume aside, here is a short list of what I always recommend bringing. Some things you know you won’t need, but that should be reasonably obvious. This list applies for weekend events with camping, in italics will be stuff you should also bring for a oneday event.

Tent – Seriously, you’d be surprised at how many people forget…
Sleeping bag – I’ve forgotten one before, it wasn’t a pleasant weekend.
Blankets – It’s damn cold in february and october. Blankets are great as you can either have them over you for extra warmth, or under you to stop heat loss. I now use a carri-mat, which is a lot more comfortable, but it’s up to you.
Pillow – I use screwed up kit as this is one thing I NEVER remember to bring. But trust me, your neck will hate you if you forget.
Bottle opener – Nuff said.
Torch – Not to be used IC, but at 3am when you really need the loo after a crate of beer... yeah, you’ll want one of these.
More than one change of clothes – getting into wet clothes is about the worst experience of any LARP. Whilst you may have to do this if you only have one costume, at least you can be vaguely dry going home, or wear modern clothes under your costume for extra warmth.
Money/food – Foodwise, there are a few options. Some of the events are catered, but you need to book in advance with Caggles Catering (a post comes up a few weeks before the event, and also on the Skullduggery Facebook group, which you should definitely join). If you don't want catered, or catering isn't available, then make sure you bring either a little cooker/heater if you want to eat hot/sensible food, or failing that a diet of sausage rolls, pasties and such should keep you going. You may not feel very hungry, but you will regret not eating when you have an energy crash, so do make sure you have food. At a pinch, you can get your hands on hot water without bringing a fire as someone usually has some way of heating water around, but seriously, pick up a little gas stove, they're not expensive, and they're also great in power cuts.

What about my character?

This is always the most difficult question to get a good answer for. Plenty of people will tell you ‘oh, play whatever you want, LARP is totally free’. This is true, but some choices will lead to a bad game for you. Whilst playing the mysterious loner sounds cool on paper, in real life people don’t give you questioning looks or treat you with caution, they’re more likely to ignore you or take the piss out of your mask/hood/mysteriousness (I apologise in advance). I seriously recommend for a first character playing Average Joe, a young lad or lass out to see the world, talk to everybody and be everyone’s friend. You’ll find out a bit about the world, meet some like-minded characters, and generally have a much better time than sitting on the edge of the woods brooding. Remember, the dark and mysterious heroes of your books are universally miserable, which to me doesn’t seem like a good way to play, at least not for a first character.

Of course though, as I did, and every new player will do, you’ll ignore this. Your awesome character idea of a man whose parents died in front of him when he was just a child, who was adopted by wolves, and is driven by revenge against a nameless foe just needs to be played. So here’s some more general advice:

1. Unless you actually are a good swordsman, don’t say you’re a good swordsman. There are many experienced LARP fighters there, and that includes a lot of experienced and martially trained people too. The last person I know who called himself a mighty warrior survived about 2 hours on his first outing, and he got drowned in a river.
2. Every player in the game has a backstory. Some people love hearing about it, and will ask, so by all means tell them. But the hard fact is most people don’t really care about what you did, they care about what you do. Don’t win a fight against 20 people five years ago; win a fight against 20 in front of them today. The best back stories are ones that are got ingame, by surviving a few years. For example, stories are told about a man who was a noble lord of Afacia, who was a staunch supporter of the Lord Regent. When the Regent went missing he was forced to follow a pirate who had taken the throne. He was stripped of his title after a botched mission that he was blamed for, but regained it by betraying the pirate (necessary to preserve the timeline) in the past by selling Afacia out to the Degan. The Degan king then reinstated the Lord, returning the lands of his father to him. This all happened in game, and the character is Marius Dilandau. He’s still a goit though.
3. Don’t get too attached to your character. There are tricks and knacks to staying alive, but they take time to learn. I suggest going out there, getting your arse handed to you, and creating a new character if the healers don’t reach you in time. Your second character will be all the better for it.
4. Try not to feel self-conscious. As stupid as you feel on your first game, there will be a dozen guys who look significantly more stupid than you. If you feel REALLY silly, come hang with me for a bit, and trust me, you won’t feel nearly as stupid after you see how over the top I get.

That’s the basics of your character, what about groups? There are a lot of groups and factions in game, all of which will want to recruit you. Instead of reiterating what’s been said, here’s the links to the faction info pages:

The Afacians - http://forum.skullduggerylarp.co.uk/vie ... 68&start=0
The Malkon - http://forum.skullduggerylarp.co.uk/vie ... 60&start=0 (only read the first few posts unless you have a lot of free time…)

PLEASE NOTE: Most of this information was written before we destroyed the world (I blame Rob. Seriously, all his fault.) This is what WAS, not what IS, but as a refugee from the old world, this is what you know from the past. This thread has a document that will help however http://forum.skullduggerylarp.co.uk/vie ... 18&t=12366. Yes, I wrote that too. I have too much time on my hands. I also haven't got funnier with time. Sorry.

Ahem. Other ‘outcast’ groups such as the Nosque, the Beastkin Pack and the Fae Court also exist, but most fall within one of these two factions. With groups, you’re better off asking a member on the boards about them, as they often have a detailed history of which some isn’t common knowledge.
Other than factions you have the guilds, which are well worth joining if only to make some more friends. Generally, they charge a few silver every weekend event, and you get a bonus relevant to the guild for joining. In brief:

Armourers' Guild – Smiths and artisans. Can repair armour as a guild member, and get an extra hit point to any armour they wear.
Mages' Guild – Mage crafting and ritual magic. Can regain spell rips and you need their approval for any ritual you do.
Alchemists' Guild – Potions and poisons. Do what the tin says really, you want a potion or a poison go see these guys.
Healers' Guild – the medics and surgeons. Also make healing potions, can take healing skills regardless of what path they’re on, and usually get preferential healing on the battlefield.

All four guilds have a rank system, which if you want to make the more potent gear in the game you’ll need to rise in. This is done in character, so the more you contribute the more you’ll get in return. If you’re strapped for that silver, consider joining a group or faction, and they may give you the money to benefit the group with your skills.

How to Survive your First Weekend

No, I don’t mean your character. I feel that if your character has survived his first game, you’re either really lucky or you haven’t been playing your first game properly (ie stupidly and having a lot of fun).
1. Talk to everyone OOC after time out. Really, this is the one thing I advise above everything. We all are nice people, and you’ll have a much better game if you get to know us properly. Bring a few beers to share, and you’ll be everyone’s best mate. This is doubly important if you’re playing an evil or loner character (which isn’t a good first character for this reason). If people only know your character, they’ll assume that your personality is like your character. This isn’t that far from the truth anyway, but there are very good roleplayers who can play absolutely horrible people but are thoroughly nice. If you’re like this, make sure people realise this, or you won’t get on very well with people.
2. Talk to everyone IC if it suits your character. If it doesn’t, make a character that it does suit. You’re coming into a rich fantasy world with oodles of history and background. You don’t need to know it, but it’ll make the game a lot more fun. On the flipside, don’t try and learn it all at once. Pick up a little bit here and there. I reckon it takes 2 years of games before you can be considered knowledgeable about the world, and even then there’s always new stuff that you won’t know to find out. I still discover things about the world, and I’ve been doing this for 6 years now.
3. BRING ANOTHER CHANGE OF CLOTHES! Seriously. Do this.
4. Eat. Really, I forgot to at my first ever game (bar a single scotch egg) and regretted it the Monday after. You might not have an appetite, but your body needs food. It’ll also soak up some of that alcohol you’ll no doubt consume (if you’re over 18 of course). With drink though, unless you’re prepared to spend a night in the open, be sensible. Most of us will be sober enough to get to our own tents, but probably not to get you to yours.
5. Making mistakes with the rules is fine, it’s expected and even veteran players do it (us old gits have seen several rules changes and remembering which ones are in play is a strain…) But don’t just ignore a call you don’t understand, or worse yell out really loudly ‘WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?’. It breaks the immersion for other people, and they won’t like it. The best thing to do is to just fall over and lie on the ground for a bit, then when it’s quiet go and grab a ref and ask what the call meant. No one will think you’re cheating if you do this, in fact they’ll probably be amused as you’ve massively overreacted to that fumble spell.
6. You’ll hear this phrase at every game: Pull your blows and count your hits! These are the two things that get you told off over more or less anything else. The weapons may be foam covered, but if you don’t take care of them they can hurt a bit if you’re not careful. You’ll also shorten the lifespan of your weapon by compressing the foam too much. And not counting your hits is cheating; enough said on that one I think.
7. Last, but most importantly, IT’S JUST A GAME! If you die, if someone steals your stuff, if someone laughs at your character, it doesn’t matter. Gen a new character; steal it back when they’re not looking, laugh at their face (only if they’re wearing makeup/prosthetics, otherwise you’re just being nasty). Don’t get upset, it’s not meant personally. You at some point, probably in your first year of games, will have the lamest death ever. It will be because someone cheated, or because the monster didn’t hear your spell call, or because they used a really broken unfair skill on you. It’s happened to the best of us, and in my case the worst of us. Gen a new character, and keep going.
Nathan Hoyle - Event Organiser and Coordinator

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admin (at) skullduggerylarp.co.uk

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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Dan L » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:15 pm

Finally posted this... Apologies Nate!
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Dan T » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:48 pm

Perfect newbie guide, mate. Good job. :)
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Rob2 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:19 am

Nicely Done Nate
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But Iron, Cold Iron, Master of them All

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Nate
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Nate » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:10 am

That was confusing... I don't remember posting that, especially not on my birthday :D
Nathan Hoyle - Event Organiser and Coordinator

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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Dan L » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:52 am

Yeah, didn't want to post it under my name, so I used my mod-fu to hijack a now deleted post of yours.
2008-2013. I burned the world and broke player characters.

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Nate
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Nate » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:59 am

I posted at 4am on my birthday? Must've been one helluva post...
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by David of Shea » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:34 pm

couldn't of said it better myself, well done. Maybe we can get it stickied?
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Chris M » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:40 pm

Fyhl ((Nathan)) wrote: 1. Unless you actually are a good swordsman, don’t say you’re a good swordsman. There are many experienced LARP fighters there, and that includes a lot of experienced and martially trained people too. The last person I know who called himself a mighty warrior survived about 2 hours on his first outing, and he got drowned in a river.

Ah, it is nice to leave a legacy...

Awesome guide man.
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Dan L » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:46 pm

Dave, has been since initial posting.
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Patches » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:03 am

Fyhl ((Nathan)) wrote: 3. Don’t get too attached to your character. There are tricks and knacks to staying alive, but they take time to learn. I suggest going out there, getting your ears handed to you, and creating a new character if the healers don’t reach you in time. Your second character will be all the better for it.
the best trick too surviving is being a coward and never getting involved in a fair fight :P
great guide man, well done :D
Kids Plot DM/NPC

SKULLY IC (564) : Grom Pathtredder (Dormar) KIA
Maelstrom: Kael Eldon (Black Eagles - Freiboden) - KIA
Lorien Trust: Hawthorn (Harts - Ranger of Cornwall) MIA
Aftermath: Bloodnok (wandering off in tunnels) MIA

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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by robin » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:33 pm

PhantomPhilyG wrote:the best trick too surviving is being a coward and never getting involved in a fair fight :P
not entirely.. it is perfectly possible to run away from one danger and run straight into a different one round the corner
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Chris M » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:35 pm

robin wrote:
PhantomPhilyG wrote:the best trick too surviving is being a coward and never getting involved in a fair fight :P
not entirely.. it is perfectly possible to run away from one danger and run straight into a different one round the corner

Pah, not if you're an experienced coward. ;)
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by robin » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:40 pm

Chris M wrote:
robin wrote:
PhantomPhilyG wrote:the best trick too surviving is being a coward and never getting involved in a fair fight :P
not entirely.. it is perfectly possible to run away from one danger and run straight into a different one round the corner

Pah, not if you're an experienced coward. ;)
I remember quite clearly.. running away from a bear and ended up with a golem in front of me (meaning that I was now pincered :cry: )
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Re: Nathan Hoyle's Newbie Guide To Skully

Post by Dan T » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:28 pm

Chris M wrote:
robin wrote:
PhantomPhilyG wrote:the best trick too surviving is being a coward and never getting involved in a fair fight :P
not entirely.. it is perfectly possible to run away from one danger and run straight into a different one round the corner

Pah, not if you're an experienced coward. ;)
Yeah but at least he's never been killed for 'moving funny'. :P
((OOC: Dan T))

aka - Chase Edhel'er, son of Kano (the best dad ever), trainiee Paladin of that tree god.

aka C-Tez from Pike That

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