FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ALLIANCE LARP
Combat | Costs | Costumes | Joining | Location | Magic | Plot | Races | Rule Book | Skills
What is LARPING all about?
According to the Boston Globe, Live Action Role Playing (LARP) "blends elements of the legend of Robin Hood, classical fantasy fiction such as Lord of the Rings, improvisational theatre, the epic of King Arthur, tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, a Renaissance fair and maybe a little psychodrama." It's all of these and more.
Alliance LARP is trying to recreate the Days of Legend as we would like them to be and not how they actually were. We were originally formed in 1989, changed our name from NERO Alliance to Alliance LARP in 2007, and since we are the oldest and one of the largest live action fantasy medieval game in the Americas, we must be doing something right!
What do others think about the game?
We have received very good comments from the media and has yet to receive a bad review. Our new players often write to us as well and let us know what they thought of their first game.
What happens on a weekend event?
When you come to one of our weekend events, you will come to our campsite that we have decorated to be a fantasy medieval town. Most chapters will assign you a bed in a cabin, but some use tents. The game will begin Friday night. From that point on until the game ends on Sunday afternoon (Monday afternoon on long weekends) there is no stopping; not for dinner, not for sleeping, not for anything short of an emergency. Adventuring will be going on around you at all times, and sometimes something as simple as traveling from your cabin to the tavern can be a matter of life and (game) death. A typical weekend event will have you in the thick of things in no time!
Does Alliance LARP only do weekend events?
No! We also run faires, which are like weekend events but there is no sleepover. You can also attend just one day of these events. It's much easier on those with hectic schedules. Some campaigns also do set-alone "modules."
What is a module?
A "module" has a definite objective and entry point. You and a few of your friends will have several encounters along the way to your goal that will be necessary for you to complete in order to achieve your quest. It sounds simple explained in those terms, but when you are in the middle of a dungeon, with shadowy shapes moving towards you and strange sounds echoing down the halls, and you are trying to remember what that fellow in the tavern said a half hour ago about how to get through this infernal door, your perspective on the difficulty of the situation may change.
Where are the events held?
There are Alliance chapters all over the country, so there should always be a place for you to play! The Ashbury events, run by the Alliance Headquarters, are held at our sister company Faire Play's new permanent site in the Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. This site is 42 acres of rolling hills, picturesque streams, and beautiful woods. A large barn has been renovated into a tavern and module area, and more cabins are being built.
When do you hold these events?
With chapters all over the US, there is something happening just about every weekend! Your calendar will be full!
What is the plot like?
The plot is continuous and ever-changing, due partly to imaginative players! It is open ended and runs from event to event, so if a plot thread isn't resolved by the end of the event, it will be picked up at the start of the next one.
Don't worry if you are at a loss of ideas; there are always fearsome monsters lurking just outside of town, and plenty of political intrigue within. There are mysteries to solve, battles to plan, friends to make, and enemies to break.
Remember that we are a role-playing game. Although there are battles, we are not a war game. Plots are intricate and logical. The "bad guys" have real personalities and are not merely cartoonish cliched villains. Expect to have your morals and perceptions challenged by our plots.
Most importantly, your character will be an active participant in every plot action! What your character does and says can affect the outcome of the game tremendously. Take our advice and you will definitely be in the thick of things. Do not expect to just sit back and watch what happens!
To get a good idea of what the plots are like, check out some of the in-game newsletters here on line, which show what has happened at previous events. Since the Ashbury campaign has been active since 1993, there is a lot there.
Are there sword fights?
Lots of them! Using approved padded weapons (made of PVC pipe and foam pipe insulation covered with duct tape or cloth), you will test your swashbuckling skills against the mightiest in the Kingdom. Each type of weapon is assigned a number based on the amount of damage that weapon would do if it were real. In addition, each player can buy skills to increase this number. You will have a certain number of "hit points" based on your skills and the type of armor worn. As you attack, you will call out that amount. As you are struck, you subtract the amount by which you have been hit. When you reach zero, you are unconscious, and you'd better hope there is someone nearby with a healing spell!
How safe is the game?
It is very safe. No one has ever been seriously injured using our padded swords. The worst injuries we have ever had were caused by people running into trees and tripping over stumps in the dark. Our insurance company has commented that we have had less injuries than a little league softball team.
Is there Magic?
You bet! Merlin himself would be proud. We represent magical spells with small beanbags or "packets" filled with birdseed. To cast a spell, you say a short phrase (such as "I call forth a Flame Bolt!") and throw the packet at your target. If you say the words correctly and hit your target, the spell works. If you miss with either, the spell fails. You are limited in how many spells you can cast each day, so use them wisely! When you are more advanced, you can learn "formal magic" spells and create magical weapons and perform other amazing feats!
How do you decide what skills my character can have?
We don't -- you do! You "buy" your own skills with Experience Points that you earn at an event. These skills allow you to improve your character's abilities. Because each player picks skills based on his or her own desires, no two characters are alike. Skills include magical spellcasting, alchemy, magical potion and scroll creation, armorsmithing, trap disarming, and many weapon skills.
How do I earn Experience Points?
You are automatically given a basic number of "XP" for each event based on your current skill level and the length of the event. Unlike other similar games, we do not believe that experience should only be given out for beating up monsters. We think that the bard in the tavern contributes just as much (if not more) to the game than the "stick jocks" and therefore we reward all players equally.
How good need my costume be?
The better your costume, the more respect you will get in-game and the more fun you will have. We do not allow t-shirts, white tennis shoes, shorts, baseball caps, and other modern clothing. Dark colored sweat suits are a good start, covered by a tabard or armor. To get an idea of some of the costumes worn by our players, check out the photo gallery.
How do I write a character history?
Part of the fun of the game is creating a history for your character which will help you to play your character appropriately when confronted with game situations. You cannot start off the game as nobility or with great wealth or magic items (or anything else that would place your character above other starting characters), but other than that, you are fairly free to create your own personality. Be sure to get a Rule Book first, and read the chapter on creating a character history so that you don't write one that would be rejected.
Can I be an elf?
Our fantasy world is mainly filled with humans, but there are many types of elves, dwarves, high orcs, hoblings, barbarians, gypsies, and other unusual and interesting races to play, each with their own special abilities. You can see many of these races while browsing our photo gallery.
Can I be a monster?
Nonplayer characters (NPCs) such as monsters are controlled by a "Monster Master." If you wish to play a monster on a weekend, you do not have to pay to attend (although you do have to be a current member for insurance reasons). In exchange, you must do what the Monster Master tells you and play the parts he or she needs you to play. Brand new players are encouraged to "NPC" their first event, as it is a great way to try many different styles of combat, learn the rules quickly, have mentoring and training, and get a good feel for what kind of character you would eventually like to play.
What about religion?
Although religion played a large role in actual medieval life, we do not wish to offend anyone's beliefs. There is no religion in an Alliance game. There are no fantasy gods or demons, and players are not allowed to create their own.
How do you do traps?
Traps are usually electronic in nature. You will have to open the box (or door or whatever) slowly and check for threads or wires or other methods of releasing the trap. If you are able to cut a string, remove a battery clip, or otherwise prevent the trap from buzzing, ringing, or making a noise, you have disarmed it. It is imperative that you have some tools!
How do you pick a lock?
With your tools! We use simple locks on our doors and boxes and with the proper tools and picks (available from certain shifty individuals in the game), you should with practice be able to become adept at getting past those pesky locks. Note that if you haven't bought the proper skill with your Experience Points, then you are not even allowed to try.
What's in the Rule Book and Player's Guide?
The Rule Book lists all the rules and spells you will need for playing the game as well as lots of graphs, charts, photos, advice sections and more to make your game a fulfilling one. It is fairly certain that all of your questions are answered in this comprehensive book. We cannot overemphasize how important it is to spend the extra few bucks to have read this book prior to playing if you want to get the most out of the game.
Each campaign has its own Player's Guide has large sections describing the fantasy world in which your character will live. You will learn about the cultures of the various races and countries, how a medieval society works, and what the monsters are like. There are maps and charts, hints and clues, and the whole thing is full of illustrations. Some campaigns even provide this material for free on their web sites.
How much does all this cost?
Membership in the Ashbury campaign is $30 a year. A three month trial period is available for $10. Most of the other chapters have similar fees.
A typical weekend costs $60 in advance and $70 at the door, and a faire (a one day event) is $20. Not every chapter has these prices; it depends on the costs of the site we are renting.
The Rule Book is $20 for the paperback edition and around $6 for a downloadable version.
Is there an age limit?
Yes; you must be at least 16 to play in most chapters. Some require you to be 18. If you are under 16, you may attend only if your parent or guardian (not an older sibling!) is also present and playing. These underage players are called "pages" and are limited in what they can do (no combat). The Rule Book has more information on pages (see, we told you the Rule Book would answer all of your questions!)
Can I transfer in my character from other LARPs?
No. We believe it is important to our players, who have worked very hard to get where they are, to know that someone from another separate game which may have completely different progression rates and standards can't just come in.
Can I start a chapter in my area?
Sure. But be forewarned -- we are picky! We want you to run the absolute best game you possibly can, and we don't just give chapters to anyone who has start-up money (unlike some games out there). Click here for more information!
How do I join?
First, figure out which chapter you wish to join, and their web page will have information about joining that chapter. To join the Headquarter's "Ashbury" campaign, go to Joining and print out the legal release. Send it in along with your membership money. (You can use your credit card too if you wish.) Once you join, you will receive our monthly newsletter which will keep you informed of all our activities as well as keep you up to date on the plot.
What if I have other questions?
Visit our Message Board, where you can post your questions in the "New Player" section. Players from all over will be more than happy to help you there!