5 LARP gear, tech, and tips every GM should know about

Game owners have an enormous challenge. They have to produce hours of entertainment on a shoestring budget. As the Larp hobby evolves, Larpers all over the world have also come to expect higher production values in their games. This presents some challenges for Game owners as they attempt to stretch their budgets as far as possible. Here’s some things that might make that a bit easier.

Note/disclaimer: You’ll notice that a lot of these are on amazon, that’s because LARP Box is an amazon affiliate. If you decide to purchase the item on the link we get a small percentage of the sale. Though just like everything we sell, we wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t something we would use ourselves.

 

1.Remote control LED candles

I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen these in more larps, especially “wizard school” larps. Your NPC can have a classroom filled with these and hide the remote in your pocket, wave their wand and “Lumos!” (or the fair-use equivalent). Add some real life magic to the game and impress players while they take a beat to figure out what just happened.

https://amzn.to/2RnpCJL

 

2. Burlap to hide out-of-game areas and objects

Hiding out of game areas and large objects can often be a challenge. Spending a little bit up front on hiding these can really do wonders for your site’s immersion. At about $2 a yard, Burlap is cheaper than most tarps, and has a better look than plastic.

It fits in the genre of both medieval and post-apoc larps and its matte color makes it blend into the background and is easily ignored. It can also be painted with spray paints to give it a camo or woodland look. It’s semi-transparent so it’s not a substitute for actual walls, but it does help players ignore things that would otherwise catch their eyes.


https://amzn.to/2BNyj6v

3. Flickering LED Bulbs

These things are AWESOME. I’ve seen them in a few larps housed in mock-lanterns and they are really impressive. There a bunch of sellers of these and I still need to do some research on who makes the best, but even the cheapest ones are still impressive. LED’s are really energy efficient and they last a long time. They also tend to be less delicate than traditional light bulbs.

 

https://amzn.to/2LHIeyR

There are also some cool lanterns that have a similar effect, though less light produced. I use them in my tent at Bicolline so that I don’t come home to a dark tent at night. I used them the whole week and never had to replace the batteries. They’re not tough enough to use as a mobile light (the ring on top is plastic) but it’s great to have a light source that’s not fire (you can leave it alone in your old canvas tent) and doesn’t require an outlet.

https://amzn.to/2LFDqu5

4. Custom Parchments for game props

Davy Jones’ Locker is a company I know from playing Bicolline in Canada, they make these awesome canvas parchments that are waterproof and nearly indestructible. If you have an in-game prop that needs to be handled a lot, used over and over, and last for months or years, consider investing in some of these. You could also get some prints that you use as item cards or other in-game loot.


They take custom orders and can print in color with lots of detail.
https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DavyJonesLockerShop

5. Rite in the Rain paper

If Davy Jone’s Locker prints are outside of your budget or you only need a printed item for a little while, you should absolutely be printing everything that goes outside on Rite in the Rain paper. I love this stuff, its waterproof and a little tougher than normal paper. You can still write on them with pencil, crayon and non-waterbased inks. AND BEST OF ALL you can print stuff on them on any normal laser printer.

Any prop I make that’s paper I print on this. They also have index card sized cardstock-paper which is great for item cards. If your game prints out character sheets, you should really consider changing over to this paper so a player’s sheet doesn’t melt half way through the game when it rains.

https://amzn.to/2VktudH

I hope some of these are helpful or at least give you some ideas! I’ll probably make a few more of these lists so if you have suggestions let me know.

Enclothed Cognition and the Importance of Costuming

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast called “Business Lunch with Roland Frasier” in which Roland interviewed a man named Todd Herman. Todd Herman is a consultant and life coach for athletes and business leaders and on this podcast he talked about a concept he had developed early in his career of having an “alter ego” to help him be more confident, articulate or perform better in a business environment. A technique he used to feel smarter and more articulate was to wear some non-prescription glasses, kind of a reverse Clark Kent. It might sound silly, but it worked. He was able to overcome some of his own insecurities about not being taken seriously in a business setting.

Later after helping a bunch of professional athletes he realized that he wasn’t alone. Many high performing individuals assume a persona when working or competing and it helps them reduce limiting behaviors and thoughts while also accentuate their traits they need. Todd goes on to talk about 2012 psychology study from Northwestern University by Hajo Adam and Adam D.Galinsky about a concept called “enclothed cognition” . I realized that when I was in college I had also heard about this study in one of my psychology classes (I majored in psychology, now I make larp stuff…anyway). Essential the study comprised of three randomly assigned groups of people, and each group was tasked with completing an attention puzzle, this puzzle:

click for full size

You’ve probably seen this puzzle pop up on social media at least once, and if you’re anything like me it kinda makes your brain hurt. Anyway, so one group in the study wore their regular clothes and completed the puzzle (control group), another group was given a white coat and told it was a painters coat, the third group was given the exact same coat and told it was a doctors coat. Remember, all the groups were randomly assigned, and the only difference between the two experimental groups was that they were told the coat was. The group that was told they were wearing a doctors coat showed a significant increase in their ability to solve the puzzle with less mistakes and in a shorter time.

So, wow, pretty cool right? Well if like me and you’re a psychology nerd and you make costumes for a living then it’s extra cool. It’s not much of a leap to think that when we wear our larp costumes we might not only pretend to think and act differently, but we actually do think differently. My costume definitely helps me get into character, and to stay in character. I think the idea is perfectly summed up by this comic by artist n00b Mama

 

click for full size

When we wear a costume, especially a good costume or one that we really feel is the character’s clothes we can more easily inhabit that character’s life.

So, what if we can harness this power of costume in our larp life, we might be able to harness it a bit in our professional life. Maybe there is a small piece of costuming from your favorite larp character that you can wear in your day-to-day life. A ring, bracelet, necklace or something that is small but significant to you. Adopt a characteristic you admire in your character as part of your real life self, who knows, maybe you’ll be a real life hero too! Unless your larp character is a psychopath, or an emotional wreak, maybe leave those traits in the larp.

For more info about Enclothed cognition, there’s a great video by Extra Credits on this topic as it relates to video games: