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Monday, May 27, 2013

Gear Up: Larp Edition

Ok, Yaz has Airsoft, Animal's got Nerf (partly because i've been concentrating on getting my kit together more than how to carry it), So, i'll take LARP.  Now, for those of you who aren't In The Know, LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Playing.  White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theater, is an example, though I personally prefer Live Combat variants (it's more satisfying to hit someone with a padded stick than to play rock, paper, scissors with them).  Hmm, all this explaining makes me think we need to add a Glossary Page. Anyway, on with the article. We have some ground to cover, since unlike Yaz and Animal, i have to cover different genre's as well, though you can reference them for modern to near future stuff.  Also, this is all written from the point of view of being done in South Texas with all the heat and humidity that entails. Your milage and environment may vary.  Also, all images used in this article belong to someone else and are used without permission, and their use here is in no way intended to indicate ownership. I just sourced them from google.

First, Garb. Don't call it a costume. Garb comes with a personality and a backstory, it changes who you are, not just how you look. Now, in fantasy, Lady's, please, no chainmail bikinis or busty breast plates. I'm male, and i will freely admit that the scenery can be wonderful, lets get real. There are a few things wrong with these, historically and mechanically, but we'll cover the obvious. Distraction. Anyone with the figure to pull this off and the self confidence to wear them out in semi public will be a distraction to everyone, male and female. This can be a Bad Thing (tm). Distracted people make mistakes, and this is a "sport" that requires awareness of your movements and actions more than most. You're supposed to pull your swings, for one thing. And tripping over a root is only slightly less embarrassing than tripping over a fallen comrade.

Second, the realities of weather. We have eccentric weather at the best of times, and I've seen it rain on a clear sky, and as such I'm reminded of a quote from A-ko.. "Ain't it cold in that?". Better to look to the male characters in that inspirational artwork, or some of the few artists who do realistic female dress. And, dress to the weather. It can be 104 in the shade here with 80% humidity. Don't do wool. This aint the Renfair, there are no points for being THAT realistic, and there are NONE for having a heat stroke. Wear clothes that move and breath well, and take getting wet well. Even if you're not sweating like crazy, dumping a bottle of water over your head and soaking your clothes down will cool you off, and keep you cool for a while. Wear underwear that will help prevent chafing, and bring several extra pairs of socks. When things get cool, you can always add more layers, or swap light materials for heavier, or even wear long johns or the like.

Same basic stuff goes for Sci-Fi and Steampunk, though they come with their own problems. If you can afford real leather for stuff, do so, because it breathes better than fake leather. If you MUST use fake leather, insert cloth panels in unobtrusive places, such as on the sides under the arms. This is a radiant point and will help keep you cool. For hard armor, I recommend affixing it to some sort of sports wear, or rigging it to at least be worn over same. Something made with CoolWick type fabric is highly recommended. If you can, i also recommend some sort of fan, in a helmet or mask if it's large enough. Run a small computer fan off a battery pack. The moving air will help keep you cool and alert.

Make arrangements for water carriage on your person. Don't count on easy access to the public supply. Stuff happens, and usually to the unprepared. Whether it be a camelbak  bottle holster, thermos, or some other esoteric method, keep water on you. And not just for yourself. If someone else has a heat stroke or some other accident, you may be the nearest source of water.

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