How to Make Weapons: Sword

July 15, 2013 1 comment

Here we are going to have a gallery tutorial on how to make swords!

Rule #1: Cardio

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment

(Today’s article has been written by Mark, one of Exile’s NPCs and an avid runner.)zombieland_rule1_cardio

Hi, I’m Mark and I am a Runner. Yes there was a capital “R” for Runner. I can finish a ten mile race in 70 minutes and have done marathon distance twice now. The first time was an accident, the second time intentional and now I am training to do that distance as an official race. What does this have to do with LARPing? A lot! Boffer LARPs are very physical and being in good cardio fitness is key to success. Countless times I have been chasing a player (I’m almost always an NPC) and I have had to stop and let them catch their breath to prevent a real life medical issue. Stereotype aside, many LARPers are not in the greatest of physical health. Improving your cardio will not only make you a better LARPer, but improve your health in real life.

First lets talk some basic running terms. When you run, how fast you go is determined by your stride length and stride rate. The stride length is the distance one foot travels before setting down again, for average adult male runners it is about 28 inches. Next is stride rate, this is how many strides you do per minute or mile (usually mile, though metric users can use kilometers if you want). Then there is sprinting, this is running at your top speed. While sprinting is very good for training (and for burning fat), it is not good when LARPing and should be avoided (more on that later). Interval training is alternating between fast running and slow running/walking (or even complete rest). Interval training is key to improving cardiovascular fitness. Now that I have covered some basic terms let’s apply them to LARPing.

Sprinting is bad at LARPs: it is a safety issue. Sprinters have longer stride length, which means your legs are kicking out more. Most LARP sites are not the most stable ground, this means larger chance of tripping over something. When chasing another person you want to match speeds before attacking, and if you are sprinting you won’t be able to match speeds and stand a good chance of crashing into them. Finally, sprinting wears you out very quickly, you have maybe 60 seconds of top speed, then you are out of breath and combat probably isn’t over.

Key to almost any sort of running training is know your one mile and 5k (about 3.2 miles) times. If you are a beginner you may need to work up to a 5k, there are plenty of resources available to get you there 

Interval training is my favorite training for LARP. There are many different ways to do it, the simplest involve run fast for a set time or distance and then rest for one to two minutes.  I personally like run a quarter mile for 90 seconds, rest 90 seconds then repeat 9 more times. This is taking my best one mile time (6 minutes) and trying to maintain it for about two and a half miles by taking breaks in between.

I will end this post with a cheat for you all. They say the only good running training is running, but using an elliptical can help a fair amount and put less stress on your joints. You can either try for a good half an hour workout, or something shorter and mix in some interval training. Do not use a treadmill, they put excess stress on your joints.

Good luck and good running.

Categories: General


February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

zombieSome games require that you NPC, some games do not.  No matter where you are, though, there is no excuse for not putting your heart and soul into NPCing.

People will occasionally complain about mandatory NPC shifts.  But even if you don’t like it, you have to think: what about all the people who NPC for me?

When it is your turn to PC, you want the people being your monsters and villains to be entertaining and awesome, don’t you?

Well, they aren’t getting paid.  They, like you, came to the game to enjoy themselves and have a good time.  If you want them to be awesome, energetic NPCs, you have to return the favor.

No matter how much you don’t want to NPC (sometimes, I would rather shoot myself in the foot than play a cookie-cutter monster), you have to remember that the effort you put into it HAS the be equal to or better than what you want to receive!

It is all in the way you look at things.  Sure, there is not much to interact with if you are a mindless creature, but ham it up!  Have a good time making people stare at you in horror as you creep out from under their bed.  Wait until they have made eye contact and slowly drool fake blood.  Sneak up behind them and screech like a creature just let free from hell.  Really get into your parts, and you will find that your NPC shift goes by quickly, and that you had a lot of fun, too.  Then you get to smile later when people come up to you and thank you for making them wet their pants!

I will play a brainless flesh monster with as much gusto as I play a crazy fairy or a badass necromancer.  I HATE being a cookie cutter, but since cookie cutters are a necessary part of the game, I will not be a half-assed cookie cutter.  I will be the most terrifying brainless nightmare beast you have ever SEEN.

And I can only hope that the favor is returned when it is my turn to PC, and someone else’s’ turn to take their turn at being a creepy shadow monster.

Categories: NPC Advice

Let’s Talk About Gear!

January 3, 2013 1 comment

bagI would like to take a minute to talk about your gear at an event!

Everyone has a set of in-game gear that they carry on them as they run around the woods, but what about the out of game gear!?

Well, what about it?

Let me tell you, my out of game gear has always come in handy.  I try to carry a number of things that would make (usually out of game issues) disappear.

Some of the more obvious ones include:

  • A Pen
  • A Lighter
  • A Knife
  • A Time Piece

These things are self explanatory.  But I will explain them anyway, just because.  You always need to write things in a LARP, and it is annoying to need a pen and no one has one.  Lighters are great for candles, cigarettes and fires, should you want to light a fire pit.  Knives are great for costume or prop malfunctions, or if you just need to cut paper or sticks.  And everyone always wants to know what time it is.  You will be the coolest kid in school if you know!

Some of the less obvious:

  • The most important thing on any list.

    The most important thing on any list.

    Needle and Thread

  • Small tube of Hand sanitizer
  • Some extra paper
  • Spool of strong string
  • Swath of scrap fabric in color with your costume
  • A pack of cigarettes (even if you don’t smoke)
  • Small flashlight
  • Roll of black Duct tape

Some of these seem kind of extraneous, and in the case of the duct tape, maybe a little bulky.  However, almost everyone I have seen in games carries a bag of some sort, and a half used roll should not be too heavy.

So, to explain:

Needle and Thread

Believe it or not, this has come up at least five times in my last two events!  Which is kind of crazy.  Wardrobe malfunctions can be a trouble, and being able to fix them immediately is nice.  I got to repair someone’s armor mid-battle (there was a small clarify, since someone lost their glasses).  If you keep the needle stored in the thread and keep the whole thing in a small pouch of your bag, it will be light and out of the way.

Small tube of Hand sanitizer

LARPing is so dirty.  How many times do you wash your hands?  Now, how many times do you put food in your mouth?  Think about that for a second.  Or if there is an injury and you get blood on you?  Usually, though, I use it for camps that don’t have running water near their out-houses, or in the winter when camps turn off their water.

Some extra paper

This can be in the form of a few folded sheets, or a little note-book/journal that your character keeps.  If you ever need to take notes, or write down a name or a clue, this is your man.

Spool of strong string

You want this to be thicker than thread.  Preferably something that you can use to tie things up in trees, or tie prisoners together, or tie extra gear to yourself (finding extra swords, or whatever) or setting in-game traps… Whatever.  A small spool of it should do!

Swath of scrap fabric in color with your costume

If you keep a swath of fabric on your person, you can use it for EVERYTHING.  I like to keep a black one with me.  It works for headbands, hand-cuffs, fake bandages, blindfolds, quick costume patches, actual slings (had someone wrench a shoulder once), wraps for sprains (I sprain my ankles every ten seconds), and even just a cloth to tie around a bunch of little gear that you need to carry.

A pack of cigarettes (even if you don’t smoke)

If you smoke, you probably already have this one.  I try to carry one with me because

A: all my friends smoke, and they get cranky when we have down-time and they want one

B: Some times, other people want a cigarette, and if you have them: TAA-DAA!  Now you have made a friend!  We LARP to make friends and have fun, so… That helps.

C: Maybe someone has something in-game that you want.  Maybe you can’t pay them with in-game coin.  And maybe they smoke… Just saying.

Small flashlight

People always lose their glasses at night.  Seriously: it is the ONLY time people lose their glasses.  However, that aside, while most people want to keep the game pure, and only use fire or special colored lights for the game-world, real-world emergencies need good light, and having it on you is always useful.

Roll of black Duct tape

This is great for fixing weapons, obviously, but also for injuries (splints, slings, sprain-support, even just big cuts, if you put some cloth under them.)  I go for black, because having a silver fix on a black weapon looks tacky, but a black fix on a silver weapon can be made to look pretty cool, pretty quickly.  Again, it is also pretty good for IMMEDIATE costume fixes.  (Ripped pants? Ducttape!)

All of these things can fit in a fairly small bag.  You can even work them into your costume.  My caster kept them all in a bag, but I have an engineer in a Steampunk game that wears them individually on a belt, cause it works for the character!

In case you forgot which was most important…


Really, Duce tape can wipe out the need for needle and thread, and cloth.  But I like to have options!

And… I mean… If you really try, you can make it work a LOT of things.  We are LARPers after all:

Duct tape fixes everything.

Categories: Costuming

Treasure Chests: God’s Gifts To Downtime

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I have had to work with as few as 4 NPCs for an entire event before.  Because of this, I have had to adapt my events and behavior to be able to make those NPCs streach.  I want to write a series of articles about entertaining a LOT of PCs with VERY FEW NPCs.  So, without further ado, here is the first of my “Doing a lot with a little” articles.

Treasure Chests

I have to say, I LOVE putting treasure chests out for players to find in my game.  First thing on Saturday Morning, I send out the first NPC awake to set out treasure chests throughout the camp.

These are SO USEFUL to game-flow, and to breaking up the monotony of down-time.  If your players know that there are treasure chests out in the camp, they will be more likely to move away from your inn (tavern, main hang-out area, whatever) and adventure.  It also makes your players more able to entertain themselves, but still feel like they are interacting with the game world.

Get Them Out of Town

Often I hear complaints about PCs, and how they just congregate and don’t go out and look for adventure.  This shackles a GM, because you can’t really put out random encounter monsters, because there are no PCs to encounter!  If the PCs just hang out in town, you have two options for mod structure: attack town, or hook a mod.  You can’t just have players run into bandits, thieves, kidnappers or Jehovah’s Witnesses in the middle of the forest, because no one goes out to wander.

This is where treasure chests and randomly growing components come in handy.  If your players know that they will be rewarded when they leave town, then they are more likely to go wandering.

And because players are greedy, they will be more likely to go out in small groups, so that they don’t have to share treasure.  These groups are great to kidnap or just attack.

Make Them Entertain Themselves

You can get players out of town, and have them entertain themselves with this Easter Egg hunt.  It gives them something to do so that they are not bored!

You can also make the chests varying levels of difficulty.  Some can be trapped, some can be locked, and some can be enchanted.  You can make it so that it is a suspenseful crap-shoot when they open a chest!

Absolutely make use of the GM’s best friend in this case: Dominate.  Have one chest shoot out poison darts that drive the target mad with rage.  Now, now only are the players out in the woods on their own steam, but they are in the middle of a fight for their lives against one of their allies.

This keeps them entertained with ZERO NPC involvement.


I have seen games with really intricate ceremony components, a large portion of which were tagged flowers.  They used fake flowers with tags attached, and would put the flowers all over the camp first thing in the morning.  This was amazing to interact with, because you could go for a walk and come back with a bouquet of flowers that gave you power and earned you gold.

If your game cannot afford the fake flowers, or your staff does not have the time to attach tags to all of them, treasure chests are your friend.  You just put your item tags (printed ones are common) into the chests and hide them about the game.

Remember: you don’t want to make them too difficult to find for two reasons:

1: It is disappointing for players if they can’t find them.

2: You have to go find them at the end of the event.

If you don’t have the money to buy wooden treasure chests, I have a few tips about how to make really budget treasure chests. Sometimes when you look at your budget, seeing your expensive treasure boxes get destroyed by rain is disheartening.  Thus: look into alternate ways to make them that cost little to no money.

Having budget treasure chests is good, because they can get destroyed by weather and not set you back too much money.

And, as my last suggestion: give your players a place where they can drop off your treasure chests.  Make it REALLY easy for them, or else you will never see your boxes again!

Budget Treasure Chests

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I love seeing treasure chests in game.  Whether they are hidden out in the camp, or just sitting around someone’s in-game area, I love to see them.

Sadly, getting pretty, finished treasure chests can be expensive.  So, I have a few suggestions for making some on a budget.

Pre-Made Boxes

You can get un-stained boxes from stores like AC Moore or Michaels.  I LOVE these, because they are durable, and look really pretty.  If you get one of these (5-10 dollars a piece) and stain them yourself, you can get a lovely effect without breaking the bank.

If you are a GM, and are going to hide these chests in game, remember to not only stain the outside, but to get the bottom of the box, and the entirety of the inside.  You may want to also put a water-proof lacquer finish, so that your chests will hold up to the elements.

Cardboard Boxes

If you don’t have the money to spend, or if you are a GM, and are concerned about weather destroying your props (or players not returning your props), then you can use shoe boxes.

Or, really, any boxes.  Cardboard boxes from clothes, electronics, or really anything that comes in a box can be incredibly useful as treasure chests.  Especially the shoe boxes with the hinged lids.

In this case, simply take the shoe-box and some textured spray paint from Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, or any craft store.  Coat the entire outside of the box, and then the inside, in a layer of appropriately colored spray-paint.  Then you can take silver or gold paint and daub on dots where rivets might be, or paint the corners of the box in a metallic shade to make it appear as though there are metal edges.

These will look in-game enough that they will add to your game world, and are cheap enough that a light rain will not set you back 50 bucks.

Cigar Boxes

I like cigar boxes, but I don’t smoke.  However, every now and again, players come to game with cigar boxes as treasure boxes, and they always look amazing.

With these, obviously you have logos to worry about.  Sometimes they are ornate enough that they can add to the game feel of the box.  If not, sand them off and re-stain the box.  You can also paint over them with acrylic paint, spray them down with textured spray paint, or, if you are really pressed for time, glue parchment paper or tin-foil over it.

If you want to get a few of these, check out your local cigar store, and see if they will let you take away some of their empty cigar boxes from their display cigars.  It never hurts to ask!



There are plenty of ways to make little treasure boxes without having to spend a lot of money.  What other ways have you made treasure chests in your LARPing (or crafting) career?

Injuries and Gameplay

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Hey guys!  Sorry that we went a few days without posting! We just had an event this weekend over at Exile.  The event went well, but we had an injury during our main mod.

I chose this picture because the kitten’s expression is surprisingly close to our injured player’s.

The person in question is ok, but it made me think of how injuries are often handled at LARPs.  Thus, I would like to make a few recommendations.  (Note: this article is meant to discuss things like sprains, minor fractures, impact injuries, and the like.  If you have some sort of horrific injury, follow the first two suggestions, but use your judgment with the third.)

First of, and obviously, for big injuries, a Hold should be called.  Everyone knows this, and I have never seen a LARP ignore this one.

Next: if you are not qualified to assist: move.  My players did this amazingly well, with only two people crouched down next to the injured player. In the past I have seen a game’s medics called over only to find a crowd around the player, making it difficult to get close and assess the injury.  Usually people get out of the way, but you should not be there in the first place if you are unqualified.  One person can hang with the injured person to comfort them until help arrives: five people is unnecessary.

(It is also a little embarrassing, at least for me.  I feel weird with everyone paying attention to me because I am hurt.)

Finally: resume gameplay.  Stopping the entire game for an injury (barring life threatening injuries) is unnecessary, embarrassing, and sometimes annoying.

Unnecessary because it does not take an entire game to be sure that one person gets the medical attention that they need.  As soon as the medics get the injured party off of the field, you should feel free to resume gameplay.  It shouldn’t take ALL of your GMs to handle someone with an injury.  In fact, having ALL of your GMs there will only mess things up!  Too many people trying to assist or make decisions will only make medical assistance take longer.  One GM and one medic (or one GM if the GM is a medic) is all that is needed.

Embarrassing because then the injured person may feel guilty or uneasy because they have brought the game to a screeching halt.  No one likes to be the reason that their friends stopped having fun, and if you compound that with an injury, now they might feel really bad.  I know that I do.  I feel really weird when I know an entire mod has stopped because I rolled my ankle.  Even if no one is mad (and most of the time, no one is mad) it is still a little embarrassing.

Annoying because now you have a huge group of people, standing around, waiting for the game to continue.  This one feels a little heartless, but it is valid.  You have paid money to come play this game, and want to play and be involved.  If you have to stand around and be bored while all of the GMs run off to handle someone with an injury, you are going to get annoyed.  Especially since, as I just noted, it doesn’t take 10 people to handle one injury.

As soon as you get the injured party off of the field, call your Game On.  After the scene or fight is over, if people want to come check on their friend, they can.  This has the added benefit of not having 10 people hanging around getting in the way.  You have some time to assess the injury in peace, while the players finish their scene, and the injured person has time to calm down.  A lot of pain is exacerbated by stress, and having a lot of people hanging around panicking at you is going to make you start to panic as well, which is no good for an injury.

In conclusion: it is better for the game, and especially better for the injured party, for one or two people to help out, and for everyone else to go about the game.

Be A Thief, Not A Jerk

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

No, that’t not me.

I have played a rogue so often in games that, at this point, I refuse to take any rogue skills on my character sheet: I can hide and sneak and steal and beat-feet with the best of them.

I end up having to give a lesson on being a thief/rogue that people don’t hate A LOT.

The biggest problem with being a successful rogue is that you are doing things that are going to make people mad.  You are going to be thieving and lying on a regular basis.

Sadly, this tends to make you enemies.  Having enemies IN-GAME is a good thing.  Having enemies OUT-OF-GAME is a bad thing.

You want to avoid being a dick.  I am sorry for the frank language, but it is true.



You are going to lie as a rogue.  It just happens…

Don’t mistake being a rogue with HAVING TO LIE.  You CAN tell the truth and still be in-character.

Be smart.  Does it actually do anything for you to lie about where the main villain went?  Then don’t do it.

Unless you can actually make bank or have a real reason to have to lie, don’t do it habitually if you want to be a successful rogue.  People won’t ever believe you, and then how can you get them to look in the wrong place for the Treasure Of MasterGoldEnStien?

(Being a habitual liar for BAD reasons is an entirely different character concept.)



If you are going to steal, NEVER STEAL EVERYTHING.  This is a HUGE rule.  Yes, I know that your character would probably steal everything that is not nailed down, but then you are going to make out-of-game enemies.

There is psychology behind this that may make so called “role-play purists” mad, but if you think that no one is going to be mad at you for stealing their shit, you need to go home.  Understand that people spend a lot of time gathering up their money, components, items, etc.  If you take all of it, they will become disheartened, angry with you, and may even not want to play anymore.

You can still steal things!  But you have to use good judgment so that you can be a successful thief without making players mad, or being a jerk.

Here are some good rules of thumb:


Only ever steal  (at most) 10% of what people have.  If they have 10 gold, steal one.  This means you have more money, and they can’t really be too angry.  It’s only one gold!

Never Big

If you see a bunch of items that someone has, never steal their coolest, best item.  They probably spent a lot of time getting that, and it will dishearten them Out-of-Game if you take it.

Yes, I understand that your character would take it, and I know that you think that they are bad role-players if they get upset, but you are wrong.  You, not your character, are being mean if you take someone’s favorite toy.  Take something else!  If you see a Staff of Blasting, a Pendant of Dodge, and The High Gift Of The Gods To Magey McMageinstine: take the staff or the pendant.  Leave them their awesome toy, so that they don’t get mad at you out-of-game.


You want to be a rogue who can thieve and such, and you can!  Just make sure that you don’t alienate the other players at the game.  Get yourself a reputation as a good rogue, but also as an awesome player.

Costuming Comfortably

November 8, 2012 2 comments

I think one of the more important things people need to realize when they are putting together a costume is needing to be comfortable. Though a wise woman once told me, “Beauty is pain and pain is beauty,” this doesn’t always have to be your mantra when it comes to costuming. There are plenty of ways to go about looking good without constant chaffing or inability to breathe.

Bigger May Be Better:
When it comes to shirts and pants, you may want to take into account that you might be LARPing in colder climates, this means you’re going to want to put layers under your costumes (Unless of course you have a winter costume in mind for your character – furs and heavier cloths make great winter clothing). Bigger sizes allows a good number of layers to easily fit underneath. Now, I’m not saying that if you’re a size small, you should be running around in an extra large shirt, I’m saying that your costume should maybe be a medium, in this case, so that you can at least put thermals on under it.
On another note of bigger being better, we have to take into account that we change size naturally. What may have fit us last summer may have gotten a little tighter after stuffing our face during the winter holidays. If you’re going through puberty, those pants that were a tad baggy last year MAY be up at your shins and that shirt may not fit your chest! Unless you know of someone that can alter your clothes, you may want to look into bigger clothes if you plan on playing your character for long periods of time.

Sexy Clothes:
Ladies, I know you wanna look hot (You’re girls doing the whole LARP thing, trust me, that’s hot enough for most nerd guys) but sometimes it’s just not comfortable to subject yourselves to the cold or strains on your body just to wear a corset or bodice. Well, correctly made corsets constrict your breathing and your flexibility. In the words of Madam Everglot: “Get those corsets laced properly! I can hear you speak without gasping.” Combat characters are difficult to play when you are passed out in the middle of the field like something out of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. If you are going to play a barmaid, sure, wear all the corsets you want, but I suggest a waist cincher or a bodice if you are going to play a fighter.

BOOTS! And broken-in ones at that. ALWAYS break in your boots before LARPing in them. Loafers make great shoes as well.

Metal studs and eyelets look great on a costume but the backs can cut you like a thug from Camden. Be careful when dealing with them. Try to put these fancier layers on the outside of a costume.

Earrings and necklaces look great on people in general but unless you want to get yourself caught on a tree or your earring ripped out of your ear, you may want to hold back from wearing them. Rings are usually okay to wear.

I talk a lot about being cold at a LARP because I AM ALWAYS COLD. Be sure that you have thermals or under armor without logos (see previous post). If you’re a girl wearing long skirts, wear pants underneath. If you’re a guy, put some thermals under your poet shirt. If it were real life, you’d be bundled up. It’s nooooo fun being cold and having to sit near the fire the entire event.

Layers, if you do it right, also look good. Good layering: Warm layer (thermals/under armor), costume shirt, vest/armor, furs, cloak. Fur wraps around your ankles look great, too (over pants of course)! For girls a good layering example could be: Under armor layer, costume shirt, cincher and/or vest, in-game looking coat/furs/cloak. Skirts can be layers upon layers, especially if they are different lengths and colors, and pants can be worn underneath.

In contrast, have a summer outfit or at least a light layer that you don’t mind wearing in the summer. A nice flowing shirt and a skirt or loose pants. Tight clothes are the enemy in the summer as they prevent the breathing of your body.

Extra Clothes:
Sooner or later, you’re going to get wet at a LARP. Be it rain, snow, sweat, lake, swamp, kiddie pool, or slip-n-slide mod, you’re gonna find yourself uncomfortable for a good amount of time unless you bring extra skivvies. “Baylee, what the heck are skivvies?” Skivvies are your undergarments: panties/boxers, bras/camisoles/a-shirts, and socks. THESE AREAS CHAFE WHEN WET! ANNNNNND no one likes sitting in them wet for too long. It can even cause disease! Bring extras of these! Always!

Comfy Cloths:
I have to say one of the most comfortable and versatile cloths to LARP in is broadcloth. It is a cheap cotton cloth that comes in EVERY COLOR and makes for great breathable costumes in the summer and easy to layer in the winter, that is if you’re looking to make your own costume. Cotton shirts, if you’re looking to buy, are more easily bought than most other fabrics.
Fleece is a loooooovely fabric for lining the inside of your cloaks. I think EVERYONE should have a lined cloak, single layers are mostly pointless as they don’t hold as much heat… ’cause let’s face it, that’s really the only reason you should be wearing a cloak or cape… Otherwise, “NO CAPES!”
Wool is one of those fabrics that you either like or you don’t. I know of people that have allergies to it, so you have to keep that in mind, but wool costumes are great for winter and if you indeed like the feeling of wool, go for it.
If you’re looking to go fancy and not particularly combat heavy, satin or costume silk feels lovely, however it does not hold warmth.
There are a number of interesting cloths to work with that are, sadly, not very comfortable. Canvas and burlap are not comfy fabrics at all, thicker cotton sometimes chafes especially if you have nothing on under it. The back side of fake fur is VERY itchy, so I suggest lining it with something. Velvet and crushed velvet are very pretty, and everyone seems to make capes and cloaks out of it, but I suggest lining it if you are going to make something because it does not hold heat at all.
On an anecdotal note: I once played a character who was a stand in for the God of Death. Her costume consisted of a black corset, a knee length skirt, and 5 inch heels. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Baylee, you broke all of your rules.”  I know, shut up. She ever showed up thrice, so, it didn’t matter. Well, the one time, it snowed. Lemme tell you how miserable I was sitting in the snow in that get up. All the cloaks in the world would not warm me up. Moral of the story, don’t do what I did.
Now, I’m not suggesting to run around in sweats and slippers, but players need to keep in mind that temperatures, body types, and moods change. The last thing you want to be is awake and cranky at 4 in the morning with only a short skirt and tank top to wear in the snow. If you have one scene where you have to look good no matter what, that’s understandable, but an entire event of that is miserable. Don’t subject yourself to miserable.


Categories: Costuming

Do It Yourself Campsite: A few simple prop ideas

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Heylo, folks!  Let’s talk a little about the in-game look to your camp area.

Not everyone thinks to decorate their in-game area, and I fully believe that an in-game campsite adds BUCKETS to the feel of a game.  Sure, you don’t NEED to, and the people running the game will decorate certain buildings where you can hang out.  However, I feel that if everyone puts a little effort into their area, you can have an entire WORLD to play in, rather than go to bed in your out of game area after playing in the one decorated building.


Lighting is a really simple way to make your site look in-game, especially at night.  A really few simple and cheap fixes include:

Replace the light bulbs in your cabin with red, blue, or green lights.  This immediately makes the building seem different, without having to hang things all over the walls.

Candles are super-useful, but always make sure that the game and the camp allows them.  Even if they do, make sure your candles are in safe glass/metal containers.  While tapers that are loose are neat looking, they are more likely to catch things on fire.  Try to be sure that all of your candles are safe.

Battery powered lamps can fix up things like tents, but make sure that they are covered with some sort of colored-clear tape.  This way it is not harsh white light, and it looks more like candle-light than anything.


A few well placed flags outside of your campsite make the place look more like a war camp than a girl-scout cabin.  These are easy to make and do worlds of good for a site.  Simply take a long cloth and fold it in half.  Cut a hole in the center of the fold so that a PVC pipe can fit through it.  Then get yourself some PVC and make a lowercase “t” shape, so that there is a tiny piece that sticks out the hole (this way the flag doesn’t fly off).

Decorate the flag with whatever you want (paint the PVC!) and stab it into the ground somewhere in the camp!

Wall Hangings

These can be as simple as a 5 dollar sheet from Wal-Mart, to as elaborate as a lovely wall hanging that you “borrowed” from grandma.  Tacking or stapling this up on the walls of your tent/cabin/pavilion will change the look of the place enough to help it feel in-game and period.

You can even paint something on your Wal-Mart sheet to make it more in game! Or leave it unpainted and sleep with it later!


I love my cheap feather pens, and I leave them EVERYWHERE.  They are really simple to make, and having them around a building adds just a little extra detail that will make people feel in-game in your camp, and think you are just super cool.

Simply take a regular, cheap pen and tape a feather to it.  Then take yarn and carefully tape or glue it to the pointy end of the pen (make sure you can still write).

I like to take the point and ink cartridge out of the pen, stick a small part of the yarn in the plastic tube, and then replace the point and cartridge, so that I don’t have to have tape.

Then simply wrap the yarn around the pen until you get to the top, where you tie it off around the feather.  If you want to reverse some tape on the tube of the pen so that the yarn is more stable, you can do that, too!

You can get detailed, like tying intricate knots all along the pen, but since I give these out like candy, I don’t have time.


If you don’t have your own cup for your camp, simply buy some clear plastic ones.  Make the effort to avoid Red Solo cups, because they just look red and out of game.  The little detail of a clear (and therefore glass-like) cup goes a LONG way towards making your camp not look trashy.

Plastic Water Coolers

Take one of those big orange water coolers and wrap it in fabric.  BAM!  Now you have a water cooler IN YOUR CAMP, and it doesn’t look trashy.  Thus: people want to hang at your cabin and drink water (yum) and it doesn’t look trashy.  Win-Win.

Bottles and Cans

Step 1: Don’t have them.

Step 2: If Step 1 fails, wrap them in duct-tape.  Then you have no red-bull cans sitting around, and it makes it a little more in-game.


Believe it or not, it is the little details that can help put someone into the in-game mindset, and the little things that can jar them out.  (We had an article about immersion earlier, so I won’t harp.)  You don’t need large, expensive items to add to the in-game feel of the camp: the devil is in the details.