A residential LARP is any that continues over more than one day, usually involving camping or otherwise sleeping away from home. They are great fun, but require a bit more forethought and planning than attending a single day LARP.
Find out what time you’re allowed on site from, and if there are any entrance rules you need to abide by – some sites have entryways that go through built-up areas, and as such may have noise restrictions, or may have a gate that needs unlocking.
If you are taking the train or other public transport, make sure that you know how you’re getting from the station/stop to site – if you’re getting a lift at any point, make sure that you have the lift-giver’s phone number, and if possible the GM’s number as well in case of emergencies. At BathLARP events we generally try to make arrangements for someone to do lift runs to the station, but don’t take it for granted.
If you are driving, make sure you know where you’re going, and ideally get the GM’s phone number in case of emergencies (or just to let them know if you’re held up unexpectedly).
This sounds like it should be obvious, but on a larp (especially a residential one) it needs thinking about.
First and foremost – have you got a water bottle that can be refilled? Also, do you have a way to carry it on your person? Keeping hydrated means you can larp longer and you’ll feel better at the end. If you don’t like water flavour it with squash. Finding out if there will be tea and coffee is a good plan, because if not you can make plans to supply your own.
Food can be divided into two parts, meals and snacks. Snacks should be easy to get at in kit, quick to eat (as with an ordinary larp you’ll most likely find yourself grabbing them in breaks or on the move) and be something to give you a quick boost. Snacks should also not need special storage. There’s usually limited fridge/freezer space (if any at all) so try to make sure you have things that can be kept at room temperature. Snacks that survive being carried around, squished if you fall on them and generally beaten up until you get to them are good.
Meals should be a little more substantial. If it’s a BathLARP residential larp there is usually (but not always) an evening meal and breakfast for a small fee. Dietary requirements can be taken into consideration and it’s a lot easier than sorting yourself out. Hot food at the start and end of the day does a lot to keep your spirits up and warm you up if it’s cold. It also keeps your energy levels up, which again, is a good thing. Don’t forget to bring things to eat on and with, and if cooking for yourself things to cook on and with as well.
Be prepared to eat a bit more than you might usually, during a weekend as you will quite possibly be more active than on a normal weekend at home. Also, it’s really handy if you can learn how you feel when you’ve gone to long without food and drink (tired, headache, hunger, the shakes) and then you will be better equipped to sort yourself out. Fainting is a bad plan, not only will you feel bad, but there is a high chance you will be made to sit down and rest (at the very least) leading to potential lack of larp fun time.
Especially if it’s hot or you’re wearing a lot of heavy kit or running around a lot, you also need to take electrolytes into account – sweating means losing salts, and this is usually how people get heat stroke despite drinking lots of water. Either bring some isotonic sports drinks for a midday top-up, or else make sure that your snacks include a mix of savoury items (nuts, trail mix etc) as well as sugar – heat stroke is very serious, and may mean a hospital visit.
In general, you will never get enough sleep at an event ever. It’s just one of those things. However, you can improve matters dramatically by bringing everything you need to stay warm and comfortable.
If it’s a camping event, either bring a tent or find a space with someone else – in general, the more people you have in a tent the warmer it will be. If you can splash out on a proper canvas tent it’s definitely worth it, as they generally retain heat better; little cheap supermarket pop-ups will usually keel over quickly and be quite chilly.
Depending on what you’re used to, you will want at the bare minimum an inflatable mattress or rollmat and a sleeping bag; if the nights are cold, extra blankets to go over and under (to keep you off the cold floor and stop it leeching heat) you will give you a much better night’s sleep, as will a thick pair of socks. Don’t try sleeping in the clothes you’ve been wearing during the day if they’re at all sticky or damp, bring a change of clothes. If you really suffer from the cold, a hot water bottle or some chemical handwarmers will help you get to sleep.
Don’t forget your toothbrush! And, before using it, don’t forget to have something to eat, something to drink and to take care of everything else – the fewer things to wake you up overnight, the better. If you’re a really light sleeper an eye mask and earplugs to help you ignore the dawn chorus (and fellow larpers) may also help.
The important difference between a day larp and a residential larp is that if it’s cold and wet and miserable you won’t be going home to a warm, dry house at the end of it – there’s a good chance you will spend most, if not all, weekend out in whatever the weather throws at you. So, even more than normally, remember to bring multiple layers, and bring as many spares as you can; having to wear the same soggy clothes three days in a row is horrible, while being able to change into dry socks halfway through the day because you have spares is a wonderful feeling. This also applies to hot weather – having to put on yesterday’s sticky, sweaty shirt is no fun.
The usual rules of player kit and monster kit apply, but remember that you may need both. Also, do not forget things like pants, as the only thing worse than wearing the same soggy clothes for three days is wearing the same soggy pants for three days…
As it’s a whole weekend or longer at a campsite that is usually some distance from civilisation, you absolutely must disclose any ongoing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or allergies via the route designated by whoever is running the event – at BathLARP, this means either keeping your medical details up to date on the website or specifically telling the first aiders and/or the GMs (who will then tell each other whatever details are necessary).
Make sure that you pack whatever medications, joint supports, spare food, hot/cold packs or other bits needed to keep you healthy and, just as importantly, remember to use them. You may also need, depending on weather, sunscreen and bug repellant.
Please remember: if you are unfit to fight, the GMs certainly need to know this, and depending on the system and event you may be asked not to attend for the sake of your own wellbeing. BathLARP events do not normally have any sort of non-combat rules, so with the exception of IC meals and possibly the 24hr they are not normally suitable for people who are not combat fit, but this is decided on a case by case basis.
Depending on the event, you may need to pay in advance, or you’ll be expected to pay on the gate or at the end of the event. Monstering may be free or discounted.
For BathLARP events, we generally arrange to pay at the beginning or end of the event, and the cost for everyone is an equal portion of the site cost (where it’s a block fee) or the camping cost if we’re paying per head. Bringing change will help.
If there’s some sort of food plan, this may be included in the event cost or may be paid as per the event cost – check with the event organiser if it’s unclear.
Everything above applies double to GMs – you will be tired and rushed and if you don’t look after yourself you will do yourself a mischief.
Every site has its own quirks that you will need to find out about in advance:
You will also want to bring binbags, soap, an emergency pack of toilet roll and everything for doing washing up – in general brushes and brooms for clear-down are available, but all other supplies will be wanted.
Unless you’re attending one of the big system events, you will be expected to help in clear-down afterwards – and even if you are at a big system, help tidying up your faction/Guild is always appreciated. This covers everything from packing up monstering kit to picking up rubbish to cleaning the toilets – at BathLARP events people with further to travel or specific trains to catch are let off a bit, but it’s considered poor show not to help at all without good reason.
Make sure you find and pack up everything you’ve brought as well, including anything food-related – if you want it binned, bin it yourself rather than assuming someone else will do it.
Once home, if you’ve been camping remember to air your tent out if it’s been damp at all – otherwise at the very least your next event will come with a miasma of mildew.