Sovereign Scrolls – Live Action Role Playing A Guide for First-Time Players Congratulations! You’ve discovered the finest medieval fantasy/steampunk LARP game in Texas! Now that you are ready to play, you‘re probably wondering: How does an event work? Where will I sleep? What will I eat? What facilities are available? Etc. Etc. Hopefully, this guide will answer most of those questions, and you’ll be better prepared for your first event. Let’s cover some basic terminology that you will hear while playing Sovereign Scrolls: PC (or player character) – The persona adopted by a participant; their skills, abilities, race, etc. are recorded on a character card and their “story” continues from one month to the next. They pay to play. NPC (or non-player character) – Everyone else, from simple one-shot monsters to King Tristan, ruler of Freedom’s March (land where you’ll be playing.) They may or may not have a card. In-game/out-of-game – The distinction between events and knowledge that a PC learns of and knowledge that you might acquire while not playing. Example: Barbarian Bob has been attacked numerous times by warriors in red uniforms yelling their support for the Empire. Bob now knows “in-game” that red uniforms indicate imperial troops. Later, Barbarian Bob’s player gives a car ride to Larry the LARP-owner, who fills out another player’s card during the trip, and Bob just happens to see it. Barbarian Bob now has “out-of-game” information about that other player. Bob must pretend he doesn’t know what is on that character card: Out-of-game information should never influence in-game actions! Tag – A slip of paper, completed and signed by staff, that certifies an in-game resource is legitimate. Possession of the tag indicates possession of the resource. Example: A +1 magic sword is found as treasure by a group of adventuring PCs. The sword will have a single tag indicating its duration, abilities, etc. Several PCs can claim to have found the magic sword, but only one PC can have the tag and thus, the sword. Rep (or phys-rep or physical representation) – A prop; any item that provides the mass for an in- game resource. Each tag should have an associated rep. Example: A potion-rep should be a small, plastic vial that represents a single dose of some magical liquid. If a PC has 40 tags in their belt pouch, they must have 40 reps, as well. Monster camp – The location where staff and NPCs work, sleep, and get ready for adventures. PCs who have business in monster camp should announce themselves loudly before approaching, so as to avoid learning out-of-game information. Where Do We Play? We play at a private camp. No one will be there but Sovereign Scrolls players and staff. Any concerns you may have about embarrassing encounters with “mundanes” while in garb/make-up can be completely forgotten! Camp Niwana, the location we use every month, was built in 1956 and is under private ownership. Sovereign Scrolls has a strong relationship with the camp’s management and anticipates being there for many years to come. Players and staff may arrive as early as 6pm Friday night, but in truth, the game itself won’t really begin until 10pm or so. The reason for this is simple: Sovereign Scrolls attracts players from as far away as New Orleans, Lake Charles, Dallas, Victoria, and Corpus Christi. It takes these players a while to drive in after work on Friday. So, while we’re waiting for everyone to arrive, you can have your game-related questions answered, your character built, and your waiver and membership paperwork handled.
Where Do We Sleep? The camp consists of numerous screened-in shelters, equipped with bunk beds, lights, and electricity. Unless you decide to put up a tent, you most likely will sleep in one of these cabins. A small number of shelters are “reserved” for specific game use, but any experienced player can easily point these out to you.
The bunk beds are furnished with cotton mattresses, but these stay in place when the camp is not in use, so expect them to be dusty when you arrive. A small broom or brush is handy for sweeping off your bunk, as well as the cabin in general. Also, an extra sheet over the mattress will keep the rest of your bedding (sheets & blankets or a sleeping bag) from getting dirty. If you desire a bit more privacy, a sheet can be draped about a lower bunk (thumb tacks can hold it in place), curtaining off your bed. Your cabin is lighted and will have a few electrical plugs for convenience. Keep in mind, you’ll be sharing these with several other players, so a power strip and extension cord will go a long way toward keeping everyone happy. For safety reasons, no open flames (candles, sterno stoves, etc.) are allowed in the shelters, ever. Box fans or space heaters (depending upon time of year) are welcome. When you arrive, feel free to drive right up to your cabin and unload, then please park your vehicle in the designated area. Nothing destroys immersion and atmosphere like dashing around an SUV to get to that marauding goblin! Not far from your cabin is a bathhouse, with clearly designated entrances for men and women. Restrooms and showers, like the cabins, may require a bit of sweeping before use. We ask that you clean up after yourself when using these facilities. As stated before, you will be sharing them with other players, so please be courteous. Each bathhouse is equipped with a hot water heater, but it is entirely possible the heater may not be lit in the facility closest to your cabin. If this is the case, feel free to access the maintenance closet (the door centered between the two entrances) and light the heater. If you are uncomfortable with this, simply ask a staff member for assistance.
Where Do We Eat? The camp has a furnished dining hall and commercial kitchen. In game, we refer to this facility as the tavern. Some refrigerator space is available for player use (within reason!) for storage of food you may bring to the event. Service typically begins Friday evening around midnight, with low-price snacks and non-alcoholic drinks available. (Free water and a flavored sports drink are always available; coffee is free during cooler months.) Breakfast and lunch items are provided during a broad window of time, to accommodate late risers.
Players are encouraged to patronize the tavern, but it is not a requirement. There are several fast food establishments within a short drive of the camp. Feel free to return with food, should something that is served for feast not be to your liking. However, the staff asks that you minimize your use of mundane packaging and bags, so as not to destroy the atmosphere for other players. An evening meal (“feast”) is available on Saturday for $5 per player. This is an in-game meal and may be attended by visiting dignitaries and highly placed individuals. It is an opportunity to role-play and share information, or brag about the deeds of the day! Extra effort is made to decorate the tavern; candles and table linens add to the atmosphere. After everyone has eaten, bards are usually asked to perform, resulting in impromptu “jam sessions.” If you play a musical instrument, drum, or otherwise perform, consider bringing your material for enjoyment after feast. It’s worth the effort, as other players will usually show their appreciation with tips!! Many players bring their own feast-gear: medieval- looking drinking vessels, plates, bowls, cutlery, etc. to better decorate their personal eating space. This is not required, but staff encourages it as it greatly adds to the ambiance and atmosphere. Items like this can be found at thrift stores or garage sales for very little money. There is a designated space in the tavern for placement of feast-gear. Mark your name on the bottom of each piece. As always, please pick up after yourself in the tavern, and be courteous to the tavern mistress/master, who volunteers their time to better your enjoyment!
What Else Do I Need to Know? So now that the basics of food and shelter are covered, what other things should you bring? Every participant, player and NPC alike, should bring his or her own white headband. Wearing a white headband indicates that you are OUT-OF- GAME. If you are headed off to the bathroom, or a staff member has asked you to run an errand, this will alert other players and monsters that you are not there. Remember, our game runs continually for almost two days. There are no distinct “we’re playing now/we aren’t playing now” moments. You should also plan on a couple of changes of clothing. You’ll be running up and down dirt trails, across open fields, and occasionally falling into mud! LARPing can be hard on your wardrobe. So save your best garb for feast/court and other special occasions, and have some “adventuring clothes” for the rest of the time. Regarding footwear, boots work the best, but try to avoid open-toed shoes or sandals. There are lots of sticks, roots, and open holes, as well as the real possibility your foot might get (unintentionally) stepped on while fighting! Be smart with your selection. Also, multiple changes of socks are advised. During the warmer months, staff implements the summer armor rules – this means that your character gains the in-game benefits of armor, without you having to actually wear it during 90+ degree weather. But keep in mind, the armor has to be on site and in your possession (ie, in your cabin) to gain the benefits. During the cooler months, cloaks and capes come out, but again, be careful with your expensive garb. Thorns and branches are just waiting to snag your clothing and tear them up, so use good judgment.
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