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Underworld LARP is proud to announce that we are the focus of a half hour epesode of a brand new TV show called Fanboy Confessional. Our epesode airs July 13 at 10:30PM EST on the Space Channel.

FANBOY CONFESSIONAL presents active stories of self-professed “Fanboys” (and “Fangirls”) – pop culture enthusiasts and aficionados. It’s a celebration of unique interests and creative knowledge, and presents each Fanboy as a hero in his or her own right. The characters in our series come from all areas of fandom, and all have a sense of humor about their passions, mixed with a healthy measure of self-awareness and respect.

Please tune in as we celibrate some wonderfull recognition of our passion and hard work over the years.

 
New Players Read

Your first weekend at Underworld!

Unofficial Guide to Underworld
(AKA: Surviving Your First Event)
Version 1.0.1 - 03/30/03


So this is your first weekend at Underworld? You're wondering what to bring, what you'll need to wear, what you'll need to eat, right? This is a basic guide to help you out:

1.0 Getting ready for the game
1.1 Making your character
1.2 Food
1.3 Clothes

2.0 Arrival
2.1 Logistics
2.2 The Long Walk
2.3 Notes about the Site

3.0 Gametime!
3.1 Roleplaying
3.2 Meta-gaming

4.0 Combat
4.1 Yellow Armband
4.2 Do I see pipe?
4.3 This isn't baseball!

5.0 Casting
5.1 I invoke a magic beanbag concussion!
5.2 What does that spell do?
5.3 Types of Magic

6.0 Helpful Web Links
6.1 Do It Yourself
6.2 Commercial Links
6.3 Other

7.0 Glossary


1.0 GETTING READY FOR THE GAME

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Preparing for your first event can be a bit of stress, but this should make planning a little easier for you. Don't forget to sleep before the event, since you won't sleep much for the weekend.

1.1 Making your character

The background of your character is defined by his or her character history, and you will be drawing upon this for the personality of your character. Some characters are simple and have come to Jericho to entertain others, while some have come to Jericho in search of a lost family member after their town was burnt to the ground by Goblins.

Just because your character history is simple and straightforward doesn't mean it's any less valid than someone who's gone through the worst life, lost their parents and was raised by wolves. Having a more simple character background means plot will have an easier time targeting your character with a variety of scenarios if they choose to do so

When creating your character you'll want to pick a Race (ie: Elf, Hobling) followed by a Class (ie: Witch Hunter, Nightblade) and then proceed to the Skill Cost Chart in the rulebook.

You can buy any skills that appear under your Class. Classes are listed across the top of the chart: M R T N A W M D C (Mercenary, Ranger, Templar, Nightblade, Assassin, Witch Hunter, Mage, Druid, Cleric). Note: To play a Cleric you need special permission from Plot.

If you plan on making a character who can cast magic, it needs to be clarified that a "Spell List" prerequisite is an IN GAME item. You have to buy the Spell Slot required to use the spell, but you must also locate the scroll IG.

Skills are bought with Character Points. A "Blanket" is the set of Character Points you receive per event appropriate to your current character Level.

It's often suggested for those new to LARPing that they create a character with one or two useful skills. This way you'll have something to do, even if it's just to clean up after a battle by fixing armour or performing first aid. Not to mention it's a great way to meet other characters, good help is hard to find!


1.2 Food

The Underworld site has fire pits scattered through the site, which you can cook on if you wish. The food you eat will be up to you, there's no law saying you can't barbecue a steak if you wish, or live on protein bars the entire weekend. Most games there is also an available meal plan through a "tavern" where you can purchase food piecemeal during game.

If you decide to feed yourself for the weekend here are some suggestions:

Cold:
Beef Jerky, Pepperettes
Bread - with peanut butter/jam
Dried fruits (Stay away from bananas, they make you attract mosquitos like mad.)
Dry Breakfast Cereal - Cheerios are great, healthy snacks to munch on.
Energy/Protein/Cereal/Granola bars
Trail mix (Again, watch out for trail mix which features bananas.)
Veggies - Carrots, Celery etc.
APPLES! - Full of energy! These are good to carry at all times!
Pastries - Croissants, Danishes, Muffins - Quick food on the go!
Fruit Cups

Hot on Fire/BBQ:
Chicken - Grilled
Hotdogs/Sausages - cooked on a stick over fire or on a grill
Hamburgers - Grilled
Noodles - You'll need a pot and some water
Oatmeal - Pot and Water
Potatoes - Wrap it in foil and put it near the fire. Sauce of some sort is all you need.
Soup - Pot and Water
Steak - Grilled

Drink:
Water!
Hot Chocolate
Instant Coffee
Tea
Tang

If you bring perishable items like Milk or Beef you'll want to carry them in a cooler so they don't spoil if they get warm.

If you're cooking food you'll need to bring cooking utensils such as a Pot, Pan, Plate, Fork/Knife, Mug. If there's been heavy rain the week before the site can be too wet to start a fire so you'll need a portable stove of some sort, just something to think about.

While cooking, you will still be considered IG, this means that there's a chance you won't even get close enough to a fire to cook. Carry ready-to-eat, non-perishable snacks just for such emergencies.

Water is essential for the weekend! If you're running around a lot you'll become dehydrated and it can also be used for cooking. The average person requires 1 gallon of water per day to survive, so you'll want more than you need, and extra for cooking as necessary.

Pop is convenient to bring since it comes in tins, but seeing people drinking from a can of Coke in the middle of town tends to interfere with the reality of the game, not to mention that sugar and caffeine will make you thirstier in the long run. If you must ingest caffeine - coffee, tea, or hot chocolate are friendlier to the game mechanics.

It's usually best to avoid foods that leave lots of garbage behind since it's just something else you have to carry back out with you. There is a strict no-garbage rule at the Underworld site. There are some garbage cans set up, but it's usually best to have a small shopping bag to throw garbage into around your camp. You'll also need garbage bags for cleaning up your site at the end of game.


1.3 Clothes

While Underworld is a medieval-based LARP, first time players aren't expected to be fully costumed. Wearing a sweatshirt with an Adidas or Nike symbol on it will ruin the atmosphere of the game, so you'll want to avoid these at all costs. There is a period bonus available for those who make the effort to dress in period, and many of the players have made their own armour and clothing especially for UW. This is strongly encouraged and brings realism and enjoyment to all players of the game, not to mention personal satisfaction! Your costume, like your character, can be as elaborate as you want.

Quick list of stuff to bring:
Alchemy tags
Armour tags
Weapons tags
Other IG phys reps + tags
IG money
Magic Items

Street Clothes (obviously!)
Armour
Boffer Weapons
Boots
Blanket (sleeping bag, ground sheet..)
Cloak
Flashlight (for safety reasons)
IG Light phys reps (Glowsticks, or filtered flashlights/laterns)
Bugspray
Makeup - spirit gum, face paint, ears, horns as required by race.
Pants/Belt
Plain shirt
Socks (minimum 2 pairs)
Tent - Tarp as well in case of rain.
Toiletries - Toilet Paper!, Tylenol, Antihistamine, Gravol, Prescriptions.
Smokes & Lighter
Pouch or small bag -To hold your IG belongings.

By your 3rd game you'll want to start developing a costume. Cargo pants only go so far and a costume will really help get you into the medieval mood of the game.

Keep in mind that Underworld doesn't have a "quiet time", and that if what you're wearing becomes wet, it will stay wet until the end of event unless you have something dry to change into. Remember also that waterproof fabric doesn't breathe, so if you start to sweat it will stay inside your clothing. Sweating during combat while the weather is cold means you'll likely get chilled once combat slows down.

Cotton is a good overall fabric due to its breatheability, ability to absorb water (sweat!) and how quickly it dries. Polar Fleece is good for warmth as well as in the rain, and will dry out quickly. Wool is a denser fabric, and doesn't breath as well, but will stay warm even when wet (if you don't mind the smell and itch) and takes a long time to dry out.

As with any outdoor sport, the weather can turn on you in an instant. Dress like you'll be outside for the entire night and you should be alright. Wear layers, so that you can take some off if you get too warm, and put them back on if it the temperature drops. Everyone in medieval themed movies seems to wear a cloak; this is for good reason. Cloaks can keep you quite comfortable depending if you close the front, throw it over your shoulders or let it blow in the wind. They also help hide out of period clothes if you're stuck wearing your street clothes to stay warm, and are even comfortable to sleep under if you sleep with the trees for a night.

Finally, SOCKS - Almost everything can be fixed with a change of socks. Feet sore? Socks. Cold chill? Socks. On a long walk? Socks. Hungry? Socks. In World War II every soldier was given this piece of advice: "Every time you stop, change your socks." It holds true today.


2.0 ARRIVAL

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"Who are all these weird people…"

2.1 Logistics

So you're new to LARPing, you don't know what to expect, you're still trying to remember your character's name. You show up at Logistics (Log) at 6pm on Friday night, you put your name on the list to register your character and suddenly… you don't know what to do.

The best advice that can be given is find someone who looks friendly and say "Hi" to them. Live Action Role-Players are really friendly people! You all have a common interest - to play together in a fantasy world for the weekend! There are no expectations and people will be more than happy to help you out, especially if you're new to the game!

When your name is called: you will pay for the weekend, and will be asked for your character Name, Race, Class and what Skills you want to buy for your character. You will then be given a Character Sheet. During your first event it's suggested you play a character which is useful in some way, armoursmithing or first aid skills go a long way to making you friends. On your second event you're given the option -ONCE- to "Remort" your character, meaning you get to re-spend all your xp after you've had a chance to experience the game world. This is an important step in learning how you like to play your character and can make the different between throwing packets, fighting, or running for the rest of your characters' life.

Below are examples for 1st level characters:
-----------------------------------
High Elf, Mage
150xp to start
--
Read Write (40)
Read Magic (15)
First Sphere of Magic <Nature> (25)
First Circle Spell-Slot x3 (30)
Second Circle Spell-Slot x2 (20)
Third Circle Spell-Slot x1 (20)
Total: 150xp

--

Human, Mercenary
150xp to start (+50CP Racial Bonus)

Medium Weapon Group Prof (40)
Specialization +1 Weapon Specific <Shortsword> (100)
Shield (50)
Total: 190xp (with 10xp saved for next skill purchase)

--

Dark Elf, Nightblade
150xp to start

Alchemy (30) (40xp - 10xp racial bonus = 30xp)
Waylay (35)
Garotte (85)
Total: 150xp
-----------------------------------

So, now you have a Character Sheet. GUARD THIS WITH YOUR IG LIFE!! If someone ever finds your character sheet IG, they will have your spirit in their hands and there's nothing you can do about it. This sheet must also be kept on your person at all times while IG. It is used by Plot to check what Skills you have in case there's ever confusion.

You will then get your armour checked and tagged, and then have your weapons safety-checked and tagged.

You're now free to go to game.

2.2 The Walk to Town

Most new players will choose to set up camp in town, where the majority of other players camp. Some groups are scattered around the site in different camps, but town is a good place to get started. The town is a short walk from where cars are parked. Most other camps involve a bit more of a hike through the woods, so keep that in mind when considering what you will bring and have to carry.

While In Game you don't have any access to your car, however there are some exceptions to this rule. It is also rumoured that if you sleep in your car and you're caught by plot that you will take a death.

It is worth mentioning that it is a really, REALLY bad idea to bring anything down to the site of personal value. Wedding rings, watches, necklaces, cell phones, pagers and car keys can easily get lost. With such a large site, the chances of finding these items again is next to impossible. Don't risk it. It is a better idea to leave valuables at home, or in your car.

When you walk into town you will be considered IG, and are expected to act and speak as your character. From this point on if you need to say something OOG you will have to put your hand on top of your head to signify an out of game comment.

This is when you'll want to set up your tent, stow your food, drop any IG stuff that you don't carry normally and start playing.

2.3 Notes about the Site

Underworld prides itself on keeping the medieval spirit of the game as realistic as possible. In keeping with this spirit we remind players that there's no electricity and no running water at the site.

Underworld's site is made up of grassy areas, well-forested areas with several trails, as well as areas of dense undergrowth, as well as some swamp areas. There is a Port-o-John available for use during weekend events


3.0 GAMETIME!

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Too late to stop now!

3.1 Role-Playing

Since you're new in town you likely don't know anyone, so your first step would be to make friends. Look for those everyone is talking to, since they're probably friendly, and introduce yourself - IC of course.

It is generally accepted that if you come to Underworld with a friend that you'll "meet" each other IG, so don't worry about being alone. There are also many outgoing, helpful characters IG who are willing to help those who are new to town.

While role-playing keep in mind that you are acting as your character would act. Some species such as Stone Elves have very strict rules regarding how they should act, while others may act identical to how you are OOG. It is often suggested that you create a character as different from your OOG self as possible, so that you can get the most enjoyment out of roleplaying as possible. Why pay for a weekend to the same as you do the rest of your life?

Since roleplaying is the basic premise of Underworld, it's expected that you stay IC all weekend. OOG conversation can really disrupt the effort people are putting into staying in character. If you must make an OOG comment (asking what a spell does, asking where the Port-o-John is, etc.) then you simply put your hand on top of your head. People will understand and are usually lenient about it - we were all in your situation at one point.

Go on every mod you can! The more modules you go on, the more the game will make sense!

3.2 Meta-Gaming

Meta-gaming is using OOG knowledge to your IG advantage. If, while at Log, you overheard someone telling Plot they were going to steal the King's scepter, you can't use that knowledge IG.

Underworld is based entirely upon the honor system to track all tags, spells and combat situations. Everyone takes care of their own character. Meta-gaming is cheating this system and is one of the worst ways to ruin the game for all other players. Meta-gaming is usually spotted quickly by other players who know your OOG stats. Repeated instances of meta-gaming can result in punitive measures from the Executive Plot Team.  


4.0 COMBAT

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We know why you're /really/ here…

4.1 Yellow Armband

[[This section will be updated if and when a yellow armband rule comes into play. - Colin]]

4.2 Do I see pipe?

When you bring your weapon to Underworld it will be evaluated as boffer-safe or not.

Making your weapon DO's:
-Use adequate closed cell foam around the PVC core of your weapon so you can't feel the pipe.
-The purpose of a thrusting/pommel tip is to prevent the pipe from coming through the end of the weapon. You shouldn't be able to feel ANY pipe through the tip of the weapon.
-Make sure you've taped the foam directly to the PVC using double sided tape, or backwards rolled duct tape. The foam shouldn't slide on the piping.
-When duct taping the outside of the weapon, run tape down the length of the weapon (from tip to handle), do not wrap it around the weapon.

Making your weapon DO NOT's:
-Do NOT wrap duct tape in a spiral around the weapon, this compresses the foam into something akin to granite.
-Do NOT add weight inside the piping.

There are lots of good tutorials online on how to make safe Boffer weapons. Remember to make your weapons properly; even if it passes weapons safety check, a poorly made weapon will break during boffer combat. If this happens, the weapon is considered to have broken IG and seriously compromises the safety of other players.

This is a tutorial I made for Fantasy Alive on some basic sword making techniques. It's a pretty rough video - I don't even finish the weapon, but there's a lot of basic stuff in that's good for newbies: http://hexfox.catatheart.com/FA/swordtechniques.wmv


*Special note about arrows. If arrows are made wrong, they are a very real danger to all players. If you're a new character it's highly advised not to make your own unless you have previous experience making them, as they are almost guaranteed to be failed by the Weapon Marshals.

4.3 This isn't baseball!

Before you ever swing your boffer weapon IG, you'll have been shown how to OOG. The idea with LARP combat is to touch your opponent with the weapon, not cleave them in half. Wild swings, aiming for the head, groin, or chest (on women) and generally doing anything unsafe with your weapon will not make you any friends, and will likely get you reported.

Calling damage and hitting the same spot repeatedly (aka: "Machine Gunning") is also not appreciated and the damage will be ignored by your opponent. It is through banning "machine gunning" and making the damage calls long "3 normal", "3 normal poison" that fighting is slowed down to a reasonable rate and attempts as best it can to emulate realistic combat.

Before you play, even if it's just at Logistics, it's recommended that you practice with your chosen weapon a little while, just to get used to the feel. Doing this also means you'll have a better chance at surviving any battles you get into once the game starts.

Combat in Underworld tends to be fairly fast. (How fast can you say "2 Normal" in 5 seconds?) It seems difficult remembering what you call for damage, how much Armour you have, how much Body you have all at the same time. The way I deal with this, personally, is like so:

My character has 15 points of Armour and 4 points of Body. So in total you can be hit 19 times until you get to 0 Body. While in combat I remember the number 15 and the number 17.

(Where did the other 2 Body go? As long as you have 2 Body points you're conscious and awake, if you have 1 Body then you're semi-conscious and if you have 0 you're Unconscious. So we know that 2 Body is the farthest we can go before we fall to the ground.)

Now, since it's generally easier to add together numbers than subtract them, all I do is start adding the numbers people yell at me when I'm hit with a weapon. Ie:
"4 Normal!" "7 Normal!"
(4+7=11)
"4 Normal!"
(11+4=15)
Oh no! I hit the first number, that means I'm out of Armour and I'm about to start taking damage to body! This also means your armour was breached and you must call "Breech!", also you begin taking damage to your body points.

This is likely a good time to run away.

If the weapon strike is questionable, it is the defender's decision as to whether there was contact or not.

Roleplaying an injury when you're "hurt" isn't necessary for Underworld but adds to the realism of the game for other players, not to mention makes it a lot more fun.


5.0 CASTING

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"Whoa. I know kung fu."

5.1 I invoke a magic beanbag concussion!

Casting at Underworld is done with small quantities of small-grain bird seed tied into a piece of fabric. These packets can be used by any casters who still have spells to throw in their spell pyramid. These packets are just heavy enough so that you feel the impact of the packet, without the possibility of being injured.

Touch casting is also a good way to deliver a spell, just by physically touching someone and saying the incant.

It's recommend that you practice throwing spell packets before game. Aim over a distance, throw underhand, overhand, side arm, "flick" them. Yes, your parents/roommates will wonder why there are packets in their shoes, but it's a good skill to have.

5.2 What does that spell do?

If you've just been hit by a packet and you aren't sure of the effects you're allowed to ask the caster OOG what the effects of that spell are. Even the best role-players forget the specific effects of a spell on occasion! Don't worry! You'll learn what some of the more popular ones' effects are quickly enough.

When packets are thrown, it is the caster's decision as to whether the packet hit or not.

5.3 Types of Magic

There are two types of magic in Underworld, Battle magic and Formal magic.

Battle magic consists of any magic that is under 9th level. All of the Schools of magic listed in the rulebook are Battle Magic. To use Battle magic you have to get all the prerequisite skills necessary, buy a spell slot, buy the scroll IG, and then you will "memorize" that spell into the spell slot - the scroll can be held onto and used for further memorization. People without spell slots, but who can use the skill Read Magic can still cast spells, but the scroll is destroyed in the process.

Formal magic is anything above 10th level, and is performed by high level casters from the protection of their Circle of Power. Formal magic can do almost anything depending on the level of the spell and the skill of the caster. It can make you invulnerable to attack, or backlash and turn you into the opposite sex. You'll have to learn about this in game.


6.0 Helpful Web Links

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6.1 Do It Yourself
http://www.amtgard-wl.com/library/howtos/how2tunic.pdf (Easy to make Tunic/Tabard)
http://www.moas.atlantia.sca.org/topics/clot.htm (SCA Costuming links)

6.2 Commercial Links
http://www.madmattsarmory.com (Well priced plate, local to Southern Ontario.)
http://www.theringlord.com (The de-facto chainmail resource.)
http://www.bladeturner.com (Armour patterns and instructions.)
http://www.pitbullarmory.com (Well priced leather and plate.)
http://www.hunter-craft.com (Well priced leather. *NSFW frontpage*)
http://www.armstreet.com (Pricey, but beautiful works in armour and cloth.)
http://www.princearmory.com (Astounding leather creations.)

6.3 Other
http://savageearth.net/KACurtis/Map_Samples/index.html (Great examples for map making inspiration.)


7.0 Glossary:

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Battle Magic - Any magic up to, and including, 9th level spells.

Blanket - Set of Character Points given to your character. You receive a Blanket at the beginning of each event, and can earn more through RP awards, showing up to game, or donations.

Boffer Weapon - Padded weapon used for combat at Underworld.

Build - Points available that you can use to "build" your character with from the Skill Cost Charts. Also known as Character Points.

Character Points (CP) - Points available that you can use to "build" your character with from the Skills Cost Charts. Also known as Build.

Class - One of 9 available classes to play at game.

Formal Magic - All magic that is 10th level and above.

IC - In Character

IG - In Game

LARP - Live Action Role-Playing

Log (Logistics) - Where your character information is registered and updated at each event.

Mod - Module.

NPC - Non-Player Characters created by Plot for any number of purposes.

OOC - Out of Character

OOG - Out of Game. Signified by holding a hand on top of your head, and anyone wearing a White Headband.

Jericho - IG Term. This is the town in which Underworld primarily takes place in.

PC - Player Characters created by the people who play the game.

PC-NPC - Player Character who is controlled by Plot and may act as a King or town healer. These are usually reoccurring characters who are important to a plot.

Plot - The Plot Team. Those who create Mods for Underworld. Bring them coffee.

PVC - PVC is the type of piping used for the core of Boffer Weapons, wrapped in foam of course.

Race - Any of the many races to pick from in Underworld. (ie: Savar, Elves)

Racial - Skill available only to specific races. (ie: Hobling - Dodge, Wild Elf - Body Bonus)

Role-Playing - Assuming the role of the character you've created.

Skills Cost Chart - Section in the Rulebook that defines how much a skill will cost for your Class of character.

Socks - See Socks.