New Player's Guide to Kanar & LARP
So you found Kanar! Great! Kanar is a Live Action Role Playing game, or LARP, as most people call it. As you will soon find out, LARPing is not like anything else. It's a mix of tabletop role playing, improv acting, martial arts (like those "B" movies from the 50's), an interactive story, and a whole lot more, all rolled into one. It can be overwhelming to the new player, but here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your role playing experience.
1) REQUIRED: Read the rules
Reading the rules is an absolute must. There is no better way to understand the mechanics of Kanar’s game play. Plus, once you’ve read the rules, if you have questions you can easily contact the Game Operations Staff via email, or by posting your inquiry on the Facebook Group. You’ll want to check out the announcements ((a link to rule changes will be present once we have a consise list of changes)) as well, to see if there are any rule changes since the last edition of the rulebook.
You are not expected to have the rulebook memorized, but you need to have a basic understanding of the rules when you come out for the first time. You will not be approved to play if a Play Master does not feel you have an adequate understanding of the rules!
2) REQUIRED: Annual Registration Form
The Annual Registration Form (ARF) is a document that all members must fill out yearly, to provide emergency information to Kanar Gaming Enterprises (KGE). This form must be completed before the first attended event. It is also an acknowledgement of basic rules and expectations from KGE.
3) Optional: Read the World Book
The World Book, or game setting / history, is Kanar’s history and culture information. It’s a great idea to read the World Book at least once, but it’s especially helpful when creating a character to have a general knowledge of your character’s race and culture: who they might be at war with, which races you character might dislike and why, etc. Even by looking at the World Map, you can learn a lot about the game.
"You don't need to have the world book memorized, but at least pick a town you're from and know as much about it as a normal villager would. Someone WILL ask you where you're from, and with bad enough luck, you'll be talking to whoever is in charge of that place." -- Matt Ash
"I wouldn’t worry about the little details too much. It’s super overwhelming. You can fill in those details as you learn them in person or in the parking lot. Just put together a reasonable backstory. For example, this character is from a small town south of Ilveresh (the town our “festivals” are held in each month). They was the child of a baker but yearned for adventure so they left home to learn and make a name for themselves. Skills they might have are Craft - Cooking, Read/Write- Common, Urban Lore, Flora Lore, and Short Sword." -- Amanda Aquino
4) Create a Character
5) Suggestion: Email the Character Book Director (CBD)
This will assist everyone if it is done before the event, instead of in the parking lot when you want to go and play. By getting your character build approved before you attend the event, you can get onto the field of play faster and get into the fun part of the game. This also allows the CBD staff to give you more focused individual attention in creating a character and making suggestions for the build you are envisioning. Their email is CBD@kanar.org.
6) Optional: Email the Game Master (GM)
Write up a backstory for your character. There aren’t any requirements from the GM staff, except to avoid the character creation “red flags.” These are defined in the Character History Template. It’s always a good idea to know where you were raised (or the most recent city you have been in), and why you’ve come to Ilveresh, but ultimately you can have as little information as you’d like. If you’re struggling to write even the smallest info, look at your character’s starting skills. How did your character learn them, and why? It can be a sentence or a page, but send some information to firstname.lastname@example.org so that there is a record of what your PC was before you came to Illveresh.
7) Figure out what you are going to wear
Clothing in a LARP world is often referred to as Garb, or for an outfit as a whole, a Kit. Costuming is very important to help immerse yourself and others into the game world created. Have fun with your garb and dress to impress, but keep in mind that Kanar is played in a swamp. The weather is often unpredictable, and there are lots of bugs! Nudity is NOT allowed at any time. Take a look at our costuming advice and guides.
1) Weapons Creation
This section is under construction and will be updated when official content is available. If you have any questions please contact the the Play Master.
2) Spell Packets
Currently the standard for spell packets is tennis balls, please use regular tennis balls NOT ones that are made for dogs. Ones for dogs are much harder than standard and are not approved for projectile use on field.
Preparing for the Game
1) New Player Checklist
Download and print off a copy of the New Player Checklist to make it easy to get on field.
When arriving at Kanar, the first thing you’ll notice is our small designation sign. You’ll have to look carefully for it. It’s a simple white plaque with the numbers 10418 painted in black. Our parking lot is essentially a long driveway with parking on either side. Please park as close to the next car as possible to ensure that as many cars as possible can fit in our lot, as sometimes we are filled to capacity!
At the other end of our parking lot, you’ll find our check-in shed. A table on its front porch holds the very important Sign-In book. You’ll need to write in your name/contact info and check the box that says “First Event.” This helps us keep track of all of our players for insurance purposes and contact them for important administrative tasks (such as annual registration forms).
There is typically a staff person near the check-in shed to assist you at this point. Please speak to them before entering the game area; you’ll need a few quick tutorials about game rules to verify that you know such things as safety rules and to check/verify your weapons. If you’re not sure what you should be doing, tell someone you’re a new player, and they’ll direct you to a staff member. All weapons must be approved by Play Master staff every event to ensure their safety!
3) Bring extra money with you
Extra money is a good thing to bring to cover things like food and water. Sometimes people bring out items they've made to sell, such as leather goods, garb, pottery, weapons, etc. After events, a lot of players like to go to a restaurant and have dinner while talking about the event. Check the Facebook Group for additional Information or ask fellow players.
4) Items to bring to an event
Garb / Costume – You must be in costume in order to play Kanar. This helps the atmosphere of the game and is fun to do. Keep in mind Kanar is played outdoors, in all kinds of weather. You will get soaked and muddy at some point. You might want to bring a spare set of garb to change into. If you don't have any garb of your own, contact the Quarter Master or post in the Facebook group for assistance.
A set of dry, clean clothes (mundane) to change into Sunday, after the game – While it is fun to go to a restaurant after an event in costume, changing into mundane clothing has its own benefits. For one, it feels great to put on a nice, dry, clean T-shirt and jeans after wearing the same clothing that's been soaked in bug spray, mud, smoke, sweat, and God only knows what else for three days. It also frames the event weekend and helps the return to the normal world. You started the event weekend by changing out of your mundane clothing and putting on your kit. Now, at the end of the event, you change out of your kit and back into mundane clothing.
Several pairs of dry, clean socks kept in a Ziploc bag – Did I mention that it often rains? Running around in wet, soggy, squishy socks isn't fun. It's nice to be able to put on dry, clean socks. While it rarely gets too horrible, I suggest you think of how many pairs of socks is enough, then double that number. Sometimes it’s dry, but sometimes is gets REALLY swampy on the field of play.
Any props you will be using – this includes weapons, spell books, spell packets, coins, item tags, etc.
Feast gear – If you're going to eat out there, you want something to hold your food and drink. A simple board can be used for a plate if you want. Wooden bowls can be picked up from thrift stores. There are also living history/reenactment festivals and shows in the area that have merchants who sell suitable items, and there are several merchants online who carry a good line of feast gear.
"Jas. Townsend and Smoke & Fire are two merchants who sell to colonial/Rev. War/mountain man re-enactors. Historic Enterprises sells medieval replicas." -- Alexander Nicholas
At the very least, you should have a bowl, cup, and flatware (knife and spoon). You can add more if you wish, but keep in mind you will need a place to store it when you don't need it. Ceramic and glass are bad items for events, as these will likely get broken. Metal and wood are the preferred materials to use for feastware. Fancier feastware can still be utilized! Kanar hosts what we call a Winter Feast, where everyone dresses up and dines together. It’s the perfect time to use nice or fragile utensils.
Food and water – KGE is not responsible for providing food or water. That being said, Kanar makes every effort to have enough water for players to drink to help keep you hydrated. There typically is at least a case of water and / or a cooler full of water in the Safety Shed in the middle of town. In addition, each house (sort of like a guild or a fraternity/sorority) brings beverages for their own members and will typically share when asked. There also are some players who occasionally sell food and/or beverages in the middle of town for in-game coin.
Often people in various households will cook food and share with others. While this is nice, it does cost them money to buy the food. Plus, they are cooking it and dealing with the cleanup that goes with hosting. If you partake of this generosity, give the cook a few dollars to help defray the cost of the food. If you can't afford to give money, offer to wash dishes and help clean up, or another task that benefits their household.
"Bring some jerky, cheese, and dried fruit to snack on. A bota bottle or canteen to carry water (not pop!) with you on modules is a great idea." -- Alexander Nicholas
A small cooler to keep food/drinks in – Something to keep your food and drinks cool in is a good thing to bring. When you have it on the field, please cover it with a cloth, or get a small wooden chest to put it in to keep it hidden and help the atmosphere. Many players leave small coolers in their car and take a few minutes to relax out of character and rehydrate.
Bug Spray / Repellent – Kanar is played in the woods, which is home to mosquitoes that will swarm you and leave you a dried-out husk, as well as many other bugs and crawly things, such as ticks. Liberal application of bug repellant is a survival necessity. Some people have better luck with other bug repellants, such as clip-on repellants. You’ll have to re-apply repellant multiple times, so make sure to bring enough for yourself! Find what works for you and use it. Also, be sure to check every so often for ticks, especially when you get home and can remove your clothing to check all over.
First Aid Kit – Nothing kills a weekend faster than an injury. While KGE provides a safe environment to play in, accidents happen. Almost all of the injuries are minor: cuts and scrapes, bruises, minor burns, twisted ankles, etc. Having a few bandages, alcohol pads, ice pack (the kind where you mix two chemicals together and the bag gets cold), aspirin, burn cream, etc. handy is a big help. You can find small first-aid kits at most stores like Walmart and Target for around $10.
A notebook and pen / pencil – This can be a journal, in-game diary, or just a spiral notebook that you keep in-game notes in so that you don't forget important information between events, like who taught you a skill on field or the name of the town you'll be going on an adventure to.
Weapon making supplies – Keep some extra padding and duct tape in your car just in case your weapon breaks. Some people keep a "whetstone" with them – a length of duct tape rolled up into a small package for quick on-field repairs.
A flashlight – Use this for emergencies only. A small flashlight is handy to have when someone drops something at night, or if you get lost in the woods at night. If you can, get a red lens for it; this helps you keep your night vision.
Trash bags – Trash bags are necessary for cleaning up your area and keeping the field clean. Respect the field you play on and your fellow players; please clean up after yourself. If you smoke, field dress your butts and do NOT toss them anywhere but appropriate containers, such as an approved fire pit, or your own pouch. There are designated smoking areas to help minimize cigarette trash. If the field is declared “trashed” after an event by the BLD staff, all players may lose their XP for that event. (This hasn't happened in a very long time and we'd like it to stay that way!)
5) Don't bring anything to the field that you wouldn't want to lose
Some people have fancy garb that they want to wear. Others have nice glass or ceramic dishes to use for feast gear. Keep in mind that the game is played outside, in all kinds of weather. That nice ceramic mug you brought out? It could easily fall onto the ground, hit a rock, and smash into pieces. That nice piece of garb? Soaked with mud that won't wash out. Bring out the really fragile and nice stuff at courts and special parties that aren't held on the field. Even things you wouldn’t normally consider leaving at home, at least consider leaving in your car: wedding rings, wallets, phones, house keys, earrings, etc. Things are more easily lost or damaged on field then you’d imagine, and they’re nearly impossible to find again. We cannot stress this enough!! Do not bring valuables into the swamp!
6) Sleeping Arrangements
There are a few options if you want to stay on or near the field at night. KGE land does not have running water, electricity, or any sort of cabin facility, so there is a level of planning required. What option you choose will depend on the amount of planning needed, however.
Some people sleep in their cars in the parking lot. You will hear all manner of things during the entire night, so if you’re a light sleeper, this might not be a good option for you.
Some players sleep on field, meaning they are “in-game” or in character while they’re asleep. This is risky, as creatures roam the woods for all hours of the night, but some wouldn’t have it any other way.
On field there is an out-of-game area we call Tent City. An out-of-game area means that game rules (combat, spell effects, and theft of in-game items) are not permitted here; you are out of character (much like the parking lot). It’s a short walk from the parking lot, and there are typically wagons at the check-in shed for transporting your gear to and from the small campground.
Please remember that during game hours (from 5:00 pm Friday to 5:00 pm Sunday) cars are not allowed on the land, thus you will have to carry or cart your items to Tent City on foot. Modern tents, sleeping bags, and other comforts are perfectly acceptable here. Please remember to pack it in, pack it out; leave no garbage (even cigarette butts) behind when you leave. If you start a fire in Tent City (or in any of the households), you are responsible for watching the fire until it is out. Fires cannot be left unattended on KGE land.
There are a couple of local hotels, as well, for those who live farther away but prefer modern comforts.
In the town of Milan (Northwest of Kanar) there are 2 options:
Sleep Inn & Suites, 1230 Dexter St., Milan, MI 48160 (734) 439-1400
Star Motel (335 E Lewis Ave, Milan, MI 48160) (734) 439-2448
In the town of Dundee (Southwest of Kanar) there are 4 options.
Holiday Inn Dundee, 100 Whitetail Dr, Dundee, MI 48131 (734) 529-5100
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, 665 Tecumseh Street, Dundee, MI 48131 (734) 529-8822
Quality Inn, 111 Waterstradt Commerce Dr, Dundee, MI 48131 (734) 529-5240
Days Inn & Suites Dundee, 130 US & M-50, Dundee, MI 48131 (734) 529-5505
Playing the Game
1) Explore the area
There are several trails in the woods and knowing your way around them will help you when you need it most. Sometimes you will find interesting travelers on or near them. However, if you leave the trails, you will invariably find more interesting adventures, and perhaps a monster or two to practice your fighting skills on (especially if you've let the GM's know that you're going exploring).
2) Talk to People
Talk to the mysterious fellow sitting in the corner of the tavern or the shopkeeper walking down the trail. Everyone has information to share, although not all of it will necessarily apply to your situation. If you see a group of people talking, approach them politely and ask if you can join in on their conversation. Voice your opinion. Tell tales of your past. Sing songs, or play an instrument. Then you will stick out in people's minds and they will enjoy interacting with you.
"At almost every LARP I attend, I make heavy use of the phrase, 'Pardon me, my name is <name>. I am new in town. Who should I talk to about <at this point you can really ask about anything: who is in charge, learning to fight, learning to cast spells, learning a trade, going on adventures, who makes the best meals, how can I help, how can I earn a few coins?>'
Most of the players you meet in the parking lot (out-of-character), and many of the characters you meet on the field (in-character) will be happy to help you out once you arrive.” -- Craig Jarvis
3) Make your own fun
Yes, you pay money to play Kanar, and with that payment comes some expectation of being entertained. There are lots of people who play Kanar, though, and this means that not everyone can get individual attention all of the time. The staff may be eating dinner, or they may not have enough players to play NPCs. The staff may even be letting the PCs "catch their breaths" from the last encounter. You can either sit around complaining or you can make your own fun.
"If you go to a GM with an equal number of NPCs as PCs going to look for a goblin cave, I'll almost guarantee you'll find one somewhere." -- Erich O.
Work at the tavern, deliver messages, stand a watch with the town guard, make up a job you think needs doing and tell people you are willing to do it. This is a good way to introduce yourself to others in-game and keep busy.
Show up to each event with one or more things to accomplish each day of the event. Go to the staff and volunteer to be an NPC for them. Get a bunch of people involved in your fun and make some fun for them. Your addition to the efforts of the staff will make the game that much richer and will keep you from being bored as well.
4) Visit in-game establishments and households
These are central gathering places for many people with similar interests. Everybody spends time in the tavern; the various households are often open to visitors as well. Each household has its own character, and the best way to get to know them is to visit them.
5) Don't join a household right away
When you first start playing, it's tempting to join a household right away. Households offer additional protection, camaraderie, dinners, etc. Often, new players will receive an invitation into a household within their first event. Try and resist this temptation. Each household has its own personality, and you need some time to figure out which household fits you best, and vice versa. Also, by waiting a few events, you can get a better handle on your character's personality.
"Personally, I recommend everyone plays the game for at least one year before deciding to join a house. Even if you are certain you want to be a part of a specific house, wait a year before dedicating to it." -- Tashina O.
6) Take chances in-game
Take chances in the game. This is a good way to get involved with things. Sometimes charging into a mob of monsters is what's needed to break a stalemate and win the day. Of course, sometimes charging into a mob will have less desirable results, but there are people around to heal your character back to full health.
7) Play with others
While hoarding information may seem like a great way to be the hero of the story, sharing information and working together helps get the plot solved, and more importantly, builds camaraderie.
8) Stay in character
Your entire role playing experience will be improved ten-fold if you make the effort to remain in character. Role playing is contagious and if you can stay in character no matter what, then those around you will do the same.
In-game, there is a “drunk tax.” This is a 2 silver charge that anyone caught falling out of character may be charged, because they “obviously must be drunk.”
"Drunk Tax Enforcement with lots of new faces in Ilveresh this season, the Town Watch would like to take the opportunity to remind citizens that there is a tax for public drunkenness. If any person is caught openly speaking of things not of this realm, referring to their fairy boxes, talking as if not themselves, or repeatedly putting their hand on their head to say things out of turn, a charge of 2 silver can be levied against them by any persons that point out their intoxication. If a discussion needs to happen with a representative of the realm, please tell them you have an issue of Marshal importance and kindly ask them to meet you in private. The Town Watch will not be collecting drunk taxes for the first few months of the year, but will gently be reminding those new to town to please stay sober in their speech and actions, least they to be taxed. Town Watch cannot stop other citizens from calling for a tax on drunkenness." -- Captain Kora of the Town Watch
9) Just because it's different doesn't mean you have to kill it
Not all NPCs are evil. Some NPCs will interact with you. Not all NPCs want your head on a stick; some might even want to help you. Learn to recognize which is which and your life will be much easier.
This is how you learn about larger plots and issues. Sometimes your enemies will let a bit of information slip as you fight them. Pay attention to this. It may help you figure out the larger picture.
10) Don't be afraid to be different
We're all here to have fun and you'll have more fun if you aren't worried about impressing others or "being cool." Don't be afraid to be different or to do what you think your character would do.
11) Pay attention to what's going on around you; stick your nose into other people's business
Find out everything you can about the other characters and their dealings. Be the person everyone goes to for information. This can get you involved with a lot of plots. You can also become involved with all the other characters' plots as well. Not only will you know what the other characters are looking for, but you can also bring together characters that have something the others need or want. If one character has found an important artifact that another is looking for, you could be the one to bring them together and save the day. Eventually the players will start coming to you as a source of information.
12) Don't be scared unless it's part of your character
Too often, the Inn and households are full of players while NPCs wait in vain in the woods to interact with someone. At the end of the weekend, the players complain that nothing happened. The best advice is to jump at any opportunity offered. Offer to help anyone looking for assistance, no matter who it is. Even though in real life you know there may be a trap waiting at the end of the trail, go for it. It may lead to something else. Or perhaps, you can get the better of the situation and come out ahead. It's one thing if you're playing a cowardly character, but, after all, you've paid to find adventure, why not seek it out. Sitting in the tavern isn't always the best way.
13) Have a "Battle Buddy"
It's always nice to have someone watching your back when trouble hits. Having a battle buddy ensures there's someone there to warn you, or fight by your side and help you out of danger, and vice versa. When you travel the trails, bring a friend or two along to be prepared for the unexpected. You'll find that your survival chances improve when you do.
14) Don't hoard in-game money
Being the richest character in the game really doesn't have that many benefits and will often make your character a target for thieves. Why hoard that money? Instead, use it to add fun to your role playing experience and those of other players. Hire some underlings, pay some guards, bribe the nobles; there are many ways to turn simple coinage into memorable experiences for all, but money sitting in a pouch doesn't really do anything.
15) Keep Notes
Even if your character can't read, you can. Don't be afraid to keep notes. If your character can't write, keep notes secretly. Many times something that came up months ago has some bearing on this event's plot. If you can't remember what it is, you might as well not have seen it. Write it down now and use it later.
16) If it glows, run.
More often than not, something glowing means tough monsters that new characters cannot handle. Sometimes older characters cannot handle them either. Running away is usually a good thing to do in this case.
17) Post Event: What's a Sign-Out and why should I do one?
Completing a Sign-Out is how we keep track of your character progress. Remember, if the CBD doesn't have your skills on file, you don't have your skills in-game.
Sign-outs for an event are accepted up to 8 days following an event. This allows the CBD staff time to complete your sign-out and update your character sheet for the next event. Character Updates are emailed in spreadsheet format. If you have multiple characters, only one sign-out for one character can be submitted.
In the "Between Events" portion, you should place your character's plans between events. Everything from crafting to traveling to researching should be put here in as much detail as possible. The more you give, the more you get. A character can perform one task, and a player can submit one sign-out per event. If a player has multiple characters, he can only complete a sign-out for one character.
Once your sign-out has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation email with all of the information you gave. We suggest keeping these emails for your own records. Any other questions may be submitted via email. The email addresses for all Kanar Staff members can be found on our Staff page.
18) Post Event: After Event Meal
Come have a meal with your fellow LARPers after the end of the event to relax, wind down, and chat about the event. "Afters" is a monthly post-event meal, that takes place at the Dundee Applebee’s, about 10 minutes southwest of the field. Check out the Facebook Page for more information.
1) Play an NPC at least once each event day
While the people running themes would love to have lots of encounters to move their plot along, oftentimes they cannot do this because they have nobody to play the NPCs. If everyone played at least one NPC each event day, the GM staff could run random encounters and larger encounters. If you cannot participate in combat (or don't want to participate in combat) there are many types of non-combative characters to play.
To NPC you just need to find a GM and inform them you wish to NPC. If you can bring more people with you, the GM can do larger plots or adventures. A common phrase used to ask other people if they are willing to NPC is "I'm going on patrol" or “Would you like to go on patrol?” or something along those lines.
2) NPCs should always say "Yes!"
This is similar to saying "yes" to adventure, but for NPCs it's even more important. A good piece of advice in improvisational theater is to always say yes. If the improviser is asked any question and they reply "yes," the improvisation can continue. However, if the improviser replies, "no", there's nowhere else to go and the improvisation must end. Since LARPing is a form of improvisation, this advice is very useful for both player characters and especially NPCs.
Player characters have their own history which shouldn't be altered to fit the circumstance, or it becomes confusing (unless you are playing a liar). Non-player Characters, on the other hand, have a very vague background and, since they are meant to entertain as many players as possible, they are able to add to this background when needed. Because of this, there is no reason why an NPC that is sent out to interact with one player cannot interact with others as well.
For example, an NPC criminal is captured by the players and is interrogated. During his interrogation it is revealed that the criminal is from a certain town. Another player character that is searching for her missing family hears this and questions the criminal after he is sentenced to death. "You're from Tarn? Have you ever heard of Marley Darkhand?" "Yes," replies the NPC. "What have you heard?" "I've heard he is a man to be reckoned with," replies the NPC. This makes the player very happy and lets the improvisation continue. "Have you heard anything else?" "Yes," replies the NPC. "You have to help me escape before I tell you." Now the NPC can be led off to the jail giving him time to talk to the theme marshals and find out how to use the conversation for future role playing. Simply by saying "Yes," this NPC has made a paying customer happy and has opened the door for added plot development.
3) Thank the marshals and NPCs every event
These are the people who work through the event to try to make your event enjoyable. They sit in the check-in shed waiting for people to sign in. They think up plots and themes that they hope will keep you entertained. They work between events to improve the rules, put a setting in place, update your characters and a whole bunch of other stuff. Usually they only get complaints as payment for their efforts, which wear them down and burn them out. Without them, you'd be sitting in town bored. They deserve to be thanked every event.
4) Use and read the Facebook page and group
Kanar has a Facebook group. This is an excellent way to share information and opinions between events. Official announcements are made on there, the website, and the official Facebook page as well. Read them; post on them. If you do not have a computer, try and find one in your local library. This is a valuable resource.
5) Remember that the staff are human, too
There are times when it seems as if the staff members are out to get you: Bad calls, a module or theme that went pear shaped for you, and ideas that you think are great for the game that don't get used, happen to players. When this happens, take a deep breath, calm down and realize that mistakes happen. Nobody is omniscient or perfect. When you are calm, talk to the people who goofed and ask them why they did what they did. Perhaps they have an excellent reason for it. Perhaps it was a mistake. By talking to them as people, rather than idiots, you'll get a lot further.
6) Don't get involved in the running of Kanar for several years
The temptation to want to help KGE is strong in some people. They really like Kanar and want to help out. The problem is, they run for a position, get it, then get yelled at, receive complaints, and wind up burned out in a couple of years. They see the man behind the curtain and become disillusioned.
Wait a couple of years. Learn what Kanar is. Help out by playing NPCs – there are never enough of them. If you're really interested in the behind-the-scenes running of Kanar, go to Board of Director (BOD) meetings. Read and understand the SOPs. Talk to the members of the BOD. Keep up with the agendas and minutes. If you still want to help out, start by being a member of staff (not the head of the department). Run a module or two. Write a plot. Sew some tags into NPC garb. Help build a trail. Start small and work your way up.
7) If you have a question about the rules, ask a Play Master (PM)
It might be tempting to ask a fellow player, and for things like "how much damage do I call with my sword," you are probably OK asking another player. Sometimes, though, a player will have a question about a rule that isn't quite worded clearly. In the past, this has resulted in many players misusing a skill or spell because they didn't ask the PM staff. The PMs are the ones who enforce the rules, and it's their interpretation of the rules that matter. Therefore, you should go to them if you have a question about a rule. Check to see who's a PM via the Staff page.
When looking for a PM or a Game Master (GM) for an out-of-game reason, you can ask other characters in-game using phrases like "question of marshal importance," "seeking the powers that be," "in sooth." (This one is also used when asking any out-of-game question such as "In sooth, are you actually hurt or are your acting?")
"Don't know what something does when it hits you? Just drop and play dead. It is better to figure it out after than ruining the immersion for folks by having to ask during the fight.” -- John Pruitt
8) Practice your sword work
Fighting isn't something people just know how to do. It takes practice to be good. Unlike tabletop or computer games, your skill level doesn't just go up as you gain levels. You need to practice to be good at it.
Being good at fighting is important to any LARP. For one thing, you get more enjoyment from fighting because you know what you're doing, and the fight changes from a matter of luck to being able to use strategies and skill to win. You also are a safer fighter because you know how to throw a good shot and have better control over your weapon.
There are several ways to practice. One way is to do pell work at home. Set up a pell in your backyard and slowly throw various shots while moving around the pell. If you need some drills, do a web search for "pell drills" or "SCA pell drills." This will give you practice in the footwork and mechanics of fighting, as well as targeting.
Grab a bunch of friends and have a weekly practice. Practice against a single opponent and in teams. Use "King's rules" for these practices. Even though the game itself doesn't do this, if you get good at not getting hit through the use of King's rules, you won't get hit in-game and you'll be able to fight longer. When teamed up, use strategies and tactics to beat your foe. Learn them in practice and you'll be able to use them in-game.
Lastly, if you have no outside time at all, then use down time in-game to spar on high trail. Grab other people and practice.
9) Stupid things you do will haunt you for the rest of your life
So there was this time during Agelong when a rogue was on high trail with some friends. Combat broke out, and in the melee she silent killed someone. Turns out she had just killed a friend. Thus, the legend of "Friendly Fire Felicity" was born.
You will do silly things that, in retrospect, you probably shouldn't have done: accidentally hitting a barbarian ally with a damage causing spell, forgetting to call damage in combat, running into a tree. All of these things have been done at various times in Kanar, and the stories about those incidents live on. Worse, they often get embellished. Keep in mind, these stories are often told in jest and no real harm is intended. Laugh along and realize that everyone has those moments sooner or later.
10) Keep your wits about you
It's easy to get swept away in the moment, especially in combat. Remember that you aren't able to leap from 20' up, do a somersault in mid air, land on the ground with a perfect roll and come up in perfect position to skewer your opponent. Keep the safety rules in mind, and don't be afraid to stop things (learn how to call a HOLD in the Rulebook) if they are escalating out of control. Look before you act. Take a moment and evaluate the situation.
11) If the game is no longer fun, take a break
Sometimes the game gets overwhelming. Sometimes something happens that throws you out of the immersion of the game. It can be something like getting hit in the same spot over and over, or a plot that keeps beating you down. Whatever it is, you find that you're not enjoying the game. You may even find yourself getting angry over the game.
Take a break, even if this means walking out in the middle of combat. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Talk to the game staff and let them know what's happening. If need be, take a few events off and come back when your head's clear and you can have fun again.
12) Leave your in-game troubles in-game
In the course of game play, your character might get into a feud with other characters, or your household might be "at war" with another household. In-game disagreements happen, just as they do in real life. Unlike real life, though, when the game is over for the next month, you don't have to worry about it, and you shouldn't.
At the end of the event, go up to your in-game enemy and compliment them on something they did that weekend. Chat for a while about what happened during that event. Realize that his character is your character's enemy, and that -he- is not -your- enemy.
"Don't take things that happen in-game personally. If you get into an argument with someone on field, or they're impolite to you or mean or whatever, never assume that's what the person is really like or that they mean it towards YOU. I once got into such a screaming fight with a friend on the field that people were confused when we burst out laughing about it once we hit the parking lot." -- Leslie Caradina
13) Keep all valuables either on your person or locked in your car
As much as we'd like to trust our fellow players, there are a few who don't respect other people. In addition, while you're in the woods, a passersby can stop and loot the parked cars without anyone knowing. Keep valuables hidden and they won't be a temptation to others.
14) Learn to give (and take) constructive criticism
This is a hard one. It's easy to say "I didn't have fun this event," but it's harder to say why for many people. The game staff cannot improve the game if they don't know what's wrong. Telling them that the modules were overpowered for the characters that went on them or that there weren't enough encounters helps the staff figure out what needs to be improved on.
15) Listen to the older players, even if they no longer play
Many of the older players have a different perspective on Kanar than those who are still playing. They no longer have the "shiny new" outlook on Kanar; many have made mistakes while playing and running Kanar. They don't have an iron in the fire and so can and will suggest things that someone playing the game wouldn't for fear of affecting their character. They may not be up to date on all of the current affairs of Kanar, but many of them do have a good grasp of what's going on.
16) Your actions (in and out-of-game) have an impact on a lot of people
Watch what happens when one person breaks character; before you know it, there's a whole group of people out of character. If you strive to make your kit (garb and accessories) more period, others around you will eventually do likewise and it will spread. If you're in a bad mood, it will spread to other players. This happens both in and out-of-game. You decide what kind of example you want to be. Eventually, you will be the veteran player that new players look to as an example.
17) Have fun!
This is the most important piece of advice anyone can give a person interested in pursuing live role playing as a hobby. It's all well and good to be serious about your role playing and to stay in character throughout the event, but the bottom line is that you are there to interact with your friends, do something exciting and have fun. After all, these role playing events cost a certain amount of money. Why pay to have a bad time? Relax a little, get crazy and have a good time.
18) Remember – It's just a game
This follows from the previous tip. One reason for participating in a role playing game, whether it be through a tabletop or live action venue, is to try different solutions to the problems presented to see how they work out without the fear of real-life laws and retribution hanging over your head. A participant in a role playing game might try to steal an item that he or she needs and is unable to obtain through honest methods. If the player is caught in-game, they may suffer some in-game punishment, but will have learned that perhaps another alternative may have been wiser. In real life, this would not be true. Therefore, if your character has some setback in-game, enjoy it. These setbacks are what give your character the rich background that make for future interaction and make you a prime target for future plots. Don't get mad; use the setback for a character twist.
Original Version written by Alexander Nicholas. Thanks to Tashi, Matty, Elise, Karigan, Allison, and Caitlin who contributed a great deal of time to it as well.