Quebec Larps, a major issue…

Posted: 29th March 2014 by Epic Armoury blog in Inside Larping
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I had a conversation with Ludovic Letellier from les Chroniques D’Aeon. A local Quebec Larp chapter, who asked me a simple question that made me think a lot. I realized that we will soon reach a limit of the number of plots of land very soon. Everyone knows that there is a huge increase in the number of larps due to the growing demand from players.  The industry is following close behind, supplying products and ideas, but the Government is lagging far behind. The regional municipal bylaws and  federal forestry laws prevent us from playing on good land, categorizing Larps under campgrounds or outdoor sporting events. And although National parks do not find camping and hiking detrimental to the environment the Ministry of Natural Resources do.   Claiming that we are preventing the ferns from naturally growing.  This is impossible you say…I claim this because I was there to hear it with my own ears.  We were actually kicked out of an amazing piece of land for that exact reason.

bico-2012-002At the time we owned Bestarius Grandeur Nature (Larp), and we had about 50 players playing on undeveloped land.  We rented it out from a man and started to set up our tents in the clearings when we got a notice from the government calling us to a meeting. To make a very long story short we were told that we can cut every tree down and sell it as fire wood and start a pig farm but could not set up a larp because we would damage the land. And we are not the only one kick off other lots of land for about the same reason.

There is talk of an federation but that poses another problem, that calls on the government to get involved and that is never a good thing.  There lies another problem, if the federation does go through, fees will be incurred and rules imposed to follow government policies. Contracts will have to be signed, revenues and salaries declared union fees to be paid and that would be the end of a great thing. There will be hell to pay if the government gets involved.  There is barely enough money to get you by a season imagine if you declared your revenue and were forced to pay the actors guild salaries to your animators.

The scarcity of lands have driven up the rental prices and some owners have raised their prices out of reach for events under 150 players. Leaving only the largest events with the nicest places to play. Some owners have become greedy and demanding but there still might be hope out there. Some landlords rent out their fields to smaller larps charging reasonable amounts, but they are becoming scarce. I foresee  a movement between the larps.  There will be bands of larps joining together to buy their own lands to operate their own personal Larps on. They need to do so to be able to operate. I wish it was as simple as in Europe but i guess we have to deal with it.

Is larping a Fad?

Posted: 19th March 2014 by Epic Armoury blog in Uncategorized
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Inspirational larp characters

There are some that say that larping is a fad, a flash in the pants played by sissies. I say come and try it and you will see that we are here to stay.  I’ve been in the business and I have seen a steady growth in the industry, but the last five years was the largest so far. Larping is fast becoming the favorite outdoor event amongst geeks and thrill seekers. It is an event that a parent can bring his teenager to and enjoy together.  Larping is not too far off coslay, the only main difference is that we do not base ourselves on comic book characters rather a mix between fantasy and reality. Although there is some crossover between the two, larpers mainly focus on one main character while a cosplayer will seek to create a new character at every event.  But we have the same goal…the uniqueness of our character.

Larping started with a large following of mostly historical nature and confined themselves to the medieval period, but times have changed. With the advent of hyper fantasy medieval films such as Conan and the Lord of the Rings, larping drew upon the imagination of these fantasy worlds and developed a huge range of realms. The funny part i that it seems that there is almost a family tree that can be drawn stemming from the roots that interconnect all larps. The essence of this culture resides in the gaming community and the fertile imagination of Gary Gygax, a pioneer and icon in the gaming community. Almost every larp tries to be better than the next, developing a different style of game, developing its own rules and imaginative settings.

There is no sign that this game is going anywhere but up. Costuming used to be rare and expensive but now it is more accessible to all, and the same goes for Larps. Every now and then I will hear of a new Larp starting up, and even though I think there are enough in certain areas, I am proved wrong.  I truly believe there is no age or discrimination in Larping, I have seen it all, from 6 – 72 years old, in a wheel chair, from nerd to lawyer.  Some go to get out of their shell (as a kind of therapy), some to fight (For the exercise) and some go and relax, to get a break from life. To resign one’s self to the game is easy, just think of the event as a dream, where you are the main character and focus on the moment and the setting in which you are.  The rest happens all by itself.

With the advent of video games and the internet, visions of far off worlds fantasy came easy.  And more and more big budget movies allow us to immerse ourselves into certain types of characters.  The way i see it if the movie and video game industry has noticed that the key to success is through imagination then why would larping ever become a fad.

An idea for the Dark Arts….

Posted: 15th March 2014 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Costumes
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We all know for a fact that any character participating in the dark arts known as witchcraft can never show their true nature or be caught carrying pertinent information with them. They dare not show their true colors to the people in the village or arouse suspicion. The fact that they dabble in the arts is enough to get them killed and are usually less trusted.  Needless to say that you should never be seen with or around them unless of course if you prefer their company.  There are thousands of ways to get around the peasant folk to do your deeds, but you must be wise and try to gain their trust before alerting them to your craft.

501872-Large-medieval-book

Useful for any mage!

Any shaman or dark wizard carries a book of spells, and within its pages are usually incriminating evidence that the local magistrates should never be aware of. One great idea we had was to use black light paint on objects so that secrets remain hidden.  Black light paint can be found that becomes transparent and can only be viewed with the help of a black light lamp. The lamps can be found in several formats, led flashlights, portable neon lights etc… The best would be to mount it on a staff or wand and used to reveal your writings. Get creative to hide the light, I am quite sure you can think of something. The UV Paint could be found in marker format, permanent ink or liquid for larger surfaces.  You can mark trees with information, scrolls for hidden spells on people to symbolise possession. Use your imagination to create something new!

Try to have a duel costume, one to get around unnoticed and the other to practice your magic and perform sacrifices. Remember that theatrics are what is needed to conceal your true identity.  A double lined reversible cloak can be one idea, or a mask another.  Costuming is a simple way to quickly change and reappear unnoticed and easier to blend into a crowd.  Always carry a locked chest to hide your crow’s feet and pickled toads. Try not to dress in black with upside down crosses, or anything that gives away your intent. This does not mean that you should not have props, to the contrary, just give your props a good background and make everything you have useful.

Any evil person should know well in advance that a lot of what you do is solitary. Any mage knows that you should never reveal your secrets, even to your kin or King. You will often find yourself performing a ritual somewhere alone in the woods, where your victims screams cannot be heard. Use the black light paint to mark your way and to find your way back, and to set glyph’s of warding to unsuspecting travelers.  Never bring real candles into the woods or do anything that may cause injury, remember that an accident is called an accident for a reason and you cannot always predict what can happen in advance.

Get deep into your character, reach into your own fears to create a memorable character. Read up on your local larp chapters to find out the past history, sometimes they will post old game stories and backgrounds that will help you lend a little depth to your character. Maybe bring to life an old religion or a reincarnation of a powerful evil lord.  No matter what remember to have fun!

Why doesn’t my armor fit well…

Posted: 8th March 2014 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Armor
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Larping armor can sometimes be cumbersome and heavy but adventurers are more than eager to wear it in battle. They are usually willing to go through hell to look good, but sometimes they take total disregard to safety, their own and to others. Remember that this is a game and safety is of the utmost importance.  Not only can you cut and bruise yourself if the armor is badly made but you can also do it to others and ruin other adventurers equipment. Don’t let wearing medieval armor go to your head, you might feel invincible but the armor might not want to bend the way you want to.  A good way to avoid injury is by wearing a good padded gambeson. The padding will prevent injury and remove some of the weight.

The Medieval Warrior

The Medieval Warrior

Most people do not know but armor has a specific length easily determined by ones-self. The length of the breast plate should be no longer than 2 inches below the navel (belly button). This prevents the armor to suddenly rise up and hit you under the chin when in a crouched position.  No gambeson or padding will prevent getting hurt, and trust me it hurts, a long time ago I learned the hard way. Another thing you need to consider is the distance between the two arms, to small not enough protection, to large restriction of movement. A quick and easy way to figure this out is by extending your arms out in front of you and placing you palms together.  Get someone to measure the distance between your arms and add a maximum of one inch.  You will see that the gap is real small and this is normal. It is a common misconception that armor should cover the complete chest.

Remember to always check your armor before and after each event. Check and fix loose rivets on the plates and sharp edges along the ridges. Sweat really damages armor, more than most people know. Apply mink oil to all leather parts and coat the inside of your armor with oil or paint.

What to Consider when going to a LARP

Posted: 2nd March 2014 by Epic Armoury blog in Inside Larping
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Larp life in Quebec

To properly insert yourself into a medieval fantasy role, you will need to wear the appropriate costume.  This will range from the entry level, or beginners equipment, made from old or recycled clothing to the more elaborate bought costumes made from top end suppliers.  Clothing needs will vary from season to season and character to character.  Remember to pack for every environment always pack more than you need.  The most important part of any  costume is footwear.  Often overlooked, your feet are always the first things that need protecting, a good pair of waterproof boots are strongly suggested.

The next thing you will need is camping gear and cookware. A weather appropriate sleeping bag and pillow and tent is the absolute minimum. We suggest a towel,  soap and a bucket or bowl, in case you wear makeup or if you are dirty.  Dry foods are the easiest and the quickest way to nourish yourself during the event, since you never know where you will be on the field and when you will need a sack. Bottles of water are essential to keep hydrated, running and fighting will take its toll on you.

Remember that this is an world you wish to immerse yourself in, so please do not wear any modern clothing and leave your watches and mobile phones behind.  This will disturb the ambiance they are trying to create and ruins it for those already in their roles. If you are not sure on what your character needs be feel part of the game, just chat with the event organisers and they will be able to suggest something to you.

Latex Larp Masks

Posted: 14th June 2013 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Special Effects
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A lot of you out there know the problems with larping in masks.  Especially if you are an event organizer. In the past mask manufacturers were limited in producing quality masks made to endure the larp environment as well as creating models with cheap finishes.  Also traditional masks are usually to hard to see, breath and hear through and were intended mainly for costume and not theatrical events.  Epic Armoury Canada has solved this problem and has brought in a new era in ultimate affordable masks.

Here are a few things that are important when buying a Mask.

Vision…
A Larp mask should first provide maximum vision. By creating large eye holes our masks allow the wearer to see the blows before they hit you. As an animator i know that this is what usually kills us when playing beasts, the annoying lack of vision and constant itching because of ill designed masks usually discouraged us from playing beasts too often.  But our masks got rid of that problem and included padding above the eyebrows for comfort, prevents beads of sweat in the eyes and prevents mask movement on the face.

Latex orc mask from epic armoury canada

Latex orc mask from epic armoury canada

Breathing…Keeping cool and breathing is always a problem with most masks. It seems as if the people that make masks leave out that crucial element in all their designs.  We are pleased to say that our masks do not have that problem.  By deliberately larger breathing holes and leaving the mouth area open, you get the proper airflow necessary to participate in epic battles. You would not believe how many NPC’s nearly passed out on the battle field.  You have to remember that in Canada the humidity level is very high and combined with the heat conditions are usually less than favorable for wearing latex masks. Ours masks make thing a little easier!

Hearing…The less you hear the faster you die. That is the rule of thumb in combat, not only the attacks from your enemies but the call for help from your comrades. A team that sticks together will survive another day, but if your ears are covered over and all you can hear is the echo of your breathing and the crinkle of the latex in your mask, you will have a hard time to hear that twig crack behind you and the next you know is that you are dead. Our masks have the ear holes where they belong and are much wider than most.  Hearing is believing…lol!

Blood capsules

Blood capsules

Personalization…No matter the company you choose to buy your mask from you can always personalize it to your specifications by applying Epic Effects make-up to the hair or mask itself.  Use a little grey in hair to instantly age it, or any other color to change the effect. Pierce the mask and place a little bling, rings or piercings. Before putting on the mask do not forget to apply makeup to all exposed areas not covered by the mask making sure that it is darker around the eyes. Put in colored epic effects contact lenses to radically change the effect and use the blood capsule to add drama!

 

Latex Larp weapons have been readily available for purchase for last 15 years, but since the first generation of weapons manufacturers have since perfected their arts and are now creating more safe and visually stunning pieces to help the avid larper immerse himself in his character.  Some companies in particular have rapidly accelerated this development and have taken leaps forward in the safety of potentially dangerous weapons. Epic Armoury is such a company, each of their larp weapons have received a CE certification, which stipulates that it passes all safety tests according to what the weapon was designed for.

Safety First!

Safety First!

Every aspect of a particular weapon is analyzed then tested over a 3 month period. Scrutinized by the design team, the latex weapon is then put to the test and used the way it was intended.  The weapon is subjected to tests such as the poke or jab test, simulating an attack on an opponent to see if the fiberglass rod will poke through the Kevlar and pierce the foam and latex.  The guard and the pommel get pulled and tugged to try to tear it from the shaft as if in real hand to hand combat.  Once they pass all the tests it is sent into production.

Safety is a real concern in larps, several companies out there produce products designed for intensive use and simulate real weight. Unlike these companies Epic Armoury produces weapons intended for larpers of all ages, regardless if they are armored or shirtless, these weapons will not injure, bruise or break any part of your anatomy.  The reality is that during larp’s it is the touch that counts, not how hard you hit the person.  Safety is a must because not to many larp’s have pricy insurances to cover their events.

Although the rapid advance in weapon safety amongst parents are still concerned when they see their kids whacking themselves with toy swords. That is why we developed an entire line of weapons that deal with their concerns.  The RFB brand of weapons are made for children who cannot control themselves during battle.  RFB stands for Ready For Battle. We inserted a thinner fiberglass core that is more flexible and will absorb greater impacts thus lessening the blow. Of coarse the Kevlar tip is there also, in case of accidental thrusting of the weapon. One must clearly explain to his child the importance of a controlled combat situation. In any combat the parent must show the child how to control his/her hits on the opponent by simulating the real weight of the weapon. It is easy to whack at someone uncontrollably but it is another  to pretend that the weapon is much heavier thus moves slower and makes aiming counts. A simple rule of thumb is to make sure the tip of the sword swings past the swordsman’s shoulder at every hit, slowing down the battle and making it easier to focus on your opponents weak spots.

Touch and Hit…the Larp miss!

Posted: 12th June 2013 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Weapons
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Some of you out there seem to not quite grasp the surreal world of Larping when it comes to the attack. Although weapons have gone a long way in the sense of durability and security, we believe that weapons are indestructible and hitting as hard we can has become common.  Although there is some truth to that it still does not change the fact that body injury is still a factor.  The birth of super foam weapons such as expandable foam gave us the false sense of security due to their resistance. However we often disregard the fact that foam can only compress so much before security becomes a real factor.

A happy larper

A happy larper is a good larper

It seems almost as if some of you out there cannot grasp your imagination and demand that larp weapon manufacturers supply you foam weapons that mimic the weight and rigidity of real weapons.  What are you guys thinking!  For the love of the high priest of Andorra just use your common sense, simulate the blows. You know when i was a kid we used to run around with homemade wood swords and simulate blows and the after effects and we would have a blast, playing it out in our heads while enacting the fight. Then falling down holding our chest screaming in pain as if we actually were stuck fatally.  The new age has removed some of this childish world from us, striped away our innocence and now encourages to strike our foes with as much force and anger as possible.

Where did we go wrong….
It is impossible to know exactly what prompts us to loose it on the battle field, either its too much testosterone, ego or Redbull rushing through our veins.  Whatever the reason we need to calm down and stay focused on the reason we play these geeky games…for pleasure!  Maybe the weapons are too realistic looking, maybe we should go back to duct tape weapons and cardboard shields and football pads for armor…or should we just be a little more sensitive an pull our shots a little.  Must we wait for an accident before making our move?  Should the manufactures create weapons that can, in no possible way, hurt us?  Truthfully i believe that companies like Epic Armoury Canada has done their best to create safe weapons, but ultimately the rest is up to you.

How to stop this anarchy…..
I would suggest that all the Larp organizers must start enforcing some sort of roughing laws, similar to any major sport out there.  Lets face it guys, this is a sport after all!  We wear equipment for protection and we create rules and regulations regarding Larp weapons but rarely penalize those who abuse and are too rough.  I recently participated in such an event, there was cheating on both fronts rarely did i see someone fake pain but i saw several cases of bruising from foam weapons that can only be labelled intentional.  C’mon guys, then you run back to the manufacturer and say their weapons break….really!  Needless to say that the organizer did very little to stop this believing that everyone chats so i might as well accept this.  The buck stops with you guys (organizers) if you put your foot down and kick out these guys you will force change.  If you don’t things can just get worse and those that will be held accountable will be you.

Larp Make-up

Posted: 8th April 2013 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Special Effects
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As you all know make-up during a Larp (live action role playing) can sometimes be a pain. Just the fact of trying to apply it when you are stuck out there in the bush can deter most anyone, leaving out the fact that is can be sometimes as hard to remove. That is why buying the right make-up is as important as your costume.

Make-up should not be hard to apply or remove, nor should it stain your clothing. It should be long lasting and comfortable to wear. Epic Armoury Canada produces its own high quality professional grade make-up that can live up to all your expectations.  Each color comes in a resealable plastic container and requires little water to apply.

Quality Make-up at low prices

Quality Make-up at low prices

Applying make-up can be done in a variety of ways using several different styles of sponges and brushes that will give you the desired effect that you need.  Simply humidify your applicator with water and they use the color of your choice.  You can mix and match colors on your skin to create depth and shading.  For example a large and porous sponge special effects stipple sponge is used to create a variety of special effects on the skin such as dilated pores, redness, irritations, burst blood vessels. A simple brush can be used to create defined lines, veins or tattoos. The trick to getting the desired effect is not to fear making a mistake.  Trial and error is normal for any make-up artist and you too!

The Epic brand makes make-up for larpers and the harsh environment for which they are used.  Our make-up will not run or itch.  In cases where there is excessive sweating you can use the setting spray.  This seals the pores and prolongs the life of your make-up. It can be applied on the face and body, in your hair and even on your latex weapon. It will not stain your clothing and can easily be washed off with a little soapy water. The make-up will not crack or peal and is hypoallergenic.

The Right Larp Armor

Posted: 1st March 2013 by Epic Armoury blog in Larp Armor
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The importance of wearing the appropriate metal armor makes all the difference in the world.  The ancient art of professional armor making is still reserved for the wealthy.  A properly fitted armor made by a master will feel as though you are wearing almost nothing…except if you do not consider the extreme weight. Finding the perfect armor online is near next to impossible, they are all made to fit most anyone and the major emphasis is put on design and not functionality.  Do not get me wrong,  you can wear them and they do seem comfortable enough, but they hardly compare to the made to measure works made by the masters.

Larp armor has both design and functionality. They are made tough and usually have a fantastic style that will appeal to most anyone. Epic Armoury Canada is one such company.  They carry a wide selection of armor parts that mix and match together to give you the most attractive armor that is battle ready and safe to use.  There should be no difference in functionality between fantasy armor and medieval armor, if fabricated properly they should be just as efficient.

Larp Gothic Armor

Larp Gothic Armor

You must be careful for backyard armories selling their works to unsuspecting warriors, mind you that most are great but some just should not be selling. The up and coming armourer does not know about the subtleties of armor fabrication and basic human anatomy. Some make major safety mistakes that could unnecessarily bruise or in some cases injure the wearer.  Common mistakes it the chest with and length, having a too wide chest prevents arm movement. A armor that is too long will raise up on you when you crunch down, this forces the armor upwards hitting you under the chin.  But the major problem with homemade armor is the edges, they must be rounded or rolled to prevent injury to others and to weapons.  You can also use leather to create a soft edge or tape in extreme cases.

What armor should you buy?

Now this is the important part.  Before purchasing any armor one must evaluate his fighting style, his attire(padding etc), his tolerance to heat and endurance and most importantly your budget.  When we first approach a client we ask questions about his fighting style, the types of weapons he will use, will it be used for any type of environment or just for the front lines.  Please remember that larps are much different than real battle, use a well ventilated helmet with sufficient vision.

Dark Warrior Armor

Dark Warrior Armor

Weapon style will influence the type or armor.  For instance if one is to use a two handed weapon you would need a chest plate that clings to the body with minimal distance on the chest plate between the arms.  To measure the distance, extend your arms in front of you, palm to palm, then measure the distance between your arms.  The average is usually around 9 inches, this may seem small but trust me you will thank me if you fight two handed style. The length of the chest plate should not be more than 2 inches below your belly button, this allows the body to bend forward with ease, any longer and it will move up on you. You should not purchase pauldrons with sword breakers, doing so might result in head trauma. You could get away with light to medium armor but complete arms are necessary, since holding a shield is quite impossible this is your only means of defense.

Fighting shield and sword style requires a more complete armor with a slightly larger chest plate for minimal exposure. The shield arm can have a smaller pauldron than the sword arm and a sword breaker is suggested. Since you will be most probably on the front lines this is usually the bulkiest armor to wear, you should be wearing field plate armor. Because of its bulky nature it is not ideal for hit and run situations or for forest encounters. There will be a resistance in movement and expect extreme dehydration.