Last week I neglected to post an entry because I felt like I had to take a step back from my blog, but this week there is a new entry. Encampment. What do you need in an encampment and how can you make it look nice and in-game?
I’ll give you a heads up, I haven’t been to any big LARP-events, so about how a big encampment looks and what you need there, I don’t have any first hand experience. If you’ve been there, feel free to comment and add tips and tricks.
Good luck! Alexjuh
There are many different ways to build and create an encampment. This mostly depends on what kind of group you have, the people creating it, the location, the money you want to spend, etc. However, this shouldn’t withhold you to create a kick-ass encampment.
When considering an encampment, take a careful look at what you want (to accomplish) with the encampment. Do you want an encampment that provides protection? Or do you only want a place to sleep in-game? Perhaps you want an encampment for retreat? Etc. It is important to know this because then you can start shaping your encampment.
The appointed place for your encampment shouldn’t matter when creating it, because a lot is possible and there will always be pro’s and con’s to each environment. Did you get a space with no trees but on a hill? Con: no natural defence, pro: you can clearly see people approaching your encampment. Did you get a space with a lot of trees but the ground is sand? Con: you’ll need different tent pegs than usual, pro: you have a natural protection surrounding the encampment. Etc.
Take a careful look at what you can get and what you’ll need. When applying for an encampment (and when it’s possible) then pass on your wishes to the organisation. They likely can’t guarantee that you get what you asked for, but they probably will consider it when they can.
Take a look at what you’ve got and how to take advantage of your environment. If possible, organize a meeting with your group and brainstorm.
When creating an encampment take a good look at the rules set by the organisation and the land manager of the location. When the land manager of the location forbids digging holes into the ground or making a fire, you’ll have to find another way.
Sometimes the organisation has rules about the type of tents, decor and other props that may or may not be used. Take a careful look, it would be a waste to appear at the event and half of your encampment is turned down because otherwise you’ll break the rules.
Walls: When you have a location that is surrounded by a lot of trees and bushes, than you have some natural protection. Sneaking through trees and bushes is possible, but a lot of people can’t approach your encampment without snapping a branch or rustling some leaves. It also makes it more difficult to get to your encampment. So creating (and bringing!) a lot of walls and/or wood to build walls isn’t as necessary. This gives you the advantage that you can focus on other things; however, this can also mean that the available space for your encampment is smaller.
When you have a big, open field that isn’t surrounded by trees you might have to find another way to defend your encampment. Building walls, creating booby traps and maybe even placing guards.
Fire: consider if you want to have a place where you can make fire to keep yourself warm or cook your meals. Some locations have fireplaces, others don’t. When you want fire, don’t forget the necessities to make a fire. When there is no possibility to gather wood in the surroundings, and you’ve brought none, you won’t get a fire started.
Tents: when creating an encampment, take a look at the available tents, the amount of people and what the tents look like. See if you have enough space and that safety regulations are being lived up to. You can usually find these regulations at the website of either the location or the organisation of the event. The easiest way is to put up the tents first and then build big constructions. This way you won’t get tangled up with to few spaces for your tents.
Make sure you don’t put up your tent in a hole because when it rains, you can find yourself and your stuff very wet. When putting your tent on a hill or hillock, make sure your bed lies upwards, with your head on the higher ground. When sleeping the other way the blood will flow to your head and this can give you a major headache. These are actually basic camping tips and tricks. Searching the internet for these kind of tips can prevent a lot of trouble.
Constructions: see what you need and want with constructions. This could be a tower, walls, a gate, a bridge or anything else that you want in the encampment. This does highly depends on what type of group you have, what you like and what you can construct within the amount of time given and your number of people (and their skills to create a save construction).
It’s also a wise idea to take a look at available resources the land manager and/or the organisation provides. When there are logs to make constructions available, you don’t have to bring them. This saves time, space and money.
Little things: see what little things you’d like such as light (candelabra’s and lanterns to light the paths and table’s), banners with your groups emblems/shield, tables, chairs, trash bags (these are often forgotten to get in-game but it’s fixable with a burlap sack), jerry cans for water, food, etc.
Big, long pieces of fabric are ideal to cover up things that aren’t quite in-game such as tables, chairs and even tents. It can be bought cheaply at the market or a textile market.
It’s maybe one of the most important things to make sure that your encampment is safe out-of-game.
If you want to have any form of a (larger) fire, make sure that you have some safety precautions like a fire blanket, a bucket of water of even a small fire extinguisher at hand. Don’t forget to bring a first-aid kit and ask who has first-aid.
Sometimes you’ll have to make concessions between building something awesome and safety; in my opinion always go with safety.
When building an encampment a good thing is to consider what you need and what you want. Something that can come in handy is to have a meeting with your group where you can discuss what you want, what you need and what you have.
Special mention for this entry: Doomsday General. Thank you for helping me writing this entry and helping with translation, grammar and filtering out little mistakes.
Next entry: Costume, the basics, part 1
Dit artikel is oorspronkelijk gepost op Alexandra’s blog (3 maart 2014) en is opnieuw beschikbaar gesteld voor LARP Platform.
Alexandra is momenteel actief met het organiseren van Dark Union, een unieke bad guy LARP in Nederland. Daarnaast is ze heel creatief meer leerbewerken onder handelsnaam Layers.