Category Archives: Player Advice

Writing Highs and Lows for Events

Writing highs and lows after an event is often a fun after-event activity that lets you reminisce about the event and let everyone know how much fun you had. However, post-event reviews (highs and lows) are fundamentally about making sure that the game knows what you liked and what you didn’t about an event. There are things that you can do and things that you can avoid when writing these to be sure that your voice is heard, and that your game grows and improves.

Writing Constructive “Lows”

book-twoFirst of all, I try to ALWAYS start with “Lows” when reviewing an event. Partly because I want to be sure they are read, partly because I want to end on a high note, so that both myself and my readers come away from the post having the last thing they encountered being nice.

You want to be sure that you actually LIST your LOWS! It is not bad for the game that you tell them what you don’t like, exactly the opposite. If the owners don’t know that you didn’t like something, they can never change it. While listing that you loved everything makes GMs smile, if you didn’t really like everything, they will never know, and it doesn’t help.

Next, you want to be sure that your lows are actually helpful and constructive. There are things that you really want to avoid, and I will tell you why.

Avoid Personal Attacks

When listing something you didn’t like, try to make your point as non-personal as possible. Saying, “I was not fond of the troll mod” is better than saying, “Tom’s troll mod wasn’t fun.” When you add a personal element, people feel like they are being attacked, and they are less likely to listen. Yes, in a perfect world, people would take the criticism and deal with it, but we are human and have emotions. If you want your criticism to effect change: try not to piss people off.

If you have a complaint about a specific person, like: “Billy was being a dick and hitting people in the face” you should always send that into the game in a private message. You want to avoid appearing to have personal vendettas, or embarrassing someone on a public forum. Embarrassment like this can just make a person surly and angry, and if you want them to change for the better, it may be best to handle it privately.

Be Specific

General dislike of something does not actually help a GM know what to change. In the above example, “I was not fond of the troll mod”, you should add a LOT more detail. Why were you not fond of it? What would you liked to have seen instead? Simply saying that you didn’t like a thing doesn’t necessarily tell owners what they should change. Try, instead: “I didn’t like that ALL the trolls had five uses of Sever Limb. It made the mod overly difficult and much less fun.” You can even add recommendations here, though try not do add too many. “Maybe some of them can have Knockback instead!”

Avoid JUST Things the Game Can’t Change

So, a lot of people will post things in the lows like, “The weather” and “I lost/broke my prop” or “I couldn’t be there the entire bad-weather-lighteningevent.” While these seem like nice things to list, because they are “lows” but not anything that the game did wrong, they don’t actually help much. You can list them, if you like! It can make the GMs smile to know that their event went so well that you are DIGGING for things to list in your lows. However, if you ONLY list these kinds of things, it doesn’t give the owners much to change.

Sometimes, with things like the weather, it can even be frustrating for the GMs. “I can’t change that! GOD! Why is everyone listing that!?” Yes, game owners should plan for poor weather, and have alternate things for players to do instead of making them stand in a blizzard/hurricane. If your GMs had a lot to do that avoided the weather, though, maybe avoid listing that one.

I am not saying DON’T list these little things. Again: it could make the owners smile. I am saying, however, that you should also include things that the game owners and GMs can change and have control over, so that the game grows and improves!

Praise AND Criticize for Good Results

Say you want to criticize something that you normally would really like; food for example. The kitchen puts out an amazing breakfast and dinner, but lunch was just burnt and yucky. You may not want to mention lunch, because generally the kitchen does a great job and you don’t want to make them sad. However, they really do need to know that something was not liked, so they can avoid it in the future. In this example, you may want to both praise and criticize in the same breath.

You may want to go with a statement like, “Breakfast was wonderful, I loved the fruit salad, I though that lunch was over-seasoned and way too spicy, but dinner was so tasty, the chicken was seasoned perfectly!” It lets the cooks know that you liked and appreciated their work and food, but there was one thing that you were “Meh” on. Remember, everyone working on these games are HUMAN and have feelings, even if you want to say, “This mod sucked” and just leave it at that, you are probably just going to upset people, and the criticism is not going to help.

Writing Constructive “Highs”

Believe it or not, there are ways to write “highs” for an event that are not super helpful! Also, I assume that you want people to read all your highs, and sometimes people will just skim if the posts are not interesting to them. The following should be useful in making sure that not only are your thoughts read, but that they are useful and constructive to the health of the game and all of its players!

Encourage Specific Players

For Low Low Prices

You will want to make sure that your “highs” help make the game and all the players grow and improve. When writing your reviews, your “highs” can encourage players who were not entirely sure of themselves, helping them want to come back to the game and letting them know that they were appreciated.  This is where you want to mention specific names and actions. You don’t have to write a book, but mentioning, briefly, a lot of the people with whom you had a good time will make them smile, and make them want to read more.

Say a player’s costume looked great!  Or someone did an awesome fight, and so on.

Through these actions, you can help in the growth of your game! If people think they were ignored, or no one liked them that much, they may not come back. A pat on the back from a bunch of players really encourages new players, or even older players, to keep doing the amazing things they are doing!

Talk About Other People

Talk about awesome things that other people did, not just things that you did. I know this seems a lot like the above entry, but it has a purpose. If you are constantly writing about the things that YOU did that were awesome, and never also mentioning other people, you look like a braggart, and people are less likely to read your entire entry. Everyone wants to hear about themselves more than anything, it is human nature! So, while you, as a human, will want to talk and hear about yourself, other people ALSO want to talk and hear about themselves. Mentioning them is a great way to get them to read more about you! 😀   It will also encourage other players to write more about people who aren’t themselves, and then you may get to see what people liked that you did, helping you grow as a role-player.

Reward Good Behavior with Kind Words

You can also encourage the game to alter its behavior through your “highs”. If you see something new that the game did, and you liked it, make a fuss! They will know that the players liked the new thing, and use it again. Was there a thing that you liked that the game always does? Mention it every other month or so. “I still love that the game puts out random treasure chests! So much fun!” Yes, you probably have mentioned it before, but letting the game know that you still like it will encourage the owners and GMs to continue that behavior.

Be Specific

Again, you want to shout out about very specific things that you liked. “I loved the event!” is great! GMs LOVE to hear that! But after you say that, be sure to include details that you liked, so that the owners and GMs can repeat them in the future! GMs might think that you liked the event because of the troll mod, but that was the ONLY mod you hated! So be sure to tell them what exactly you liked.

And Now, A Note To GMs and Owners

I am human, just like anyone else… I do not like hearing that I did something wrong, or that someone didn’t like a thing I did.

Just like most people, I get upset when people tell me I did a bad job, or forgot something. For those of you who do not know, I sometimes perform weddings! Yeap! I have married 6 couples so far! In one wedding, I legitimately forgot to ask the couple to exchange rings. In the biggest wedding I have performed to date, I left the congregation standing for half of the ceremony (I forgot to tell them to sit down.) When I said, “You may kiss the bride” I didn’t MOVE out of the way, and therefore was in all of the photos of the happy couple.as152447

BOY was I embarrassed! God, it was humiliating and upsetting to know that on one of the biggest days of these peoples lives, I screwed up.

However, I am glad that they told me. I am glad that it was mentioned. No matter how embarrassing or upsetting it was: I never forgot the rings again. I moved before announcing that they may kiss the bride. I haven’t done a wedding since I left the congregation standing: but I sure as hell will not do it again.

The point is: it sucks to be told that you did something wrong, or that these people, for whom you have put out a LOT OF EFFORT, didn’t like/appreciate something. However, we have to listen, and we have to try to not get mad! If someone’s lows make me mad, I will wait before I send them a message, so that I am not responding angry. I can’t!! They are only trying to help, and I NEED to know when my players are upset, or do not like anything. If I shoot them down, I will only encourage my player base to never complain again: and that is not healthy for my game.

So I make every effort to remember that my players aren’t complaining because they hate me, or the game. If they hated me or the game, they would simply never speak up. Writing Highs and Lows is an act of love, born out of wanting to make the game better. Sometimes we forget that, but both GMs and players should always think about WHY people write these reviews, and the reason boils down to: we want a better game, and we have to work together to make it better!

Thanks for reading! This was a long one!

Remember:

T-0001-LU-LAYON-Red

Jess the Red

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Injuries and Gameplay

Hey guys!  Sorry that we went a few days without posting! We just had an event this weekend over at Exile.  The event went well, but we had an injury during our main mod.

I chose this picture because the kitten’s expression is surprisingly close to our injured player’s.

The person in question is ok, but it made me think of how injuries are often handled at LARPs.  Thus, I would like to make a few recommendations.  (Note: this article is meant to discuss things like sprains, minor fractures, impact injuries, and the like.  If you have some sort of horrific injury, follow the first two suggestions, but use your judgment with the third.)

First of, and obviously, for big injuries, a Hold should be called.  Everyone knows this, and I have never seen a LARP ignore this one.

Next: if you are not qualified to assist: move.  My players did this amazingly well, with only two people crouched down next to the injured player. In the past I have seen a game’s medics called over only to find a crowd around the player, making it difficult to get close and assess the injury.  Usually people get out of the way, but you should not be there in the first place if you are unqualified.  One person can hang with the injured person to comfort them until help arrives: five people is unnecessary.

(It is also a little embarrassing, at least for me.  I feel weird with everyone paying attention to me because I am hurt.)

Finally: resume gameplay.  Stopping the entire game for an injury (barring life threatening injuries) is unnecessary, embarrassing, and sometimes annoying.

Unnecessary because it does not take an entire game to be sure that one person gets the medical attention that they need.  As soon as the medics get the injured party off of the field, you should feel free to resume gameplay.  It shouldn’t take ALL of your GMs to handle someone with an injury.  In fact, having ALL of your GMs there will only mess things up!  Too many people trying to assist or make decisions will only make medical assistance take longer.  One GM and one medic (or one GM if the GM is a medic) is all that is needed.

Embarrassing because then the injured person may feel guilty or uneasy because they have brought the game to a screeching halt.  No one likes to be the reason that their friends stopped having fun, and if you compound that with an injury, now they might feel really bad.  I know that I do.  I feel really weird when I know an entire mod has stopped because I rolled my ankle.  Even if no one is mad (and most of the time, no one is mad) it is still a little embarrassing.

Annoying because now you have a huge group of people, standing around, waiting for the game to continue.  This one feels a little heartless, but it is valid.  You have paid money to come play this game, and want to play and be involved.  If you have to stand around and be bored while all of the GMs run off to handle someone with an injury, you are going to get annoyed.  Especially since, as I just noted, it doesn’t take 10 people to handle one injury.

As soon as you get the injured party off of the field, call your Game On.  After the scene or fight is over, if people want to come check on their friend, they can.  This has the added benefit of not having 10 people hanging around getting in the way.  You have some time to assess the injury in peace, while the players finish their scene, and the injured person has time to calm down.  A lot of pain is exacerbated by stress, and having a lot of people hanging around panicking at you is going to make you start to panic as well, which is no good for an injury.

In conclusion: it is better for the game, and especially better for the injured party, for one or two people to help out, and for everyone else to go about the game.

Get It In Writing

Get It In Writing

My mother used to say this all the time: “Get it in writing.”

Whether it was agreeing on chore schedules, or future rewards for good grades, I was told to always get it in writing. Since it was my mother, it was not because of mistrust, it was to stave off misunderstanding.

But the lesson has stuck ever since.

In business (I own a screen printing business) you have to get all transactions in writing, so that you know who-done-f***ed-up if something goes wrong. In legal issues (to include marriage) everything is hammered out at the beginning of an arrangement, to avoid lawsuits and arguments in the future. Getting things in writing insures that, when the tables turn, or things just mess up, everyone knows what is going to happen and no one is surprised.

I feel that we, as LARPers, need to take this lesson to heart. We build these games with our friends, trusting that our friends will always be there for us, that we will never argue, and that no one will ever mess up.

We have to understand that we are all human, and as much as you love your friends, as much as you trust them, as much as you SCREAM “BUT RED! MY FRIENDS ARE DIFFERENT AND IT WILL BE ALL ROSES, DAMNIT!” I am sad to say that we are all going to make mistakes and piss someone off.

So, when doing things with your game, be sure everything is in writing and everything has a paper trail. Did you promise someone a bonus for service? Write it down and e-mail it to them, so they cannot claim you offered something more, and so that you do not forget. When you take on staff members, make them sign some sort of guidelines, so that if something goes wrong you can point to where they messed up and institute a proper punishment. When someone pays or donates, give them a receipt and mark it in your books, so everyone is clear.

This works for players, too. Make sure there is some textual evidence of anything that you receive, so that if something goes wrong, even if it is as innocent as a server crash, everything is written someplace else and you can clear up the problem quickly and with the fewest arguments possible.

I feel like so many of us have falling outs over things that could have been avoided if the initial arrangement was clear and documented. Take the time in the LARPing world, and in your day to day life, to be CERTAIN of the arrangements into which you enter.

That way we can all find new and exciting ways to argue. It is the human condition, afterall!

All my love!

Red

Rule #1: Cardio

(Today’s article has been written by Mark, one of Exile’s NPCs and an avid runner.)zombieland_rule1_cardio

Hi, I’m Mark and I am a Runner. Yes there was a capital “R” for Runner. I can finish a ten mile race in 70 minutes and have done marathon distance twice now. The first time was an accident, the second time intentional and now I am training to do that distance as an official race. What does this have to do with LARPing? A lot! Boffer LARPs are very physical and being in good cardio fitness is key to success. Countless times I have been chasing a player (I’m almost always an NPC) and I have had to stop and let them catch their breath to prevent a real life medical issue. Stereotype aside, many LARPers are not in the greatest of physical health. Improving your cardio will not only make you a better LARPer, but improve your health in real life.

First lets talk some basic running terms. When you run, how fast you go is determined by your stride length and stride rate. The stride length is the distance one foot travels before setting down again, for average adult male runners it is about 28 inches. Next is stride rate, this is how many strides you do per minute or mile (usually mile, though metric users can use kilometers if you want). Then there is sprinting, this is running at your top speed. While sprinting is very good for training (and for burning fat), it is not good when LARPing and should be avoided (more on that later). Interval training is alternating between fast running and slow running/walking (or even complete rest). Interval training is key to improving cardiovascular fitness. Now that I have covered some basic terms let’s apply them to LARPing.

Sprinting is bad at LARPs: it is a safety issue. Sprinters have longer stride length, which means your legs are kicking out more. Most LARP sites are not the most stable ground, this means larger chance of tripping over something. When chasing another person you want to match speeds before attacking, and if you are sprinting you won’t be able to match speeds and stand a good chance of crashing into them. Finally, sprinting wears you out very quickly, you have maybe 60 seconds of top speed, then you are out of breath and combat probably isn’t over.

Key to almost any sort of running training is know your one mile and 5k (about 3.2 miles) times. If you are a beginner you may need to work up to a 5k, there are plenty of resources available to get you there 

Interval training is my favorite training for LARP. There are many different ways to do it, the simplest involve run fast for a set time or distance and then rest for one to two minutes.  I personally like run a quarter mile for 90 seconds, rest 90 seconds then repeat 9 more times. This is taking my best one mile time (6 minutes) and trying to maintain it for about two and a half miles by taking breaks in between.

I will end this post with a cheat for you all. They say the only good running training is running, but using an elliptical can help a fair amount and put less stress on your joints. You can either try for a good half an hour workout, or something shorter and mix in some interval training. Do not use a treadmill, they put excess stress on your joints.

Good luck and good running.

Be A Thief, Not A Jerk

No, that’t not me.

I have played a rogue so often in games that, at this point, I refuse to take any rogue skills on my character sheet: I can hide and sneak and steal and beat-feet with the best of them.

I end up having to give a lesson on being a thief/rogue that people don’t hate A LOT.

The biggest problem with being a successful rogue is that you are doing things that are going to make people mad.  You are going to be thieving and lying on a regular basis.

Sadly, this tends to make you enemies.  Having enemies IN-GAME is a good thing.  Having enemies OUT-OF-GAME is a bad thing.

You want to avoid being a dick.  I am sorry for the frank language, but it is true.

________________________

Lying

You are going to lie as a rogue.  It just happens…

Don’t mistake being a rogue with HAVING TO LIE.  You CAN tell the truth and still be in-character.

Be smart.  Does it actually do anything for you to lie about where the main villain went?  Then don’t do it.

Unless you can actually make bank or have a real reason to have to lie, don’t do it habitually if you want to be a successful rogue.  People won’t ever believe you, and then how can you get them to look in the wrong place for the Treasure Of MasterGoldEnStien?

(Being a habitual liar for BAD reasons is an entirely different character concept.)

________________________

Thieving

If you are going to steal, NEVER STEAL EVERYTHING.  This is a HUGE rule.  Yes, I know that your character would probably steal everything that is not nailed down, but then you are going to make out-of-game enemies.

There is psychology behind this that may make so called “role-play purists” mad, but if you think that no one is going to be mad at you for stealing their shit, you need to go home.  Understand that people spend a lot of time gathering up their money, components, items, etc.  If you take all of it, they will become disheartened, angry with you, and may even not want to play anymore.

You can still steal things!  But you have to use good judgment so that you can be a successful thief without making players mad, or being a jerk.

Here are some good rules of thumb:

10%

Only ever steal  (at most) 10% of what people have.  If they have 10 gold, steal one.  This means you have more money, and they can’t really be too angry.  It’s only one gold!

Never Big

If you see a bunch of items that someone has, never steal their coolest, best item.  They probably spent a lot of time getting that, and it will dishearten them Out-of-Game if you take it.

Yes, I understand that your character would take it, and I know that you think that they are bad role-players if they get upset, but you are wrong.  You, not your character, are being mean if you take someone’s favorite toy.  Take something else!  If you see a Staff of Blasting, a Pendant of Dodge, and The High Gift Of The Gods To Magey McMageinstine: take the staff or the pendant.  Leave them their awesome toy, so that they don’t get mad at you out-of-game.

________________________

You want to be a rogue who can thieve and such, and you can!  Just make sure that you don’t alienate the other players at the game.  Get yourself a reputation as a good rogue, but also as an awesome player.

Immersion Therapy: Keeping the In-Game Atmosphere

Hey there, friends. This is JoeFro, with a little friendly advice on gaming in an immersive environment. I have been to my fair share of games, run by all manner of people, in a variety of settings, and with a multitude of rules. And if there is one thing I have noticed, one beast that can turn any game sour like milk under a heat lamp, it is the creature known as immersion.

To explain a little more, Immersion, in a game setting, is going through the motions to make a game feel less like nerds in costumes, and more like a world where Elves, magic, and knights are real. It is the ambiance of a setting, the little touches that make the world seem to come alive, that make some people truly enjoy they experience of crawling through a tunnel to the heart of a dragon’s lair. And this can all be ruined by the person in back, wearing a pair of Adidas and making “That’s what she said,” jokes.

There are some more egregious examples of breaking immersion, like the above example. These are usually offences made by people who either don’t care about the environment, who are only there to swing a boffer and call numbers, or by people who might not know better. First time LARPers may slip up, and make some statements that can break immersion, or might not have the proper costuming or phys-reps for the character or environment. Other times, stress or environmental factors can cause people to begin to lose their character, immersion, or motivation.

He could just be writing at a table, drinking Redbull and talking about football… But that defeats the purpose of LARPing, now, doesn’t it?

It is important, when dealing with situations where somebody is severely breaking the game’s environment, to assess the situation before deciding on a course of action. Is this a first time LARPer, who might only need a little guidance, advice, or a simple push in the right direction? If so, setting the example is the most important step you can take; make your resurrection ceremony have a little extra flair, or  break out the full tool-kit when engineering up some guns. Let the players see you going the extra mile, or take a minute out of your time to tell them where they can get an awesome pair of boots for an affordable price.

Now, let’s say that the person has been coming to the game for a few months, yet is constantly guilty of breaking the game environment. I know, from personal experience, how frustrating it can be when your character is having a great scene, and somebody stumbles up to you and says something as shattering as, “Whaddup, brah?” It’s enough to make you want to scream, and you are completely justified in feeling this. However, it is important that you handle the situation in a civil manner. And if the player still doesn’t get it, approach a member of your game’s staff. They are there to help.

Before I wrap this up, there is one more thing I would like to touch on regarding immersion. It might not seem big, but there are little things that can help make a huge difference. Seeing an empty Red Bull can sitting on a table of the Inn, people making a pop-culture reference to a scene or character, or somebody singing a modern song, while all innocent infractions, are just as removing as the other examples given. Little steps like putting your drink in a cup, or putting duct-tape around the can will help keep an environment just as much as somebody in $300 worth of garb.

Take some time, at your next event, to look around your game, and see if you notice anything that might help immerse your game even more. Something as simple as turning the bic pens floating around the Inn into feather quills with costume feathers and yarn, just helps the game that much more. And the better your game’s environment is, the more likely everyone is to enjoy themselves.

Until next time, friends,

JoeFro

Let’s Talk About Gear!

bagI would like to take a minute to talk about your gear at an event!

Everyone has a set of in-game gear that they carry on them as they run around the woods, but what about the out of game gear!?

Well, what about it?

Let me tell you, my out of game gear has always come in handy.  I try to carry a number of things that would make (usually out of game issues) disappear.

Some of the more obvious ones include:

  • A Pen
  • A Lighter
  • A Knife
  • A Time Piece

These things are self explanatory.  But I will explain them anyway, just because.  You always need to write things in a LARP, and it is annoying to need a pen and no one has one.  Lighters are great for candles, cigarettes and fires, should you want to light a fire pit.  Knives are great for costume or prop malfunctions, or if you just need to cut paper or sticks.  And everyone always wants to know what time it is.  You will be the coolest kid in school if you know!

Some of the less obvious:

  • The most important thing on any list.
    The most important thing on any list.

    Needle and Thread

  • Small tube of Hand sanitizer
  • Some extra paper
  • Spool of strong string
  • Swath of scrap fabric in color with your costume
  • A pack of cigarettes (even if you don’t smoke)
  • Small flashlight
  • Roll of black Duct tape

Some of these seem kind of extraneous, and in the case of the duct tape, maybe a little bulky.  However, almost everyone I have seen in games carries a bag of some sort, and a half used roll should not be too heavy.

So, to explain:

Needle and Thread

Believe it or not, this has come up at least five times in my last two events!  Which is kind of crazy.  Wardrobe malfunctions can be a trouble, and being able to fix them immediately is nice.  I got to repair someone’s armor mid-battle (there was a small clarify, since someone lost their glasses).  If you keep the needle stored in the thread and keep the whole thing in a small pouch of your bag, it will be light and out of the way.

Small tube of Hand sanitizer

LARPing is so dirty.  How many times do you wash your hands?  Now, how many times do you put food in your mouth?  Think about that for a second.  Or if there is an injury and you get blood on you?  Usually, though, I use it for camps that don’t have running water near their out-houses, or in the winter when camps turn off their water.

Some extra paper

This can be in the form of a few folded sheets, or a little note-book/journal that your character keeps.  If you ever need to take notes, or write down a name or a clue, this is your man.

Spool of strong string

You want this to be thicker than thread.  Preferably something that you can use to tie things up in trees, or tie prisoners together, or tie extra gear to yourself (finding extra swords, or whatever) or setting in-game traps… Whatever.  A small spool of it should do!

Swath of scrap fabric in color with your costume

If you keep a swath of fabric on your person, you can use it for EVERYTHING.  I like to keep a black one with me.  It works for headbands, hand-cuffs, fake bandages, blindfolds, quick costume patches, actual slings (had someone wrench a shoulder once), wraps for sprains (I sprain my ankles every ten seconds), and even just a cloth to tie around a bunch of little gear that you need to carry.

A pack of cigarettes (even if you don’t smoke)

If you smoke, you probably already have this one.  I try to carry one with me because

A: all my friends smoke, and they get cranky when we have down-time and they want one

B: Some times, other people want a cigarette, and if you have them: TAA-DAA!  Now you have made a friend!  We LARP to make friends and have fun, so… That helps.

C: Maybe someone has something in-game that you want.  Maybe you can’t pay them with in-game coin.  And maybe they smoke… Just saying.

Small flashlight

People always lose their glasses at night.  Seriously: it is the ONLY time people lose their glasses.  However, that aside, while most people want to keep the game pure, and only use fire or special colored lights for the game-world, real-world emergencies need good light, and having it on you is always useful.

Roll of black Duct tape

This is great for fixing weapons, obviously, but also for injuries (splints, slings, sprain-support, even just big cuts, if you put some cloth under them.)  I go for black, because having a silver fix on a black weapon looks tacky, but a black fix on a silver weapon can be made to look pretty cool, pretty quickly.  Again, it is also pretty good for IMMEDIATE costume fixes.  (Ripped pants? Ducttape!)

All of these things can fit in a fairly small bag.  You can even work them into your costume.  My caster kept them all in a bag, but I have an engineer in a Steampunk game that wears them individually on a belt, cause it works for the character!

In case you forgot which was most important…

_________________

Really, Duce tape can wipe out the need for needle and thread, and cloth.  But I like to have options!

And… I mean… If you really try, you can make it work a LOT of things.  We are LARPers after all:

Duct tape fixes everything.