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Re:VERY NEW 5 Years ago Karma: 12  
Hi Rhys

It's a bit difficult to know where to begin! LARPs a pretty varied hobby, but seeing as how you ended up on this website, it's probably best to concentrate on what's special about Heroquest.

Events take place at various locations around the country, but most frequently at Candleston in South Wales, a dedicated site of around 100 acres of woodland. The site is also adjacent to the largest area of sand-dunes in Europe - sometimes adventurers will travel all the way to sea. Didn't do it myself, but swimming in chain mail is quite an experience, apparently.

Players camp, but there is a central building which serves as a base of operations. It has a bar and it's where meals are served. (Hot Breakfast and Dinner, with lunch being packed, usually.) This for me is one of the plus points - other LARP groups are often self catering, which after a day's fighting/adventuring is a real bind. Much better to have it all laid on. It's good too! Plus it means that if it's appropriate, the meal can be worked into the plot (finding out out what the locals know of the area / receiving the foreign ambassador or whatever) so less down-time.

As for the actual mechanics of events, or adventures: they last between 36 hours and 5 days and the participants are split between two groups - Players and Monsters.

The Players each take on a persona, or Character, who they will play for the entire event. If you have experience of tabletop or computer role-playing games, you’ll know what I’m talking about – the difference being, of course, that rather than describing what your character does, or using a controller, if you want to do something, you just go ahead and do it (assuming your character “knows” the skill). Check a door or chest for traps? Go ahead – see what you find! Need to decipher a scroll? See if you can. Don’t like the look of that Wizard? Give him a smack! (But be prepared to take the consequences, of course!!)

As I said, some things do require your character to “know” the skill in question before they can be attempted, but these skills can be bought with character points, that are earned through completing adventures successfully. Examples of things that can be bought are Spell Casting; Weapon Mastery (doing more damage); Life point (being able to take more damage before you “die”) or dozens of other skills.

As this is just an introduction, suffice it to say that the system in designed to allow you to play pretty much anything that you can conceive of. There are no restrictions – we have basic fighter types, elven wizards, gnomes, orcs, druids, monks, reapers (think unholy knight) and many many more varied characters besides. Really, your imagination is the only limit – whatever you’ve always wanted to be, you can be. Character creation can, if you want it to be, be quite complex in terms of how you spend points, but there are loads of people ready to offer advice and you can always chop and change, especially to begin with so you can find something that your comfortable with. Brand new players get a small number of skills as an introduction, so you don’t have to worry about what you can do, all you have to concentrate on is having fun. Character creation can begin in earnest once you’ve completed your first mission. You’ll have a better idea what’s what by then and this will help inform your choice.

The other team are the Monsters – this is essentially the event “crew” – they play the bad guys (or the good of course, depending on the nature of the party.) Each encounter they will play different parts and will be briefed on how they act by the event referee, who runs the whole thing.

The event usually starts around 9pm on the first day, which gives people time to turn up on site, put up their tent, change into character – have a chat and generally settle in. Once the event starts, it’s “Time in” – everyone is now playing their character so “real-world” conversations are strongly discouraged; this is where the Role-Playing bit happens. All of what you say and do should be done as your character would do it. This can sound intimidating at first, especially if you’re not sure what’s going on but everyone else is doing it and it soon becomes second nature. I guess one bit of advice I could give is to not make your first character so different from yourself in terms of general personality – it makes the “acting” easier. The more you get into it, the more you’ll want to get into it. At certain points, generally after combat, a “Time out” is called so the ref can mark down how the combat effected the players. Real world conversations are okay at this point. Once “time in” is called, it’s back to the game.

Early on, the party or players – the Fellowship, if you like, usually get a brief from someone important (a Guild leader or some such) on the nature of the mission. There is usually a “guide” who tells the party where to go (vaguely, so Scouts still have an important job) and the party sets off. Over the next 2-5 days you will encounter many varied and wild adversaries, combat, trick, traps, puzzles and more. There will be much laughter (particularly once the bar opens), serious moments, tragedy, triumph and all that’s in between… I don’t want to say too much about events because I don’t want to spoil the impact – it’s best that you don’t see “behind the curtain” to begin with…

Combat is a big part of Heroquest. As you have probably seen, the weapons are light and relatively soft, so real damage is unlikely. However, they do need to be used responsibly, so you will be instructed in their use. All weapons and equipment can be provided on your first event, though you will be expected to provide your own after that. Heroquest is what is called a “High-Hit System” which means that your character can usually take multiple blows before going down (though some powerful creatures are capable of incapacitating pretty much any one individual, of course, which is where team-work comes in) Exactly how much damage can be sustained will depend upon your life points, and how much armour you are wearing, what magical or spiritual protection you may have, as well as a number of other factors.

In terms of costume, there are many places to buy kit on the internet, from basic shirts / tunics etc through to full plate armour. For your first event, I would recommend dark clothing, nothing too modern looking and most importantly – sturdy boots, gloves and a belt. Also, bear in mind that it’s an outdoor event, so plan for all weathers and temperatures. Again, if you really have nothing at all, I’m sure we can sort you out with something. Heroquest has a LOT of kit, so it shouldn’t be a problem on your first event.

Okay, is that enough of an introduction? Give you the idea? Feel free to ask anything here – there’s plenty of people who’ll be eager to impart wisdom (or opinion, anyway)

One last piece of advise: for your first event, play rather than monster. It’s better if you don’t see the mechanics of an event. I think HQ runs some sort of deal for new players. I’m not a ref or admin or anything, but you should write to Paul, who runs that side of things. You can find his details in the “Contact Us” section.

So, I hope that has given you the encouragement you need to come along. It really is a LOT of fun. We've had a fair few newer players recently and they all say the same thing. Heroquest isn't as bit a group as some, but we're all terribly friendly and happy to help newbies get into it. Also, because the party is never usually much bigger than a dozen or so, there's no chance to get lost in the mix, with other getting all the glory. There's plenty of glory for everyone!!

philwood (User)
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rhysevans 2013/09/09 17:51
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rhysevans 2013/09/11 11:34
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