What is LARPing?

LARP stands for Live Action Role-Play.  It is a cross between a role-playing game and improvised theatre.  Players take on the role of characters within a particular setting and work to develop a story.  Players physically act out their characters, moving around the game space and interacting with the environment.

So, what’s the deal with the Game?

A game lasts about three hours and takes place once a month.  The setting of the game is often a regular meeting organised by the characters within the game world, but can often lead players to other in-game areas in order to resolve plot or deal with any number of problems that might arise in the story.  The game allows players to further develop their character’s personality and goals, and to build relationships with other characters present.

Currently, Camarilla Ireland runs two games in the Cork city area.
Vampire: the Requiem takes place on the third Tuesday of every month.
Mage: the Awakening takes place on the fourth Tuesday of every month.
Games happen upstairs in the Franciscan Well on North Mall.  Players meet up from around 7.30pm and start playing around 8pm.

There are also games running in Dublin and Maynooth.  For more information about these games see http://www.camarilla.ie

There are a few requirements if you want to play the game.  Camarilla Ireland events are adult-only so you must be at least 18 to participate.  Before joining the game, you must create a character sheet and you must receive the permission of the person running the game (ie, the storyteller or ‘ST’) to play the character you have created.

But… I love my character.  Can I play more than once a month?

Short answer, yes.  Long answer, the chronicle runs 24/7.  Each domain has a single game a month but unlike a standard table-top campaign, where you may pick up the story from where you left off last time, there is a month of time between each LARP session.  There are many ways to stay involved outside of these games.  You may interact with others as your character on forums or email lists or in chat rooms.  You may also attend games in other domains or countries, with the permission of your own ST and the ST of the game in question.  Even if you do not have time to do any of these things, you will be asked to write a downtime, which is a short document explaining to the ST what your character does during the month outside game-time.

Irish Camarilla Forums – http://www.camarilla.ie/forums

International Camarilla Email Lists – http://cammail.white-wolf.com/mailman/listinfo

So, a vampire, a werewolf and a mage all walk into a bar…

An important thing to remember is that all of these games, while they may operate independantly from each other most of the time, are actually taking place in the same world – the World of Darkness.  Mostly, each group will have little interaction with each other as secrecy is often an important part of their society, but they reside in the same world and their actions may affect the supernaturals in another game.

For example, in the recent history of the Cork chronicle, the actions of a mage caused a number of buildings to collapse.  While the vampires may not do anything about this or even realise that the cause was supernatural, they still noticed that this happened.  It’s hard not to notice something this large happening in a shared universe.

From time to time, there may be more interaction than simply noticing what another group has caused.  This kind of interaction is carefully monitored by the STs and they have the final say on whether or not the interaction will occur.  Games where more than one supernatural type are present are referred to as cross-venue or cross-over games.  They happen rarely but can be great fun when they do.

Please remember that a player’s various characters may not meet each other.  This is to prevent any abuses or using one of your characters to help another one of your characters.  If your vampire and your mage pass each other on the street, they just don’t see each other.

Technical Stuff

What is a Character Sheet and how do I make it?

LARPing is primarily about social interaction between characters.  Players are encouraged to roleplay situations and work with each other to create an enjoyable story for everybody.  However, sometimes there will be combat or other challenges that need to be settled fairly, and this is when we use mechanics such as the character sheet.

The character sheet is a representation of your character’s skills, assets and personality.  Players create a character sheet using a number of experience points which they can spend in a variety of areas including

  • Attributes (a representation of your character’s personality, demeanour and social/mental/physical strengths)
  • Skills (a representation of the skills your character has picked up in their life, covering everything from academics and occult knowledge to athletics and weaponry to socialising and subterfuge)
  • Merits (a representation of assets such as resources, allies and property, as well as covering more unique abilities and trained fighting styles)
  • Powers (either Disciplines – Vampire – or Arcana – Mage – these are the supernatural powers that all characters possess in some way and are usually based on the type of Mage or Vampire played)

Players should create character sheets with input from the ST, especially if they are not familiar with the creation system.  This also ensures that the character created will be suitable for the setting and story that the ST is running.  In addition, some STs may not want certain abilities or powers within their game, or you may need the permission of a different ST to have something rare on your character sheet.

Excel character sheets that help track experience points and build your character properly can be found here:  http://sheets.camarilla.ca/ResetExcel.php

A player’s character sheet will change with time as they go to games, gain experience points and spend these points to add new abilities to their character.

What is Experience and how do I earn it?

Experience points (XP) are awarded to players for attendance at game and completion of downtimes.  XP is used to purchase extra abilities on your character sheet.  Depending on the ability desired, it could take anything from a couple of XP to several months worth.  There are certain restrictions in place.  Usually, a player is only allowed make one or two purchases a month and they must have some justification for the expenditure.  This justification may mean your character finding another character in the game to teach you, spending time doing research or even attending a night class.

Camarilla Ireland currently awards up to 4XP for attendance at a game and up to 2XP for the completion of a downtime.  You may normally only earn a maximum of 8XP in any single month.

What is a Downtime and how do I write it?

Downtime is a document that you send to your ST once a month.  This document details what your character is getting up to during the month between games.  Downtimes are used to investigate things, learn new abilities or have your contacts give you information, amongst other things.  The downtime does not have to be incredibly detailed.  Your ST does not need to know what your character eats for breakfast every morning.

The ST will give you downtime results detailing the various responses to your actions – you had no problem learning that new skill, you get the following information from your contact, during your investigation you come across the same name a few times, etc.

Downtimes contain some or all of the following items:

Character Name
Date of Downtime
Current XP
This section lists your current experience points total before any expenditures in this downtime.  It is normally seperated into the following:  total XP at end of last downtime, XP earned at games, XP earned for the previous month’s downtime, new total XP.

Current Total XP – 16
XP from Game – 4
XP from last Downtime – 2
New Total XP – 22

Overview of Events – A short paragraph detailing what activities your character was involved in during the last game.  This normally would detail any private conversations etc had without the presence of the ST, so that the ST is aware of what occurred, but also serves as a quick reminder to the ST of what plot(s) you are currently taking part in.

Jim, Bob and I went to visit the crime scene where the boy was murdered.
Mary and I had a private conversation about the information I found in the archives.

AttitudesA short paragraph detailing how your character feels right now.  This normally details the attitudes your character has to certain people and situations at the moment.  It does not need to detail every person or situation but usually would cover only those things that are important to your character right now.

I can’t get what we found at the crime scene out of my head.  I can’t believe it’s possible that one of our group might be responsible for this.
I’m really worried about Diana.  She’s been acting strangely.

Resources – This details anything your character spends their resources on this month, for example, the purchase of equipment, books, or anything else that a character needs to spend money on.  Resources available depend upon the number of dots in the Resources merit you possess.  Resources do not cover things like buying the groceries – they represent a character’s disposable income and overall financial situation.

Allies – This details any actions that you ask your allies to undertake on your behalf.  The kind of action your ally will take for you depends on the number of dots you have in the Allies merit (a one-dot Ally may get you a document or do something of an equivalent level that will not require they endanger themselves or their position; a five-dot Ally may undertake much more detailed or dangerous activities on your behalf).  You must have a seperate Allies merit to represent each ally you have.  For example, you may have Allies (Criminal) 1 and Allies (Political) 4, representing two different people who will perform two different levels of activity.

Contacts – This details any information you request from your contacts.  Contacts will not take actions on your behalf or overly endanger themselves or their positions to get information for you.  Unlike Allies, the Contacts merit is a single merit, where each level indicates another individual that you know and the area they work within.  For example, you may have Contacts (Police, Business) 2, representing two people in these areas who will give you information (if they possess it).

Retainers – This details any activities you ask your retainers to undertake on your behalf.  Retainers represent individuals who have more loyalty to you than allies or contacts and are employed by you in some fashion.  A vampire may have a ghoul retainer or a mage may have a Sleepwalker, but often retainers are simply people that you pay or blackmail into working for you, and can even represent things such as guard dogs.  The Retainers merit works like Allies – each retainer you have is represented by a seperate instance of the merit.  Retainers have their own character sheets (created by the ST) and each extra dot in the merit gives the retainer more XP on this character sheet.

Mentor – This details any interaction you have with your mentor this month.  The Mentor merit represents an individual who has been a teacher or guide to your character in some way – they may have taught you magic or vampiric disciplines, brought you into a legacy, covenant or order, or otherwise been involved in your training.  A character may normally only have one instance of this merit and each dot represents the power and influence this mentor wields.  Mentors may usually only be gone to for advice or guidance and may not be handed downtime actions to perform for you.  They may, if the ST wishes, take an action of their choosing that may assist your character but they may also, from time to time, ask you to do something for them.

Power Collection – Powers require fuel.  This section details how and where you are getting this fuel.  For vampires, this section will detail feeding – how they get their blood, where, who from and how often.  For mages, this section will detail mana collection – do you use a hallow, scour your own pattern, have a supply of tass or take mana from some other source?

Other Actions – This section details major actions you are taking this month other than those done with merits such as Allies or Contacts.  A character may take a number of actions equal to his resolve times two.  For example, a character with Resolve 2 may take four actions in a month.  Actions really can cover almost anything – the character with four actions might investigate that creepy haunted house, do research on the strange magical phenomenon they saw last month, undertake surveillance on a suspected enemy of the group and try to find out whether that dog they saw was actually a werewolf.  Your actions are only limited by your own skills and abilities.  The aforementioned character might have high Investigation, doing well in looking at the house and surveilling the potential enemy, but low Occult and Academics, so the ST might rule they learn only a little about that magical phenomenon and would never even consider that that dog might have been a werewolf.

An action is not always a single thing.  For example, your character going to City Hall to get information on a subject, and then to the library to get information on the same subject, would not be two actions but one.  It is a good idea to be fairly detailed in how your character is attempting to achieve each goal – who they approach, what they would say, any powers they might use, any skills or merits that they intend to use and any precautions they might be taking.

XP Expenditure – This section details any XP expenditures you are making this month and the justification for these expenditures.  A character may normally only make 1-2 XP expenditures a month.  If you wish to make more XP expenditures than this, you must use your Resolve actions to do so.  For example, if you are allowed take four other actions a month but only take three, you may use the fourth action to make a 3rd XP expenditure.

The justification for your XP expenditure can vary wildly.  If you are buying vampiric or supernal powers, you may have to find somebody with these powers to teach you.  If you have encountered something of an occult nature and learned a great deal, you can use this as justification for buying an extra dot of the Occult ability or an Occult speciality.  If you are upping your Athletics skill, your character might join a gym.  There are too many possibilities to list them all here.  If you are unsure of what your character might need to do to justify an XP expenditure, you should discuss this with your ST.  For some things, your ST might want you to spend more than one month in research, study etc before allowing the purchase.

Total XP – This details your remaining XP after any XP expenditures you have made.

Real Name
Camarilla Number –
Games are played as part of Camarilla Ireland.  Camarilla Ireland in turn is part of a larger game involving a number of affiliates including the US, Canada, Australia and Italy to name a few.  Members pay a membership fee (currently 16 euro a year) in order to take part in the game as a whole and also to cover expenses incurred by running games.  Members who pay receive a Camarilla Membership Number.  This number must be attached to all correspondance (IC and OOC) related to the society.  Potential members may play games for three months before deciding if they would like to become a member of the society.


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