LARPer’s Basic Needs

There are a number of basic needs that need to be considered when you’re planning out your LARP.  These might not be the most exciting of tasks, but they are essential.  The first logistical issues to concern yourself with are what aligns with a participant’s basic needs: warmth, thirst, hunger, shelter, trash collection and toileting needs.

Warmth: Is there some kind of temperature control?  Or a shelter to stay out of the wind and rain?  If not, make sure to inform participants beforehand so they can dress appropriately.  Consider providing access to hot drinks like tea, coffee and cocoa to help folks feel warm.  If it’s going to rain, see if your volunteers or participants could bring a couple marquis if there’s no indoor space and presuming you’re allowed to erect such structures.

Cool: Sometimes it’s too hot and the main need is to cool down.  Shade is super helpful and, presuming you have no air conditioning, sometimes you can get a nice breeze by opening windows and doors.  Bringing along a few fans can be helpful but they do take up space to transport. More easily you can ensure there’s cool drinks, ice and potentially even icy poles to help folks cool down.  Running non-live-combat games or allowing people to forego their usual armour (while keeping their usual points) can also be helpful.

Thirst: This one’s essential to manage, especially on hot or busy days.  A lot of participants exercise harder during game days than they do normally, and many people don’t stay hydrated enough even on their lazy days.  Even if you tell people to bring water bottles, there’ll always be a few who forget or who need more than the water bottles supply.  Therefore it’s important that you supply water and a container to drink it from.

Hunger: While it’s perfectly fine to expect players to bring their own food, they need to be told to do so if your game runs over meal times. They also need to know if a scheduled meal break will occur.  If you’re not supplying food, it’s a wise idea to schedule that meal break otherwise you’ll have a rolling series of lost play time as folks amble off for food, others see them head off and soon head off themselves, then more see it and leave as the first lot are returning, meaning that the food-based interruption can last a couple hours instead of just one hour.  Alternatively, you can just avoid the usual meal times if you’re running a 5 hour game and leave players to address this issue themselves before or after game.

Shelter: Most shelters have some form of seating, which is great for people with health issues or disabilities that make it difficult for them to sit on the ground.  Shelters may provide space to store gear out of the weather which is valuable rather than having to run back to one’s car to get what’s needed.

Toilets: The availability of toilets are incredibly important, especially for those with disabilities, so it’s important to be honest on the number and structure of any toilets.  Do they have flush toilets or drop toilets?  Are there men’s, women’s and unisex toilets? What about accessibility toilets?  Do people have to collect their poo in a bag and take it home with them because you’re in the pristine wilderness?  Must folks bring their own toilet paper?  It’s a good idea to provide bins in any toilets you do have for sanitary napkins if they’re not already provided by the venue.  Just double bag it and pop it in the bin afterwards.  This can be a godsend for folks having periods who would otherwise have to wrap it and pop it in a pocket until they can find a bin.

Trash Collection: Are there plenty of bins that can be used or do players need to take their trash home with them?  If it’s a weekender event, or one with a lot of food, this becomes doubly important as players need to know if they must bring trash bags with them to fill up.

Chores: A final note that touches on all of the above is that it’s important to be clear on who must do what.  In Adelaide, its accepted practice that all attendees help pack down the event afterwards unless they have good reason to leave early or are feeling unwell.  This lets us keep our prices down and ensures we can decorate locations as best as we can without fearing a 3 – 6 hour solitary pack down at the end.  Its fine to have expectations but it’s best to communicate them, especially if you’re dealing with new players or folks who have travelled from interstate or other countries who might have different expectations than the locals.

So what do you think of these basic logistical concerns?  Have I left anything out?  Is there anything else you’ve had to do to cover for the above issues?

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