Dying Light, at its core, is a Boffer LARP gaming system. Similar to table top or electronic games we use a rules system to cover aspects of the game that don’t flow well without rules. These rules are mostly focused on combat and other things that directly affect the Statistics, such as health, of a character. We like to let people role-play as much as possible and try to keep the rules from being too intrusive.
The LARP part of “Boffer LARP” was explained in the Introduction, the Boffer part needs a little more explaining. “Boffers” are props, mostly weapons, which are manufactured to be used safely for light contact combat re-enactment. There are many excellent companies that make high quality latex boffers, and our community has several crafters who make very good gear as well. The details of construction are beyond the scope of this document. All boffers must be passed by a member of the safety comity in order to ensure they are safe for use in game. Boffers must be padded so that you cannot feel the core when compressed on a striking surface. None striking surfaces have more leeway and require ‘safe’ padding. This is hard to exactly quantify as the quality, thickness, resilience and weight of the foam all impact this. You will find more detail on how boffers are to be safely used in Chapter Five.
The game system is composed of Statistics, Skills, and Feats that tell you what your character can do. Due to the immersive environment we embrace, we use a system of “Signature Calls” to indicate various events in the game world. We will cover the former briefly and move into detail on these Signature calls.
To represent what a character is capable of we have a statistics system similar to what you find in most modern RPG’s. These statistics cover both the base physical and mental competency of the character and are used as a basis for many skills. This is covered in detail in Chapter Two.
We use Skills to represent a characters practiced abilities and knowledge bases. Many skills receive benefits from one of the base Stats, boosting your characters overall effectiveness in that skill. This system is detailed in Chapter Three
Feats are that extra kick you get from investing into various skills. These frequently are what drives a player to develop a character along certain skill paths as they can have some big effects in game. Most of these feats either enhance your abilities with things like weapon strikes that cause specific effects, or boost the core skill, such as boosting the amount of damage your character can soak. This system is detailed in Chapter Four.
Due to the nature of our game, there are actions that a character can take that can’t be fully acted out, or abilities a character is using that require some way of notifying the other players the effect is happening. We handle this with Signature Calls. Signature calls are words and phrases, that when accompanied with an action, have an additional effect in the game.
Thee four different categories of Signature Calls are: Damage, skill, feat, and special.
We will cover in detail the Damage and special calls below. Both Skill and Feat calls are used to announce a character making use of one either a skill or feat. This is usually accompanied by roleplaying out a physical act. A good example is when using the first aid skill; you should be roleplaying out that you are either checking another character over, or checking for a pulse depending on usage of the skill. Skills are covered in detail in Chapter Three, and Feats are covered in Chapter Four.
At the base of our combat system is Health points (See Chapter Two) and the various ways to take damage. This is acted out with Boffers, Nerf style blasters, bird seed packets and light contact. Chapter Five details combat, but in short you lightly strike your target with your boffer, shoot them with a dart, or throw a bird seed packet at them while making a damage call followed by the damage amount. This way your target knows what they have been struck with even if they can’t see what has struck them. The base calls are as follows:
- Edge – Used to represent any edged weapon, swords, knives, daggers, arrows are all common
- Blunt – Used to represent any bludgeoning weapon, such as maces, hammers, staves and fists
- Claw – Used to represent any natural weapon, such as claws, bone spurs, tails and tentacles
- Gun – Used for any gun based damage. These can be darts shot from blasters or bird seed packets when used with nonfunctional gun props.
- Magic – This can be used for either generic magic damage from a magic path (see Chapter Three) or for damage from any enchanted weapon
- Explosive – This is for any explosive device used. Explosives have a radius damage, which can require a little arm waving by a nearby player to help estimate the six foot radius of normal explosives to see if players are within the blast.
We have a few calls that don’t fit with easily within the damage, skill and feat categories. These calls are; Effect, Stand Down and Story hold. The latter two calls are covered below.
The Effect call is used to describe a skill or feat call being delivered in a unique way. You make the feat or skill call, followed by Effect, and then followed by the base Damage Call. This tells the player that they can use any applicable skills and feats that would help avoid them avoid the effect based on the Damage Call.
For example, we have a magic feat called “Bind”. This feat binds your arms and legs so that you can’t run away or fight. Because “Bind” is a magic feat, you can use feats that allow you to resist magic feats to avoid the effect. If someone were to call “Bind effect Gun” this tells you that the attack is gun delivered, which means you can use anything that lets you avoid Gun feats.
Stand Down and Story Hold Calls
There are two types of “pause” buttons in LARP, the “Stand Down” and the “Story Hold”. A Stand Down is called when an injury happens during game. Anyone may call a Stand Down if they witness an injury that they feel needs immediate attention. Someone who falls down but gets right back up and continues in character probably doesn’t need a Stand Down call, but someone who falls down and is clearly in pain or doesn’t get up should have a Stand Down called. When a Stand Down is called everyone must cease what they are doing and kneel on the ground. Refrain from moving or talking so that the referees and those on Safety committee can assess the situation. The person who called the Stand Down, there designee or a ref, must also call game on with the call “3, 2, 1 game on”.
A Story Hold is used when the plot team needs to describe a large event that will impact several players. This follows the same rules as a Stand Down, except only plot team members can call it. Once invoked everyone stops what they are doing and kneels down. At this point the plot member will describe to everyone what their characters are seeing / experiencing. Once the Description: is over they will make the standard call “3, 2, 1 game on”
In-game vs Out Of Game (OOG)
We strive to provide an immersive environment for our game and we ask that all players stay “In-game” as much as possible. “In-Game” means that you are taking on the role of your character. All your activities are to be taken as those of your character. If you need a break from being in character we will have a room marked out for being Out Of Game.
Out Of Game, or “OOG” is used to show when things, or people, are not official part of the game world. An orange headband worn around the crown of the head, or placing your closed fist on top of your head will indicate you are OOG. Anything wrapped in bright orange tape likewise is also considered OOG. This can be used to indicate missing limbs by tying off some orange tape where the limb was removed, more details on this in the combat section.
We use headbands to signify different states in LARP that we can’t show in real life. Here is a quick list of the headband options you may encounter at game:
- Orange: You are Out Of Game. You no longer exist in the game world.
- White: You have died in game. Your spirit has left your body and now wanders around looking to get resurrected. You can be seen and can communicate only with players who have the “resurrection” skill. You also cannot interact with physical objects.
- Blue: Invisible. Your character is out of phase with the rest of the world and is invisible to everyone except other invisible people or those with an item that lets them see you.
- Yellow: Non-combatant. These are worn by people who don’t want to be hit with a boffer for some reason. It can be medical or simply a fear of getting hit. See the combat section for details.
- Pink: Incorporeal. A person wearing this is visible to all as a transparent form of themselves and can only be hurt or manipulated by magic.
There are certain actions that take time to accomplish in game but require movements that would be difficult or dangerous to actually perform. These we accomplish with counted actions. This is essentially a stated count replacing the action your character is performing. The first aid skill for example uses a counted action to simulate you checking for injuries on a person. Since actually moving your hands over someone looking for injuries is unnecessary and perchance uncomfortable for either party, we use a counted action. You simply move your hands over the person and say “first aid 1, first aid 2, first aid 3” at the end of the count the person tells you the information you gained. This can be done for other things such as picking someone up, throwing them around, and performing a “killing blow”. If the target moves in any way to disrupt the count, such as attacking, moving away, or even moving their hand in a blocking motion then the count is broken and must start again. There are two types of counted action, 3 second counts and 60 second counts. 3 second counts are for simple action and 60 second counts are for more complicated actions. The skill will tell you which is needed.