Welcome to the Dying Light New Player Guide!
Dying light is a community of Live Action Role Players, where we come together to participate in a communal story telling. It takes place in a combination science fiction and fantasy setting in a place call “The Nexus”. The blend of both both genre’s provide us an opportunity to bring in a wealth of stories that unfold and develop as the players and plot team interact with them. Our lens into Nexus is focused on a town known as “Oasis” where characters that we play live out their lives. Oasis has it’s roots in being a trading hub, but like everything in the Nexus, it’s grown into something else, something more. The people that call Oasis home are a varied sort, with most of the “Adventuring” types staying on the outskirts, closest to the excitement and danger that the unstable nature of The Nexus provides. The outskirts of Oasis is setting and stage for the stories that we tell together, and the portion of the world we play out in our weekend long events.
What is LARP? – Live Action Role Play
Live Action Role Play (LARP) is an immersive and interactive role playing experience. Each person who comes to an event has created a character using the system inside our rulebooks. Characteristics like race, skills, and magical abilities are all chosen and put into a character sheet. This is your character on paper, but when you get to game and put on your costume, you take on the role of that character adding flesh and bones to the paper skeleton you have made. Plot is a group of people who are in charge of portraying a living breathing univers, often this is done by bringing out extras and opponents called NPC’s (non-player characters). These along with the other people playing characters will advance stories, create intrigue, and of course provide opportunities for combat.
Before you come to your first event you will want to read through the Core Rulebook. It will provide the basics you will need to know to participate in one of our events. Our Core Rulebook describes the basic mechanics of our gaming environment, our expected player conduct, and a quick introduction on character creation. If your familiar with LARPing in general you should be able to head over to it and start building a character right away.
Where the Core Rulebook leaves off are the details of the Skill and Feats you can purchase at character creation, and the Items that you will run into during game. You’ll want to look through those, but as it’s a lot of information you won’t have to memorize it all right away. They are very useful for figuring out how to build the character that you will want to play as.
Dying Light runs on an eight month season. We begin our season in March and ends in October. This gives the various teams that work on Dying Light time to make any adjustments between games. We have one event every month giving us eight games a season.
Since LARP is a combination of camping and improvisational acting you need to bring a little more than usual to an event. The locations we use have bunks for sleeping, however bunks are often limited to a first come first serve basis, so bringing a tent is strongly encouraged. Here is a short list of things that you may want to bring with you for each event:
- Your costume garb
- Any and all boffer weapons, bows, spell packets, or Nerf guns your character will be using or may potentially use during event.
- Props your character uses or physical representations (phys-reps) you want to add flavor to your adventure.
- Make-up if your character uses it.
- A tent if you are camping or a sleeping bag and pillow if you are using the bunks.
- A first aid kit for small issues such as cuts, blisters, or headaches.
- A OOG bag (marked orange) to keep personal items such as car keys, wallets, etc
- Food, cooking utensils and a cooler. We have a communal dinner on Saturday that everyone who wants to can pitch in for, but players should bring all other meals. We do have a kitchen available with limited fridge space, a microwave and an oven.
- Headbands, remember you will definitely need orange and white, and may need the other colors as well depending on your character’s abilities.
- Entrance fee money. We gladly accept cash or check and appreciate correct change. New players receive a discount for the first game they attend. For the 2018 Season new players pay $25 for their first game.
No game that allows characters freedom can dictate a rule for every situation that may happen. We have worked very hard to give players a rule structure that helps, not hinders role play. If you have any questions or concerns about the function or application of a rule, let the rules team know. We are focused on having fun, so if you find something that you feel is game breaking or will keep other players from having fun, bring it to a rules ref.
There are several different teams that exist which make Dying Light run smoothly. All of these people are considered Ref’s who can arbitrate disputes, make calls on rule questions, and in general oversee that the game is running smoothly. You will usually see them if they are not playing a NPC (non-player character) walking about in an orange headband. At the top is the Owner who has final say in all matters, then the various teams such as Rules, Plot, Safety, and Logistics. These people make up the bulk of the referees.
How to act and what is considered safe at LARP are two very important subjects. They have their own chapter in the rulebook which we STRONGLY encourage you to read and understand. The only way everyone can have a good time is for all our participants to feel safe and free to play the characters they have created. Etiquette and safety are just as important as any other part of the game play and that is why there is a whole chapter devoted to it.
Dying Light is an 18+ age event. This means that no one under the age of 18 should be on site for game play or observation. Some of the subject matter at Dying Light can be adult in nature, with themes that can contain course language, adult situations, and of course violence. For this reason no children are allowed at game. As for valuables such as wallets, watches, jewelry, etc it is recommended that you keep them all together and as safe as possible. Dying Light accepts no responsibility for lost or stolen goods (though we of course will lend a hand helping you find them if they are lost). So I would personally suggest you get a clearly labeled bag that is out of game (OOG) and stash all your stuff in that in a safe place (perhaps a vehicle).
Though it would be great, not all players will get along with one another. It is important to remember that in character interaction should stay in character. You must be able to separate your characters emotions and your own emotions so that what is in game stays in game and what is out of game stays out of game. If it is found that a player is treating another player with disrespect, threatening, or any behavior that violates the laws of conduct then they will be issued a warning by the owner or a representative endowed with that authority. After three warnings (or fewer if the situation is deemed severe) that player will be asked to leave the game. It is encouraged that any player with a legitimate grievance comes to a ref as soon as possible.
As we stated earlier, your character sheet is the base of your character. It is what tells you which feats you have purchased, how hard you hit, how effective you are at healing and all the other little things that are a part of the stats of your character. You will be given a new character sheet each game, since you will be making changes frequently from blanket. Blanket is the experience you have earned after being at each game. This is used to purchase new skills and abilities. At the end of each game you will give your character sheet to a person from Logistics and then between games upgrade your character using blanket. At the beginning of the next game you attend you will be given a new character sheet with all the changes you elected to make. You must keep your character sheet on you at all times during game! If any player feels that you are not following the rules (e.g. using feats you do not possess) then they can request a Rules or Plot ref who will look at the player’s sheet and declare a ruling. If a ruling is requested, this should be done outside of combat situations.
Dying Light uses a tag system for its items. We are a tag light system, so not all items are required to have tags. Items that have an exceptional in game effect will have a tag associated with it. An enchanted weapon, a poison, dancing lord boots, all of them have tags. You get these items from merchants, looting enemies, thieving, and grab bags OOG. Once you have a tag it is your responsibility to get it phys-repped. This is the process of putting a tag on an actual object that you will use as that item. If the tag says +1 sword, then you have to find a safety approved LARP sword and apply the tag to it. If you get a tag of Dancing Lord Boots, then you have to put it on footwear. These tags and phys-reps must stay together so that if you are looted they will remain together (since technically in game they are the same thing). Since it is impossible to come with enough possible phys-reps for every occasion you have one month after getting your tag to find a phys-rep for it, if you do not have a phys-rep for your item it will be unavailable for use.
Tags that are in-game but are not phys-repped must be stored in a container no less than 2 cubic feet in size. If you find that you need to replace the tag on a phys-rep, due to it being shattered with the shatter effect, you may go and replace it from your item box. If you are selling items you do not have phys-reps for, it must be done at the container you use to store your extra tags.
Plot may pass out phys-reps with tags attached; some of these are meant to be kept by the players. If you receive such an item, continue using it until end of game, and then check with a Plot ref on what should be done with the phys-rep.
Dying Light allows you to have four characters created and in the system at any given time. You may only play one of those characters at each event and only that character gets blanket. If for some reason you are unable to play that character after event begins such as the character is sundered and not returning or an injury forces you to play something else then you are allowed to bring in another character. Other situations may occur, and you should always check with head of plot or game director before switching characters.
One of the chief reasons that all tags and phys-reps must be together is that some of the players could be out to steal your stuff. There are very specific rules for theft in Dying Light to keep everyone involved safe. First, if you want to steal something from someone’s bunk or sleeping area and they are not present and watching you, you must have a ref present to ensure fair play is used. Second, if you have successfully taken something from someone once you have made good your escape please bring the phys-rep to a ref. We will take note of phys-rep and owner of it. A stolen item is not allowed to be stored or kept in an out of game area and must be returned to owner at the end of game. Hand the phys-rep into a ref at the end of game and we will return it to the owner. The thief will be responsible for the phys-rep until it has been returned to the owner, just please be respectful of other peoples property. The reason for this is that if you steal their +4 sword and you are walking around with the phys-rep out, they will know it is theirs and have the opportunity come to take it back. This is all handled in game. Players should always have a bag or area marked for out of game stuff (orange tape works or fabric) that way there is no confusion about what is lootable.
As a courtesy to those learning the system, your first two games as a new player do not count against your resurrection boxes. If you die and pop to spirit you do not need to see a ref and have an X placed in your box until your third game.
Thank you for reading! We look forward to seeing you at game!
These character questions are designed to help you build a fully fleshed out character. You don’t need to go through and answer all of them, but you will find them a useful tool to help you build a background story, make it easier to step into the day to day life of your character, and make the interactions as them more interesting, deep and fun.
You will need to get your background approved by the Plot team in order to make sure it fits comfortably in the game world, before playing on it.
You’re welcome to expand on the world with new areas, so long as it fits with the theme of the verse. Your character may also be someone from outside Nexus, and have a world of difference from where you find yourself now.
These questions were liberally stolen from http://www.plus1gaming.com/2011/07/20-questions-for-deep-character-creation/ with changes made to fit the DyingLight universe.
These are the fundamentals, the broadest strokes. Every character should have answers to these five. It’s the quickest way to give the sense of a full individual instead of a cardboard stereotype.
- What emotion best describes your character? Find one primary emotion your character expresses. Try to use a colorful, specific word to describe it. For instance, instead of “angry” you might say “vengeful” or “raging,” or instead of happy you might say “cheerful” or “exalting.”
- What emotion does your character evoke in others? How do others react to you? Do you impress, scare, calm, excite, or perhaps annoy? Again try to find the most specific term you can. Is this reaction different between friends and enemies?
- What does your character need most? If your character had everything he or she needed, why go on an adventure? Most people’s needs are fairly universal, although they can change over time. Common needs are survival, security, companionship, esteem, romance, family, or wisdom. Consider what your character’s starting needs are, and where you want them to grow into as your character develops.
- What is your character’s goal in life? This should be the principle, underlying motivation for everything your character thinks, says, and does. If your character were lying on the brink of death, what makes him or her cling to life? What could your character lose that he or she would consider worse than death? This goal is often broad, and sometimes achievable. Whatever the nature of the goal, it should be something your character can strive for his or her entire life. The best goals are ones that can be threatened, as they will help create more compelling adventures. Ideas include justice, revenge, protecting loved ones, redeeming one’s self, or gaining some kind of power. When you think of something, ask yourself “why?” to make sure it isn’t because of some larger, more important goal.
- How does your character believe this goal can be accomplished? Because the goal can often be ideological, the method to achieving it is sometimes equally insubstantial. Your character’s methods should be strongly tied to beliefs (or lack of beliefs), and primarily be a decision of lifestyle. A character bent on revenge might consider perfecting a fighting discipline, while a character devoted to a cause might consider a religious or philosophical doctrine.
Everybody come from somewhere. Spend any length of time with someone and their history is bound to come up. These questions give your character history, and therefore dramatic and emotional weight.
- Where did your character come from? Consider your character’s initial roots, before he or she was a teenager. These times are what shape your character the most. Who were your parents? Where did you live? What was your family’s economic and social status? How were you educated? What were the three most important lessons you learned?
- When did you grow up? Everyone begins taking responsibility for their own lives at different times and in different ways. Describe the events related to when your character started taking care of him- or herself.
- What values does your character hold? Name three things your character considers sacred, and three things he or she is ideologically opposed to. These things will usually stem from a combination of your goals and your personal history. Consider especially where the values came from. Was your character taught these values? Did they develop as a reaction to something your character considered noble or diabolical? Establish lines that your character will not cross in pursuit of his or her goal to add challenge to playing your character.
- How does your character dress? Start generally with an overall statement of the quality of your character’s appearance, such as projected social status, trade, common activities, or how groomed or slovenly your character is. Begin to hone in on telling details, especially those things that most people take for granted. How exactly does your character style his or her hair? What decorative articles does your character wear, such as jewelry, decorated buttons or buckles, a belt, gloves, etc.?One especially telling detail is footwear. Describe in detail what your character wears on his or her feet, including cut, tightness or looseness, heel height, sole hardness or softness, lacing/buckling/tying or lack thereof, toe shape (square, round, pointed…?), color, material, shininess, cleanliness, repair or disrepair, and any other details you can think of. This often is the ideal of what costuming your aiming for and doesn’t need to be represented exactly as you see it in your mind.
- Why are you here? What events in your characters life had lead you to Oasis? The town at one point was a lively trading hub, but recent events have cast it adrift into the verse.
- What keeps you here? What about Oasis keeps you from moving on? The adventuring life presented by living on the outskirts of the town isn’t for everyone one, so what is your anchor?
Now we’re picking nits. These five are all about texture and color. These answers take your character beyond an adventure serial persona and into reality. Answers to these make your characters memorable for years.
- What are your character’s personal tastes? Name at least three things your character enjoys for no reason other than personal preference. A good place to start is with each of the five senses. Consider a sound, smell, taste, feeling, or sight that is uniquely pleasing to your character. Also consider activities such as hobbies or habits. Name three things your character dislikes, as well.
- What are your character’s opinions? Decide upon at least three major aspects of local society and your character’s opinion on them. This could be generalizations such as rich or poor people, more specific areas like a particular political or religious group, or very specific things like a prominent individual or an aspect of the character’s job. Check with the plot team for relevant things in the campaign to have opinions about.
- What is your character’s comfort zone? What environment, activity, or mindset puts your character at ease? This can add a lot of color to your character during stressful moments, as he or she will have a place to go or a thing to do at these times. It helps to have a comfort zone broken up into the above parts so at least some of it is portable.
- Who has had the biggest impact on your character’s life? Name and briefly describe at least one person who had a significant impact on how your character perceives the world today. You can name more than one, but they should each reflect different aspects of your character’s beliefs. Use this as a reference point when your character has to make difficult decisions (i.e., “What would so-and-so do?”).
- What are some of your character’s unexpected quirks? Name three things that are unexpected about the way your character behaves, such as things that go against his or her normal social status, age, or trade. How about three unexpected talents or abilities like being able to sing, or knowing some trivial knowledge, or being good at math? Three things your character can’t do that most other people can such as whistling, swimming, or reading well? How about three things your character fears, such as heights, dogs, or insects?
These five questions direct your play experience itself rather than your character. What do you want out of your game?
- What kind of story does your character belong in? Who are the characters your character interacts with? What themes are important? What conflicts does your character face? LARP is about cooperative story telling, often this means that you will want to actively pursue the kinds of stories you want to experience with your character.
- What is your play style? Do you like working through drama with your character, or lots of combat, or perhaps you’re especially goal-oriented?
- How do you want your character to die? Your character won’t live forever, although you might not play him or her to the end. If you had your choice of deaths for your character, what would it be? Death of old age, having survived through all his or her trials? Perhaps a bloody, violent death? A noble sacrifice? Happenstance? It can also provide an unusual layer of texture to your roleplaying, as you have a better understanding of your character’s fate. It can be helpful to share this information with the plot team once you are ready to retire a character.