What to expect from your experience
UKLTA events are in the main outdoor LARP experiences with a mix of roleplaying, problem solving and tactical ranged combat that try to deliver the experience of being in an 'action movie'.
Players usually face external adversity and non-player antagonists. There may be some element of conspiracy, secrecy and conflicting agendas within the player group, but this is not usually the focus of UKLTA events.
As part of our mission to deliver an ‘action movie’ experience we also use practical abstract skill tests or puzzles to simulate having to concentrate in tense situations, especially if under fire.
With our effective and 100% safe ranged combat system, long range extended gunfights are practical, as are ambushes, snipers and standoffs. This can form a significant part of our play and is in some ways our ‘unique selling point’.
What is LARP?
Live Action Roleplaying is a type of game where a group of players each take on a role and must deal with challenges and situations that they will be confronted with. It could be compared to improvisational theatre, but there is no audience.
In some ways it is like a tabletop roleplaying game such as Dungeons & Dragons, but rather then taking place solely in the players’ imaginations or on a map, it uses a real place.
Activities that are dangerous or which require specialist skills are abstracted (for example, we shoot people with Laser-Tag and use puzzles to represent hacking past a computer’s security system) but in general if you want to do something in the game: You just try to do it.
If you have ever played a 'murder mystery evening', 'escape room', or 'paintball/airsoft' then the UKLTA flavour of LARP is like a mashup of all three in one, taking parts of each.
Unless it is a strictly tactical skirmish game, roleplaying at UKLTA events is very much of the 'player-vs-environment' variety.
We have players who play the 'protagonists' and crew who play the 'antagonists' and 'supporting' characters. Typically there is little 'player-vs-player' activity although there might be some friction or factionalism.
Our game organisers set up mysteries to discover, criminals to arrest, foes to fight and problems to overcome.
While characters may have personal issues or complicated history, we do not typically explore deep emotional scenes or relationship drama, unless they arise naturally in play.
You should play what's in front of you and assume your character can do anything a competent example of that character could do, be that be a Doctor, Hacker, Scientist or Marine.
For some specific problems you might need 'bought' character skills, such as 'lockpicking' or 'science' to give your character access or information. Specific game settings will have slightly different rules, but broadly they're 'low rules' and don't have different levels: you can either attempt to pick a lock or not.
To help with creating tension in play, UKLTA game organisers will often include puzzles or tasks that players, as well as characters, need to unravel or overcome. These are not usually overly difficult but will require combinations of time, patience and insight.
If for any reason you cannot handle these, we don't want you to have a bad experience so please speak to a GM and you will be able to roleplay through how you resolve something.
As an organisation born out of 100% tactical combat games, there is always an amount of tactical combat in our events.
These origins also mean our games do not use mechanics or systems to represent combat/tactical skills. Additionally because most combat in our games is conducted at significant range, it would be impractical to use of calls or hand signals to signify 'stealth' or other such skills often found in traditional fantasy systems. People crewing our games do not expect players to be awesome action heroes themselves and will give players making fair attempts at things like sneaking etc. leeway.
With a broad group of members we have some who prefer roleplay over combat and vice-versa. We try to balance both their needs and often organise games around having separate 'tactical' and 'roleplay' objectives so you can mostly avoid the other during an event. However non-combat characters will usually be drawn into combat situations at some point, but also combat characters will be expected to support and engage with roleplay focused objectives at other times.
In more roleplaying focused events, there may be restrictions on which weapons your character can use. For example you may need to 'buy' the skill to carry and use an assault rifle, while anybody can use a pistol.
We regularly organise 100% tactical combat skirmish games where players are organised into teams to achieve an objective such as attacking or defending a structure and so on. These games are clearly signposted as such. They are a great opportunity to practice the tactical combat elements found in our more roleplay focused events.
The Laser-Tag equipment we use keeps track of 'hits' in combat and most games have character generation options that allow you be 'tougher' or represent 'armour', depending on setting.
Once you are out of 'hits' in a gunfight, your sensor will let you know. Your character is almost certainly not 'dead', being out of 'hits' means you've run out of luck and one landed properly so you're 'down'. Once you are 'down' you should stop participating in combat or using non-combat skills. You can still interact with other people as if 'wounded', feel free to roleplay how badly depending on the situation. How wounded you actually are is determined once a character with suitable medical skills gets to you.
In most games there is little to no hand-to-hand combat, our usual rule is that if you are touched (not struck) by a LARP-safe weapon or touched by an aggressive 'monster' such as a Xenomorph you are 'down', as if you'd lost all your hits in a gunfight.
If you are crewing and playing a 'monster' you should be briefed by the game organiser but usually you are just trying to touch a player. You must never hit or strike somebody, even with a LARP-safe weapon, at our events.
While we don't have fixed settings and skill systems, we do have a baseline of general rules most events will start from. You must familiarise yourself with them.
We have an extensive social charter that expects respectful play from all participants. You must familiarise yourself with it. Any person who does not behave in this way may be ejected from our event and potentially banned from future ones.
With a focus on play in outdoor environments we need some safety rules to try and keep people safe. You must familiarise yourself with them.
We risk assess every site and will inform you of any specific concerns or areas to avoid. With players spread out over a large area, we use whistles to draw attention please read and absorb the notes on these so you can react quickly.
Site specific rules
Every site we use will have specific rules which we will circulate before a game. You must familiarise yourself with them.
As outdoor events based at large sites with a notable element of tactical combat, players with mobility issues are likely not be able to access every aspect of a game. At the sites we use often the ground is uneven, soft or steeply sloped in many areas.
However all our events do include opportunities for less mobile or non-combat characters and a number of our regular players with mobility issues engage with our games fully in the more accessible areas. Specifics will vary from event to event and if you have any mobility issues please contact the event organiser as soon as you can about them.
Weekend games are typically run at dedicated LARP sites or outdoor activity venues and will have power for things such as CPAP machines, cold storage for insulin and so on. Specifics will vary from event to event and if you have any needs please contact the event organiser as soon as you can about them.
What you should bring
As all our events are outdoors you need to be prepared for a physically active day in whichever season it takes place. Plan your meals and bring anything you need to prepare them. You will need to check what options are available for a specific event. Any given event may or may not be catered, provide access to a kitchen, or allow cooking fires. There is usually time at meal breaks to go out for a take-away should you wish.
Here are the common things you'll usually need to attend one of our events.
- A UKLTA compatible Laser-Tag gun and sensor. Loan equipment can be arranged, please contact the game organiser in advance if you need these.
- Costume appropriate to the event, which will have its own guide. If you are crewing a game normally you will be asked to bring 'blacks' which is a pair of plain black trousers/cargo pants and black top/sweater/hoodie, which may be accessorised with things such as badges/tabards provided by the organiser.
- Boots or tough outdoor shoes, ideally with ankle support. Don't skimp here, treat it like a day hiking. In everything but high summer it's best they're properly waterproof.
- A waterproof coat, even if it's just a folding packable one. This is the UK you know.
- Water in something you can carry. There is always somewhere on-site with water but you need a container and if you fill it in advance you won't forget.
- A snack you can carry. You may be more active than normal and run out of energy.
- Any medicine you routinely need, don't forget things like hayfever remedies.
- Torch and a loud whistle, as per our safety rules.
- (optionally) Knee pads. You may find yourself hiding for cover and knee pads can make this more comfortable. Pads designed for DIY work are a good option.
- (optionally) Gloves. Similarly you may be climbing through/over things like logs/bushes and light gloves are helpful. If it's cold they're essential.
- (optionally) Sunblock, sunglasses. While we play in the UK, sometimes we do have good weather.
- (optionally) A beanie, baseball cap or so on to attach your Laser-Tag sensor to. They can become tangled in hair and this makes it easier to put on and take off.