Dungeon Crawl and Fighter PracticeJune 11th, 2013
We want to announce that we will be organizing and running a dungeon crawl event – fighter practice combination event. The date is the weekend of July 27-28, 2013. The dungeon will begin at Noon on Saturday. We will be reserving the cabins to sleep in until Sunday morning. (You cannot arrive Friday night! So please arrive on time on Saturday.)
This event will be a series of dungeons designed for groups of adventuring PCs that will run all day Saturday mainly in big red barn near Confirmation Lodge. The price will be as regular sign-in ($25), which means full production and sign-in XP. Those that wish to participate in the dungeon crawl must NPC for the rest of the adventuring groups and assist with setup/cleanup of each dungeon. Those that do not wish to participate can participate in a Fighter Practice day and still partake in the sign in/production as per a normal practice.
If you are part of an adventuring group please decide as a group if you will be participating in this dungeon. If you are not part of an adventuring group, either find one, or form your own! Generic dungeons will be available for random groups of independents. You must be part of a group to PC in the dungeon crawl.
We will be requiring a preregistration for this event since it is an off season event. Please Preregister following the instructions below.
You can send your pre-registration to email@example.com Pre-Registration ENDS July 1st. Your preregistration should include:
- Your name
- Whether or not you are participating in the dungeon
- PC or NPC? If PCing, include your PC name and which group you will be with
Posted by Julie
Garbing Up on the CheapApril 5th, 2013
Okay, so you've come to game, you've tried the system, you've drunk the Kool-aid, and you're hooked, but now you need garb and you're broke, so what do you wear?
First don't be put off by the people who bought zillion dollar Feb Feast belts, or ridiculously expensive suits of plate handmade by secret herds of genetically engineered elves. You do not need to spend a lot to look great.
Anything you wear comes from three things: skill, money, and time. Learn how to use more skill or more time and you can make excellent garb for cheap. As you experiment with taking most of the money out of the equation keep in mind four things.
1. Don't buy what you don't need.
The absolute minimum I would recommend for new players is: good boots, a tunic/top long enough to cover you to about mid-thigh, and some way to carry stuff (either a belt and pouch, or pockets in your pants). These things can get you by for a few games without pretty much anything else.
Pair these with a pair of nondescript pants, or a long skirt, and the tunic will cover the pockets and things at the top until you can make/buy a more period pair of pants or skirt. Then over time build up your kit by adding new items as you learn how to make them or become able to afford them. Even with years of practice, it still took me almost a year to completely finish Delia's garb. Be patient.
2. Don't buy junk.
Buying shoddy, ill-fitting, anachronistic or uncomfortable garb wastes your money. You'll just have to buy the same thing again when it breaks/ makes you miserable/ you decide you don't want to look terrible. If you don't waste your money, even someone with very limited skills or money can get great stuff by buying one piece at a time. Better to borrow for a game or two, then buy something that will last, than to buy the cheapest thing that will look terrible until it falls apart.
3. Design is important.
First, plan your outfit with your budget in mind. If you can't sew, don't do leatherwork, and have no money, keep that in mind when you start your costume. A peasant, in a simple loose-fitting tunic and pants, might be a better choice than an Evanendran noble with ten embroidered under-layers and curve-hugging studded leather armor.
Second, if you want your not-quite-right garb to look better, always make sure the silhouette is the same as or similar to the intended period garment. Picking a color scheme and sticking with it for every item in the costume, will also help the imperfections in some items blend into the rest of the outfit. (Not just neutrals though, because that won't look intentional enough as a color scheme.)
Strive for accuracy in the garments themselves if you want to mix and match colors or cultures; it keeps the whole thing from looking accidentally anachronistic instead of period but mismatched. Fairly plain items in a color that matches the rest of your garb will likely be the least noticeable. Because this is a costume, if it isn't right it shouldn't be there, so keep anything modern very simple, but you can sometimes get away with something generic in brown or black (or a matching color) if it's fairly simple and not too attention grabbing, and all the modern bits are covered by parts of the rest of your costume.
4. Invest in what matters.
After boots, your time and money should be budgeted in proportion to how noticeable things are. Your goal is to use color and detail to draw attention to the great parts of your costume, while the rest blends into the background.
So if you have a bright yellow patterned tunic and a belt of simple brown leather, the tunic will draw most of the attention. You should be spending most of your time and money on the tunic. On the other hand if you had a plain brown tunic, and a wide, flashy, bright yellow patterned belt, then you would expect much more attention to be on the belt than before. Most of your money and attention should be spent on the belt.
Size matters too; spend more of your resources on something that covers a lot of your body (and shows – hidden parts don't count for size here) than on pieces that only cover a small area.
Get good boots. They are the most important thing you can get. Good footwear keeps you happy and comfortable during all the moving and running LARP requires, and good-looking boots can help pull a mediocre or poor outfit together.
Tip for men: Your women's shoe size is generally your shoe size plus about two. Consider looking for women's boots. You can actually find many modern women's boots that would pass for period (in this case, period means no zippers, no modern embellishments, appropriate cut and style, etc.), and since they are carried by regular shoe stores, you can actually try them on. If they look lousy or hurt your feet, you'll know before you buy them, not after.
Where to Look for Inexpensive Materials
Now that that's done here's how to get supplies, but remember, be flexible. If you go to a thrift store expecting to find what you need for 'a midnight blue robe, grey brocade pantaloons, and a red silk shirt', you are going to be very disappointed. On the other hand, if you go looking for 'fancy clothes and fabric for a high elf' you'll be much more likely to end up with what you need, even if you end up with say green and white garb, and a cloak instead of grey garb with a robe.
There are three basic ways to get supplies: from stuff you already own, from places that sell used or discount goods, and from actual fabric and craft stores. Let’s start with…
Stuff you already own.
Cons: Little selection, takes up storage space, takes time to get a good supply.
Many things people get rid of have useful parts you can save if you set aside a small space in your home. Later, when you make costumes, you don't need to spend your hard earned money on them.
Things to save:
· Belt buckles. If your belt wears out consider saving the buckle for use on a new belt.
· Drawstrings. These can save you a couple bucks when making drawstring skirts or pants but take up very little space, and depending on what they look like might also be appropriate for lacing garments that need it.
· Buttons. Don't throw away any shirt (or other clothing) until after you've cut off the buttons. Even buttons that don't look period can be used as a base for constructed buttons.
· Unmatched Hook-Back Earrings. If you bend the hook into a loop you can attach them to chains and other jewelry, or cut the hook off and you can use the loop that attached the earring to the hook to sew them onto finery as embellishment.
· Rings and Hardware. Taken from worn purses, bags and backpacks, these can be used when attaching ties to cloaks or other gear.
· Chains or Charms From Broken Jewelry. Use as cords, in the same manner as unmatched earrings, or pair them together to make new jewelry pieces.
· If you have extra space you can also save garment leather from bags, clothes or furniture, and fabric from clothes, sheets or curtains that become stained in only one area, or tear from minor calamities instead of wear.
Places that sell used or discount goods.
Pros: Better selection, no storage.
Cons: Takes a while to find what you want, worse in winter
We're talking thrift stores, garage sales, rummage sales, and sometimes the internet. (Though you can also get things from friends and relatives if you let them know you're in the market for leftover stuff from any projects they do.) These are all great places to shop for materials as long as you are flexible and shop ahead of time (since it may take a couple trips to find what you want).
Tip for people with lots of choices: If you have more than one thrift store in your area, go to the one with the least fashionable clothes. The more trendy their stuff is the more likely the colors you find, if not the items they sell, are to read as modern in your garb, no matter how careful you are about creating accurate garments from it.
These are places you can get fabric for just a few dollars (if that) by buying sheets, curtains, or tablecloths that are in good repair. If it looks okay, hold it up to the light and look for any unevenness or brighter spots. These are a sign of worn fabric. Don't buy anything that has them.
Only buy woven fabrics. Anything knit, and anything with stretch in it are to be avoided, they will be much harder to rework and will not look period even if you do.
Denim isn't period, but can look okay provided you get colored denim (not blue or black, or khaki colored) and you check to ensure that the whatever you are getting the fabric from is the same color on the inside as the outside (this will prevent it from fading in the manner common to denim when worn).
Crushed velvet is period but is best avoided all the same because of how frequently cheap versions of it are used in bad Renaissance Halloween costumes and such. This means almost anything you make from it, without really exceptional levels of skill, will look tacky and cheap, just by association.
If you're lucky you can also make some modern garments look period with a little work. Your basic plan is to take a premade item that fits you and change it until you get rid of all the anachronisms. (Even if you don't have a lot of sewing skills, taking the time to get good with a seam ripper can be really helpful here). Start by finding something in the shape you are looking for in a period-appropriate fabric. For tunics this might mean a dress, instead of a shirt. If it looks okay and basically fits, then check out the trim, pockets, or anything else that needs to come off (or have something sewn over it). If it looks like it is sewn on top rather than being built into the seams, and if the fabric isn't darker under the edges of it, then you can probably remove it with a seam ripper at home and it could be worth buying. If not, then keep looking. You can also sometimes remove anachronistic trim if you shorten the sleeves or hemlines slightly. Pockets set invisibly in the seam can be sewn shut, but pockets elsewhere are usually too much of a pain to be fixable.
Aside from fabric and garments you can get great accessories. Check out the belts, hats, jewelry, and bags each time you go for other supplies. These are very hard to alter, and you may go many times before you find something usable, but if you keep looking you can sometimes find pieces that work for your garb.
Fabric and craft stores.
Pros: Great selection, really fast.
Cons: Most expensive.
These places can be a great last resort if you can't find what you need elsewhere, and often a small purchase here can be just what you need to finish off your outfit.
First, you're gonna need your basic fabric. This is where coupons are your friend. Sign up for whatever mailing list your local store has – they often send out coupons, which are well worth it when buying expensive fabrics like linen or wool (or brocade). Linen and wool are period, and great in poor weather, but expensive per yard. If you plan on using these fabrics, consider looking over the cheapest selection of wool or linen fabrics your store has before making a color choice. After all a green shirt might match your idea for a wood elf better than a brown one, but if the cheaper selection doesn't include a good green, that brown one can start to look mighty appealing.
Spend your money on what will draw attention. In solid colors you can get away with cheaper fabric, but for patterns (like anything embroidered, or brocade, or whatever) buy quality fabric. If you can't afford the good fabric, don't buy a pattern. Patterned fabrics also take more fabric to make the same garment, since you have to match the edges and make sure everything is right side up. For these reasons I advise against them when you're tight on money.
Some fabric is the same on both sides (mostly solid colors, in standard weaves), but many patterns have a cutting layout planned for fabrics that are not. If you buy fabric that is the same you can sometimes get away with using less by rearranging the pieces that have to be mirror images of each other. You can also consider going in with a friend to make two similar shirts together for less than the price of two individual shirts.
For example, let’s say Adam buys three yards of red fabric for a shirt, bias tape to trim his sleeves and edges, and white fabric for a Septon's star on the front. Then I buy three yards of white fabric, bias tape to trim my sleeves, and red fabric for a Septon's star. Instead we could each buy almost the same amount of fabric, then use the leftover pieces from each other’s fabric (all those weird narrow edge pieces and triangles and such) to trim our shirts. Or if we want exactly the same shirt, two people buying the same fabric as one cut make out way better on percentage coupons, since one can buy fabric at a discount then the other can buy trim at a discount making the most use of their two coupons.
Plan on investing in good trim. Since it isn't structurally necessary there's no reason to scrimp on it. Nice trim and quality fasteners can really make your garb stand out. While it's usually easier to add your trim at once when you're making your garb, if you can't afford it, you can always finish the item, then after a game or two with a plain tunic (or pants), buy and add your embellishments to them.
If you're willing to trade a lot of time for a little money, you can also consider braiding your own trim for use as embellishments or ties from narrow ribbon or smooth, non frizzy yarn. (Do not ever try this with that artificial junk that preschoolers use for art, or I will come in the night for horrid costume designer vengeance.) Doing a braid with more than three strands is the key to making it look professional.
Here's a good tutorial on how to start a braid with four strands and how to start a braid with five strands. The instructions for four work with all larger even amounts of string; the instructions for five work for all larger odd numbers. Finish your ends by beading or whipping (as well as a little judicious melting on synthetics) and your cording will look even more rich.
Sew a plain or braided cord on in a fancy way and you can make even simple trim look ornate. The ties on Delia's robe are all five strand braided cord made with cotton yarn, sewn on with loops instead of straight.
Other places to try.
Material for props and accessories can sometimes be found here. Good for cheap chain, many sorts of repurpose-able metal things, and dowels for rods and wands.
The dollar store often has deals on leftover colors of ribbon (white, beige, grey, or electric green anyone?), those glass blobs and plastic gemstones, and oddly colored shoelaces you can use as drawstrings. Keep an eye on their holiday merchandise. A lot of hideous items have good parts you can break off and use for cheap.
One last thing: Don't give up on your 'failures'. If your work isn't coming out how you want make something else. There may be a perfectly good cloak hiding in that ruined skirt, or robe in that ill-fitting tunic. If it's already unwearable and ruined, there's no reason not to try.
Posted by Julie
Feb Feast 2013January 14th, 2013
The 2013 Kingdoms of Novitas February Feast will be held on Saturday, February 16th at Vanderkamp. There will be a single 5-hour game shift, to run from noon to 5 PM, followed by dinner and a party.
Dinner will be provided on Saturday night by Vanderkamp in the dining hall. You’re on your own for the rest of the meals.
After dinner, we will retire to Frank Lodge for the usual stuff: a fundraiser auction, a short State of the Game address, and drinking. 12 Noon on Sunday is GTFO.
Due to start time issues we had in past years, we have rented Confirmation Lodge for two nights, enabling our noon game-on start time. If you are traveling from farther than an hour away, that is, you don’t live in Utica, Syracuse, Oswego, or the surrounding areas, you are welcome to drive out Friday night and stay in Confirmation lodge for both nights. Confirmation Lodge sleeps 10 people. Everyone else is invited to be on-site Saturday morning and fill up any remaining beds in Confirmation as well as Frank and Oscar Lodges. Logistics will run out of Fellowship Hall. The downstairs area of Oscar Lodge will be in-game as a common room, so Oscar residents please keep your shite picked up in there. After the feast, Oscar lodge is designated as the quieter board/video gaming and hanging out lodge, while Frank Lodge is designated as the there-will-be-loud-music-and-dancing-and-drunkenness-and-people-up-all-night lodge.
So, the itinerary looks like so:
Friday, February 15, 2013
4 PM – arrival begins for out-of-towners in Confirmation Lodge. Don’t burn the place down.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
10 AM – Setup begins
11 AM – Logistics opens for PCs
11:30 AM – Logistics open for NPCs
12 Noon – Game on!
5 PM – Game ends – CLEANUP LOGISTICS – THIS MEANS YOU
6 PM – Dinner
7:30 PM – Fundraiser Auction and stuff
8:30 PM – Party on Wayne (Party on Garth)
Sunday, February 17, 2013
12 Noon – GTFO
Cost for this event is $41 per person if using PayPal. You can send preregistration payments to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also pay a Marshal, any Marshal, in person with cash. If you do this, the price is $40.
When you pre-register, make sure to include the real names of everyone you’re paying for, and what nights you’re staying over, if any, if you are PCIng or NPCing, what PC party you’re in if you’re PCIng
If you are planning on daytripping and leaving before dinner, or if the price for this event is an issue for you, please contact us.
If you are planning on PCing, REGISTER EARLY. We are only allowing for about 20 PC slots.
PREREGISTRATION BEGINS NOW AND ENDS AT MIDNIGHT, SUNDAY FEBRUARY 10th.
There are 65 beds available, and a few spots on the couches and cots. I’ll do my best to figure out who is daytripping, etc. so that we can try and find a bed for everyone who wants to stay the night. 65 is not the cap for the event, it’s the cap for people sleeping there Saturday night (and even then we have a little wiggle room. If we go massively over this number, we will rent another building, but this needs to be done sooner rather than later, so please PREREGISTER EARLY!
If anyone knows anyone who would be interested (or any of you are) please let me know. Real actual vendors can get comped for a bunk and dinner.
Posted by Julie
November EventOctober 18th, 2012
The next Novitas event is November 2-4, 2012! A couple of notes about this event:
Logistics will be in Resurrection Lodge this event.
We're going to do a 33/33/33 raffle, where Vanderkamp gets a third of the take, KoN gets a third, and one lucky winner gets a third! Tickets are $5 each, and every ticket gets you 1 XP! $50 will get you ten tickets and a level! We will sell the tickets at Logistics until Sunday after cleanup, then we will draw the winning ticket. There will also be consolation prizes awarded after the main drawing. Latex weapons, leather goods, etc. If any of our talented craftspeople would like to donate a consolation prize, that'd be much appreciated!
Posted by Julie
Clash of Kings IVOctober 8th, 2012
Several members of our LARP group also do Dagorhir. – October 12-14 is an event sponsored by the Realm of Winterfell, Cairnhold Legion, at our usual Kingdoms of Novitas site. More information about the event can be found in the event announcement.
Posted by Julie
Harvest FestivalSeptember 24th, 2012
October is traditionally the Pinedale Harvest Festival, but this year it is the Second September event – this weekend (September 28-29)!
For new players, this means second shift (Saturday 10-4) will be an all-PC shift, with no GM plot provided during that time. Any player who does not currently have a PC is more than welcome to create a first level persona to participate in the events of the day or to man the Inn. It is traditional for PC parties and/or individuals to hold various contests of skill, sport, or chance during the festival, so expect fun times!
Posted by Julie
Fall EventsJuly 11th, 2012
Fighter Practice & Cookout at Vanderkamp, August 25th – 26th. If people want to stay overnight, we’ll have Resurrection Lodge, and I imagine that cabins are available too.
September Weekend Event, September 7-8-9. Regular weekend event.
October Weekend Event, September 28-29-30. Shifted back a week because someone booked the entire camp on the following weekend (our regular one) two years in advance.
Winterfell’s Clash of Kings, October 12-13-14. Dagorhir event at Vanderkamp, but you’re all invited anyway. Come support Richard and Zach in their first year of running Winterfell!
November Weekend Event, November 2-3-4.
December Weekend Event, December 7-8-9.
Posted by Julie