Welcome to Underworld! Whether you’re a veteran LARPer who’s looking for a new game or new to LARP all together, we have all the information you need right here. Below you’ll find our handy New Player Guide. It should give you the basics.
1. What Is Larp?
2. What you Need to Know
3. Prelog / Future Events
4. How to Pay
Have questions? Ask our New Player Liaisons! Email them at email@example.com.
1. What is Larp?
LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing and is basically a big game of fantasy improv in which you create a character and act out their life in a fictional setting. If you’ve ever played DnD then LARP is similar, except it’s actually you running around fighting the monster and not a figure on a map and dice rolling.
Underworld LARP is an 18+ fantasy horror LARP with the motto of “Run, Fight, Hide” so you can expect to do a lot of all three. It is one of Canada’s largest LARPs with guilds all across the country (from BC to Nova Scotia) as well as in Japan and the US. All the guilds exist in game as various locations so once you make a character you can play them in any of the other guilds you happen to want to visit, and story that affects one guild could end up affecting another.
Games are run by Shapers. They are your storytellers, like a Dungeon Master in a table top game. They create and help tell the stories that you will be interacting with. There is a head Shaper, the rest of the Shaper team, and a team of dedicated NPCs (non-player chatacters – more about those guys later). If you hear people talking about the Plot team, that’s these guys.
Marshals are our other staff members. They help with mods, check armour and weapons for safety, offer assistance if you get hurt, and do other smaller jobs that Plot or the Shapers need doing.
2. What you need to know to start
A. The Rulebooks and how to use them
The rulebooks can be found in the file section of the Facebook group, on the Ralinwood website under the ‘links’ section (links>rules>core rulebook) or on the global website under the ‘learn more’ section (learn more>rulebooks). When you are first starting out you will only need to look at the core rulebook, as the Soul Frag Book contains special races and skills that can be learned later on after you earn frags, a currency you get for volunteering or donating to the game.To get started, download the Core and Frag Rulebooks and give them a look through. In particular you want to focus on the introduction, the races, and the classes. More lore on the core races can be found at the Underworld Wiki , and feel free to ask the New Player Liaisons (NPLs) for more information. The NPLs are also clearly visible In Game as the nerds wearing the yellow armbands. They’re friendly and often answer questions!NPL email: firstname.lastname@example.org
B. Character Creation (skills)
When creating your character there are three main components: (I) race, (II) class/occupation, and (III) skills.
Race determines what species you play. Races tend to have “racials” that must be represented (or repped), such as pointy ears on an elf, green skin for an orc or specific costuming requirements. The only race to have no racials are humans. Your race also determines what racial abilities and drawbacks you have. Races also tend to have optional racial abilities that can be purchased with your character points (CP) once you start buying skills. These can include fancy effects or increased body points. The rulebook will give you some basic information about each race but more lore can be found on the Underworld Wiki .
Next up is your class, or occupation. These determine many things: your body points, your occupational abilities and your skill costs. Underworld has three major groups – Warrior, Scholar and Rogue. A Warrior learns weapon skills for fewer points than a Scholar, a Scholar learns to read for fewer points than a Warrior, a Rogue can learn to penetrate armour for fewer points than a Scholar, etc…
All skills are available to all players regardless of race and class, the only question is skill cost. Skill costs depends on your class archetype.
There are two sets of experience points with which you can buy skills – Character Points (“CP”) and soul fragments (“frags”). CP is earned by applying blankets to your character. Blankets can be earned by attending events or from UW: Global directly. Frags are earned through donations and volunteering.
Every player begins with 150 CP to spend on their skills. CP If you are a human this number is 200 because of your racial advantage. You get one blanket of points or “blanket” for each event you attend, and these blankets give you an amount of CP determined by your level. You get far more CP per blanket at lower levels, then progression slows as you get to be higher level. Skill costs can be found in the rulebook under the “Skills” section.In addition to general skills, each class gets the option to buy abilities specific to their occupation. Occupational abilities become available at level 3, 6, 9 and 12 and require you to have the bought the one that comes before it to buy each one. There are also some special skills in the soul frag book that are only purchasable by those with a certain class archetype (Warriors, Scholars or Rogues).When emailing your character to logistics you can include the skills you want, or you can wait until you have a logistics account and login and add them yourself. More about logistics later.
If after your first game you realize you’ve messed up and don’t actually want to play that race or that class, or that you’ve bought some skills you don’t want, after your first event you get a ‘remort’, or do over. You can email logistics and change anything about your character, but you can only do this once between your first game and your second game. After that you have to purchase the ability to remort skills with frags. After your second event your race and class cannot be changed. Changing your race and class can only happen through in game events and is very uncommon, so don’t count on it.
To create your character, email email@example.com with:
(1) your Player Name (your real name),
C. Backstory / Character Goals
Once you know who and what you’re playing, it’s time to consider where your character has come from. Backstories can be sent in before event, or, more commonly, after your first event after you’ve gotten a feel for the game and made any changes to your character that you intend to.Backstories can be emailed in to the address listed below, at which point they will be reviewed and either approved or you will receive feedback and can resubmit again. It’s smart to keep your backstory open enough that you have a chance to grow and change so that you haven’t written yourself into a corner.Some reasons backstories might be refused include referring to events that are impossible in the game story, divine intervention, relationships to key plot figures (ex. “I’m the cousin of the emperor”) or anything that gives your character too much of an advantage coming in (ex. Being high ranked nobility/a knight, etc…). You can, however, lie the moment you get into game. Your backstory is only known by the Shaper team, not the other players, so you can tell people whatever you want and they’ll be none the wiser unless you get caught.Character goals are the things you want to achieve as your character m having goals is not required but can sure make things more fun if there’s downtime! Want to find rare gems? Become an Archer? Learn to sing? Make a demon deal? Make friends? Conquer Teris? Be a chicken farmer? You name it, you can have it as a goal. Knowing your character’s goals can help the Shapers in the long run and helps you get a better idea of your PC.
As a new player coming into your first game it’s ok if your costume is basic. Not everybody has the time or money to build some magnificent looking costume if they’re not even sure if they’ll be playing the same character after the first game.
The most important thing to remember for costuming is to have no infernal (modern/immersion breaking, more about that later) aspects to the clothing. This means no zippers, logos, super modern materials (ex. Sport jersey material/denim), etc… Thrift stores are a good place to look for clothes if you’re on the budget, as plain pants plus a large shirt being belted to look like a tunic is a good simple starter set. There is an Underworld Crafting group on Facebook that you can ask for costume creation advice in if you want. Most players are happy to help give suggestions or lend their knowledge to help you get started, so the general Facebook groups are also a good place to ask for help.
Weapons and armour both have an in game (IG) and out of game (OOG) component to them. There is the IG tag, a piece of paper with the armour/weapon amount/type written on it, and then the actual physical sword or armour representing that which you have on your person (the OOG part – this is called a “physical representation”, “phys rep”, or “reps” for short). You can have a tag without the phys rep (it just means you can’t actually use the sword for example because you have no foam weapon to swing, just the piece of paper) but you cannot have a rep without a tag. A weapon with no tag on it does not exist in game and wearing armour you do not have tags for is cheating.
Weapon wise there are two main types of weapons in game: boffer and latex. Boffer weapons are made of PVC and pipe insulation foam and then covered in duct tape. They aren’t always the prettiest but they’re very cheap and beginner friendly. Latex weapons can be bought online from LARP retailers for a higher cost but tend to look amazing. Note that Underworld Ralinwood does not allow thrusting with any latex weapons, only boffer ones. Before you start game your weapons must be checked by a Weapon Marshal to make sure they pass safety. If it fails then you cannot use that phys
(2) your Character Name,
(3) your True Name (See the Rulebook page for details on that),
(4) your race and
(5) your class
rep in game. For your first event you can borrow a weapon from NPC camp to use, but after that weapon rentals are $5 per item per event.
Armour in UW must be made of actual leather and metal. Alternate materials will either receive a deduction or be worth no points. This means no plastic, tin foil, worbla or other costuming materials for your armour. Armour is given points by location – these locations can be viewed in the Core Rulebook (see above). Leather gives 1 point per location, studded leather gives 2, chain gives 3 and finally plate gives 4 per location. In order to get the points for a location, the armour must cover roughly 75% of the location. Armour Marshals will be present at the beginning of every game to let you
know how many points of armour your reps are worth.Armour and weapon creation guidelines can be found in the Core Rulebook and a quick
guide by a player for building boffer weapons can be found below.
Once you arrive at game there is a period of time before game known as “logistics” or “log”. This is where you sign in, pay if you haven’t paid in advance, and get your character card. Your character card is basically like a DND character sheet that has all your stats and daily ability tags in it. Some people call it their soul. Keep this on your person at all times as sometimes a Shaper will ask to see it. Do not show it to other players, though, as it contains your abilities and true name.
If you have not built your character prior to arriving at game then let the log team member at the table know this and they will set you up with somebody to help you.
Once you’ve logged you’re ready to get into the game.Log times are listed with the event invite. If you arrive late to game and miss log just head to NPC camp (where Plot Team lives during games) to let them know you’re there and they can get you sorted.
NPCs are Non Player Characters. These are the people who will be playing the monsters, merchants, civilians and enemies that your characters will face, befriend, and fu- Murder. There is a team of season NPCs who NPC for the whole year and then there are also shift NPCs or “shifties” that take an NPC shift for a few hours each event.
After your third game you are required to either take an NPC shift each event or opt out for $10. You will probably not be allowed to NPC before your third game. Taking a shift will get you 5 frags which can be used to buy things from the frag book. NPCing a whole event not only means you get to play as an NPC for free, it also gets you 35 frags or a blanket, your choice.For your first NPC shift you will be asked to show up in all black clothing with no infernal imagery or zippers. From then on the Shapers will assign you roles and tell you everything you need to know to play what you are, be it a bandit or a balrog.
H. What to expect at event
Arriving to game you will want to sign in with log to grab your character card first thing, then set up your tent or claim a bunk in the cabin if you have requested and paid for a bunk. The New Player Liaisons (look for the nerds in the yellow armbands.) will be around to give the new player speech which will go over in game and out of game rules, site boundaries, some combat advice, and they can also answer any other questions you have. Unless you know somebody coming into game you are unlikely to have a camp just yet, but the NPLs can point out the main area near town center that most people put their tents down if they’re not affiliated with a group.
After that, shortly before game begins, somebody will come out to do announcements. This usually involves OOG information such as changes to site boundaries, special effects that you need to know for the event. These currently happen in the tavern area in Ralinwood. At the end of announcements you can ask questions. After questions the Shaper will call “lay on” and the game starts!At this point you are in game and should begin acting as your character would (see information about immersion). Sticking around the tavern for a bit is a good way to start talking to people and gathering information. Don’t worry if you’re nervous at first, everybody has been a new player at some point. People are understanding! If you have any questions during the game feel free to talk to any of the NPLs wearing a yellow armband. Just put your hand on your head to signal that it’s an out of game thing
and ask away. If they can tell you the answer they will, though sometimes the answer will be “find out in game” or “FOIG”. Do keep in mind: the NPLs are playing the game as well, and not all of their characters are trustworthy. When in doubt, trust in your NPLs but maybe don’t trust their characters because some of them play some real sketchy guys.
Your character has two free deaths. When you die you report to NPC camp to report your death and to resurrect. If you die a third time, unless you have bought back a death, you take a Final Death and that’s it. See the Core Rulebook for details. For your first events your deaths won’t count towards the two free deaths you have. This gives you a chance to learn the game without penalties for making beginner mistakes. That said, however, your character doesn’t know this and likely doesn’t want to die so you shouldn’t abuse it. If you die repeatedly doing silly things you might be warned that the next death will count.
You can expect to eat, sleep and fight in game for the duration of the event. Food is served at the tavern area for real cash (called “coppers”) or you can cook something over the fire pit.Come Sunday afternoon game will be end around noon and you are free to stay and chat with the other players or pack up and head off. There is commonly an “afters”, usually at a nearby food venue that people will choose to meet at and eat after game. This is a good chance to unwind and talk to the other players OOG.
Once the event begins and lay on is called, you are considered In Game (IG). As such you must try very hard not to do or say anything Out of Game (OOG) which would break immersion. This means no memes, no modern slang, no talking about cars, etc…We are playing a game that relies very heavily on suspended disbelief, acting as characters who are actually scared of the people in masks and tabards and who are legitimately afraid of dying. Breaking immersion for people takes away from their enjoyment of the game. Being respectful of others means being in game around others. If you say something OOG this is known as being “infernal”. Black smoke comes out of your character’s mouth and the words you say don’t actually mean anything IG. Other players will likely point out that you are being infernal and if enough people do that in game and the Shapers notice, things might start to come out in response to the amount of infernalism being spoken. Nobody wants to be chased by a demon because somebody complained about their internet connection sucking in town center.
You aren’t really supposed to go Out of Game for any reason once game starts, though leaving site to go grab some food is fine and of course if there is a medical issue you don’t need to stay in character. Unless you have permission from the medical marshal (due to medication, conditions, etc…) you are also sleeping in game. This can mean waking up to some unpleasant situations if monsters decide to check out your camp.Tent raiding is something that occasionally occurs but will always include a marshal to make sure it is done correctly.If you must go out of game for any reason, put your hand or weapon on your head, or wear a white hat/headband. This signals to other players that you are out of game and they will pretend you don’t exist. You will often see NPCs doing this when they get into position or a Shaper wandering around in a white headband watching the action to make sure everything is going smoothly. These people in white headbands are nicknamed The Wind because if you accidentally react to them it’s common for people to say “oh, it was just the wind”.
You are allowed to mark off a bag with white ribbon/cloth/tape to mark that it is OOG, and put your wallet, phone and other personal devices inside. No in game tags or items may be put in there, though. Otherwise your bags and gear and tent are all IG as well and can potentially be searched by people trying to rob you, but that requires a marshal to be present. Nobody will just randomly enter your tent without somebody watching to make sure they don’t touch anything they shouldn’t.
Cell phones and other electronic devices are of course not allowed to be used while game is on. Ideally your phone should be off and in your OOG bag, or at the very least put on silent and kept out of sight. If your phone goes off it is very immersion breaking for other players. If an alarm must be set for medication or to wake up for an NPC shift then try to use an IG sound. Some people use bird song or roosters crowing for their alarm. Get those selfies out of the way before game.
J. Combat and Spellcasting
Rules for combat and spellcasting can be found in the Core Rulebook and will be gone over again before your first event with an NPL. A short breakdown is provided here, though.
Weapon combat involves swinging your weapon (I’m going to use a sword for these examples) and calling damage. Base damage for each weapon type can be found in the Core Rulebook, unless you have a skill affecting your damage you are looking at 1 normal for simple weapons, 2 normal for medium weapons, and 4 normal for large weapons.
Damage is broken down into amounts and types. A steel sword does 2 normal. An iron sword does 2 iron. Most damage goes to your armour first and then your body. An arrow does 2 body damage, bypassing armour. When your armour is gone you call “breach!” which signals that your armour is visibly broken and you are now taking actual damage.
Your weapon swing should be between a 45 ° and 90° angle. Less than 45° and it’s barely a weapon swing so it doesn’t count, more than 90° and you’re swinging too wide and risk hitting the person too hard or taking out somebody else along the way. If you block with your weapon or shield you don’t take damage. Weapon strikes are defenders call, meaning the person getting hit will know whether or not they actually got hit.
Spellcasting has two components, the spell packet and the incant. A spell packet (called mana IG) is a square of white fabric filled with birdseed. If you are an alchemist it will be orange cloth. In order to cast a spell you must say the incantation listed in the rulebook and then throw the packet. It is casters call if the spell hits or not as if the packet catches your cloak you might not notice but you still take the effect.
3. Prelogging for subsequent events
A handy dandy illustrated guide can be found here.
4. Paying unlock fee/transfer fee/paying for game
Remember, your first game is free! Unless it’s a special event such as Warcry or an event that is noted to be unavailable for your free event (feel free to ask in advance to avoid potential confusion). If this happens then the next event you play will be free.
In order to apply experience blankets to your character you need to pay a fee of $15 to have your character unlocked in the database. This is a processing fee that must be paid each time you create a character.This fee must be paid to Underworld Canada, not Ralinwood. You can send payments to firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about this, as well as how to pay for event in advance or in person, can be found here .If you have additional questions email: email@example.com.