We are a high-fantasy LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) group that is currently based in Southeast Michigan. You may already be familiar with tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) such as Dungeons and Dragons or White Wolf products. If you are, the difference between an RPG and a LARP is that RPGs consist of half a dozen or so players sitting around a kitchen table with dice and a single Game Master, whereas a LARP is a cross between an elaborate theatre production, live combat, and a hike in the woods. LARPs such as ours have costuming, boffer weapons, and dozens of players whose actions influence not only what you can accomplish but the course of an entire fantasy world. If you aren't, well, them's the basics ;)
We currently hold weekend-long events (Friday night through Sunday afternoon) 6-8 times per year at campgrounds such as Brighton State Recreation Area, Bald Mountain Recreation Area, and Camp Kiwanis. See Event Dates and Locations for more information.
For non-political conflict resolutions, we have real-time combat fought via boffer (padded) weapons. Under our rules, your out-of-game (OOG) skill with a weapon does not determine how powerful or skilled you are with a weapon while playing the game. You become more "powerful" with a weapon by using the character points (experience) you earn by attending an event to buy in-game weapon skills. The more events you have, the bigger and better your skills become. This way, a 5-foot-tall woman straight out of high school can stand toe-to-toe with a large man with years of real-world swordfighting experience. After all, what's the point of fantasy role-playing if you can't be something you aren't in real life?
Type of Characters you can play
Just about anything you can concieve, as long as it's appropriate to the game setting. We don't force players to be a standard fighter, healer, thief, or mage. We are a skill-based system, not a class-based one. By purchasing the relevant skills, you can be a mad scientist, an alchemist, a fence, a politician, a woodsman, a beast master, and so on. Check out the Character Archetype section in our rulebook for more examples.
Races you can play
A beginning player can choose to be one of several fantasy races:
The Avyana are a bird-like Race. They have angular eyebrows and blue around their eyes. Their hair grows straight back like feathers do.
Avyana are either hatched from eggs or from live-birth. They are superstitions about each method. For a time, the egg is carried in the womb and then the mother will give birth to the egg. Sometimes the egg is broken during this time and the baby is born live. The mother takes care of the young and few Avyana ever know who their father is. Young males are called deacles, and young females, who commonly are named after their mother, are called hutchen. Until the last decade all of the Avyana lived within the confines of one great and sprawling City, Lethnal, under the ruthless King Roderick. He believed that all of his subjects existed to fill his coffers with gold and his palace with treasures of all sorts. Consequently, the King and his associates, pampered and spoiled, taxed their subjects heavily. Common Avyana had little to call theirs and many lived in fear of not being able to pay the tax man. Those who were unhappy with this arrangement could not leave of their own free will. The laws—which were strictly enforced—state that all Avyana must stay within the City gates. Those wishing to play an Avyana who left under King Roderick’s rein must paint an X on their foreheads because exile is the only way out of the City. The King’s men branded or marked exiles with an X.
The Barbarians were once Humans, who moved to extreme environments of Phantara and over the course of several hundreds of years, have developed into their own Race, as their connections to the elements diverged from normal Human Access, in their need to survive.
There are four different cultures of Barbarians. Each culture is still tribe-based, but have morphed differently based on the part of the world that they call home.
Arctic Barbarians: They live in a frozen world to the far-far North. Their culture is similar to Vikings.
Desert Barbarians: These live in the Sea of Dust on the other side of the Chaos Mountains. Their culture is similar to Nomadic Arabs.
Southern Barbarians: The Kingdom of Silverthorne knows them as the Southern Barbarians, but they know themselves and the Barbarians of the Swamps and Plains. Their culture is similar to the Native American tribes.
Jungle Barbarians: These are to the extreme South in the jungles and mountains. Their culture is similar to the Aztecs and Mayans.
When picking the culture your Barbarian comes from, it will better dictate the costuming requirements you will have to follow. Please see a GM or New Player Marshal with questions on what your type of Barbarian would wear. Barbarians who do not have a totem mark are not considered adults by most other Barbarians.
Honor is the single-most important thing to the Dwarf. Being embarrassed by another is devastating to their egos. They constantly want to look good in front of the other Dwarves, especially those within their own clan—the only other Dwarves for which they have deep respect and loyalty. It is not uncommon for Dwarves of different clans to get into short-lived scuffles. Dwarves make frequent trips to the Dwarven Homeland, as is tradition, to participate in seasonal rituals which celebrate the coming of age and other important times in a Dwarf's life. Like Elves, they have tremendous respect for their elders and will go to their service on command if the need arises. This is not something that Dwarves argue about. If they're needed by someone important, they help. It's that simple.
Dwarves tend to be very rugged looking. The males have full beards, unless they want to be looked upon as an outcast, an outsider, or a traitor. The females have light facial hair. Females usually wear their hair long in one or two braids. Most Dwarves wear very nice armor. They pride themselves on having some of the most beautiful armor in the world, fit to perfection. The more important the Dwarf is, the nicer their armor tends to be. Another way to distinguish the social class of the Dwarf is the number of braids that they have in their beards. The more braids, the higher the class.
Ga'Vin are the defenders or guardians of nature, actively seeking out and destroying those who would ruin the forests and glens of Phantara. The Ga’Vin came to be in ancient times, when the An’Dar and the Drethrin started to build their great cities and spread out across the world. Their civilizations were not very kind on the natural world and many species of plants and animals began to die out from their incursions. Ga’Vin came into the world to help protect it and fill the void left behind by that which had vanished. Ga’vin were there the first time the world was broken by petty wars and being the survivors that they are, they made it through that conflict—and countless others since—unchanged.
But an ancient Race can hold ancient grudges. They have been on bad terms with the Dwarves for over 20,000 years due to an incident they’d rather not discuss (not to mention the Dwarves’ stubborn insistence on ripping into the earth with their huge mines and burning peat and trees). A bout of subjugation under the descendants of the An’Dar humiliated them yet did not crush their spirit. They remember these dark days, spent as the subjects of experiments and the fathers of An’Dar’Vi-created monsters. Yet for all their close bonds that only years of hardship and subjugation can forge, the Ga’Vin are perhaps the most ideologically-conflicted Race in Phantara.
Gnomes love precision and detail. Where other Major Water Races pride themselves on the collection or distribution of knowledge, Gnomes most enjoy categorizing what they learn, putting the knowledge into precise little boxes. This is great fun for the Gnome and if other Races can deal with their ways they will surely benefit later.
Gnomes can spend hours upon hours doing whatever job they have chosen for themselves. They get a tremendous amount of pleasure out of a finished product and love to show it off to everyone around. Gnomes can be very humble if they choose to be and most of them, probably due to their size, try to be. They would much prefer to have allies than enemies. Gnomes occupy a unique position amongst all the Races of Phantara. They are not ‘Gnome-centric’ and they make an effort to learn all they can about other Races—their languages, their customs and their beliefs. Other Races tend to have at least a neutral impression of Gnomes, for the other Races enjoy talking about how great they are—and the Gnome is only too eager to hear them talk. They can always separate the truth from fiction later; the gathering of data is the important thing.
Guthries are nomads, seldom staying in one place for very long. In their travels, they do not make a lot of close connections with anyone, but are very friendly. They believe that to have no enemies means you will have a long, enjoyable life. They have an annual storytelling celebration which draws Guthries from all over Phantara. It is held in a different place each year. During this time, the Guthries share a tremendous amount of food and drink, listen and dance to some of the finest music in the world and participate in a storytelling contest that is truly spectacular. Very few Guthries choose not to participate and all hope that they can be that year's winner. There is a small monetary prize for the winner, but the real reward is the pure enjoyment of telling stories, the thrill of putting words together in such a way that it will awe their audiences. It is certainly the most exciting event of the year.
Guthries are happiest when they are in the company of friends sharing a rather large meal. Food is very important to Guthries. Gluttony is almost expected of them, but they would never steal another's food nor would they ignore a hungry person. They would never want to go hungry themselves so they are very kind to those in need, a kindness not limited to food. If they can give something to make a life easier, then they usually will. They try to treat everyone equally, although they are a little more wary around Ga’Vin and Orcs. Guthries are very good natured, but their keen wit and clever minds often worry the other Races. It's as if they have to have something planned and that that plan has to be something evil. Even if that were true, Guthrie are rarely aggressive. They rely on their wits to get them by. Few can compare to them when it comes to snapping out the witty response. They are also very cunning and have a knack for lock picking and things of the like. Generally speaking, Guthries tend to dabble in magic and make excellent sages, much like the Elf, but they also enjoy more stealthy endeavors.
High Elves have an extraordinary passion for knowledge and the magical arts. They seek it with a hunger similar to that of a starving man and then they store it safely away. To forget it or to lose it is unthinkable. They are usually great scholars, fond of study and discipline. They take great pride in their High Elven heritage, including their long, pointed ears.
Elves have very strong ties to their Homeland. They are most comfortable among their own kind and believe that they should stay there to better their kind and their community. While away from their home, they can be struck with an incredible loneliness, a longing to be back where they belong—although this is lessened somewhat when in the presence of other Elves. Elves were the first Race of intelligent creatures to inhabit the lands and many of the other Races evolved directly from them. They founded the ancient and magnificent City of Syl’Van’Dar, which still stands today. Two other cities they founded are since lost to the world.
This new creature took Phantara by storm, spreading quickly to the four corners of the world. Not only populating every City, but building new ones, bigger and better than anything that had existed before. They would call themselves Human and wear that label with pride. They believed that there was nothing they couldn't do, from architecture to singing or from swordsmanship to magic. They were attracted to each other and had an amazing sexual drive. They prospered in the harsh land better than any Race before them and strove to make their lives easier. And so it was that Humans would account for most of the population of the world. There was nothing that anyone could do about it.
Humans are social animals who prefer the company of their own kind. Of the other Races, they treat Valken’Vi the best, being they are closest in appearance to Humans. Difference is often looked upon as bad. When dealing with the unknown, they are often quick to judge. It takes a while to gain the trust of a Human if you yourself are not one. Their downfall, perhaps, is that they hold too much faith in the Humans are good, others are bad type attitude. More often than not it is a Human who does the back stabbing while the Orc, who could have been a friend, just looks on and smiles.
Long ago when all Dwarves were one people the Clans delved deep into an ancient mountain range creating a home for themselves, a City called Doru’dar. Within this City the leader of the Clan of Lore Dwarves, a Dwarf named Fern, uncovered a source of magic unlike any other they had ever heard of before, a magic of knowledge. This magic was not like other magic, it was magic given solid form. It was magic that could exist and communicate with those around it. It was a magic of order, a magic of patterns and numbers and logic and it was named science. Over the next several years Fern and this magic become good friends. Science showed Fern things that no other magic knew.
The Lorecrafters are the keepers of Dwarven knowledge, history and lore. They possess a sense of honor much like other Dwarves do, but treasure stories and knowledge above all else. They are a rugged people with little use for flowery words or pretty speech, which often results in them being misconstrued as rude by other Races.
The green-skinned Orcs, or greenskins, are a barbaric, clannish Race originating in the far northern plateaus – a savage land teeming with all manner of great beasts and other monsters. As a warrior-people, their rage in battle is especially legendary, matched only by their hunger. Orcs are not known for being intelligent, though some have an understanding of Alchemy and Herbalism and a primitive grasp of magic (those who do often become shamans or spiritual guides of the race).
Tough and hardy as the earth, brutish and beast-like, Orcs will do whatever it takes to survive or win a fight. Runts are cast out into the world, either to perish or learn to fend for themselves. An Orc is expected to earn respect through strength and cunning; only the strongest lead. There is no room for weakness.
Much like the Barbarians, Sylvani were once Humans. Over the centuries, the many Clans of traveling Sylvani have wheeled and dealed their way into their own Race. With their singularly focus on social connections, travel, soothsaying and cursing, they have developed stronger ties to Air and Water.
The Sylvani travel in brightly-colored caravans from place to place, living free in spirit, owing allegiance to no lord (which upsets Nobles). They survive by hunting off the land (which upsets local Thanes) and selling luxury goods such as fine silks and artwork (often without paying taxes upsetting House Mandalor). The Sylvani have their own set of traditions and follow their own unique code of honor (which tends to land them in trouble with House DeVris). The few Sylvani who venture from camp to enter town are usually performers and try to earn a few extra coin in that manner.
The number of Valken'Vi has always been low compared to the other Races and over the last ten years their numbers have greatly plummeted. The three Valken’Vi Noble houses have called many of their brethren to return to the great City of Gateway. Many Valken'Vi have been seen returning but very few of them are seen leaving. If any of the Valken'Vi who remain outside of Gateway know where their brethren have gone they, like normal, are not talking.
Valken'Vi are often viewed as loners. They have few people whom they can truly call friends, simply because they ask few questions. They don't get to know people in this manner. They learn more from their observations than by spoken words. They enjoy being alone, but will go along with groups when it suits their interests. Speaking up and sharing their views with others is rare.
The forest is the habitat of the Wood Elf. They live in small communities, making their homes high in the trees to evade predators. They often see themselves as the protectors of the forest and become very distressed when any unnecessary damage is done to it. Imagine how upset you would be if someone burned down your house. Good-natured and contemplative, they love the good company of their own kind and of the forest creatures. They are unfailingly good, peaceful, considerate and kind, though each manifests these qualities in their own special ways.
Many Wood Elves dabble in magic. They often use it to entertain themselves, making people fall asleep or break out into uncontrollable laughter. They also use it to enhance the stories they tell late at night, conjuring up visuals for their audience. They do not have many mages of awesome power, as they think that staying inside and studying too hard would destroy your enjoyment of life. It would be better to spend time out in the woods and listen to nature’s rhythms. Other Wood Elves are rediscovering the ancient art of Alchemy. They have a natural knack for it and take pleasure in the creation of Potions that can help and heal.
*Central Action Role Playing Society (C.A.R.P.S.) is owned and operated by CARPS GAME LLC a Michigan Limited Liability Company