Getting Started in 4x larp.

How does getting up and running in a 4x larp differ from getting started in a combat larp? There are many posts on /r/reddit asking for help getting started with larp. So many that I made my own getting started post, so I didn’t have to keep repeating the same info. So lets head off that inevitable question by discussing how to get started with a 4x larp.


The main difference between this game and many others is that the individual persona is not the most basic unit of character in the game. The House is the most basic unit of character in the game. To keep the same character alive they must join a house. You will add to it’s resources, and they will provide you with supporting story, gear, garb, and camaraderie. Getting into a House is the first and most important thing you should do when joining the 4x larp.

As a player it’s your job to help tell the story of the house. To add to the aesthetic, and perhaps add to the narrative and role playing of the house. If you just want to play guards and fight, that’s fine. But should you want to step up and take a greater role you need to know the houses background. Get to know what choices the other house members have made about what story they are telling, and find out how you can work with the other players to add an interesting detail.

Many of those details are going to be visual. So getting garb which fits the theme is really important. Remember, footwear is the most difficult thing to get right when you’re new. If the house you are joining is outlandish in style, they should provide you with details, or items to get you started. If they are closer to the norm of fantasy larp, then help provide garb to other members of the house.

Garb for newbies is always a bit daunting. But with a bit of time and effort you can put together something basic at a reasonable price. First year newbies get a pass on their garb as long as it meets a basic level of acceptability. Pictured we have perfectly acceptable first year garb. It consists of sweat pants, made from modern materials with a tiny logo, and a woven natural fiber long sleeve shirt. Lack of logos is important. The color probably shouldn’t be black. All black is really ‘basic NPC kit’. Basic PC kit should have color.

Take some time to put together weapons and armor which reflect the theme of the house. The house should have a boffer weapon style, and might also have a latex style as well. While it will be cheap in materials, but take labor to build your own boffer weapon, you’ll have the ability to customize your weapons to match the house. At the moment there is no distinction or restriction on boffer vs latex weapons. While we’re experimenting feel free to use either.

Second Year Newbie Garb

While putting together your gear and preparing to attend your first event, you should also be practicing with your house. The group will be expected to fight together, possibly in a historic style, or possibly making up the houses own style. Either way, make sure you train with the group and fight together. Practice makes a big difference on the battle field.

Event Holder

As there no existing groups playing this game, most likely if you want to play a 4x larp you will have to start one yourself. That makes you the Event Holder by Default. To run a 4x larp there needs to be a few houses established. So let’s assume that you have 10 – 30 players who are interested in playing this game. Maybe you’re all new to larp, or maybe you’re an existing group looking for a game to keep things fresh between regular games.

For a first event, or for the inexperienced, keep it simple. Stick to the 7 Battle Types already addressed. Schedule as much of the event as possible before it starts. This will prevent getting overwhelmed between battles. Determine which battles are going to be played and what their out comes could mean before setting foot on the field. There will still be plenty of things that crop up which you weren’t expecting.

After practicing event holding, maybe after a year or so of holding events, you might get comfortable coming up with more of the event on the fly. More and more of the story can be told in improvisational style, and less will have to be done before hand. At that point you might start considering the 8th Battle Type. Which might not be a battle at all.

The most difficult type of combat round to come up with is the Quest. When Houses choose to explore a location on the map, they engage in a quest. Which in format is more like the Events most combat larps are known for. However it still takes place in the same time frame of a typical 4x larp combat. Think of it as a free form module placed among battle games. Quests require a lot more creativity, flexibility, and resources so make sure you’re prepared. But also, don’t be afraid to remix components you’ve already gathered. Don’t try and write plot, instead write characters.

After reading this a couple times it seems like a fairly poor introduction to Getting Started. Are there specifics that need to be addressed? What would you want to know about getting started in 4x larp? Tweet or post comments using G+. Or talk to me in person when the weather gets warm.

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