This is a list of our most commonly asked questions regarding game play. More information can be found on our Policies page.
What is the Alliance LARP?
LARP is an acronym that stands for the Live Action Role Playing . Under the Alliance’s unique rule system, an entire fantasy medieval world has been created for you to explore and tame.
What is the Alliance all about?
In an Alliance game, you create a unique character concept for a fantasy story and actually get a chance to play the character. The Alliance blends elements of classical fantasy fiction (like Lord of the Rings), improvisational theatre, the epic of King Arthur, tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons and a Renaissance fair. The Alliance is all of these and more.
The Alliance is trying to recreate the Days of Legend as we would like them to be and not how they actually were. The first Alliance chapter has been around since 1989 and is the oldest live action fantasy medieval game in the Americas, so we must be doing something right!
If the adventurous life is your calling, you may play the part of a wanderer, meeting with some friends in the tavern. While swapping tales, your party could get hired by a poor farmer in desperate straits and spend the afternoon slaying a foul necromancer and his undead abominations.
If the epic life is not your style, then you can play the part of a town merchant. You can make your money selling your wares (and information for the right price). Or perhaps you wish to be one who investigates the magical arts, selling your scrolls and potions to earn the money you need to continue your studies. We have fierce warriors, crafty scouts, powerful mages, loyal knights, and benevolent healers. There are goblins, blood chilling specters, evil assassins and villain of every type to do battle with. Come and create your very own legend!
What happens on an Alliance weekend event?
When you come to a typical Alliance weekend, you will come to our campsite that we have decorated to be a fantasy medieval town. You will be given a bed in a cabin. The game will begin Friday night. From that point on until the game ends on Sunday afternoon, there is no stopping; not for dinner, not for sleeping, not for anything short of an emergency. Adventuring will be going on around you at all times, and sometimes something as simple as traveling from your cabin to the tavern can be a matter of life and (game) death. A typical Alliance weekend event will have you in the thick of things in no time!
Does the Alliance only do weekend events?
No, the Alliance also runs Faires, which are like weekend events but there is no sleepover. You can also attend just one day of these events. It’s much easier on those with hectic schedules. Some campaigns also do set-alone “modules.” There are also Long Weekend Events (Thursday – Sunday) and the occasional Week Long Event.
What is a module?
A “module” has a definite objective and entry point. You and a few of your friends will have several encounters along the way to your goal that will be necessary for you to complete in order to achieve your quest. It sounds simple explained in those terms, but when you are in the middle of a dungeon, with shadowy shapes moving towards you and strange sounds echoing down the halls, and you are trying to remember what that fellow in the tavern said a half hour ago about how to get through this infernal door, your perspective on the difficulty of the situation may change.
What is the plot like?
The plot is continuous and ever-changing, due partly to imaginative players! It is open ended and runs from event to event, so if a plot thread isn’t resolved by the end of the event, it will be picked up at the start of the next one. Don’t worry if you are at a loss of ideas; there are always fearsome monsters lurking just outside of town and plenty of political intrigue within. There are mysteries to solve, battles to plan, friends to make and enemies to break. Remember that the “R” in LARP stands for “role-playing.” Although there are battles, The Alliance is not a war game. Plots are intricate and logical. The “bad guys” have real personalities and are not merely cartoonish cliched villains. Expect to have your morals and perceptions challenged by Alliance plots. Most importantly, your character will be an active participant in every plot action! What your character does and says can affect the outcome of the game tremendously. Take our advice and you will definitely be in the thick of things. Do not expect to just sit back and watch what happens!
Are there sword fights?
Lots of them! Using Alliance approved padded weapons (made of PVC pipe and foam pipe insulation covered with duct tape or cloth), you will test your swashbuckling skills against the mightiest in the Kingdom. Each type of weapon is assigned a number based on the amount of damage that weapon would do if it were real. In addition, each player can buy skills to increase this number. You will have a certain number of “hit points” based on your skills and the type of armor worn. As you attack, you will call out that amount. As you are struck, you subtract the amount by which you have been hit. When you reach zero, you are unconscious, and you’d better hope there is someone nearby with a healing spell!
How safe is the Alliance?
Combat in the Alliance is very safe. No one has ever been seriously injured using our padded swords. The worst injuries we have ever had were caused by people running into trees and tripping over stumps in the dark. Our insurance company has commented that the Alliance has had less injuries than a little league softball team.
Is there Magic?
You bet! Merlin himself would be proud. We represent magical spells with small beanbags or “packets” filled with birdseed. To cast a spell, you say a short phrase (such as “I call forth a Flame Bolt!”) and throw the packet at your target. If you say the words correctly and hit your target, the spell works. If you miss with either, the spell fails. You are limited in how many spells you can cast each day, so use them wisely! When you are more advanced, you can learn “formal magic” spells and create magical weapons and perform other amazing feats!
How do you decide what skills my character can have?
We don’t – you do! You “buy” your own skills with Experience Points that you earn at events. These skills allow you to improve your character’s abilities. Because each player picks skills based on his or her own desires, no two characters are alike. Skills include magical spell-casting, alchemy, magical potion and scroll creation, armorsmithing, trap disarming, and many weapon skills.
How do I earn Experience Points?
You are automatically given a basic number of “XP” for each event based on your current skill level and the length of the event. Unlike other similar games, we do not believe that experience should only be given out for beating up monsters. We think that the bard in the tavern contributes just as much (if not more) to the game than the “stick jocks” and therefore we reward all players equally.
How good need my costume be?
The better your costume, the more respect you will get in-game and the more fun you will have. We do not allow t-shirts with logos, baseball caps or other modern clothing. Dark colored sweat suits are a good start, covered by a tabard or armor. To get an idea of some of the costumes worn by our players, check out our photo gallery.
How do I write a character history?
Part of the fun of the Alliance is creating a history for your character which will help you to play your character appropriately when confronted with game situations. You cannot start off the game as nobility or with great wealth or magic items (or anything else that would place your character above other starting characters), but other than that, you are fairly free to create your own personality. Be sure to get a Rule Book first, and read the chapter on creating a character history so that you don’t write one that would be rejected.
Can I be an elf?
Our world is mainly filled with humans, but there are many types of elves, dwarves, barbarians, gypsies and other unusual and interesting races to play. You can see many of these races while browsing our photo gallery.
Can I be a monster?
Nonplayer characters (NPCs) such as monsters are controlled by a “Monster Master.” If you wish to play a monster on a weekend, you do not have to pay to attend (although you do have to be a current member for insurance reasons). In exchange, you must do what the Monster Master tells you and play the parts he or she needs you to play. Brand new players are encouraged to “NPC” their first event, as it is a great way to try many different styles of combat, learn the rules quickly, have mentoring and training, and get a good feel for what kind of character you would eventually like to play.
What about religion?
Although religion played a large role in actual medieval life, we do not wish to offend anyone’s beliefs. There is no religion in an Alliance game. There are no fantasy gods or demons, and players are not allowed to create their own.
How do you do traps?
Traps are usually electronic in nature. You will have to open the box (or door or whatever) slowly and check for threads or wires or other methods of releasing the trap. If you are able to cut a string, remove a battery clip, or otherwise prevent the trap from buzzing, ringing, or making a noise, you have disarmed it. It is imperative that you have some tools!
How do you pick a lock?
With your tools! We use simple locks on our doors and boxes and with the proper tools and picks (available from certain shifty individuals in the game). You should, with practice, be able to become adept at getting past those pesky locks. Note that if you haven’t bought the proper skill with your Experience Points, then you are not even allowed to try.
What's in the Rule Book and Player's Guide?
The Rule Book lists all the rules and spells you will need for playing the game as well as lots of graphs, charts, photos, advice sections and more to make your game a fulfilling one. It is fairly certain that all of your questions are answered in this comprehensive book. We cannot overemphasize how important it is to spend the extra few bucks to have read this book prior to playing if you want to get the most out of the game.
Each campaign has its own Player’s Guide and it has sections describing the fantasy world in which your character will live.
How much does an event or membership cost?
Membership in Alliance Traverse City is $20 a year. A three month trial period is available for $10. Most of the other Alliance campaigns have similar fees. A typical Alliance Traverse weekend costs $30 if you pre-reg for the event and $45 if you do not. Not every chapter has these prices; it depends on the costs of the site they are renting.
Is there an age limit?
Yes; you must be at least 14 to play in the Alliance in most campaigns. Some require you to be 18. If you are under 16, you may attend only if your parent or guardian (not an older sibling!) is also present and playing. These underage players are called “pages” and are limited in what they can do (no combat). The Rule Book has more information on pages (see, we told you the Rule Book would answer your questions!)