A SIMPLE, FREE POST-APOCALYPE LARP      by Sean Patten


INTRO

RULES

TIPS

GEAR

TINS

FACE


TIPS FOR PLAYING SAFE AND FUN GAMES OF RADLANDS


SELECTING A PLAY LOCATION

PLAY IN A PUBLIC SPACE.  Unless you have permission to play from the owner (such as your own back yard), avoid private property, especially businesses.   City and State parks can include some interesting landmarks that can make a great game of Radlands, so look around your area in Google Maps, and explore the park in person before you commit to a game.

KNOW THE RULES OF YOUR SPACE.   Does the park allow Nerf guns?  Are you allowed to go off the trails or not?  What time does the park close?

PLAY DURING LOW TRAFFIC TIMES.  Most parks are open from dawn to dusk.   Play your game as late in the day as you can- there tends to be less people in the evenings (unless the park is open after dark).  Rainy or Cold weather are great for your games by the way!   There tends to be less people, it is more thematic and immersive, and you stay cooler when wearing a costume.

FIND PARKING NEARBY.  The closer to your play area you can park, the better.  Use a large duffel bag to transport your game materials- donít wander in public with scary costumes and nerf guns if you donít have to!  Once you reach your play area, you can distribute game materials to the players.

CLEARLY INDICATE THE PLAY AREA.  Show your players the extents of the play area on a map, and in person.  You can also make AREA LIMIT signs.  Print them out from the RULES pdf, attach to a stake, and place them at the edges of the play space, especially where it is unclear (such as a trail that is out of bounds).   Remember to remove your signs when you are done!

CONSIDER THE SIZE AND LAYOUT.  If your play area is too large, the game will take forever and players may never find all the tins (or each other!).  For a typical game (around 5 players), your play space should take no more than two minutes to walk through all the routes.  A space with multiple connecting paths and plenty of cover is recommended, as it will allow the players to flank each other and set up ambushes- way more fun than just a single linear path.

THE ULTIMATE SPACE?  If you live near the coast, you might not be far from a coastal fort, often located on state park property.   Coastal forts from the Endicott era (1900s) are amazing concrete structures to explore, and if you are considerate enough, you can even play a game of RADLANDS there.   You can find locations of such forts in the US here:  http://www.fortwiki.com/Endicott_Period   If you find one nearby, look it up on Google Maps to see if it is publicly accessible.   Just remember, these are historical artifacts- be considerate, follow the rules, play safe, and leave the place cleaner than when you arrived.


KEEP IT PHYSICALLY SAFE!

KNOW AND AVOID HAZARDS.  Even public spaces can be dangerous, especially if they are not maintained.  Before playing, familiarize all the players with any hazards in the area and donít include the hazards in your play space if you can help it.  Playing a game can be a distraction, so always remember to watch out for drop-offs, steep edges, broken glass, dangerous plants, water hazards, and the like.  

DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Wear long pants and sturdy comfortable shoes.  Gloves are a plus.  Expect to get dirty and to run into bushes and undergrowth.   Youíll want to wear muted, dark clothes to match the theme of the game and to help you hide from threats, but they also make you less noticeable to wildlife and bystanders.

BRING A FLASHLIGHT FOR DARK AREAS.  If your chosen play area is indoors, such as a bunker or a storm drain, be sure each player has a flashlight.   Hands-free lights are recommended, such as a headlamp.   You can even make a clip to attach a flashlight to your nerf gun if you like.

BRING WATER.   Each player should have access to water during the course of the game.  Like any sport, you can get dehydrated if you donít drink enough water.   Provide each player with a small water bottle, and have more water available at a central location
(or in the vehicle you came in). 

FOOD IS PART OF THE GAME. The goal of RADLANDS is to survive by finding enough food (in the form of candy bars typically).   The organizer should ask players about any food allergies and make sure the in-game food is safe for them.  Donít bring additional food into the game- itís unlikely you will starve during a game of Radlands, as they only last a couple hours.   If you want to have a snack available after the game, thatís ok.


KEEP IT SOCIALLY SAFE!

BE COURTEOUS AND VOLUNTEER INFORMATION.   If a bystander wanders into the middle of your game, Pause your game and explain you are playing a game.  If they still express alarm or concern, stop playing immediately, and tell them you are ending the game and leaving.

HAVE AN EXPLANATION READY.  Some people might ďget itĒ right away, if theyíre used to seeing LARP or imaginary play.   But if they donít, you can say itís like Capture the Flag, Geocaching, or a Reenactment.

NEVER INVOLVE BYSTANDERS.  If someone is not part of the game, do not harass or menace them in any way- even if it means breaking character.   If you are wearing a mask, remove it so they bystander can see your face.  Lower or put away your weapons.   Put them at ease!   This goes for any pets you might encounter as well.

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR NERF GUNS.  If your Nerf guns are in any way realistic looking, avoid having them in hand unless you have a dart loaded into them.  Use one-shot Nerf guns instead of clip loading ones- itís better for gameplay, and the darts will be clearly visible in the front.  NEVER point them at bystanders, instead put them away in a pouch or backpack.  If asked, explain they are just soft foam dart guns or Nerf guns.   If you need to demonstrate, show the dart first, then fire them at the ground or into your hand.

CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF.  Once the game is over, be sure you collect all the game materials you can find- donít leave a mess behind!   In fact, leave the play area cleaner than when you found it by picking up any trash you encounter along the way and disposing of it properly.   You can even give players a reward for collecting trash, such as a clue about where to find a Tin they may have missed.



TIPS FOR ROTHEADS

THE FIGHT ENDS AT THE FIRST HIT.  If you are a Rothead and you ambush or attack the survivors, STOP the attack as soon as you hit a survivor OR a survivor hits you!   Donít drag the fight out and donít land multiple hits.  If you score a hit on a survivor, vocally call it out so they know they were hit.  If they hit you, call it out so they know!  Once a hit is acknowledged, you should retreat.  Conversely, the survivors should not attack you while you are retreating. 

MASK DOWN MEANS SAFE.  Rotheads are identified by their masks. The mask should cover your mouth and nose- it does not need to cover your eyes.    Do not attack the survivors if your mask is not up!  Conversely, take your mask down before conversing with players or bystanders.

GIVE SURVIVORS ROOM TO BREATHE.  After an attack, successful or not, give the survivors a few minutes before engaging them again.  They need some time to explore, search for tins, discuss plans, and use items.  Itís okay to interrupt them from time to time to keep them on their toes, but donít make it a constant harassment.  You want them to be worried, not demoralized.

PACE YOUR ATTACKS.  Avoid attacking the same survivor twice in a row.  If you can find out which survivor has the least RAD, attack them first.  If a survivor is nearly defeated, let them linger, donít finish them off- it makes the game a lot more exciting if they still have a chance to win.

SET UP AMBUSHES.  The most exciting engagements are when a Rothead attacks out of nowhere.   Dress in subdued clothes, avoid making noise, try to flank the survivors, and use cover to surprise them as they explore.  You can set up really effective ambushes if you work in concert with other Rotheads.  If you canít set up a good ambush, try to stalk the survivors from a distance, just to keep the pressure on.   Attack if they are alone.

DROP "CONSOLATION" TINS.  If you are a converted Rothead and you collected any tins before,  you should drop a tin any time a survivor scores a hit on you.   If you are a Starting Rothead, consider packing an extra tin on you that you can drop for the survivors as you see fit.

HELP SURVIVORS FIND TINS.  If the survivors completely miss finding a tin, help them out by moving it just a bit to make it easier to spot (when they arenít looking, of course).   If they still struggle to find tins, send them a mysterious text message with clues where to find them.  Trade clues for any trash they may have collected (with your mask down so they know it is a peaceful trade), or give them clues if they score a hit on you.   Donít block the only path to a tin by lurking in the way- instead, try to set up an ambush to happen AFTER they reach the tin, or guard tins that the survivors can clearly see, so they know they need to drive you away to get them.


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