Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Interlude for 2012

Well the year will be over in  a few hours. So, what's the news for 2012?

For starters this blog started and progressed quite well.

I finished university which left me with more free time as a plus...and soon to be looking for job as  a minus.

A few games were played in 2012, most notably STALKER larp 4, which despite some problems was as good as always. The main event - the National LARP 2012 saw great attendance - around 150 people, with serious presence from Serbia. Hopefully things will be the same for next year and even better. After all in the last months of 2012 contact was established with romanian and turkish larpers and with any luck they will be coming to visit as soon as next spring.

With any luck 2013 will easily surpass 2012. We have major community projects planned, as well as a lot of personal ones for me. I still have weapon designs to finish and show and I only started the armour topic (let alone costuming), so there will be work to be done next year.

See you again when I sober up.

Cheers from Buskador.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

On armour - chainmail coif - adding the mantle of the coif

Previously we added made the body of the coif and attached it to the cap. The final part left is the mantle piece. For this I've selected a simple round bishop mantle. Here it is still piecemeal, as I'm about to join the bits together. The mantle is made of 3 rows of 4in1 strips, each strip is 3 links wide.

First row is about 60 links long - same as the circumference of the coif itself at the moment, and there  is nothing special about adding it. I also find it simpler to work over my knee for this.

After that though the diameter grows since the mantle is now falling on my shoulders, not just going down my neck. Therefore we need to expand it. This is done by adding extra rings. Again I'm using differently coloured links for example. Expansion of chainmaille sheets is done by adding extra links to a connecting line. Here I've added 1 extra copper link, per 3 normal ones. Thus the next row will be roughly 1/3 bigger, which will cover the increase in diameter. The same way you can contract the maille sheet  and the ratio is by no means set in stone. It can be different.

 Here it is again - attaching extra links to the coif before adding the second row of the mantle. They are colour coded again. The second line will be 1/3rd bigger than the first and the last one will be 1/3rd bigger than the 2nd.
After repeating the operation twice. The chainmaille coif is finished. and ready for use. Don't forget to wear an arming cap or equivalent under it.

One last detail you might add is this. While you can tailor your own coif to be perfect for your size, most of the time you want a "one size fits all" model. Thus it can often end up on a smaller head where it will be a loose fit. To fix that, I've used some thin rope to make a strap that you can use to tighten the coif to your head.

Mind you you don't have to make a round bishop mantle like this, or any mantle at all. A coif can be integrated in a hauberk, or have a square mantle or one with triangles.Like this example which I found on the net. The mantle can also be worn separately from a coif and this will be my next armour project -a mantle piece.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Interlude 4 - The Larp playing cards deck

Promotion is one of the things larping has always needed. Only recently several people from our larp organisation finished our first major merchandise project, namely a deck of cards with ourselves on it.
 It was for "internal" use only but still, pretty good initiative. I learned about it halfway through it and was quite surprised so I ordered myself 1 deck (the other one is for a friend).

 Fun fact, I even found myself in it. Well I'm not the Ace of Spades....

                                           But there is always next year for that right folks?
 Here is the full set for those interested to see it. A couple of guys from the serbian Green Banner are also presented. All in all I quite like the selection.  

Monday, 17 December 2012

On armour - chainmail coif - making the body of the coif

In our quest to get cheap homemade larp armor, we started a chainmail coif and already made the top piece.

Next come parts 2&3 - the headband and the main body. These can be made together actually.First thing to do would be to take measurements. Put on a thick winter hat and then measure the size of your head from one temple to the other. This will be roughly the size of the main body. The winter hat represents padding, which you will need anyway. All in all don't be afraid to make it 2-3-4sm bigger, the extra room is necessary, its best if its a loose fit, rather than not fitting at all. Then measure the full size of your head with forehead included - thats the size of the headband.

Here is a top piece with the headband already attached. The headband is simply a band of 4in1 chainmail with the length you measured from your head earlier. Now is the time for adjustments. If the top piece is too small you should add an extra roll to it, and if the headband is too tight - make it bigger.

Next thing to do is to make the main bodies of the coif. The size should be according to the first measurement we took for width and long enough to cover all of your neck.  As you can see I am making two coifs at the same time. For the second one, headband and main body are being done together. It makes no difference really.

Then you must attach the top to the main body. I find it is easiest to do it over your knee.

Once that's done, the coif is finally taking shape. Now we need to close the lower part of the main body with a small rectangular piece of 4in1.

Finally our larp armor project has reached wearable state. When closing the main body - again make sure you can fit your head with padding on. Then you can go on to adjust the size of the face to your liking.

The last thing to do would be the mantle. There are many variants, you can even go on without one and attach the coif to an existing hauberk. I will do a simple bishop mantle for this later on.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

On armour - chainmail coif - making the top or cap of the coif.

As it was already stated - we are making a chainmail coif. The top of the coif is the most complex part, so if you get it wrong at first, don't worry. It happens to all of us.

Making the top starts with placing six links inside one closed link. This our step 1. To make it easier for you, I've colour coded each step, by using differently coloured links.
Step 2 is simple enough
 Can't make mistake on 3 either
 Step 4. Now we basically start repeating steps 3-4 until all the initial six links are used.

With this, the initial closure is done. Now you just start adding more rolls. You will have to repeat step 2 and then use step 3 to turn the corners.

Eventually you will come out with something like that. It should roughly cover the top of your head, so measure it accordingly. Don't worry if you make it too big, actually make sure there is plenty of room for hair&padding.

On armour - chainmail - the chainmaille coif

Missed me? I doubt it. Now let's talk armour again. Assuming you are looking for homemade gear, which you should be, otherwise why are you here, we've already deduced that chainmail is going to be your best friend.

If by this point you've got your basic chainmail tools  and perhaps some advanced power tools as well as enough chainmail material of the type you want. Now of course you'd want to start your first project. People tend to jump into something big first and then fail spectacularly therefore I'd advice against it - weaving maille takes a lot of time and patience and you are likely to call it quits in frustration at the slow progress. Therefore you are best starting small with something that you can finish in a few days. The experience (as well as the sense of satisfaction and achievement) will help you tackle bigger things(or to decide if you want to handle chainmaille at all).

Thus a suggested first project, is the chainmaille coif.

Why a coif?

Reason 1. The chainmail coif is a decent starters project. Its weights 1-3 kg depending on the rings and material used, and sits at roughly 2000-3000 rings, again depending on link size. Even if you do just a few hundred per day you will complete it in less than a week. It will be cheap too, regardless of what its made of.

Reason 2

The second reason to make a coif, is that its a nice audition to your larp costume. It will give your garb a sense of completion. An awful lot of folks have  great larp costumes and sets of armour, yet go around with naked heads. That is just wrong. The head protection gear was the most important piece of defensive equipment throughout history. Practically everyone wore a helmet, even the ancient greeks who sometimes had only a loin cloth a spear and a hoplite shield, did not forget to add a bronze helmet to that. Of course there are exceptions to the rule where a helmet is discouraged by the costume itself. As example below - Sigmar's priests don't wear helmets and the rather famous drachenfest orcs don't have ones either - its a matter of where your costume inspiration comes from.

They likely draw their inspiration from World of Warcraft, which is not known for any notion of realism. Its okay to let it slide, but having a fantasy costume does not mean that you should go for high fantasy and completely ignore what history has shown us. Besides there are practical examples of fantasy gear.
Take for example the Uruk Hai from the second part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Plate armour providing decent protection from horse archer's short bows (elven bows are cheating), pike and shot(pike and crossbow shot) formation to break cavalry. Even the helmets had those crests which could have been a concept artist's idea, but also had the benefit of protecting the wearer from vertical slashes by cavalrymen. Practical? Certainly. Fantasy? You bet.

Reason 3

Reason 3 is simple - its a god damn health insurance policy. You are (likely) participating in a live contact game. Even if the rules are strict, even if everyone follows them to the point - accidents happen. Rather than count on Lady Luck, you should tip the scales your way. A coif, combined with some padding, will protect your head and neck, without reducing your vision. Even then, there are coifs that cover half  your face as well.

So, I believe you are convinced by now. On the point - a coif consists of several pieces. The top or cap,  the headband, the main body and the mantle.The top is made of expanding weave, the headband and main body are simple sheets of 4 in1 european which was already described here and the mantle is made from 4in1 strips with expansions set. You can start a coif from either the headband/main body or the top. The mantle is best done last.

In this case, we are going to start our project with the top or as its also known cap of the coif..

Oh yes - there are photos here taken from the internet, the rights belong to their respective owners.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

All quiet on the Eastern(european) front.

Oh just kidding - not quite. Recently I've been busy with something special - making friends in foreign lands. Over the course of a few weeks contact was established with larp groups in the neighbouring countries, except for Greece(no answer yet), Macedonia(no groups found) Kosovo and Albania(should I even bother with these two?)

Anyway here is the contact info for LARP groups in the Balkans.

 First for LARP Bulgaria since thats my own

One single community - about 200 members strong, no separate larp organisations or groups, spread around the country but most members are in the big cities.
The main site and forum is here  It has an english section too.

LARP Serbia

Single community with about 50+ members, no separate larp organisations. They are mostly based in Belgrade.

I've not found any sites for contact, this is a page for one of their groups and you can contact the rest from here This facebook page is hopefully going to be used to unite all larp organisations in the Balkans.

LARP Turkey

I don't know much about LARP Turkey yet. There seems to be a mostly unified community, however it was concentrated on room-based RP heavy LARPS before. Only recently they've started experimenting with an organisation similar to ours. Its membership is at least the size of LARP Serbia, but it is unknown how many would participate in mixed games and how many would stick with RP heavy games.

For contact you can go here

Here's another link for contacting LARP Turkey thanks to Sensee Cosplay

LARP Croatia

Larp Croatia is roughly the size of Larp Serbia, 50+ members in one unified community.  Contact with them can be established via these two sites and We've had some limited contact with them so far - only on the internet and through our visits to Serbia.

LARP Romania

No photo of them unfortunately. LARP Romania is fairly young - there is a group of 1-2 dozens based in Iasi, as well as some ethusiasts in Bucharest. You can find them from this site (still under construction)

LARP Greece

Nothing concrete here as well. Though they certainly had a larp group active in Athens around 2011, I've been unable to contact them so far.  I am still trying, but no luck for the time being.

That's it for now! More info when I get it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Interlude 3 - 2012 - the funny side.

Year is almost over and no events are planned in LARP Bulgaria until next spring. And so let us reflect on this year's adventures.

Note - this post will get expanded gradually as I sift through the photo galleries and archives.

 All in all it was a decent year. I'd say the one disappointment was the big game in July but otherwise it was ok. New people join up, old guys come back, some quit some wonder - the usual gig.

 We strengthened our ties with the serbian larpers and its a pretty accurate guess to say they'll be regular visitors to our games from now on. Now to lure in the croatians...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Assasination weapons in LARP - the breast dagger

Every now and then you can find an idea in those fantasy tv serials that isn't as bad as the rest of it and can be applied to a larp. No, I'm not talking about chainmail battle bikini. This one will be the breast dagger from Xena the warrior princess. Yeah yeah, don't shoot now - think a bit. If poison cannot be used for various reasons - you still need a blade. And well, at any larp game that does not involve character sheets and dice, guards will quickly remove knives and daggers hidden in the usual places. That's why you need one hidden in a, well less usual place where they'd usually NOT look. And if they try to - you have all right to stop them. I don't have to mention that's a lady's weapon do I? Well just to make clear - its a small punch dagger for a lady to hide between her breasts.

 Note: I made it a bit bigger than it should be. However since its has to be of a custom size to fit uuuh...well the user's hiding spots, it was better to make it bigger and THEN trim it out. That's why the grip is so plain too,I should decorate it a bit.

TOOLS - the usual

MATERIALS - 1 old flip-flop or a piece of tougher camp mat foam with the suitable shape, various duct tapes, old plastic bottles - grip decoration is optional.

First thing to do is cut out the rough shape of the dagger. Yeah I know what it looks like at this point, don't laugh.

After that, slowly start trimming and sharpening it until it reaches the desired shape and size.

Then its time to make the grip - plastic bottles are the material of choice for me. Nothing difficult here either.

 Then its just adding the tapes and its finished. Decorating the grip is up to you. I decided against anything serious, since it will  be trimmed down even more later on to fit a girl's hand, not mine.

 And that's it, now nobody will feel safe around girls in larp. Not as if we did before...