This guide is designed to quickly answer some basic questions on character creation. I won’t focus on rules here, because your character is a life of its own. You often cannot create an existence in a box of another’s creation. Most of what is below is entirely opinion-based.
What character should I build?
This is the hardest part for me. Usually I go into this thinking ‘What do I want to do?’ Let’s think about your character for a minute. Do you want to be the Knight in Shining Armor? Are you looking to hide in the shadows, striking at the back of enemies when their guard is down? Do you want to master the elements, and call forth the hammer of lighting from the sky? Is your goal balance, or are you driven to keep your friends alive as a Healer? How about none of the above?
Building your character isn’t final. Once you’ve played an event, you get the option to switch things around if you aren’t happy. Even after that, there are ways in game to reset your skills, and buy them all over again. You can have multiple characters to fit your many moods, even!
Often finding what you want to do is as simple as understanding your character’s background. Writing the roots of your character may help you understand what you want to start the game out as.
This game has a few different ways to build, and there’s nothing stopping you from having most, if not all, of the core skills in the game. For the most part characters fall into a few categories:
- I wish to bestride the field like unto a colossus. My blade shall strike down all before me, and my fortitude will keep me standing long after I’ve somehow lost a few dozen pints of blood. I just need a weapon, maybe a shield, and some armor to keep me going. You better stay out of my way!
- While I understand that hitting things with the pointy end of a sword is important, I don’t want to get hit as much as that other guy. I’d rather hide in the shadows and strike when my enemy least expects it. I’ll use whatever I can find nearby to aid me. Some of my kind use gasses and traps. Like many others, I have learned the right places to stab for maximum effect.
- Magic can be a polarizing subject. Some feel that magic pulls upon forces that we have no business calling upon, while those like myself know the true power comes from within. My kind will call down lightning from the sky, shield you from weapons, or shatter theirs. The healer-types can easily mend your wounds, bolster your spirits, and bring you back to life. Conversely they can strip it away just as easily, and create, control, or destroy undead with a few simple words. Don’t take a mage lightly, or you’ll wake up in the earth circle.
- I am both warrior and mage. I do not specialize in either path, but instead find solace in both teachings. I’m more independent than either one alone, as I too can heal wounds, and take a few blows myself. With a little work I can be a solitary force to be reckoned with. When they call for a shield wall in a large fight, I bring more than just my iron.
- I do not follow any of your philosophies. I cannot fight, I cannot cast spells. I cannot defend myself what-so-ever. I’m the truest of adventurer; unprepared, and following poor advice. You’ll find me far from the fighting, but I’m by no means helpless. I supply the town with much-needed potions and scrolls. I do not fit in, but you’ll never forget me.
Your Character Story
Okay, let’s talk about your character as a person. When you think about her, what comes to your mind? Is she a resolute commander, an intellectual leader, a fun-seeking trickster? Think about her from a third-person perspective. The guide below is going to help you formulate a story for your character. Do you already have a story in mind? Awesome! Skip this guide if you’re happy with the character, but keep in mind a few things you should know about NERO itself. These things often pop up in character concepts/backstories, so I want to get them clear now.
- There is no religion in NERO. Religion is very special to people and we respect that. We avoid religion at NERO so as to not offend anyone.
- There should be no allusions to sexual assault of any type in your character history nor should it be referenced in game. This is for our players’ safety.
- This doesn’t take place on earth. There is a map of Tyrra available on the NERO LARP website, so avoid talking about real world places or events.
- It’s bad form to be the last survivor of a rich kingdom, on a quest to redeem his crown. Be humble with your story so you can advance it in an organic manner.
Costuming Your Character
NERO is a high fantasy Medieval LARP. Just about anything that would be period clothing for that genre is fine. We don’t request you use specific materials for your costume, but we do ask that you at least try to mask any real-world items. For instance, a former player of mine made armor out of a giant plastic barrel. With paint, and some time, he was able to hide that it was a barrel (Honestly, I was impressed).
Expect this area to grow as I request assistance from players on good sewing patterns to use. If you have the cash, though, almost anything you get at the Renaissance Fair would be acceptable. Email us your own patterns or resources for costuming and we’ll add them here!
In-Play, Out-Of-Play: What Does That Mean?
Your character is basically a tagged item. That means that it can only be affected (positively or negatively) at a NERO event. If you and some friends decide to throw an in-game party, and your character is killed, that death doesn’t count. If you discuss it with your friends, and they want to bring it in-play, it’s simply an experience and does not affect your character. Additionally, any single-use items do not get expended outside of an event. If you want to have a sponsored event, let’s discuss! We’re open to almost anything.
Something your character knows is in-game. Something you, the player, knows is considered out-of-game. Sometimes it’s hard to remember if a player knows something, and a character doesn’t. Taking that memory in-play would technically be metagaming. That’s not really fair, though, is it? So I bring to you the big NERO rule: If you do not wish someone’s character to know something in-game, do not tell them out-of-game. Trust me on this, it makes life easier.
All of your tags are technically out-of-play items, that need to be physically represented in-game. In a perfect world, all tags have a physical item they’re attached to. If someone steals the physical representation, then they steal the tag as well. If it’s not phys-repped, and they take the tag, they have taken the item. By rule, all Magical Items will have a physrep to which they are attached, though sometimes things like Armor or Necklaces can be difficult to affix a tag. In those cases the magic item tag should be on the person that currently has possession of the item. If you bring your own necklace to the game, and it is not a tagged item, though, it cannot be stolen as it’s not a part of the game.
Marshall notes on any cabin/tent/area that you occupy should have all out-of-play areas marked clearly, as a marshal will be available to help in the case where you’re trying to rob your fellow players. If Out-of-play areas aren’t marked, they aren’t considered out-of-play. Got it?
There are many different approaches to roleplaying your character, and none of them are more correct than others. Have you noticed that people who are raised in similar environments often have a full spectrum of differing attitudes? Think of your own friends. They may be similar, but they have different reactions to the same situation. The same goes for your character. You can play it safe, and roleplay a character that acts more like you if you like. You know yourself better than most, after all. You may also decide to go your polar opposite. That’s fine, too! Maybe you flip-flop between them.
Jessica plays a character named Dame Valence. She plays her like a Knight in Shining Armor type character. The thought of a Knight in Shining Armor brings images to the mind of duty, honor, and glory. But it brings different ideas to my mind. Here are three examples:
First, let’s look at the typical Knight in Shining Armor. She’s on a quest to save a kingdom from complete and utter doom at the hands of an evil sorcerer. She travels across the land, hunting the sorcerer down, and finally wins the day by slaying the sorcerer in an epic fight that involved her swinging across a room on the rope of a nearby chandelier.
Now let’s look at the atypical Knight in Shining Armor. She’s on a quest to save a kingdom from complete and utter doom at the hands of an evil sorcerer. She first finds another sorcerer, and after much trial and error, she eventually learns how to become immune to the damaging effects of fire. She stalks her prey, finding him in his castle late at night. She covers her body in oil, sets herself ablaze, and busts through the front door. She screams like a dying rabbit as she runs through the castle halls quickly finding the sorcerer, and tackles him to the ground. The sorcerer, being very flammable, dies. The Knight finds a cask of ale and drinks until the flames die down.
Finally, let’s look at the quasi-untypical Knight in Shining Armor. She’s on a quest to save a kingdom from complete and utter doom at the hands of an evil sorcerer. She first finds another sorcerer, pays him off to kill the evil sorcerer, and waits until her goodly sorcerer returns. After several weeks, she figures her sorcerer is dead, and hires another. She makes sure to pay handsomely, so they’ll take the bounty. Thirty sorcerers have been paid and have not returned. At this point, she’s paid several thousand gold, and the evil sorcerer is quite rich from searching his kills. Our Knight then hires an entire company of bounty hunters to take down the evil sorcerer, as she knows he has a small hoard of gold. She takes credit for negotiating the kill with the Kingdom and is awarded with an appointment to Dame General of the King’s Army. Many of the bounty hunters swear fealty to her, and they keep the peace as long as they get paid.
So I’ve just detailed three options for the same character. None of them could be considered the more correct way to go about it. Which one would be fun for you to play? That’s for you to decide.
I personally suggest that you play a character that is far different from your daily life. Sometimes having an outlet for your own social inhibitions can help you deal with things in your real life. My characters have done this for me.
Being consistent with how you play a character can really help you flesh out a feel and future for this magical person you’ve created. But don’t let that stop you from changing as you develop. You might start out as a jolly personality, but change as the toils of medieval fantasy life bring you down.
I suggest you bring black clothing or costuming. I strongly recommend bringing pouches to hold player loot. You may be tapped to play a specific role, or you may not. We appreciate your assistance at our games, and we’re always up to hearing your feedback on what you want to play. Plus, this is the best way to learn the game.
Create Your Account
NERO is an International LARP. When you create a character, it becomes available across the entirety of the Tyrran Campaign. If you play here in Phoenix, you can travel to any other chapter and play the same character, bring all of your unrestricted gear, keep your skills, and advance your character a bit faster than just playing one chapter. I highly recommend you do this, as it really opens up the game world to you.
Head over to the NERO Larp main site, and sign up for an account for the forum. This means you get to read and post questions directly to the main NERO core group.
Then head over to the NERO Online Character Database and sign up for an account there. Once that’s set up, you can create a character, print out the card, and be ready for your first game.