Saturday, 2 February 2013

When things get LARP - call in some Big Damn Heroes

Recently I have been discovering all the brilliant faces that the Nerf hobby has, and this is no less finer than all the others! This is another visit to the wonderful world of  LARP - namely the Big Damn Heroes world.

A group of friendly and fun-loving UK roleplayers with a system that is just as fantastic had me wanting to find out more for you folks!

MyLastDart: Please introduce the team to Nerf fans that are not aware of the brilliant L.A.R.P (Live Action Role Play) group you have?
BigDamnHeroes: Big Damn Heroes is run by myself (David Shea) our redoubtable rules ref and head armourer Matt Bowden and our Business Guru Glen White. We are ably assisted by permanent monster crew member Sylvie Harmer, Mike Kirkham Ingham, Carl Barker and Ammo Ref Nick Bowden.

Holt's Mercs - Long may they rest in peace. We stand on their shoulders to see further.
MLD: How did you guys get in to Nerf and can you remember your very first blaster? Which blaster sits proudly on top of your mantel piece?
BDH: I think all of our first gun was the Maverick, and on pure style points its still one of my favourites. Matts personal favourite is a modded Longshot, Glen is still a maverick man while I like the comforting weight of fire a stampede provides.
MLD: What is Big Damn Heroes and how/why did it come about?
BDH: Big Damn heroes is a Nerf Larp that, at its core, uses Nerf guns to facilitate safe gun combat. The story focuses on an isolated human colony beset by corporate politics, alien attacks and vicious pirates in a Sci Fi setting. It came about because we realised that no one else was running a Sci-Fi larp in our area and we wanted to play in one!

Fantastic tool for making kit-lists:
MLD: What season (year) are you guys in so far? Is it open to anyone? Or is this only available through membership of your group? What is the best way for me to get in touch with you if I want to come a long for a game? Age restriction?
Big Damn Heroes
BDH: So far we are in year two of the game, and every event is open to anyone who is interested! The facebook group (Big Damn heroes Larp) is a great way to get in touch and find out about our latest event, and the forums (Gordian Knot Games) has a wealth of background information and all the rules you need to build a character and start playing.
MLD: How many members do you have to date? General turnout/event length?
BDH: Our facebook group has just over a hundred registered members, though we've never had more than half at an event. Our events are either single day events that run on Sundays with a specific story in mind, or two day events that take most of a weekend and allow more freedom of action for the players.

LARP props - certainly have got bigger since my days!
MLD: How do you help keep things exciting for players? I see you arrange a steady flow of meetups.
BDH: We use the forums to keep information flowing to the players and try to stagger events throughout the year. We also do our best to make sure each scenario is not only different, but has a surprise in store for our players, whether pyrotechnics, combat robots or alien attacks.
MLD: Every L.A.R.P group is different from the next - what makes Big Damn Heroes so different? I remember from my past, we had some fantastic scripters who had some storylines evolving and running for years!
BDH: Big Damn Heroes is all about the players being money grubbing mercenaries. PMC's rub shoulders with merciless bounty hunters, War correspondents follow the big groups looking for a story and a Pulitzer, and Salvers strip the battlefield clean. Its a competitive environment with complex plots and intrigues behind the violence. Only the best mercenary teams can make it in the Big Damn Heroes universe.

BDH - Inaugral Event
(MLD: love the props and outfits!)
MLD: What is your prop arsenal like? Do you have any resident prop builder or do you encourage players to let their imagination run free and create their own masterpieces?
BDH: We have a stock of 'monster' guns and costume to allow us to outfit NPC's and create set pieces, allowing us to make security guards, bandits and aliens. Matt Bowden is our resident armourer and looks after our stockpile of nerf guns, though we all contribute to the costume and set dressing for the event. We encourage the use of visually modded nerf guns and the development of costume in the player base so the game is as visually appealing and immersive as possible.

Diplomacy with the newly form Lumberjacks Union (L J U)
MLD: How do you encourage new members? Is there a general cost to attend the events? What if they don't own a prop or costume?
BDH: New members are always welcome and if unsure monstering is a great place to start as we supply both costume and weapons where ever possible to our monsters, and monstering is free to boot! Playing is £20, giving us access to the fantastic Fort Amherst, a Napoleonic fort with restored tunnels and defences. We also sell some of the more common nerf guns, and its one of the easiest larps to costume for.
MLD: Do you take any inspiration from TV shows for any story led or inspired missions? Sci-Fi? Horror flicks? Literature?
BDH: Sci-Fi is a big influence on the game, especially Firefly (ofcourse!), but also Cowboy Bepop, Borderlands, Titan AE, and a smattering of elements from places as diverse as Fallout, Battletech and Aliens!
Diplomacy with the newly form Lumberjacks Union (L J U)
(MLD: one thing you really notice about this group is how fresh & varied their event environments are - love it!)
MLD: Can you give me a run down of a typical game rules - do you have GamesMasters? Or players manage themselves? How do you best manage to avoid disputes?
BDH: We have the refs to both deliver the plot and officiate the game. We use a global hits system and most guns can take you down in one or two hits, so you better wear some armour or learn to sneak about! Generally, the bigger the gun the more damage it does, with the battery powered auto rifles like the Stampede being especially dangerous, we balance this by making sure the guns are expensive in IC (in character) terms and that ammo has a cost, so its not always a good idea to burn through a hundred rounds in quick succession. We generally let the players officiate themselves, but we are always on hand to ensure that the game runs smoothly. When disputes arise we do our best to be fair to both parties and keep the game flowing.
MLD: Do you ever have any charity events?
BDH: We do! We volunteered our nerf arena to Armed Forces Day at Chattenden Barracks and Larp in 2012 and we'll be doing Larp aid again this year. (MLD: If you can't make it there, you can still get involved by donating to this great cause - contact the BDH Admin team !)

Big Damn Heroes give back to the community - supporting an event LARP Aid 2012
MLD: If a player comes up with an idea for an event, how do they propose it to the group? What support do they get if it's just the bare bones of an idea?
BDH: We have two methods, linears on two day events, and allowing players to run sanctioned events. If the players want to achieve something in game for their group, we help them run a linear, whether they provide us with a bare bones description or a detailed scenario. Sanctioned events are almost entirely player led, often using different sites, and we hope to oversee one or two this year.
MLD: Is there any basic list of props I should get my hands on to help be prepared for upcoming events?
BDH: A nerf gun is an absolute must! Basic costume is appreciated but not needed for your first game, and we supply all the ammo as part of our safety regulations. Physical representations of any kit (medical supplies, grenades or armour) is also a must.

MLD: Where is the best place to discuss Big Damn Heroes L.A.R.P?
BDH: Undoubtedly our forum : Gordian Knot Games Forums check the sign up instructions to get an account.
MLD: What do/have you got out of L.A.R.P? I made some fantastic friends for life, met some brilliant authors and writers and share my love for L.A.R.P with other fans.

Jack Grandsen's customised Maverick
BDH: Its been a great experience to run something that gives back to the community. We have all larped on and off for years and BDH has certainly taught us all something, while providing a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction (and equal amounts of stress!)

Quick-fire round - Fav soft drink?
BHD: Coke Zero for me, Dr Pepper for Matt!
I'm dialling a takeaway whats everyone choosing? Chinese / Sushi / Pizza / Curry
BHD: Take away is always pizza!
Rock, Paper, Scissors?
BHD: Rock is obviously the best, paper is obviously just cheating.
Who is mightier - Pen, Dice or the Sword?
BHD: Swords may be good for destroying, but the work of a pen can last forever.

A massive thank you to the good people of Big Damn Heroes - if you are anywhere near Kent - the South East of the UK be sure to look them up and drop in on an event!

If you are available, they have an event coming up on 24th February - More Details Here

All images used were with express permission of Big Damn Heroes Admin team.

1 comment:

  1. Wish there was a Chicago-area group like this... If there is, I haven't seen it and would like to throw my money at them.