What is garb?
Garb is a commonly-used term in LARP to designate the clothing you wear at a LARP. It covers a lot of different articles of clothing, a host of different styles, and it’s what really serves to get people immersed in the game – it’s much easier to interact with someone acting like a wizard if they’re dressed for the part!
Why is garb important?
More than anything else in Last Hope (or LARP in general), garb is what distinguishes you from the ‘real world’ and lets you feel more immersed in the game. It can help you feel more in-character, it makes for some great pictures, and really good garb is a source of pride, both for individual players and the game as a whole. Just by dressing well, you’re adding to the experience for other players, which is really important. It can also act as a visual indicator of your character’s status and personality – for example, a nobleman and beggar can easily be distinguished from one another by merit of garb alone.
In order to emphasize this, Last Hope has a few policies to encourage good garb. The rulebook sets out the basic guidelines for making garb, but there are three things to keep in mind.
- In order to play as a PC, you are required to have passable garb. There is some leeway for players that are just starting the game, but there are also a number of people who are willing to help with the construction and acquisition of garb.
- Loaner garb will typically be available for NPCs and Monster positions – really dedicated players may have their own garb for these roles, but we will typically have loaner gear available.
- Start basic, and build your way up, keeping in mind the amount you’re willing to spend and your skill level with sewing. No one expects you to start out with a custom-tailored garment, but there is a minimum standard. Talk with a Herald about costuming or whether or not a piece “passes”, and always keep in mind the culture of the character you’re portraying – each group has its own costuming guidelines!
But what about weapons and armour? Aren’t they more important?
While they are more important for the combat aspect of the game, they are not more important for the immersion. While a good latex weapon is vital to surviving contact, we generally have a lot more loaner weapons available than we do good loaner garb, and while you cannot play a PC without garb, you can play one without your own weapon. Remember – this is a role-playing game, not a combat sport, so while these things will help, they are not vital to making a character.
Armour is another issue that comes up frequently. As a rule, while armour can be used to supplement garb, it is not garb. The reason for this distinction comes from the nature of armour in Last Hope: if your armour is broken, then you will need to remove it so that it can be repaired. If you don’t have passing garb under your armour, then you would be breaking immersion for the other players, which is something we try and avoid. If you have specific questions about this, feel free to talk to a Herald.
Where should I start?
All garb starts with the three basics:
- Upper body (shirt, dress, robe, or other covering of that nature)
- Bottom layer (either pants, a skirt or dress, or a kilt, depending on gender and culture)
- Acceptable footwear
These base layers will act as a really simple way to get you started for a number of roles. There are a number of web resources for making these sorts of garments, suited to all skill levels. Let’s start with the obvious ones.
- A basic tunic design
- A slightly more complex, but more tailored design can be found here.
- Another good tunic design, with detailed instructions is available here.
- A Viking-style tunic that works well for the Ulven is available here
- Another Viking-style tunic, this time with slightly harder instructions is found here.
- A good explanation of making a basic tunic can be found here, along with instructions for making the next element – pants.
- As mentioned above, a good resource for making basic pants and a shirt is found here.
- Some Viking resources for trousers and breeches can be found here and here.
- Wrap pants are a perennial favourite for beginning garb-makers – these are a few guides to making these kind of pants, ranging from simple to moderately complex. Look for one that makes sense, and work away!
- For those who wish to do no sewing whatsoever, here’s how to tie a great kilt. Remember that only Humans wear kilts – the Ulven just don’t find them manly.
- We’d recommend starting with dark (brown or black, preferably leather) boots – making your own footwear can be somewhat uncomfortable, and taking care of your feet is a top priority!
- If you’re tight-up for footwear, this is a good trick for disguising more modern-looking shoes. Be careful with it, though, as you don’t want your garb to slip!
- If you really, really want to make your own shoes, this is a good walk-through for making basic turnshoes.
What do I need next?
Once you’ve got the basic garb down, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about how you’ll handle inclement weather, differing social situations, and even just making some garb so you can change characters quickly. The following aren’t necessary for basic garb, but really add to it.
- Cloaks and tabards
- Gloves, pouches, and bags
- Hats, hoods, and head coverings
- Jewellery, metal accents, and charms
Generally, these are the things that you add to basic garb, as layering really helps to add versatility to your garb and helps to make much more distinctive characters.
Can’t I Just Cover Some Non-Passing Stuff?
Theoretically, you could just cover non-passing garb with scraps of tied-on fabric, but it’s going to be a lot less comfortable than making or acquiring garb. Additionally, layering and building up good-looking garb creates a more impressive overall effect than simply trying to cover modern clothing with fabric so it looks vaguely medieval.
This is a good example of how layering works – I know it’s in German, but you can at least follow the pictures and see how a more interesting whole is created by starting with the basic layers and building up from there!
Where to go from here?
This is intended as a good place for links and other garb resources. We’ll be adding more to this over time, as having additional resources for making garb is always useful for the growth of a game.