We’re Aeon and we run horror live-action roleplay events. Until April 2014, we were known as Black Swan Horror. If you want to find out more about us as individuals, you can go here and feed our egos.
LARP, sometimes written as LRP, stands for Live-Action Role Play. The Aeon Horror site assumes a basic understanding of role play so if you are uncertain, we’d recommend a bit of reading around the subject so you’re not too overwhelmed (the Wiki page is a decent overview). We have tried to explain things to site visitors of all levels; as such, experienced LARPers or tabletop roleplayers might find the contents of this site a bit over-explained, but hopefully new players will find the examples and level of detail helpful.
In short, LARP is a variety of role play much like the sort of "let's pretend" you might have indulged in as a kid. There are costumes, a world for you to explore, emotional investment, and a healthy dose of imagination. You interact with a group of other people who are all also invested in the story you're trying to tell together.
Unlike as a kid, however, there are - more often than not - organisers who have a say in the way the world works and enforce rules to make play fair for all involved. Characters are significantly more detailed and characters are not guaranteed to live happily ever after. You are expected to be your character for the duration of the game, thinking like them, behaving like them, and waking up in the middle of the night screaming like them.
The sort of LARP we do differs from standard linear/fantasy LARP as you might already know it. In brief, we use a non-contact combat system (so no need for LARP weapons with the exception of blades for safety's sake), games tend to be fixed on a set location, and games occur as stand-alone events with returning characters being an oddity rather than a norm. Focus is on atmosphere, character interaction, props and puzzle-solving rather than action (although there's often a wodge of that too). Our games do come with an implied Mature rating due to their horror genre.
Eh, none really. Well... Providing you successfully secure yourself a place on an event, there are few circumstances that would preclude individuals from participating. The main issues which we have to overcome are those imposed by the venues we use. For example, many venues like to boast that they have disabled access, but we've often found that this is not the case. Heavy furniture makes corridors too narrow for wheelchair users, uneven or slippery floor surfaces have made things difficult for those with limited mobility. Oh, and as we make use of old houses for our weekend events in particular, there are often a lot of stairs to navigate. Phew.
Nonetheless, we have recurring players, crew, and Refs with a range of disabilities. It is a point of pride that we can provide something for everyone to engage with. We cater to a vast range of
dietary requirements in our weekend events, we can provide private chillout areas if required, and we vet all of our venues before booking them. It was decided at the end of the 2015 weekend event
that we would start to declare any potential accessibility issues regarding venues as part of event pitches so players can make their own, informed decisions. We are also very keen to emphasise the
physicality of events as part of pitches, for example, a game that is described as being exploratory of combat-heavy will certainly involve a lot of movement and/or noise. A game which is more
mystery or investigation focussed will involve more subdued puzzle solving.
As part of our sign-up process we do ask all participants to make Refs aware of medical conditions or disabilities that may impact on their participation so we can make provision. If you're interested in playing an event but you're concerned about how well you might engage with it for any reason, we're always here for you to talk to.
There is no upper age restrictions on our events, but we do ask that due to the themes and maturity of games that players are 18 or over.
Whether you’re an experienced veteran of LARP or inexperienced player, we want to do something surprising in every game we run. No single player should be able to get a full view of the bigger picture. So much of the Threat will be of our own invention that new players needn’t feel much more in the dark than the old hats.
Aside from anything else, our games are intended to be run as standalone events. We might run an event based in the 1860s and the next event might be run in the 1960s leaving little opportunity for that level of direct continuation.
Hopefully this should dispel any concerns about feeling out of the loop on plot matters.
As for coming to grips with the LARP System: it’s specifically designed to be as intuitive and light as possible. Although there’s a lot of text to read through on the Gameplay section of our site, a lot of that is presenting examples. We can almost guarantee that after just one game, you’ll be as fluent as the next player.
If system is a barrier or source of worry for you, then please come chat to any one of the Ref team and we’ll give you a quick walkthrough and answer any questions you might have. We present a System brief before each game we run and we invite people to ask questions and participate in demonstrations.
And just because it’s worth mentioning, we’re a friendly bunch (refs, players and crew) and we love new people, so rest assured we’ll do everything we can to help you feel included!
Horror can mean different things to different people. We all have different thresholds; what’s frightening to one person isn’t necessarily frightening to another. Horror isn't just
about what gets your heart pounding. Horror can also cover feeling disturbed or revolted, panicked or pained. Horror can be entirely mundane.
Good (subjectively, of course) horror is frequently something that plays on primal fears. Entrapment, is a decent example; erosion of self-identity, is another. Being eaten by giant tentacle monsters might be another, but we’ve seen enough hentai to know not everyone finds that terrifying. No sir-ee.
Despite the horror to be found in “real life”, it’s astonishing the amount that the supernatural is used. Why? It possibly comes down to one of the primal fears that we know a great many find uncomfortable: The Unknown.
“What is that thing?”, “What is happening to us?”, “What do we do?”, “What does it want?”, “Why me?”, “Who are you?”, “What is happening to you from behind and how can I make it stop?”
We like investigation; we like mystery and subterfuge - putting together pieces and getting a sense of a much larger and more unsettling picture. For us, horror LARP is about running events that touch on the Unknown. We like atmosphere and we like attention to detail. We aim to have as much fun working on set dressing and removing the need for suspension of disbelief as possible.
Short answer : No.
Longer answer....The game world (universe?) we’re trying to create for our players to interact with is out of our own "creatively diverse" minds. We have a good, solid appreciation for our many sources of inspiration, and Mr. Lovecraft & co. rank very highly indeed among them. Although our games will have distinctly Cthulhu Mythos overtones, we don't want to tie ourselves to a Universe which is so well known and so well loved by so many of our potential players (most, if not all, know their Azathoth from their elbow). We're also inspired by other horror writers ranging from Bram Stoker to Stephen King; we draw our inspiration from videogames, movies, music, and random conversations had after a few drinks down the pub.
If you want to get an idea of the sorts of things that players have been up against, please take a look over the Past Events section of the site, or talk to players if you’re feeling sociable.
“Event” is the term given to any game we run. These can be one-day events (lasting around 8 hours), or full weekend events. Events will be announced via our Facebook Group page and our News page. The Future Events section of the website is where details will be posted. If you're new to horror LARP (or live-action roleplay in general for that matter), and not sure if it's for you, we'd recommend that you cut your teeth at a one-day event before investing in a more immersive weekend event to make sure you get on with the system and game style.
Aeon Horror is a group that runs
games purely out of love for running games and over-abundance of ideas. We do not make a profit from running events.
Cost is dependent on the nature of the event, the cost of the venue, the size of the prop budget we need, and the number of players we’re expecting to run for. We run one-off events that require custom-built and sourced props. We will re-use and borrow materials wherever possible to help keep the price down. We are also insured to run events, so whatever we charge for events we automatically add on a small amount to pay for our insurance. The total cost will reflect this.
introduction to what the Ref Team actually does, please see the relevant section in the Gameplay part of the site here. We want to make
sure that everyone who gets involved in events has fun and (hopefully) gets scared, if not challenged. That's kinda why we're here, after all. Running events isn't just about us getting all the
cobwebs and monsters out of our brains. Just ignore anyone who says otherwise.
Aside from everything that goes into developing and running events behind the scenes (everything from the plotting, the props, the research, system, the investment of time, sanity, the website, etc., etc.), we're here to be unnervingly gleeful at you, answer any questions you might have before, during or after events, and generally radiate enthusiasm in your direction.
Well, first and foremost, enjoy yourself and throw yourself into things! That aside, if you're new to horror LARP and don't know what you'll need to prepare for or do in the game itself, here are a few useful pointers:
Getting Into Character: The more you put into games, the more you get out. You should take time to engage with your character, ask the Ref team questions, do research, and meet up with other players. How much you do is entirely up to you, though. It's generally accepted that players who throw themselves into things tend to have a better, more immersed experience.
Staying In Character: Whether the game is 8 hours or 48 hours, for the full period of game play, you should try to stay In Character. Much of our game system places trust in players to keep track of their character's strengths and weaknesses.
Costume: Players are asked to wear costume for all games. The extent you do this is largely up to you; we won’t shun anyone who fails to wear suitably lined stockings or the wrong cut of suit. We don’t care if your clothes are cotton, silk or polyester blend. Nor do we care what suitcase you arrive with or what car you rock up in. Perfection isn't the goal, but costume and accessories that reflect the period in which the game is set are a must.
We'd generally suggest that if you do buy costume, you try to make sure it’s something you’ll get further use out of. Charity shops are brilliant for doing this inexpensively. If you also check in with your local theatre (in the case of Lancaster, we recommend The Grand), then it might be possible for you to hire perfectly period-appropriate costumes for relatively little cost. You could also try borrowing things off your fellow players.
Be aware that you are likely to find yourself staying up late, running around and tucking yourself into some potentially grubby corners. It’s probably for the best that if you want to go down the route of an authentic wardrobe, you add in a few bits and pieces that you don’t mind getting dirty. If you don’t want to risk something getting damaged, please don’t wear it. Accidents do unfortunately happen and it's only too easy to spill stuff on yourself or fall over and rip something.
Health and Safety: Aeon Horror are insured to run events. We take our responsibilities pretty seriously and we trust players to not act in a way that might harm themselves or other people. Most of it is common sense. We encourage players to familiarise themselves with Gameplay before playing; we also give a run through of rules and system before events happen, and we aim to make ourselves available to answer any questions or resolve any disputes as they happen in-game.