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Kato Gallowsbane

Knight Realms LARP Review

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Last weekend I attended an event at a LARP called Knight Realms in New Jersey. The following is my review and experiences at this game.

 

After spending a few hours driving to New Jersey my GPS eventually told me that I arrived at my destination. I pulled off to the side of the road at first as it wasn't clear if I was at the camp site where the game takes place. I noticed a long line of cars outside a fenced area, so I assumed this was the place and I found a space to park my car. I would later on discover that there is a separate parking lot to the side that parks additional vehicles but that wasn't clear as well. I made my way toward a group of about 4-5 dudes, I introduced myself, they glanced awkwardly at me, and one of them announced that he was a new player marshal and showed me around a bit and started explaining the game to me. Eventually, I met up with other players who were also attending their first Knight Realms event and the social interactions went smoothly from there.

 

The game is broken down into periods that occur during the 6ams and 6pms. You are able to purchase each skill multiple times as many times as you want that refresh every period. There are also skills that can only be used per event and continuous skills such as literacy.

 

Character creation involves selecting a class out of 20+ classes plus access to the skill list of the default Commoner class. You get 50 starting build to put into skills of your selected class and skills from the Commoner class. I Picked the warrior class because I wanted to do a lot of fighting at this game as that's what I enjoy about LARP. I went with the sword and pole arm weapon skills,strength +2 to increase my base weapon damage, first aid, and put the rest into body points. Armor is free to wear for any class however body and armor points have different scaling ratios depending on what class(es) you play. As a warrior, I ended up having 58 body and 80 armor with my steel chain mail shirt and heavy leather leg armor.

 

The following review will be in the format of Pros, Cons,and additional comments.

 

Pros:

-The players out-of-game were extremely friendly and helpful toward me.

 

-The player characters in-game were also helpful in fixing up my armor without charging me, providing me with some gold, and various other items as well.

 

-There are new player marshals dedicated to teaching new players about the game, safety rules, and assisting us in making our player characters.

 

-The camp site looks nice, with various cabins that represent guilds in game,and vendors at game that would sell their wares.

 

-The Inn was gorgeous with fantasy décor, music, many tables, and a bar at the end where they served drinks (non-alcoholic).

 

Cons:

-The power creep is too high with the veteran players since there are no hard-caps on how many times you can purchase a skill. It gets to the point where they become demi-gods and downing them in combat has very little chance of success.

 

-Defensive skills are unfair and extremely unbalanced. You can take each of these skills multiple times that stack on top of each other that refresh every period. Some of the defense calls I heard while fighting other players include;dodge, parry, deflect, reflect, resist, and many more. It makes combat more tedious where every time I hit a player I hear them call out a defense skill and it retracts the actual skill of boffer combat. I heard there are players a this game with 60+ dodges that refresh every period so good luck landing a hit on those guys.

 

-Even if you do manage to get past their defenses, they have an insanely high hit point system where keeping up with the math gets overly complicated. I was playing an NPC with 120 hit points and I would hear various damage calls such as, "6 divine, 7 damage, 20 Posy (short for positive), 12 lightning, etc." I had such a difficult time keeping track of my hit points all throughout my weekend at Knight Realms.

 

-It's a tap-blocking system which meant if a weapon strikes your weapon before it hits you, it's a block and you don't take that hit. This caused players to fight with their weapons in these goofy play styles that min-max their ability to tap block.

 

-Garb standards are too relaxed at this game. I would see player characters,both new and veteran, that would wear decent medieval fantasy garb and obvious looking modern clothing and they wouldn't even attempt to hide it. I saw one fighter character with a tunic, chain mail, some plate, and cargo pants with sneakers. Another player (granted he was new) wore the modern clothes he showed up at game with and just threw a wool cloak over and that was his character garb. To be fair, some players had amazing looking garb on as well.

 

-Players are consistently breaking immersion and talking out of game to each other while they are in the middle of game. Both PCs and NPCs were doing this.It got to the point where I had a difficult time determining if players were talking in-game or not.

 

Additional Comments:

-During new player training it was mentioned to us that there is an actual out-of-game bear and its cub that roams around some of the woods at the campsite. We were instructed that if we believe we came across this bear, we were to call out "Are you a bear?" The other player(s) would have to respond with "No I'm not a bear," no matter what the situation was in-game. If we heard no response, we were instructed to jump up and down while flailing our arms around and screaming to scare the bear away. I never came across this bear during my time last weekend but I never felt like I was in any danger and players didn't make a big deal out of this. I was informed that this didn't happen often.

 

-The director of Knight Realms and the rules marshals will be overhauling the rules system and attempt to balance out the game more. This is apparently upsetting many of the veteran players.

 

Overall:

Knight Realms is a LARP with fantastic people and an imbalanced rules system that will hopefully improve. This game makes me so glad that we have our rules system at Novitas and I'm glad that I can be a part of the Novitas community.

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You should hunt through the forums to find my review of it several years back. It's entertaining smile.gif We shared many similar experiences, I think.

 

It really confuses me how such an imbalanced and non-newbie-friendly game can attract such a huge following. Yet none of these players (or very few) have even wanted to try Novitas.

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I actually did read your original review of Knight Realms, that's why I wanted to check the game out for myself and see, "is it that bad?" Yes...yes it was.

 

Some of the players there told me that the reason why they have the rules systems that they have is to help out the players who are not as athletic or skilled in combat be awesome at combat. How can you be awesome at combat if other players can just pull these defense skills out of their ass and just not take the hit. If there were hard-caps to those skills that would be one thing but you can just keep buying the same skills as much as you want.

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I also think the reason why people have a hard time getting into Novitas is because we have more of a intense combat system and you can't just soak hits unless you are wearing heavy armor.

 

Also Knight Realms is a tap-blocking system which just makes the combat even more ridiculous.

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