This page is intended to help new players learn what they need to know in order to join the Kingdoms of Novitas.
As a live action role-playing (LARP) game there will often be situations where you will need to be able to have a basic understanding of the rules in order to act properly. Our players will do everything they can to help you learn the rules as you go, but sometimes you will find yourself in situations where no one is able to break character and assist you. This is one of the reasons its important you read this information in advance so you have a frame of reference for what is going on.
Because Kingdoms of Novitas involves fake weapons used in realistic combat many of these rules are in place to ensure everyone's safety. At your first game before your first shift some of the game staff will take you through a demonstration of these critical safety rules so you can understand the difference between a safe hit versus one that is too light or too hard. You should still be sure to read over the safety rules such as one of the most important rules the "Game Hold" call.
|Safety Information | Game Play Information | Combat Information|
|Magic Information | Props In-Game | Your First Event|
Safety is a paramount concern at Kingdoms of Novitas. Concerns about safety take priority over all other situations. Any player ignoring the safety rules will be dealt with more harshly than violation of other rules whether that violation is intentional or not.
All gear that will be used in combat must be inspected by a safety marshal before it can be brought into the game.
Physical contact is a very important subject that should be taken very seriously for the safety and comfort of all players. There is no physical contact allowed in combat ever. Contact with boffer weapons is different than physical contact for these purposes.
Other than weapon contact in combat situations, physical contact is permitted only when both players consent. Any rule that involves two players interacting where physical contact might get involved can be summarized by that last sentence.
Players under the age of 18 may be allowed to participate under specific circumstances which must be read in detail.
Those players between the ages of 15 and 18 are allowed only if accompanied by a sibling, parent, or legal guardian who is over the age of twenty one. The accompanying adult must be a signed-in participant and must remain on-site at all times.
If for any reason, someone under the age of 15 is present, they must be in the immediate vicinity of a sibling, parent, or legal guardian over the age of 21 at all times without exception.
The purpose of these rules is to ensure the safety of all participants (regardless of age) at KoN events.
The sibling, parent, or legal guardian, must also be aware that KoN may contain adult themes. KoN is intended for adults over the age of 18 and may contain adult themes dealing with violence and romance, among other things. It is the responsibility of the accompanying adult (relative or guardian) to monitor what is and is not appropriate for the minor. It is the sole responsibility of the accompanying adult to remove the minor from any scenes deemed inappropriate (without interrupting the game). As such it is not the responsibility of game masters, players, or NPCs to alter the game around your child.
For more information see this forum post.
A game hold is a special call reserved for situations where the real world could potentially endanger someone's safety. During a "game hold" the game effectively stops, no in-game actions of any kind can take place. This includes (and is not limited to) combat, conversation, using items or magic, travelling, etc.
When you hear someone yell "game hold" or "hold" you should loudly repeat it to ensure that others around you also hear it. Immediately stop what you are doing and if possible hold still. Once this has happened identify why the hold was called so you can determine if you are able to help (or if help is necessary).
Game holds should be called by the person who needs the hold unless that person is clearly incapable of doing so. Real world injury, broken glass that is about to be stepped on, other real world danger, or someone about to run into an actual spiked pit trap are all good reason to call "game hold".
It is important that you don't make this call without good reason so that it stays reserved for dangerous or serious situations. Bad reasons to call a "game hold" include when you fall but are not injured, you drop your weapon, you don’t agree with a rules matter, combat is going badly for you, or when there is no immediate danger to anyone.
After the situation that warranted the "game hold" is cleared up, everyone should return as close as possible to where they were when it was called, and then as a group call "game on". Everyone can then return to normal game play.
"What should I bring to my first game?"
The answer is really contingent on whether or not you'll have a character ready by then. Newer players are encouraged to play a full event of NPC roles to rack up some experience and get a better feel for the game. In this case you'd need just some simple non-descriptive garb to last you two days. The props marshal has created this quick list of suggestions on amazon to give you an idea of what a basic npc kit should have.
A guide to good footwear: 2021 guide to boots
Sample first timer’s kit
- PC garb.
- Includes: Boots, medieval trousers/skirt, tunic/blouse, belt, belt pouch, cloak.
- Only needed if you are going to play a PC
- NPC garb.
- Includes: Boots, neutral colored trousers, tunic.
- Can't be your PC garb (it's ok to use the same boots and pants, just look different)
- Electric lantern
- No brand-names showing
- Glowsticks are allowed at night as well.
- The site is very dark at night, you'll want this.
- Extra Food for the weekend
- Drink for the weekend
- Water is available on site
- The inn typically sells soda and an assortment of pre-made powdered drinks.
- If you want something more be sure to bring it.
- No alcohol is allowed at the game site, ever.
- Medications (if applicable)
- Boffer weapon (Weapons are available for NPCs)
- Sleeping bag/blankets/pillow
- Sign-in Fee ($30)
- mug/ goblet
- A feast kit: bowl, spoon, fork (Optional, game food aims to be finger food, players bring other things)
- Towel (showers are available Spring, Summer and Fall)
- Seasonal gear: bug spray, thermal underwear, wool socks, gloves, hat, scarf, extra drink, firewood.
- An open mind and a good attitude!
- Later additions to your kit might involve things like armor, rucksacks, a trap kit, rope, canteen, extra weapons, magical treasures earned in the game, your coin and gems, a journal, quill and ink, chalk, candles, encampment props, etc. If you think you can use it, and you can carry it… go nuts.
- An ID to verify you meet the age requirement.
Things to Avoid
- Spending too much on armor that doesn't pass KoN armor rules and guidelines.
- Spending too much on weapons that won't pass KoN weapon rules and guidelines
- Expecting garb to be provided (it won't be, NPC's are provided accessories to augment existing garb)
- Real weapons
- Wandering around as just a spectator.
- Alcohol. The game site is always dry. We want to maintain a healthy relationship with our hosts and respect their rules.
In order to be the most immersive game possible it is important that players wear appropriate garb to maintain the proper atmosphere. It is a requirement that players who are in-game be wearing appropriate garb at all times. Players can and often should have pieces of garb reviewed by members of the props and atmosphere staff to determine if they are appropriate for the game.
As this is a fantasy game with no specific historical time period to draw on, there is a variety of acceptable garb. Often accurate garb is a matter of making sure certain modern features are not present.
The most basic set of garb a brand new player should bring to game is a tunic and black sweatpants or scrubs. This gives them something to wear under NPC garb that won't clash. After about a year of coming to game, you should have your own NPC garb to work with. Players will need additional different garb to wear for a player character.
In-game refers to people, objects, or places that can be interacted with in the game. That is to say things that are meant to be part of the game's world and setting. A player that is "in-character" can be interacted with as part of the game.
Out-of-game refers to anything that exists outside of the game, cars, real world conversations, your sleeping bag, etc. A player who is out-of-character is not at that moment a player character who can be interacted with and should be ignored by players who are in-character. At the end of an event, or during the overnight period between the end of one shift and the start of another, everyone and everything is out-of-game
Bright orange colors are reserved exclusively to be used to indicate items and people who are out-of-game. If you see someone with an orange hat on, they are out-of-character and should be ignored.
This is a game where in-game possessions can and sometimes do change hands from player to player. As a result it is important to designate what items are in-game and which are not. Taking someones out-of-game possessions is real world actual theft.
Your character's possessions can be in-game or out-of-game depending on circumstances. When those possessions are in-game they are subject to the possibility of in-game theft. As a result if a player is in-game and that player's character's in-game possessions are being stored in a designated out-of-game area (where they are safe), this is a form of cheating.
Non-player characters will often make wind sounds ("whoosh"), to indicate that they are not in-game. This is typically because they are headed to another location to enter character there, or headed back to logistics. When you see others out-of-game it is important that you remember not to use that information to benefit you in-game. For example it is unacceptable for a character to say I know there are npc's this way because I saw them headed that way out-of-character earlier.
As a player you can go out-of-game, with your possessions at any time as long as you are not doing it for a tactical advantage. So for example if you need to use the restroom that is fine. If you are overheating severely due to heavy armor, need to breath for a moment: you both can and should find somewhere quiet you can drink and recharge. Just don't do it in the middle of a combat situation (unless you feel its a medical emergency situation in which case you should call a "game hold" so you can take appropriate steps to alleviate the medical emergency).
Sleeping players are in-game unless they have marked themselves with orange. At the end of an event, everyone and everything is out-of-game.
The "time stop" call indicates that game play needs to pause briefly for in-game reasons. This call is distinctly different from "game hold" because a "game hold" call indicates that play must stop for emergency out-of-game safety reasons.
When you hear someone yell "time stop" you should immediately repeat the call by also yelling "time stop". After doing this, close your eyes, and babble, ramble, mumble or hum as you prefer to reduce the chances that players can hear whatever is happening. The goal is for whatever is going on to be as much of a surprise to players as possible.
Once the person who initially called the "time stop" has accomplished what they needed to do, they must loudly and clearly count down from 3 before calling "game on!" to indicate a return to normal game play.
Other than coin, only numbered items may be stolen. Some very specific and special numbered items have special rules (Feb Feast/ Novitas New Year) that prohibit them from staying stolen for more than a short period.
When you search an NPC, if a magical lootable item has a value greater than 100 coin a visible blue glow will be created by the npc to represent the in-game glow that magic objects are meant to give off.
Items marked with orange ribbon/ tape or in designated out-of-game areas are off limits. Under bunks is always considered out of game for the storage of personal gear. It is cheating to intentionally keep in-game items out-of-game this way if you are currently in-game.
Props for stolen items that belong to another player must be negotiated for out-of-game after the event during which they were stolen. After-all they are often a player's real world personal property.
At times in-game you will find that you wish to restrain another character. This can only be done to helpless or willing characters (there are no lassos in-game). An appropriate prop is always required to restrain a character.
You are only allowed to restrain another player if that player is willing to be physically restrained. If both parties agree to actual physical restraint then the bound player may attempt to break free if they are able and can then role-play accordingly.
If either party does not wish to do real physical restraint all involved should role-play the idea that the player is restrained but not physically restrain anyone. Players "restrained" in this fashion should NOT attempt to break free, though they can role-play failing attempts to do so.
Flags are strips of blue cloth that are tied to players or objects to indicate a spell is in effect on that target.
If a spell requires a flag and you cannot provide it then you cannot benefit from that spell. Flags must be put in place within a minute of the effect that created the flag or the effect will fail, doing nothing. An effect does not take place until any required flags are where they need to be.
Flags can be placed in the following locations:
- On a person, such as for the anti-magic shield spell.
- On armor, such as for the enchance armor spell.
- On a shield, such as for the enchant shield spell. Flags on a shield must be visible from the front of the shield.
- On a weapon, such as for the silvershine spell.
- Held above the head, such as for the dissipate spell.
- On the ground, such as for a the sanctuary spell.
- On a portal (door, window, etc) such as for a magic lock or the sanctify spell.
Because not every player wants physical contact there are two methods to search other players for loot. These methods are referred to as "physical" and "detailed" searches. If the searcher has no wish to touch others they can by default do a detailed search. Physical searches only happen if both players allow it. When initiating a search, players can ask "Detailed or physical" or declare "I'm going to search you now" to the fallen character who should respond with their preferred method. Alternately a player can simply begin doing a detailed search right away "I search your pockets (etc)".
A detailed search is done by describing where on the other player you are going to search. Examples include: inside of pouches, pockets, boots, the character's mouth, hands, or inside of a skeleton's skull. It is often helpful to ask if anything on the target is glowing blue to distinguish if there are any magic items (which therefore are not garb and lootable). The player being searched is honor-bound to give up anything in the corresponding locations.
A physical search is exactly what it sounds like, you physically reach in pockets and other places to see what you find. The player being physically searched has no obligation to help you, but can't hinder you either. A player being physically searched can opt to go to a detailed search at any time if they don't wish to continue with the physical search.
Players also have an option to just hand over anything lootable on them when a search is declared.
After a NPC is searched it is common practice to drag the NPC's body off into the woods, indicating to other players the character has been searched, and indicating to the NPC that they can respawn or return to logistics as appropriate.
Combat in Novitas is a real life talent where character skill has only limited effect. Players over the course of an event will almost certainly find themselves in combat. There is no realistic way for a player to officially remain out of combat during an event. Ambush without prior warning is legal and fairly common. Should players have medical reasons to worry about these things they are the ones responsible for taking appropriate steps to safeguard themselves.
It is also a player's responsibility to respect other players. For example don't keep hitting someone who is down simply because you can. All players are there to have fun.
Combat and safety referees are always right. Failure to follow their instructions will result in immediate expulsion. Combat and safety referees have the right to inspect any weapon, shield, armor or tag bag at any time even if that item has already passed a previous inspection. Battle damage and wear happens. They have the right to have an item removed from the game for safety concerns.
Physical contact for combat purposes is never permitted. A player may not charge another player or do anything else that would force another player to move in order to avoid physical contact. Players may not grapple, wrestle, or otherwise entrap or impair limbs during combat. You may not grasp another player's weapon in combat. It is permissible to use a weapon to attempt to push or pull a shield out of the way.
Players should never bring real world weapons into the game.
Combat calls are used to convey information about attacks and special abilities characters have. Some calls are used only with attacks, others are used to announce defenses, and some calls just let people know that you benefit from an ongoing effect.
When you make an attack you announce the damage you will deal to another character by making a combat call, such as "3" or "3 normal" both of which indicate that you are dealing 3 points of normal damage. If no number is announced when you attack with a weapon it is assumed that you are dealing 1 point damage with your attack. Some attacks have no calls at all in which case they inflict 1 normal damage. Other types of damage can be dealt by stating the type after the number, so "2 magic" means 2 points of magic damage.
An attack counts as all things called. Sometimes one call can change some properties of other calls attached. For example the poison call makes an attack not a spell even if the other parts of the attack normally indicate spells.
If a player is using a weapon they have not yet identified but they recognize it as being made of a special material because of the weapon's color that player should make the corresponding call when attacking with that weapon.
When an effect allows you to call for something different with a weapon than you would normally call, you must choose which call to use when you make your attacks. If the something different only applies to the "next successful hit", and you choose not to use it when you make that hit, the effect is wasted.
For example if a character who deals 2 damage with each melee attack has a sword that deals "Nature" damage and they apply Scorpion's Kiss to that weapon so that it can deal "poison weaken" damage for the next successful hit. When they make that successful hit against an opponent they can choose to call "2 nature" or "poison weaken". They may not call "2 Nature poison weaken". Regardless of the effect they choose, the Scorpion's Kiss will be expended after that successful hit.
A legal strike is one that is clearly and distinctly felt on the receivers body in an eligible hit location.
There are 5 hit locations on a persons body. They are the Torso, Legs, Arms, Hands, and Head & Neck. The head & neck are listed here only to point out that they are off limits to weapon strikes. Feigning as if to hit someone's head is also off limits.
A player can take a wound in their Right Arm, Left Arm, Right Leg, Left Leg, and Torso.
As long as a player is carrying a weapon hands are treated as being part of the weapon, so hits to the hands don't cause the player to take damage. You should indicate this to your opponent by announcing "hand". Empty hands are considered part of their respective arms and in this case a hit to the hand will cause the player to take damage.
A person's torso includes, shoulders, chest, stomach, sides, back, groin and buttocks. Although aiming for a persons groin is forbidden, accidental hits should be accepted as torso hits.
Melee strikes need to be heavy enough to be felt but not so heavy that they inflict real injuries. If a player feels that an attack connected but was significantly too light (such as grazing a cloak) they can call "Light" to indicate this and disregard taking the wound. This should not be abused for tactical advantage (that's cheating and will be dealt with accordingly). Likewise strikes represent attacks with real weapons, and no melee strike should be a series of repeated taps. Players should call "Too Fast" when this happens to indicate the rapid hits. Again this should not be abused for tactical advantage. When hit too hard a call of "Hard" can serve to notify the attacker of the hard swing. As a general rule hits should be just as hard as is needed for the player to feel the hit connected.
Missile weapon hits only count if you are hit by the head of the missile. For this one rule javelins and great javelins count as missile weapons. Missile weapons may not be deflected by weapons however, doing so will cause you to take the hit in the arm of the hand holding the weapon.
Spells and some items use tag bags. If a tag bag makes contact with anything worn by a player it counts as hitting that player where ever that item makes contact with the player (so arm for a melee weapon, torso for a cloak). Tag bags never hit too light. Although tag bags should not be aimed at the head if they happen to hit a player's head the player should take the hit to their torso.
A Quick Note on Taking Damage in Combat
This next section details what happens when you take damage. It gets a little bit technical because it deals with all the possible powers, spells, and magic items that could get involved. If it seems confusing remember that while you are learning (or anytime you are unsure) you can always just assume that a damage dealing attack inflicted a torso wound and fall unconscious when you are hit.
The first thing you do when you take damage (or are hit by a spell call) is check to see if you have any immunity effects. So if you are hit for "4 Poison" and you have the spell Poison Immunity up, it will prevent that damage and you will not proceed any further in taking damage. An ability such as a damage requirement would also be checked at this time. A "No Effect" call must be made whenever an attack successfully hits you but does not inflict damage (or does not take effect in the case of spells) so that the attacker knows-that-you-know the attack successfully hit and so that they know they may need to attack with something different.
After you have checked for immunity effects you check to see if you have any limited use prevention effects. These are often called "one time" effects because they generally only work once. One example of such an effect is from the spell spirit shield. Remember to call ''No Effect" if the damage is prevented outright by an effect.
At this point damage is going to be dealt in some form. Characters have four possible pools that damage might be applied to before the character takes a wound. Those pools are magic armor, physical armor, natural armor, and body. Damage is always applied to magic armor first, physical armor second, natural armor third, body fourth and finally as a wound last. If the damage has the "Pierce" trait it cannot be applied to any type of armor.
Applying damage to a pool is done on a one-for-one basis. For example if an attack deals 4 damage and have 2 magic armor, 1 physical armor and 3 body, after the damage is dealt you will now have 0 magic armor, 0 physical armor, and 2 body remaining.
If at any time you don't know how much damage you have taken, err on the side of the attacker by taking an immediate torso wound. Or in other words if you are in doubt or confused it's always ok to take more damage and remove yourself from the fight.
Magic represents the varied fantasy elements in Kingdoms of Novitas. Players are allowed to represent their magic as being from any source so long as casting the magic fulfills all normal magic rules.
Magic comes in several forms in Kingdoms of Novitas.
- Spells are skills learned by players that allow them to cast that specific spell. Casting spells expends magic power points from the caster which refresh at convergence.
- Scrolls require the read magic skill to use. They can contain any spell, and cost no magic power points but are consumed on use.
- Rituals require an appropriate skill to use. They are typically reusable but require special consumables called ritual components to use. Casting a ritual allows a character to create effects beyond the scope of normal spells.
- Magic items can have many different magical properties. They can be used by anyone who could normally use the prop they are represented by (which is generally anyone, but some weapons require specific skills).
- Potions (and oils) are consumables that can be used by anyone but can only be made from certain specific spells.
In order to cast a spell a character must have at least as many magic power points as the cost (which by default is the level) of the spell they want to cast. They must also know the spell and have at least one hand free. If the target of a spell is an object the caster has in hand, the character no longer requires a free hand. Characters with both arms wounded cannot cast spells. Gear carried or worn never hinders casting by itself. Some spells may have additional specific requirements detailed in the spell's entry.
If these conditions are met, the player will then make a incantation for the spell. After this has happened the magic power points for the spell are consumed and the spell is successfully cast. If the spell requires a flag you must provide it at this time.
Spells have ranges to determine what they can affect. You are not required to be able to see your target in order to cast a spell.
- Tag Bag: This is the longest range a spell can have. These spells are delivered by a tag bag which is thrown at the target.
- Touch: A touch effect is delivered to a willing or helpless target by "touch"
- Self: A spell with a range of self can only benefit the caster. When a consumable is made from a spell with a range of self, only someone who knows that spell can use that consumable.
All spells have a duration they will last. When the duration runs out the effect is over. Each spell's description will indicate how long that spell lasts. Spells last their full duration unless the effect is dispelled first. A caster can voluntarily dispel a spell they have cast at any time by touching the spell's target. If the target is conscious and unwilling to have the effect dispelled then they may not be dispelled this way. If the caster of a spell dies, spells they have cast continue functioning as normal. A spell that is dispelled ends immediately as if its duration ran out.
After a spell is successfully cast you may need to explain to the target what effect the spell will have. Combat related spells typically explain what they do through combat calls made, other spells may require more explanation because players should not be required to know the effects of every possible spell. Try to be especially patient when explaining effects to new players who may be required to break character in order to understand what effect a spell will have.
Real world props are used to represent in game items. A player's personal property such as the tunic you wear in game cannot be stolen in-game. However if you were to use that same tunic to represent a magic item with the ornamenting skill it would be given an identification number, so that players with identify magic can ID it. Props that have ID numbers, referred to as "numbered items" can be stolen during the game. Because you still own the tunic out-of-game the player who steals the tunic from you should contact you after the game is done to work out what will happen with the tunic. You can choose to sell them the tunic for in-game coin, real world money, or you can have them return the tunic to you, but you will not be allowed to use it any longer for your character - in-game it was stolen after all.
All non-personal treasure (the stuff that doesn't belong to a specific player) is the property of Kingdoms of Novitas. As such it can be stolen during the game.
At any time game masters can remove props from play (typically for story reasons), rules staff members can remove props from play (typically for safety reasons or to deal with rules issues), and props and atmosphere staff can remove props from play (typically for aesthetic reasons).
Players are responsible for keeping, between games, any props they acquire during the game. Should a prop become too damaged for play it should be removed from the game permanently. Retired props provided by the game should be returned to logistics so they can repair it to someday be introduced as a brand new different item.
A player can turn a prop into an item worth coin at any time by bring both the prop and the coin it will be worth to logistics. There a staff member will assign the prop an item number and from that point on, the prop will be an item that can be traded or looted, with an associated coin value.
Coin is the basic unit of currency in the Kingdoms of Novitas. One copper piece is commonly referred to as one coin. A silver piece is worth ten coin. There are also "exotic" coins also known in-game as "slave tokens". These larger pieces of metal have symbols pressed into them and are notably heavier than a standard coin. Each is worth one hundred coin.
Other alternate currencies exist such as the sea shells used by piscenes, or gems valued by many. The estimate value skill allows players to identify the coin value of any unusual item their character comes across. These values represent how much coin cost can be paid for with that item during sign in if you have a cost you wish to pay with the item. There is no regulation of trading between two characters, a character can offer whatever price they deem appropriate for a trade and a seller can accept that offer or not as they wish
Logistics personnel keep a record of a great deal of information that takes place at every event. At the start of the event it is each player's responsibility to head to the check-in table, which is typically at the front of the logistics building. Here you will pay the event entry-fee which is $30, and they will take your name to indicate you are present.
On a white board behind the table you will indicate which shifts you intend on PCing with a quick tally mark. Players are expected to NPC at least half of the shifts they play during the weekend (typically that means 2 if you play all 4 shifts).
If you have a player character any experience you have earned since the last event you played will be applied to your character sheet. Should this cause you to gain levels you may spend any skill points earned at this time on purchasing new skills.
An archive of player characters is kept there by the logistics staff so that if you lose your existing character sheet you have a back up. It is worth your time to update your archived sheet every time you check-in but you are not required to do so. Keep in mind that if you lose your current sheet you will forced to make a copy from the archived sheet and any experience you have earned in the mean time may be gone. So seriously, back up your sheet regularly.
After you have done these things if you have any production skills and filled out a preproduction request in the forums before the event head down the table to the logistics person to the person handling that. Here you'll pay any in-game costs on what you are producing and pick up items slips, or item numbers of anything you had made. Remember that you are responsible for any props needed, you are only picking up the paperwork to make those props officially part of the game.
At this point you are now successfully checked in.
During the shifts that you signed up to NPC be sure to once more check-in with the logistics personnel at the main desk to let them know you are there for the shift, and then one more time at the end of the shift to let them know you stayed the entire shift (and so they know they don't have to go searching the woods for you because no one saw you come back).
Many players do not bring in a new character right away. If you wish to do so you can find advice on doing so here.