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Thanks to Luke for sending in a question about makeup!


- Mickey and Bill

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  • Alan

    I appreciate your kind words. That gypsy curse with the vampire was totally awesome and the staff member who came up with it deserves a ton of credit. Sadly, that was not me. That idea was 99% Geoff Haigh who played the vampire in question and ran that plot.

    I agree that it was an amazing use of costume and made the PC (who was powerless in a lot of ways against the vampire) feel cool and stick it to him.

    So, that credit is all Geoff’s.

    My cool costuming moment was how the structure and size of the Oraban costume made people actually recoil from me when I started walking across the field. I think that is my favorite costume moment. Jessie did an awesome job on the costume, Sylly did a wonderful mask and Jim Timlin did a great job on the weapons for the total look.

    In closing, costumes (make up, props, et all) have made a huge difference in roles I have played and their importance should be emphasized whenever possible.

    Oct 12, 2011 at 3:07 am
  • larpcast

    oops, I stand corrected. Kudos to Geoff then and thanks for straightening that out.

    And yes, the Oraban effect was great, very intimidating and really drove it home. Thank God, talk about a high stakes role.


    Oct 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm
  • Mike F.

    Solid episode guys. I have a couple of notes.

    When it comes to full make-up, three to four games in the north east have been using airbrushes in monster camp recently. While the initial entry cost is high, airbrushes offer some nice options. They are fast. You can dark elf up someone very quickly with one. If you need to do a large number of NPCs quickly in full face makeup, one airbrush can be faster then the typical sharing of one or two mehron pancakes. For complex make up jobs like scales or flame effects where you layer makeup, nothing beats it. The airbrush results are look better, are much more even and I find that it feels better (I’m someone who hates full face make-up).

    Tales of Valor out in Western MA actually does makeup for a number of heavy makeup PCs with their airbrush each morning. Application is easy enough and fast enough that this is a reasonable option. This also helps prevent “sunday makeup” and the the game can help encourage a good standard. With 65-70 PCs an event ToV is not a small game.

    The down side to the Airbrush is cost and you need to train a few people on use and basic maintenance.

    In terms of NERO costuming, I find it interesting that originally NERO had a fairly high level of costuming when the game first started. As the game exploded the standard dropped quickly. You look at some of the old pictures from 90 & 91 and you can see some very high levels of costuming. This is mostly from the early SCA and Ren Faire influence on the game. As those original players faded from the game, what was left became the defacto low standard.

    The other thing I have noticed is a few games are now mass producing their own monster masks. It has become very cost effective to produce your own latex masks now. A game could even produce the molds then outsource the labor to players. The most difficult part is to make the initial mold. Pouring the latex (or a hypoallergenic alternative) can be out sourced then all you need to do is paint and a little shading (an airbrush is key here also, but not necessary).

    If you have a race, say like Orcs or Goblins that you have as a PC & NPC race a game can produce their own masks and then sell mask to the player base as well. You then create the standard you want for these specific creatures. It’s not to far a step for other prosthesis.

    Oct 14, 2011 at 4:49 am
  • larpcast

    During the recording I had pondered mentioning airbrushing, but decided that I wasn’t informed enough about it and that it was a bit too “how to-ish” for this particular episode. But seriously, Mike is right, airbrushing makeup is amazing and well worth the cost if you have someone able to use it properly.

    Would it be interesting and helpful to people if we had a guest on sometime to discuss more about the nuts and bolts of makeup techniques as opposed to the broader discussion of makeup standards?

    That’s a really interesting idea about selling masks to the playerbase to keep standards up. Was this an idea you just had or is there a game out there currently selling, say, masks for their troll PCs specifically?

    Thanks! -Mickey

    Oct 15, 2011 at 1:45 am
  • Mike F.

    A little of both. Ben Becker has obviously made selling game themed props to PCs for his games into a nice secondary revenue stream for a game. Mythical Journeys has/had an unofficial system where Orc & Goblin PCs use the same masks as Monster Camp. The Masks were made by Jessi Jaffe. She moved on from the game to go back to school last year, so I’m not sure where it will be going from there. She sold the masks to PCs basically for cost & a little labor.

    Oct 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm
  • Patrick D

    I’d find a techniques podcast interesting. I know I have absolutely zero clue how to even begin to do makeup for complex full makeup races (Sarr, Scavengers, and other non solid color races). I wouldn’t even begin to know how to do Sarr, without looking like an idiot.


    Oct 17, 2011 at 10:39 am
  • Mike F

    One thing I forgot to meantion is that if you want to improve costuming standards for a game, set a solid standard before the game starts.

    Future Imperfect, a Sci-fi game here in the North east put together a solid costume guide for the game before it started. They put in hard & fast rules about what clothing was accepted and what wasn’t (no jeans for example) as well as setting up guidlines for how various factions dressed. I think this was critical as it is hard to build an imersive environment in a modern style game. It’s just so easy to grab whatever is in your closet.

    Melting Point, a modern horror/sci-fi game also had some very specific costume requirements tied into their rules. It’s a winter only game that was run “in the artic” thus the rules encouraged artic style clothing like snow pants.

    Setting up a costume and makeup guide for you game as well as putting out instructions on where to find or make some specific signature pieces will help players meet the standard you want to set.

    Oct 20, 2011 at 8:35 am
  • Tucker

    A thought that came to mind on why the dark elves and malcourge looked/felt badass.

    Their standards were sort of a uniform- they looked similar and even if you don’t know the person, you knew who they belonged with.

    “There’s a reason armies wear uniforms even though they make them easy to spot. Sometimes that’s what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power and numbers. These in turn inspire fear. And as any good operative knows there is no more effective weapon than fear.” -Michael Westen, Burn Notice

    Gypsies don’t really dress alike, unless “awful colors” is a uniform.

    I remember npcing for a game where we all wore grey and black uniform shirts and marched into town with weapons in tow. We were all humans and it scared the bejesus out of the PCs- it’s the organization, not the makeup that pulled it.

    Oct 27, 2011 at 9:40 am
  • Luke Mahar

    Guys, thanks for covering the topic. I definitely took some notes and learned a bit about some of the other reasons people don’t always love full make-up races like I do. Then again, I’ve played a human for 20 years… doh!

    Nov 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm