We welcome NPCs of all experience levels to “crunch” at Madrigal! Whether you’re brand new to larping, new to NPCing, or you’ve been at it for decades in other games, this page will help you get started. If you are new to larping as a hobby, we recommend reading our “What Is LARPing” page to learn the basics!
- Introduce Yourself
- Registering For An Event
- What Is NPCing?
- NPCing Your First Event
- What To Do After You Attend An Event
- CP Exchange
- Special Note: PCing Madrigal
The very first step you’ll want to take when you want to be an NPC at Madrigal is to send a quick email to us to let us know you’re interested! There are other steps along the way, but an initial introduction email lets our staff know that you’re looking to NPC and keeps us on our toes to watch for your questions and emails ahead of game. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple email to tell us who you are and that you’re thinking of NPCing the game is sufficient – send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: To NPC Madrigal, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Once you’ve contacted us, you should begin reading the below information about registering for an upcoming event and about what NPCing at game entails.
It is always a good idea to pre-register for a game event as soon as you know that you’d like to attend! Preregistering allows us to get an accurate headcount of NPCs, to let the camp know how much food to make – remember, we pay for staff dinner on Saturday night! Additionally, if we are not sure whether you will attend, we cannot plan roles for you nor guarantee that you will be able to play your favorite roles. Even if you change your mind and decide to PC instead, it is still important to pre-register (see our PC page for info).
There is no admission cost for NPCs to attend Madrigal. We cover the cost of the 6pm Saturday night dinner for our NPCs.
To pre-register as a new NPC, click here!
If you are an NPC (Non-Player Character) during an event, this means that you will be working with our plot staff to help play a variety of costumed-roles that make our fictional world come alive for our Player Characters! We offer roles that can range from one-time monsters that players need to defeat in combat to reoccurring allies who help the Player Characters advance their goals (and everything in-between)! You’ll get to go behind the scenes and work with our plot staff team to make new and interesting stories, puzzles, props, costumes, and more. Being an NPC is free, and we also provide free food for our NPCs during the event weekend!
We have no restrictions on participants switching from Player side to NPC side – if you decide to be an NPC it will not bar you from creating a Player Character at Madrigal in the future. If you decide to be a Player Character, it will not prevent you from joining our NPCs. We also allow players to temporarily join the NPC side under special circumstances (speak with a member of our staff for more information).
NPCs should get to know the basics of Accelerant style combat and abilities because you will be using these rules to participate in the game with the Player Characters, and understanding how they work will greatly improve the game experience for you and for the Players who will meet you in your NPC roles! The Rules System is available by clicking here (we recommend Chapter One for NPCs, which covers most all the common Accelerant terms you’ll hear at game).
Tip: NPCing is also an excellent choice for brand new larpers who are looking for practice learning the game rules, getting to know the game setting, and want to try a variety of different weapon types. It’s a great first step if you’re not used to being in character for long periods of time because you will get to play many different roles, and you can be more out of character when you are in the staff-only areas of the camp.
While we do provide some materials, costuming, and weapon supplies for NPCs in our “Monster Camp” (a behind the scenes area reserved for staff and NPCs only), it’s important to come to game prepared with additional items. Be sure that any item you bring to game is okay to get dirty or wet, as you may find yourself out in the woods. Also, you should not bring any items of significant value to game (your grandparent’s heirloom mirror? baaaad idea). A basic list of items to bring as an NPC to Madrigal includes the following:
- Solid black clothing (please avoid visible logos)
- Black shoes with good ankle support (please avoid prominent /brightly colored logos)
- Extra socks
- Any boffer weapons/shields that you own
- Sleeping bag, pillow, & blanket
- Bottled water
- Toiletries, shower towel, & toilet paper
- Bug spray & sun screen
- Spell packets (the more of these we have the better!)
- Extra socks (seriously, the more of these YOU have, the happier you’ll be!)
- Glow sticks or small flashlight with colored light filter cover
Other items that are great to bring include:
- Makeup, makeup applicators, & makeup remover
- Any fantasy costuming you may own such as hats, robes, dresses, shirts, wigs, and/or prosthetic items like elf ears and horns
- Belts, pouches, & gloves
- Did I mention spell packets? Mmm, spell packets.
- Did I mention extra socks? Mmm, dry feet!
Things you should leave at home
- Valuables (jewelry, nice watches)
- Fragile expensive eyeglasses (it’s best to either wear contacts or have a pair of glasses that are resilient in case they fall off during gameplay)
When you arrive at game, proceed to Monster Camp (our staff and NPC-only area). You will need to sign a waiver, and our staff will help you to find an assigned bunk where you can sleep & store your personal belongings. If you are not pre-registered, then the check-in staff will check to see if there is room at the event for you. If not, you can still participate as an NPC but you will have to commute to the game or provide your own sleeping arrangements by tenting.
If you arrive before the start of game and have a lot of gear to unload, you are more than welcome to pull your car up into the site, but you should move your car to the valid parking areas by 10pm on Weekend Events or 7pm on Adventure Nights. Do not drive anywhere but the dirt roads on the site. Drive slowly.
While in Monster Camp, our staff desk (aka “Monster Desk”) will have a member of staff who will help assign roles to available NPCs, manage requests from plot staff and NPCs during the game, and help to keep things organized and moving along in Monster Camp. You should visit Monster Desk after you have situated your personal belongings to begin any orientations or learn what tasks the staff may need assistance with before the start of the game.
Game starts at 11pm on Fridays of Weekend Events, and at 7pm on Wednesday Adventure Nights. We cannot accept new-to-Madrigal staff players once game has begun – we do not have the resources to properly debrief and instruct new staff players once the game begins. Once game starts it is our goal to prevent the game flow from being interrupted for any reason. It is for this reason that we strongly suggest that you arrive before game starts.
If this is impossible, we ask that you come to the game in costume so you don’t disrupt the flow of the game. Once you have checked in, you will be asked to move into your cabin in game. Staff players who arrive late enter game in costume as spirits and proceed to the Staff Camp. Staff, who are pre-approved to do so, may enter game as a farmer and proceed to the Staff Camp. This way you are never interrupting the flow of the game for other players as you arrive.
When traveling as a Spirit, walk slowly with your head tilted down and hands folded. If you are spoken to or attacked you should simply reply “Spirit” and continue walking. You are In Game at all times, except while using designated out-of-game staff areas or the bathroom facilities. You should make every attempt to enter and leave the game area as a character during game play. Many of our staff develop simple characters such as a local farmer or caravan guard to help move around, off or onto the site when not cast in a role. If you get killed, you may walk to the parking lot instead of death. Simply becoming a spirit and walking off the site is not acceptable.
If you have never larped before, please visit the Monster Desk or find a member of our staff and notify them so they can direct you to a member of staff who can assist you as you get started NPCing.
Before the start of game, our staff will often need assistance preparing scenes, constructing props, or getting into costume. Check with Monster Desk to see what may need to be set up, and follow the guidance of any staff members that you are assisting.
There is an Out of Game “Staff Opening” at Monster Camp, which is mandatory for all NPCs and plot staff. It occurs at 10:30pm on Friday night. During this opening, the game staff/owner will gather staff and NPCs together for a brief meeting to provide reminders and important information ahead of the event. This may include special announcements about the camp site (such as off-limit areas), changes to the way some game rules work, or instructions for dealing with newly introduced game mechanics.
Brand new NPCs are often asked to participate in an orientation, where you will learn the basics of play and combat. You may be asked to participate in a “new player mod” where you will play a combat role against brand new Player Characters, who are also learning how to play the game. Follow the instructions of staff for these orientations/encounters.
Additionally, the Monster Desk will assign you roles if you are available. They will also provide you with information about the role you’re playing (such as numerical stats and/or acting motivation), treasure props to reward Player Characters with if applicable, costuming, or props that you may require. Some roles involve combat with boffer weapons. Some roles involve roleplaying. Some involve both! Feel free to ask any questions of the person at monster desk. If that person cannot immediately give you an answer, they can at least help you find a way to get an answer to your question.
During the event you will have the opportunity to assist with many different scenes. When a member of staff is seeking NPCs for a scene, you can volunteer to participate. Some may be small and take place in specific buildings or secluded areas of the woods. Others might be quite large involving huge numbers of both the NPCs and the players spread across the entire camp site. Follow the instructions of staff, who will give you the information you need for the scene and recommend what costuming, weapon(s), and/or makeup is appropriate. When it is time to begin the scene, follow the staff member to the instructed location.
While traveling to a scene, you may be traveling in one of the following states:
- Spirit: This discourages players from interacting with you until an appropriate time. When traveling as a Spirit, walk slowly with your head tilted down and hands folded. If you are spoken to or attacked you should simply reply “Spirit” and continue walking. Some players may use game abilities to attempt to “speak with spirit” – you are not required to reply to them unless specifically instructed to do so by a member of staff.
- Farmer: This discourages players from interacting with you, particularly if you’re simply walking through the camp to get to/from a scene. It is also used if you’re in the middle of changing to a different role, or if you have no assigned role temporarily but you need to go somewhere visible to players (such as the dining hall). Farmers need only wear all-black clothing and one of our conical straw hats, available in Monster Camp. As a farmer, you will generally not have any game information to give to players. Should players attempt to interact with you, you will only have “exciting” topics to offer such as techniques for growing turnips or other mundane non-adventuring idle chatter.
- In-Game: Sometimes as you are traveling through the camp you will be asked to stay in character as you walk around. Please act out your role in an appropriate way that fits the instructions / descriptions given to you by staff.
Important: Monster Camp is located very close to the water, and close to player cabins. As a courtesy to our players we request the minimum amount of noise at any given time. We recommend that you utilize your assigned housing as a lounge to relax and unwind. Please be courteous to players who may be walking around your buildings and keep noise to a non-intrusive level.
When the scene is complete, you should follow the staff member(s) back to Monster Camp, traveling in whatever state is appropriate (e.g. spirit, farmer, etc) as indicated by the staff. During large battles that roam through the camp site, you should listen for the staff to call loudly to “inflict” to a particular trait related to the role you’re playing. This is an in-character way of signalling to the NPCs that it is time to quit the field and return to Monster Camp, regardless of whether the players have defeated you.
Most often you will find your roles varied and challenging at Madrigal, but once in a while you may become bored or frustrated. Since the plot staff will be single-mindedly focused on the event and timeline, it is often extremely difficult for us to detect any problems that may be concerning our NPCs/staff. Please let the monster desk know immediately if any problems or concerns arise so that we can guarantee the best experience for all our participants. Our goal is to provide an exciting and challenging role-playing experience while you are an NPC at a Madrigal event. Your desires may change over time as well, you may want a heavy fighting role to begin with and then wish to switch to an intense role-playing role, or vice versa. The monster desk is designed to handle all your needs to make your weekend with us pleasurable.
At some point you may be asked to either grab something out of the props trailer or you may need costuming for an upcoming role. Only the active monster desk person and certain Plot Staff members are allowed to enter the trailer or the back rooms. We have an astounding amount of props, lighting and costuming in a very small area. Feel free to ask the monster desk to retrieve or place your objects back into the correct position. When utilizing costuming for a specific role, the monster desk person can retrieve costume pieces for you. Once your role is finished you should return the pieces promptly to the desk. This way the maximum amount of staff can use the costuming to the best of our abilities.
If you are interested in becoming a monster desk person and taking one shift during weekend events, please inform a plot staff person. They will have additional information. As always if you do not understand or have questions about anything at all, feel free to ask the monster desk.
At Madrigal you are expected to be in-character (aka “in game”) any time you are outside the bathrooms and staff areas. We try to maintain a serious atmosphere. Characters who are portrayed with silly or flagrantly out-of-game characteristics will not be tolerated. We try to give every character a purpose within the game world. Every encounter, whether you’re playing a Black Sun Barbarian or a Fire Toad, will have a set of goals and usual behavior.
We want the staff to have fun and to provide fun for the players. Everything you do in game can have profound impact on the game. It is your job to populate this world and maintain an atmosphere that provides a suspension of disbelief and provides the players with fun. Examples:
- Stay in-game and in costume at all times when moving around the site (whether you’re a spirit, a farmer, or portraying a specific role).
- Don’t push masks up on your head.
- Don’t talk to other staff in an out-of-game manner while you are outside staff areas (you never know when a player can see you that you didn’t notice!)
It is your job to watch the signs from the players. Are they bored? Are they frustrated? Are they having fun? Try to keep the story that is being told in the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself if you would find this fun as a player. There is a very fine line between an encounter that is challenging or frustrating.
Try to remember that having the stats to crush a group of players is not always the correct response. More often it is the threat of violence that thrills the player than the actual thrashing they may eventually receive. It is your cool head and restraint when appropriate that makes Madrigal so fun to play.
One of the greatest challenges at a live action event is the interaction between players and staff. There will be a time where you believe you see a player incorrectly react to a combat or roleplaying encounter. Do not argue about rules or accuse players of cheating. Arguing about hits or rules on the field is inappropriate. Madrigal maintains an in-game atmosphere at all times. Bring up the problem to plot staff immediately following the encounter, once you have returned to Monster Camp. In addition, you should do your best to defer to the players benefit at all times, even if you believe the player is incorrect.
Players at Madrigal are in game at all times, so thanking the players in an out-of-game manner after fights or other encounters is inappropriate. There is time for that after the event. Stay in game. As quickly and quietly as you can, exit the encounter in the appropriate manner. This is extremely important as the players may be morning the loss of a loved one or may be attempting to resolve a highly stressful situation. If you are killed as your role, stay down for the full five minutes. Many creatures that serve darkness will only remain down for one minute. Try to remember to ask your staff leader for every encounter what the down time is since it is easy for us to forget what the count should be for blood tribes, undead, and other minions of darkness. Once your down time is up, rise slowly with your weapons tucked under your arm or hanging loosely by your sides, keep your head bowed and walk in a slow manner to your regrouping encounter point or Monster Camp.
You may learn things in monster camp or while playing a role that the players have yet to discover. All staff are required to keep what is learned as a staff character secret. We ask all staff to be cautious while in monster camp because the person next to you may play Madrigal as a character at some point. We are gracious to all our players who volunteer to staff Madrigal on occasion and we would not want them to unduly learn a big game secret and spoil their fun. As well, there is a great companionship felt by all at the end of every event when the game ends and the players wish to express their heartfelt thanks for your wonderful performances. Please be reasonably modest and let the players have their moment in the spotlight. Remember that anything a player learns out of game they know in game. So even though you might want to give them the behind-the-scenes story about the Hyena raid, please refrain where possible.
One of the tools of communication Madrigal uses is the summary letter, called a Player Event Letter (PEL). All players and NPCs are encouraged to submit a PEL after each event they attend. Summary letters also earn you character points if they are submitted within one week of an adventure night and within two weeks of an adventure weekend. Additionally, “Check-out” helps us to give you credit for participating as an NPC – we can award you Character Points (CP) in our system that you can use for a future character or even transfer the points in the CP Exchange (LINK).
To submit an NPC check-out / PEL, use our online form by clicking here!
Our goal is to use the answers to these questions to run a more enjoyable game. You should try to answer the questions with brevity, and follow up the answers with any in game commentary you wish to include. We enjoy in game journals and views and commentary and try to read it all, but this should be included after the answers to the questions.
If you have NPC’d for Madrigal, you will need to make sure that your Accelerant-participating LARP campaign knows this, so that you will receive credit for the CP you earned! Once you’ve completed NPCing a Madrigal event and you’ve submitted your PEL (if you choose to submit one), contact your Accelerant-participating LARP that you wish to apply your CP towards. For more information on CP Exchange, see our Logistics page by clicking here!
If you are considering playing in the event as a Player Character (PC), please visit our New Player info page!