All posts by GameMasterChris

Director and Originator of Fanwar Larp (Fantasy Warplay)

LARP Procedure Updates 2021-2022

Hello All Fanwar Players and Families,

We are entering into the second half of camps for the summer and I’m sending you all info as well as Fall Registration for
the weekly leagues so that you can enroll before others and assure a space.  Below is the key points I’m covering in this
email.
(1) Remaining Camps Almost Full
(2) Fall 2021 Weekly Leagues Sign Up Forms and Info
(3) COVID Delta Variant Prep. and Camp Plans
(4) Wildfire Smoke Impact Prep. and Camp Plans
(5) Updated LARP Health and Safety Guidelines
(6) Useful links to track possible changes due to COVID community spread or air quality due to wildfires.

(1) Remaining Camps Almost Full: So I just wanted you all to know that the remaining Palo Alto Summer camps are
almost completely full and if you have been holding out for a spot last minute, you are going to be too late.  Given that
COVID restrictions may force us to cap the number of players (see below) it is even more critical to secure a space now
if your planning on it.

(2) Fall 2021 Weekly Leagues Sign Up Forms and Info: We will be back in the fall with the usual weekly events, with no
major changes to the way they run!  The California School Districts have agreed to be in person in the fall and thus I will
running my leagues as well.  You can sign up for Palo Alto or Sebastpol Weekly events here.  If you are interested in the
weekend events (usually on the first and third weekend in Palo Alto, and the second weekend of the month in
Sebastpol), you don’t need a sign up form for those events.  Just check the Fanwar website calendar and show up to the
events your interested in.  Some events require you to have experience with the game, or many years of playing to
attend, so check the requirements before attending if you are not sure.   Here are the sign up form for next year, which
combines Fall, Spring, and Winter into one universal form (for ease of use).  You don’t have to sign up for all of them
obviously, but it makes it much easier to use the form through the school year or mark down your planned attendance so
I can be sure to keep space for you.  A reminder that payment is monthly for weekly leagues (you pay for the month, not
the day), but are credited any days you missed into the following months payment (simply subtract those days from your
next payment check).
Palo Alto Mitchell Park Wednesday League Sign Up Form here
https://www.fanwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/FANWAR-Sign-Up-Palo-Alto-Wednesday-League-2021-22.pdf
Sebastopol Willard Libby Park Thursday League Sign UP Form here
https://www.fanwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/FANWAR-Sign-Up-Sebastopol-Thursday-League-2021-22.pdf

(3) COVID Delta Variant Prep. and Camp Plans: With Delta variant becoming the dominant strain there has been a
sizeable uptick in the amount of community spread in the country, though less so in the Bay Area.  While parts of nation
are really looking bad, the Bay Area has kept the hospitalizations low and the death rates near zero from COVID.  So
while things are looking rough, they are holding steady for us here locally.  With that said, I want to share the plans I
have should those levels continue to rise.  Rather than suddenly have to pivot to indoor, as we have done in the past,
here are the tiers of precautions we will take if the community spread continues to rise.
(A) Continue as Planned: Currently we are at a level where the listed safety protocols on our Health and Safety Doc will
hold.  We will continue to use Universal Masking (as the California Schools have opted to do for next year as well), as it
is more equitable and as teachers, this means a lot.  I do not wish to create an environment where some kids can excel
at this sport while others must where masks, and thus I will require all students to mask up for the foreseeable future.  
Currently, the California Schools and CDC agree that masks are optional outdoors, even at school, for vaccinated and
unvaccinated students.  For summer camps, I will still require players to mask up while involved in larp activities to
respect those with more fragile health situations.  Do note that Game Masters and Helpers may remove their masks
during lessons or detailed role play to facilitate clear learning, but will wear them during more active encounters.
(B) Reverse Course: Should levels spike more dramatically, we will then move to this level of play, where we return to no
interaction at all between cohorts at a camp, and social distancing and daily health checks.
(C) Small Cohorts: If levels continue to spike then we move to this level of LARP in which we fragment the camps into
much smaller teams of about 14-16 people, who completely isolate from the other groups at the park, and work only
with their one Game Master.  We may meet up at the start and end of the day, but only at a safe distance to share info.
(D) Change Locations: If levels go beyond where the parks are even a place we can play, we will move to a school site
(there are some we have used last year) or another closed campus type space where there is no public access, and we
can assure that we will not be interrupted.
(E) Online if Shelter In Place: If all of the above fails, we will then go back to online LARP, but only if the state mandates
a shelter in place order.

(4) Wildfire Smoke Impact Prep. and Camp Plans: This year is on track to be one of the worst for wildfires ever, and that
is saying a lot given how bad last year was.  We are already well ahead of acreage burned for this time of year, and we
are in a drought, combined with now seeing heat domes that break high temperature records becoming a regular part of
the season.  It is not a matter of if we will have smoke impacts, but when.  Thus, I am laying out the plans for what we
will do if smoke impacts out summer camps or fall events.
(A) Continue as Planned (Green-Yellow): I mostly base my decisions to do LARP on a given day on the Air Quality
predictions.  If they are in the green (0-50 ppm of 2.5 particulate) or yellow (50-100), we are good to go.  If they are
forecast for Orange (150-200) then it has to do with amount of time it is forecast to cross that line.  If its only going to
hit 155 or so, for an hour or two, we are fine, but all day well above 150 means we have to adjust our event (see
below).
(B) Reduce Activities (Orange PPM 2.5 above 150): At these levels we, we will adjust our day and do less running
around.  We will select more relaxed and discussion based missions.  If this level of smoke combines with high
temperatures, we may cancel, as masks, smoke, and heat doesn’t combine well.  Usually we will first setup cooling
stations where students can get icepacks and relax as needed.
(C) Cancel Activities or Go Online (Red PPM 2.5 above 200):  If the smoke levels pass 200 PPM for the majority of the
event, we will cancel the event or (if it is a Summer Camp) move the event online for that day, checking back in the next
day to see if the air is better.  Normally we might move indoors in a situation like this, but with COVID, this is a worse
option in our case.
(D) Change Locations: If levels are forecast to be above 200 PPM for an extended period of time, we will move the camp
to a location forecast to have better air (closer to the coast for example), and hold the remainder of the camp or weeks
events there instead of the usual location.
(E) Online if Shelter In Place: If all of the above fails, we will then go back to online LARP, but only if the entire region is
inundated with smoke for the foreseeable future.

(5) Updated LARP Health and Safety Guidelines:  Below is the most updated LARP Health and Safety Guidelines which I
expect will remain in place for the rest of the summer. There is a link below as well to the version which I update.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FTY1LWpLh4YJSnAQ7xqaYR2EQwIwRxH1sRr6belYwq8/edit?usp=sharing

FANWAR LARP CAMP HEALTH SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR 2021 (as of July 10th)
Note:  We will comply with the County Health Orders for whatever county we are currently operating in.

LARP Camps Procedures
Due to the increased need for safety procedures during this pandemic, we must follow these guidelines below if we plan
to attend any LARP camps this season.  These guidelines are based on state and county laws and keep us all safe and
able to enjoy this outdoor experience.  If these guidelines are not being followed, it jeopardizes the entire camp, and we
may lose our opportunity to attend the camps all together, or worse, may shut down the entire camp, so please take
these measures very seriously.

  1.   Parent Responsibilities (these are the pieces that need to be attended to by each family to ensure they are doing
    their part to protect others at the camp).
    Protocols for attending camps during this Pandemic
    Before the camp starts, you need to contact me if any of the following is true.
    •   Have you or your child had a fever in the last 24 hours of 100°F or above?
    •   Do you or your child now, or have recently had, any respiratory or flu symptoms, sore throat, or shortness of
    breath?
    •   Have you been in contact with anyone in the last 10 days who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has
    coronavirus-type symptoms, and you yourself are unvaccinated?
    If any of the above applies, we need to reschedule your camp. If you question your health or your child’s health in any
    way, please do not come in.  Safety is first and foremost.
  2.   Parents and Students Responsibilities: the following items are needed for each student to have at the camp for
    their personal use.  It is the responsibility of the parents and students to make sure these items are bought every day.
    i.   Face Mask or Covering (cloth or other breathable fabric, covers the nose and mouth but allows for safe breathing
    while active)
    ii.   Bag or Box Lunch (since unvaccinated students cannot leave the campus, some must bring enough food for
    themselves to be comfortable all day long)
    iii.   Fork Friendly Foods (we want to discourage any students from eating foods with their hands at camp.  If possible,
    please send food that allows your child to eat with a fork, or is wrapped in such a way as to allow them to not need to
    touch it to eat it).
    iv.   Drinking Water (students will not have access to drinking fountains or other drinking water on site, so they must
    bring enough water for them to be comfortable all day long in changeable weather).
    v.   Soapy Spray Bottle (this bottle should be filled with water and soap that is safe for your child to use on
    themself.  It
    can be used to spray on their hands or personal items they wish to clean when the bathroom is not available.  If a spray
    bottle isn’t available, a labeled water bottle filled with soapy water should work.
    vi.   Hand towel (since students may need to wash dry their hands more often than usual, it will be helpful for them to
    have a decent sized towel that they can dry their hands on should they need extra washing between bathroom visits).
    vii.   Sunscreen or Hats as needed (since it can be quite hot at times, and players will also be wearing masks and
    gloves,
    hats that keep off the sun and/or sunscreen that they can use are needed).
    viii.   Emergency First Aid Card:  Each student should bring a card with their emergency contact number, and any
    prudent health issues, such as allergies, etc. clearly printed on it, to be turned in to Christopher’s Box at the start of the
    camp, in case of emergencies.
    ix.   Backpack or Bag for all the above items:  Since students need more personal items than usual, providing
    something
    with their name on it that can contain all these items is a necessity.
  3.   Student Responsibilities (there are the pieces that need to be enforced with the students to be sure we are
    protecting each other and the use of our facilities)
    o   Face Masks/Covering Required:  All students at the camp must have a face mask on during all larp activities.
    o   Stay in your Group:  Students will be broken into groups of no more than 12 unvaccinated players which will be
    referred to as their Group Number:  These groups will be supplemented with more fully vaccinated players bringing
    group sizes closer to 20-25 as of 5-17-2021 (Update- while groups will still be mostly Static, they may now engage in one
    or two encounters with other groups but mostly for short periods of time, and the majority of the day is spent isolated
    from all other groups)- 6/15/2021
    o   Non-Vaccinated Students cannot leave the campus grounds during camp:  We must keep our groups from any
    unnecessary contacts, and this means no leaving campus for lunch or any other purpose during the day.
    o   Students must only use the bathrooms one at a time:  We have access to a bathroom that is directly off the
    blackstop, and will not enter the other school buildings at any time.  We will only use this bathroom one at a time and
    must get permission from our group leader before we do.
    o   Reduce Germs in the Bathroom:  Students should refrain from touching items in the bathroom with their hands
    (using a paper towel etc. instead).  If a toilet has a lid, it should be shut before flushing to reduce particles entering the
    air.  Students must wash their hands for 20 seconds and thoroughly rinse and dry them before returning to larp
    activities.
    o   Wash Hands before eating lunch:  Students need to be sure they wash their hands before starting to eat at lunch
    to reduce the chances of any germs being transferred to food.
    o   During lunch, six feet apart:  Since we will be taking our masks off to eat, students must sit six feet apart during
    lunch.
    o   Stay in the areas designated for larp only:  We have use of the space at our site for larp, but only the outside
    areas
    which we must take care of.
    o   Wash Hands before Leaving LARP:  Before leaving LARP to go home, each student will be sure to wash their
    hands,
    either with their personal supplies for this, or at the bathroom as usual.
  4.   Changes to Game Rules and Procedures:
    We may adjust certain game rules if necessary to allow for more social distancing and health measures, but currently,
    the core rules set works for current health and safety procedures.

If you, or your child cannot or will not comply with these procedures they will be barred from the camp and future camps
as well.

(6) Useful links to track possible changes due to COVID community spread or air quality due to wildfires:  Below is a list
of links I use to determine if we will be able to run larp on a given day.  They can be useful tools for you as well to
predict whether we are likely to have issues and to be prepared for them.

Risk Levels – Global Epidemics
https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/
San Mateo County Coronavirus Updates
https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus
Sonoma County Warnings and Updates
https://socoemergency.org/category/warnings-and-updates-english/
AirNow.gov Air Quality Predictions and Levels
https://www.airnow.gov/?city=Sebastopol&state=CA&country=USA
Purple Air Realtime Air Quality Monitors
https://www.purpleair.com/map?opt=1/mAQI/a10/cC0&inc=422928#8.56/37.9215/-122.5785
NOAA Website
https://www.weather.gov/mtr/#
National Fire Situational Awareness Site
https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/%3F/39.5005/-121.0544/7

Thanks again for all the time, energy, resources, and commitment you have each put into this community and for sharing
these wonderful adventures and stories with me in a way we all enjoy.  LARP gives many of us the freedom to be the
people we truly are and to be together in a way that bypasses the constructs of school or sports, and instead, brings us
together as friends, family, and just good people.  Thank you for that.

All my best,

Christopher Melville
FANWAR LARP Director
www.fanwar.com

  

Fall Update for FANWAR LARP

Hello All Fanwar LARP Families,

First off, I want to thank all the families that have attended LARP online and outside this past spring and summer, and let
you all know how much it has made the difference for me to be able to keep LARP happening in its many forms through
this historical crisis.  Your continued involvement in our program has been fundamental to everything, as we have
broken new ground in formats and systems of larping, adapted to the numerous challenges and restrictions, and
eventually finishing our season with a fantastic camp filled with music, magic, art, challenges, puzzles, and a healthy
dose of good old fashioned humor.  Though the work to keep these camps going has been overwhelming to say the
least, I feel very happy to see the joy and involvement, growth and determination that all of these kids exhibit, and it
keeps me going through the hours of prep and writing required to keep pace with these kids.  Thank you for sharing
them all with me all these years.  I hope that as things move forward I will still get to work with them all and that we
continue to grow in the best way possible.
It appears that the five months of free online gaming for all the families has been worth it.  Since we had to switch
quickly to an online format, I opted to allow all students to donate payments instead of requiring anyone to pay fees for
these events.  I felt strongly that we were all going through this economic hardship together, and I did not want any
families that had suddenly lost their economic stability to be shut out of online larp as well.  Thank you to the many
families who continued to send in their payments as if events had not changed, as it has allowed me, up to this point, to
survive and keep working at the job that I love.  I know that for many of you it is difficult to pay for larp during these
times, and so it is all the more critical that those that were able to continued.  If you were planning on making
payments/donations for league events, please check in with your child to be sure that they made the payments, as due
to the fact that I no longer required it, many people never got reminders.  I know that some families just realized this
and are now making catch up payments, and I cannot thank you enough.
Our summer camps were not donation based, and we were so happy to have gotten almost all of them to be live outside
(only two of the seven camps were forced online).  Being outside again with the kids was transnational for all, and
brought us a much needed familiar social interaction and joyful physical activity.  We had no health issues or problems
and all of our safety measures appear to have been very effective.  Thank you to everyone who followed them closely
and the work that went into everyone keeping each other safe.  When we did have to do camps online, they were
amazing on an entirely different level.  Students brought their “A” game to these camps and some of the most
memorable and exciting role play and plot encounters emerged from these online camps, filled with wonderful
opportunities for adding soundtracks and performing songs together, and even the completion of a plot line that I have
been running for sixteen years!  I feel blessed to have such a flexible and persistent group of kids and young adults that
are so dedicated to the art of larp and the community it embodies.  We had some really emotional and heartwarming
experiences online that I don’t think I will ever forget.
Unfortunately, though the camps happened, our attendance was only about a third of normal, and the costs to run these
camps was thousands of dollars more than usual, due to safety, staffing, and protocol increases.  Thus it looks like I will
be forced to make some changes for the fall season, which will look very different than seasons past.  While I wish that I
could say that I have found a way to provide outside camps and events for the fall, the reality is that the increased rate
of infection in our area combined with the lack of local cities and counties willingness to permit any activities like LARP
during a pandemic, means that my job as a LARP director will be very limited and outside events likely not available until
the spring.  I am continuing to look into possible options with secure sites and layers of screening of students, but it isn’t
likely outdoors will happen this fall or winter.  Thus I am faced with some hard choices for staying afloat this year.
After five months of running online leagues and events, I realized that there is only one way that will work for me to
continuing running events for the kids through the fall and winter and still provide all the things larp stands for;
quality interactions, positive self expression, creative role play, healthy life choices, etc.  I must change the way I provide
larp until such a time as we can get back outside and back to the way to are use to.  For the fall and winter I will be
providing a new online model for larp which rather than trying to run large events with lots of help, takes the opposite
approach, and presents small, personally tailored events, to small groups of kids, with me directly, with no interruptions,
on a schedule that works for you.  Instead of the usual Wednesday, Thursday, and weekend events which players feel
they must attend to follow the story, they schedule a private quest, mission, project, or character development session
with a small group of their friends who they want to larp with that day.  The event can be scheduled on various days or
times of the week, and thus can fit into the schedule that works for all involved.  Even more important to me, it means
kids are on the computer less.  I have not been very happy with the amount of time students have had to spend online
over the past five months in order to keep up with the larp storyline.  It is one of the main reasons I am not doing
leagues this fall, as larp is usually a very physically active event, and kids really need that activity as well as the creative
role play and social life.  There is a very good chance that students will have to spend a majority of this coming school
year at home, online again.  If that is the case, I do not want to be contributing to an already unhealthy amount of
screen time.  Thus, by changing my online larp programs to be individually tailored and signed up for by groups, parents
and players can decide just how much online events with me they want, and shouldn’t feel like they need to do any more
than that.  Since they also are working with me directly, players can get right to the key elements of the story they wish
to explore and know that the events that transpire are part of my world and story directly. These larp experiences will be
designed and created by me personally, for them, and their personal group, with whatever goal that group has in mind
for that day, from dungeon exploring, to castle building, to poetry competitions and riddle battles.
I am excited to be able to offer this new type of larp for the kids, and having run to big camps online this summer, it
became clear just how well this could work for the kids if we reworked it into a better design.  While I was able to
provide quality larp for our leagues through the spring and summer, it came at a huge cost to me and many of there
experienced players who had to constantly be in correspondence night and day to keep each-other in the loop, and to
maintain the continuity of story players expect from FANWAR.  To expect players to continue to work at that pace as
school starts again would irresponsible of me, as these Game Masters and Helpers have already gone above and beyond
their usual duties to keep things running these many months.  I am glad that I was able to pay many of these helpers
and Game Masters for their work and provide them with support in these difficult times, and I wish I could continue to do
so, but the model I have used for the past five months cannot be sustained now that the summer camps are over and
my big events for the year are all gone.
So, if you are interested in signing up for some of these special online sessions with me through the fall, please let me
know with a quick email or text.  It would be helpful to know how much time to set aside for those activities, vs time I
should be spending looking for other work.  I will be sending out a followup email likely later this week with more details
on these new online sessions, with forms, dates, times, and the usual info.  If you have requests, ideas, or questions,
don’t hesitate to send them my way.
Thank you all for letting me be a teacher for your kids, and thank you again for keeping larp going through your
generous donations.  A special thank you to the Shafers and Spetzlers whose tremendous gifts this summer have made a
lifetime of difference in safety for Molly and I.  We can never thank you enough.

All my best,

Christopher Melville
www.fanwar.com
Fanwar LARP Director

Events Canceled Until April 3rd

Hello All LARP Parents and communities,

Due to the increasing mandates from the state, and school closures in all the areas we run events, LARP will be closing until April. It is not advisable for students to be engaging in Live Action Role Play at this time and as such all events are canceled. If things are looking more promising we will begin classes again after April 3rd. During this three week break from in person events, I have recommendations for how students can stay connected with each other, continue to advance the story of their world, and engage in learning, imagination, and fun, even if we are not meeting. Check the website for guidelines and recommendations for online gaming and LARP related activities, which I will post in the upcoming days. Stay healthy and thank you for all the years of support and connection our leagues have provided and your kids have contributed to our gaming world.

All my best,

Christopher Melville
www.fanwar.com