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Treasure Trap

In 1982 Treasure Trap was established at Peckforton Castle in the United Kingdom and this was probably the first combat based LARP. It set the ground work for future LARPs of this genre and was undeniably very influential.

Although the original club closed (as a result of financial problems as well as losing access to its site) many spin-offs still exist today that owe their heritage to the Treasure Trap system. Many prominent UK LARPers were members of the original Treasure Trap.

The system used at Peckforton Castle was a simplified role-playing game drawn heavily from RuneQuest and Dungeons & Dragons, amongst others. The system was designed to simple enough to be carried in people's heads without recourse to dice or reference books. The main reference was the referee's sheet which diagrams that allowed referees to track the Life Points of each player (often referred to as a Battle Board).

Each character class[?] had 8 levels and broadly followed established D&D classes, albeit with some influence from UK D&D extensions, such as the Warwick System[?] from Warwick University[?]. The system had D&D 2-axis alignments with extra classes that emphasised the Good/Evil conflict.

After 8th level characters would become Immortal after doing a Solo Special that was meant to thoroughly test their performance in that class.

People used safe weapons made of gaffer tape, foam and plastic weapons. This generally resulted in swords looking like cricket bats[?]. People playing monsters, or non-player characters[?] would coat their weapons with dye or paint before a fight so a referee could work out where, and how often, someone had been struck by a safe weapon.

At Peckforton Castle you were in-character[?] all the time in the common areas but formed parties to go on adventures. These adventures happened in specific and separate parts of the castle and the role of the opponents, or monsters, where played by other castle attendees. Sometimes a general melee would happen when an important adventure resulted in the castle being attacked.

External links

There are currently Treasure Trap societies at

  • Durham University [1] (http://www.dur.ac.uk/treasure.trap/)
  • Birmingham University [2] (http://web.bham.ac.uk/treasuretrap)
  • Labyrinthe[?] [http://http://www.liveroleplay.co.uk/] (an early Treasure Trap spin-off)
  • Forever's Destiny [3] (http://www.destiny.org.uk/) (formally Flights of Fantasy/Nothing Ventured, Treasure Trap spin off)

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