The good news is, if you have monster kit you use for other larps, then you almost certainly have kit for Alba.
Three Key Points
- Fantasy/Mythic Dark Ages look and feel. We are not looking for historical accuracy or a specific period or cultural feel, but anything that would not look out of place in a larp setting focussed on pre-Norman England, Celtic or Celtic Revival games should fit. If you are wearing mostly browns in natural fabrics, with multiple belts, some metal jewellery, and a knife, you will fit in.
- Metal is precious and a sign of wealth and prosperity. Armour, where worn, should be leather or fur/padded; and given it provides no mechanical benefit, should be focussed more on wearability, practicality and comfort. Black leather armour should be well-worn and aged. Metal armour of any kind is specifically and strictly prohibited. All metal is precious and is reserved for either weapons in the case of bronze or rare and valuable iron; otherwise it is used for high-status ornamentation such as pins, buckles, brooches and fittings. The very poorest of Albanni may only be able to afford the metal for a knife and a belt buckle, whereas a chieftain might be dripping in necklaces and armbands
- Natural Tones with Individualistic highlights. The Albanni colour palate is focussed on natural dyes and materials. Most Albanni from any part of the country will look and dress in a broadly similar way, and a broadly similar palette; they distinguish between lands by means of woad, and between villages by means of markings and village-specific insignia or regalia. One village might weave black feathers into ornamentation for all of their people; another might focus on shells; a third use a rusty red coloured wool for all of their tunics, or use foxfur and fox symboilism on their ornaments.
The basic Albanni look is composed of:
- Hero pants and a long tunic over the top…
- …or a robe or dress…
- with a cloak or a great-kilt style wrap over the top.
- Boots or practical footwear
This is the basic look. The Albanni are a practical people; materials are often layered with a thinner cotton or linen tunic as a base layer with warmer woollen or leather layers over the top. Harder wearing garments and outerwear will often feature leather or fur. Belts play a big part in Albanni style;
How To Put Albanni Costume Together
The goal of the Albanni costume brief is to allow players to have a generic and multipurpose basic costume setup which can be easily sourced, and repeatedly used – the basic costume does not change but individualisation is done through ornamentation, customisation and rigging. In this way core costume components can be used and re-used for a variety of different scenariuos in Alba.
The costume brief is also designed to allow players to consider the weather and conditions and add or leave off layers as they see fit while still being “on-brief” – or to vary their look within a character’s lifespan.
Basic Costume Elements
Tunics and dresses, short or long, look for in a linen, cotton, polycotton or similar material. Aim for off-white or brown for base layers. Top layers could be light or heavier wool, polymix or similar; or perhaps even fur, faux fur, leather or leatherlike/vegan friendly material. These should be either a practical brown/tan or a brighter natural colour such as mustard yellow, russet red or an indigo blue. Patterned ribbon is a common edging and can be found easily at most haberdashers. Fur (or faux fur) can also be used to edge
Leggings or trousers largely follow the same pattern but you should have an eye to durability and ease of use. Try and avoid “biker style” leather jeans, or if you want to use them, disguise them with fur, cloth or other wrap-style accoutrements to make it less obvious what they are. Blue denim is never appropriate.
Hoods and cloaks can be made of any appropriate material that looks the part, and Ikea can provide an excellent tutorial on how to add a big fur collar to them…
An easy to make and effective top layer which is very in-theme is the great kilt-style wrap. This is a long and wide length of wool-like material, which doubles as skirt, cloak and hood all in one. We provide a quick tutorial on how to fold and wear a great kilt here.
The Albanni don’t have a consistent approach to hair, beards, gender dress or appearance styles, jewellery, piercings, et cetera. All of that is at the player’s discretion.
A Note on Tartan and Modern Kilts
Plaids or checks (or even tartans) that sit within the Alba preferred colour palate are both appropriate and welcome, but leave your Royal Stuart at home. Equally, kilts in the modern understanding of the term aren’t really appropriate. If your tartan material is primarily in greens, greys, pale blues and dark reds it’s probably OK; if it’s got bright red, vivid yellow or purple, it’s not.
A Note on Black
Many people’s larp wardrobe is stuffed full of black kit, and this does have it’s place at Alba but for characters, access to black is a rare and special thing, verging on the supernatural. Player chaarcters should not have easy access to black clothes. Layering a black garment amongst other colours is acceptable but try to avoid any large open areas of black in your costume. Faded black, especially where it’s faded to grey or the “worn leather” look, is fine.
The arrival of someone dressed all in black should be a topic of considerable gossip.
A Note on Jewellery and Accessories
Belts – the Albanni are a very practical people and will often wear multiple belts. The poorest may only be able to afford a signle leather belt with a metal buckle; more affluent may wear multiple belts, each with a single hanger, pouch or weapon on it. This allows them to trade out belts (and what hangs from them) with each other quickly without their trousers falling down in battle. Equally it allows them to disarm quickly ahead of meetings while keeping pouches and the like with them.
Metal jewellery such as armlets, bangles, rings and torcs are signs of wealth and prosperity. All metals and the working of metals are valuable, and to be able to wear such as jewellery is conspicuous, What kind of metal you wear is a personal choice – the Albanni do not have a value hierarchy between, for instance, gold, tin and bronze; they value iron above all.
Other jewellery and the distinguishing items that mark out communities might be metal, or they might be horn, wood, bone, feather, shell or stone – anything that might be difficult to duplicate by an enemy.
A Note on Footwear
Nothing will ruin an event for you faster than cold, wet feet. In character footwear is a contentious issue and straddles the line between immersion and out of character welfare and safety.
We would rather our players had a fun event and wore army boots than looked perfect but felt miserable. Where you can find appropriate footwear that is both in-period and satisfies your requirements for comfort and safety we encourage that. However such footwear can be both hard to find and expensive.
As such, we recommend sensible boots for outloor larp, and if possible customising them with material, fur or leather-style wraps or additions to conceal any overt modernity. Please avoid trainers or obviously modern and brightly coloured footwear.
Colour palette, tutorials, more pictures!