Colored Contacts and You!
A Hollow Dawn guide and FAQ
We’ve been getting a lot of really thought-provoking clarification questions about the contact lens options for Breed Attributes, and I thought I would take the opportunity to discuss these concerns with the broader community, and to offer some resources. To do that, I’m going to start by discussing a slightly broader topic, if you don’t mind bearing with me!
Why do Breed Attributes and Points Exist?
We’ve noticed a pattern of costume requirements for some races, strains, breeds, clans, etc being simply too expensive or uncomfortable for a number of players at other LARPS, and those players feeling like they therefore needed to play humans, or other low-rep characters that don’t necessarily mesh perfectly with the culture that best speaks to the player. We wanted players to feel like their budget, medical needs, or comfort thresholds didn’t restrict them from playing the breed they found most interesting, and that led to the decision to require no reps or prosthetics for any breeds. We do know, however, that the flip side of that coin is players who have the extra budget/time/skills/bandwidth to want to very physically embody the attributes of a breed, and it is our opinion that when players do that, it provides an immersive benefit to the other players, to marketing materials for the game itself, and to the atmosphere overall. We wanted a system that would reward the resources each player was able to put into the character, without requiring resources that felt out of reach for any reason at all. To that end, we made an effort to balance the breed points offered by each enhancement according to:
A) our estimation of the visual immersion they provide to the game (for instance, there is no benefit for tattoos or markings likely to be hidden by your costuming, because those don’t enhance gameplay for the bulk of player who will never see them) and
B) our estimation of the expense/effort/inconvenience/discomfort that a particular physrep might cause. (for instance, contacts and prosthetic teeth are worth more points than effects achievable with facepaint, because they come at significantly more expense and cause greater potential discomfort and inconvenience.)
So with that in mind, let’s talk about contact lenses: While we do want to compensate for expense, effort, and immersion, we do NOT want to reward people for harming themselves. We ask, very sincerely, that players put their own safety and well-being first, and heed the instructions and warnings on any contact lenses that they purchase. This includes:
Not buying contact lenses without a prescription. Even if you have perfect eyesight, a prescription allows lenses to be sized correctly for the curvature of your eye, which greatly reduces the possibility of injury.
Not wearing contacts for longer than the manufacturer’s guidelines. All contact lenses come with instructions for how many uses the lenses are good for, and how long they can be worn at a stretch. It’s important to follow these instructions - they were created with your health and safety in mind! It is very likely that your contacts will recommend that they not be worn for a full game day. THIS IS FINE. Wear them only for the amount of time recommended-we recommend that you take this time during the day, when they will be most visible, and it will be easiest to find a lost lens or remove a damaged or uncomfortable one. Please feel free to write into your character history why your character’s eyes change at times, if that helps with your immersion!
Practicing good hygiene with your lenses. Remember to wash your hands before inserting or removing them, and to store them in a clean case with fresh saline. Never wear your lenses overnight if they were not manufactured for overnight use.
If you cannot afford a prescription, are very uncomfortable applying contacts, or dislike the morning and evening routine, this may not be the right breed attribute for you, and that’s fine! Breed attributes are designed to be limited extra credit, not the cornerstone of your character. If you take so many that they become cumbersome or make your player less enjoyable to play, you defeat the purpose!
Q: I have dark brown eyes, and not all colored contacts create a pronounced change for me. Will I still receive breed points if other players can’t perceive my cosmetic contacts?
Since Breed points are specifically designed to reward the enhanced immersion you provide to other players, physreps that they can’t perceive fail to fulfill that purpose, and do not qualify for breed points. Please don’t cause yourself inconvenience and discomfort that doesn’t enhance anyone’s experience; we do not want players suffering for suffering’s sake! That said, we also don’t want anyone to be left out of an attribute that they really like, just because they have dark eyes. Our recommendation is that you look for youtubers with an eye color similar to yours who review colored contacts, so you can get a preview of different styles and brands and find a product that is a great fit for the effect you want. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
I recommend checking the brand you want to purchase on youtube even if you’re sure it’s the brand you want; many of these videos have coupon codes in the comments, so you’re likely to find a discount. To try and make it easier to find a lens that works for your purpose, the Aesthetics committee is purchasing several pairs of lenses to test, and will report back with our results. We encourage other players who are shopping for contacts to report what does (and doesn't!) work for them in the Costume channel on our discord.
Q: What about sclera lenses?
While we think they’re very, very cool, we didn’t include sclera lenses as potential breed attributes for several reasons:
We didn’t feel that we could reward them commensurate with the expense and difficulty of the lens without borking the balance of our Breed Point system
They’re a difficult and uncomfortable lens, and we didn’t want to risk incentivizing inexperienced users trying to start here instead of with a more approachable lens.
Sclera lenses are not recommended for use over 4-6 hours, and thus can only safely be worn for a fraction of the game.
If you are an experienced user, the cost is not a hardship (or you already own them), and you wish to use sclera lenses to augment your character’s appearance, they are not disallowed, but again, to avoid incentivizing anyone biting off more than they should chew, they will be worth the same point value as other contacts. Please wear them safely, observing the recommended time limit, and consider writing something into your character’s backstory that explains why their eyes are only phys-repped with sclera lenses for a portion of the time, and plot will try to work with you on that!
Q: What about white-out or other vision-obscuring lenses?
For safety purposes, we are considering any pupil-obscuring lens to be both inadvisable for play and unsafe for combat. While it is possible that they will be present in game, in situations where plot can ensure that they are being used out of combat, on NPCs that do not require mobility, we recommend against their use for PCs, who live uncertain lives and will have a difficult time staying out of combat and travel situations. If a player insists on wearing them, that player will be required to take the Green Crescent designating them a non-combat PC (see the Getting Started chapter).
Q: What if I discover in the course of play that contact lenses are not conducive to my enjoyment of game? Sometimes in our enthusiasm, it’s easy to get over-committed on costuming. It’s our priority that all players be able to enjoy the game, and for that reason, we have created the Metamorphosis ritual, designed to allow players to “sacrifice” breed reps (and points) to the land in a display of loyalty. This is not a requirement to remove a rep from your card, but an opportunity to engage in both a diegetic removal of the trait and the emotional roleplay of losing a part of the character, if this is something that you, as a player, value. If you would prefer to simply remove the attribute from your card without a fuss, just speak with staff about it.
Q: What if I have a torn/damaged/otherwise unsafe lens at game?
If your lenses are unsafe, or your eyes experience a reaction or injury that renders them unfit for lenses, please prioritize your safety and comfort and remove the lenses. Your breed points will stay on your card for the remainder of the game, and at the end of game, you can have a conversation with staff to notify us whether you would rather remove the attribute from your card or replace the lenses. If you do choose to replace the lenses, there is no requirement that you purchase the same type or brand, or that they be a perfect color match for the original lenses. If you decide before the game is over that you would like to remove the attribute from your card, you are welcome to make that an IG change using the Metamorphosis ritual.