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Its an uber LARP related post because of the weekend of amazing geekery. So read on!

Nerd East 2011

I’ve never been to a convention since the UK has very few and only those in the know actually know about them and most are down in London. So when I was contacted by our person in the know for Fools and Heroes about the Nerd East kit, I volunteered with little prodding. I went as a representative for our Larp system and to sell some stuff on the Nordavolk craft stall. Nordavolk is a collection of (primarily) leather crafters, though some wood stuff and metal pins are available. Their stuff is amazing, particularly the belts and masks.

We took over the basement of the Durham University Students Union along with other LARP systems like Cities In Darkness (a vampire system), Durham University Treasure Trap (one of the oldest British systems), 5000 REM (a futuristic survival LARP which had some sweet toxic coloured goop in a jar), Battlefield Live (LARPers with guns) and other local groups. We also had a huge floor of kit fair, which we didn’t get any decent pictures of – weapons from Eldritch and Saxon Violence, pretty costume kit by Having a Larp, The Costume Merchant and Costume Kit plus more. It was amazing, so much stuff and so many people talking kit and characters and larps and and and …

I have to admit when I met the lass who runs The Costume Merchant I babbled a bit. I recognise her work from looking for my own kit and it was just amazing to see here there and talk fabric and cut and how awesome this dress would look with this cloak. My character isn’t quite ready for satin and lace, but when she is, I know where I’m headed. Eldritch was like a weapons shop with some pretty cool looking pieces of armour, though I wasn’t quite sure where their stall ended and Skian Mhor began (their end of the room appeared to be one mass of weaponry and kit and lots of cool shiny things that I can’t afford). One lass went walking around with her new toy mace, a huge replica of Sauron’s Mace from Lord of the Rings (!). I did end up in “Having a Larp”, where they had the perfect dress and over-robe combination. I went away and had coffee and then came back to sign away my soul … I mean, err, a cheque.

Photos were few and far between because of the interest in the stall, but here are some of the better ones of the day.

Did we mention the darleks? We had darleks made by the North East Darlek groupThe stall with lots of character kit and interesting phys-repOh yes, this lass turned up in a Lulu costume from FFX. I had to get a picture with her!

I came home with some new character kit and had a great time listening to people enthusiastic about what they do. Not to mention we had sword fighting, darleks roaming the hall, cool weapons to inspect and a chance to do some dressing up. First convention/kit fair experience = awesome!

Not to mention going adventuring on a day site on Sunday.

Sunday’s Adventures in Ithron

Fools and Heroes run a Sunday day site at a local forestry commission estate, Chopwell Woods. We’ve not managed to get out there yet but having heard how awesome they are, we decided we had to get one in before Summerfest. We and our mate and our little car full of gear trundled along early one bright, sunny summer morning and boy, what a time we had. The standard set up is the party splits into two teams, each led by a ref and you get a chance to do a player mission and a monster mission during the day. And thus it began … our adventures in Ithron.

IC

In my new character kit, Mercy Blackstaff set out with a brave set of fellows to seek our the fortune of a Bamburgh/Newcroft guardsman and to investigate and disband heretical “fight clubs” on the lord’s land. The party consisted of faithful Ned the Scout, Sol the elven mage and Ambrose Glass’s apprentice mage Arthur Lightfoot, along with Nathan Jameson (Lord A384 with new weapon and borrowed chainmail) with two priests of Tralda (Cornway) and Longstor (Anne, not Anna). We encountered several Abraxians (the first IC encounter for Mercy, though I already had heard about them from the last night site I did – one of the curses of playing and monstering) as well as tales of bandits and disgruntled merchants. One bunch tried it on with us, but a few well placed words and a couple of feints with sword and shield sent them running. Sol discovered a portal into the fae realm in the shape of an immovable silver cup and a golden belt buckle which might belong to the missing guard. On we went, until we encountered an unruly band of Fingolians (spelling uncertain) with gold coins round their necks who taunted for a bit and cast a spell on me. All I can say is thank the seven for Master mages, otherwise the party would have been decked by a cursed Vleyborian with an enchanted stick (I mean, staff). We, um, chased them down before I could get a handle on what was going on and Cornway chased after the others until we reached a village – we had a vision of his back disappearing round a corner. We stopped a while in the village before moving on with fresh information, first to deal with the new bandits with gold coins before tackling the Abraxians. Another discovered fae portals and a guardsman lying unconscious on the ground led to the party splitting – one half talking fae portals and the other waking the guard and talking down a “heretic” with a sword. I’m quite proud I managed to get the fellow to hand over his sword and go to Bamburgh for trial under the charge of striking a guard. Not a single drop of blood spilt!

The party were harried by black masks out to make a name for themselves and the general taunting and fighting it brings. A couple of venomed weapons caused a spot of bother leading to Mercy having red hands after a brief accident with her mixing pot – though this is supposedly a good thing as the kit is no longer new and therefore doesn’t carry the curse of new kit – many characters have been slain in their shiny new, perfect for the character, clothes. Mercy is saved, huzzah (though she now needs to clean “bloodstains” out of her robes).

Anyway, we reach the old gatehouse and follow an old track, chasing after the man in the white mask (oo!). After another encounter with the Abraxians, Mercy is sent a vision of her goddess and sent into a dream filled sleep of blood and sorrow. When woken, she was most upset about the whole affair – DON’T SPILL BLOOD! Up to this point, we had assumed the white masked man in control of the Fingolians and the local Abraxian riff raff was a notorious Father Penden of Ethron, upon whom many a curse has been sworn and oaths declared to end his miserable life. Nathan has one of them and when he saw him, things generally kicked off.

But this man was not (or is he) Father Penden since he vanished into a fae portal which generally caused bother. A side quest of Nathan Jameson led to the questioning of a man with a Pi symbol on his hand (a man who later caused problems by waking up from his unconscious state and ran off, leading a merry chase for Nathan in chainmail and armour and Ned. He was caught and returned for justice at Bamburgh – huzzah!). A nasty Abraxian turned up and the party generally laid into him, spilling much blood and almost killing him. He died later at the hands of Newcroft’s resident executioner, Father Richard, a Kharackian.

After Mercy, Arthur and Anne returned to Bamburgh (aka the car park) with the Abraxian and the Pi man, Nathan Jameson, Cornway, Sol and Ned flung themselves into the fae portal to reappear sometime in the future …

And the plot thickens.

Monstering

During lunch we were given the monster brief – this mission was about raiding and pillaging Vikings (the IC name escapes me, so Vikings it is) who were in the region. The party were being sent to investigate a mercenary stop point which hadn’t paid recent guild fees and was out of communication, and on the way met several peasants with bounteous fields and pregnant wives (the default condition of the two women in the crew for the entire mission. Play a peasant? Pregnant). We harried the party with undead, stopping play for passing riders on horses and continuing after they were long gone.

There were a lot of horses about, so games stopped frequently all day. Some seemed unfazed by the strange appearance we must have presented, though several seemed a little concern and two freaked – the first being led past us a second time to show him we were all okay which seemed to calm him down, whilst the second majorly freaked, throwing his rider and galloping off into the wild blue yonder. I admit that this had the first aider in me freaking out too as well as the others trained and/or professionally involved in medical aid, though the rider got up, dusted herself off and ran off after the horse. They seemed okay later, though we kept our distance so as not to cause anymore problems.

I did run quite a bit as a fleeing peasant, pelting through the party screaming blue murder, and at times I was a little black thing with sharp teeth and slashing claws that go no where near the party. The party proceeded along hearing tales of strange monsters in the night, burning villages and undead in a confusing tumble. When they reached the Mercenary barracks they found it abandoned with a King’s Auditor looking for the gold and weapons (cunningly looted by our Viking chums). On they went, finding a refugee camp with more tales of wild things in the night and generally thankful for their lives. One woman’s husband was out in the woods and hadn’t been seen for days (hint hint) and the party were pointed on their way.

Cue ambush.

It was a pretty sweet ambush – one member painted up with a scar (courtesy of eyeliner and the not so artistic abilities of the author) acting as the missing husband, calling the party on with pleas for help for an injured friend. Then out of the bushes comes a dread army of zombies, skeletons, wraith and a strange garbed figure in armour – an “Arabian” Death Knight. The party were, almost, massacred with more than one character getting dangerously close to meeting his end. The monsters fought them off, knocking a few down and our Ghast gnawed the arm off their Alchemist (which is hard to do usually). We ran off, allowing the party to discover the diseased body of the missing husband in the bushes, the creature they had met before being an evil thing that steals the form of it’s last meal. After picking themselves up and dusting themselves off, they heard the rowdy singing of the Vikings as they camped by the river. Singing in mixed broken english and german (the best we could come up with at short notice), we shouted and cheered and generally carried on, until someone came too close and we reached for weapons and the horn.

The mission could have gone two ways – the horn being blown and a potentially dangerous weapon being brought out into play or the horn not being blown and a general battle on their hands. Our ref managed to blow the horn and we rose to meet them and entered into a long, rather amusing conversation interspersed with german words, spitting and calls of “Skol” and “Lymusia!” or whatever our country was. After some discussion, some of us dissappeared to “go talk to our lord” or vanish out of sight and go “wtf? The party are playing it the nice way?”

No blood was shed in the end, the stolen weapons and gold returned, a hostage exchanged and the promise of many many Viking people coming to Ithron – lets say around 200 people will be coming to our shores. This could be entertaining.

The weather held most of the day, with rain getting worse and worse during our afternoon session, but a fine day was had by all and delicious warming tea to be had when we got home. This may prove to be the best geek weekend ever!

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