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It’s Larp time folks and let me tell you that I needed this Larp session at the weekend. I’m in super-larp-keen mode having sent off the forms for Summerfest (though having talked to a member of the society, I have since been informed that as a confessed first aider, I will be handed a radio at some point and basically be on call. I’m a little nervous right now, since all I have is theory and a mothering instinct. Not even had to be a real first aider before. I may be calling for back up).

This mission was one of monstering for myself, so let me draw you into the world of Fools and Heroes and deep into the realm of the fae.

The players were called together by one of the resident physicians of Newcroft to conduct a mission for one of the seven churches of the gods. The mission was to seek out the secret ways between our work (Arda) and the Fae realm, where something strange was happening. They were given two enchanted weapons and two blessed armours by Sister Teresa of another church (me!) and sent on their way.

The first act of the mission was primarily puzzles and other fun things as the party travels to find a gate into the secret way, though they walked past the first portal which sent the monster party into panic mode, trying to direct their attention whilst their fellows set up the next encounter. We had some really interesting puzzles set up, like a symmetry game which kept them occupied for ages (not that I saw as I was puzzling a way to get a short piece of elastic to stretch across a path with my co-conspirator as well as getting a later npc brief. We eventually solved the problems using ourselves as part of the trap – cunning thinking there). We kept throwing gem golems at the party, who with Captain McNarr of the King’s Own Heavy Skirmishers (of foot) on the team, smashed through with apparent ease. So much for worrying about the party. They then encountered our trap – two enchanted poison wires across the path, spanning a fear effect trench which the party had to crawl under and jump over to continue on their way. They did well with only one member triggering the fear effect who then ran into the other poison wire and went down. He was dealt with, but his trouble alerted the others to its presence. On they went as we packed up that trap and hurried on to the next, where after fighting more golems, they encountered evil bubbles.

You heard me.

Evil bubbles!

It was a really cool trap and got some fantastic responses from the party, who stood watching two of us in masks and cloaks, waving huge bubble wands and making bubbles in their path. It was fun and we kinda got into a rhythm where we recharged the bubble wands at the same time, creating a gap in our spell effect. Of course, the party had no idea what that was … until the Necromancer popped one with his cloak and got the full effect. To be fair, Ambrose did a great job at being sickened by the “smell” and with his coughing behind me, I totally believed he was ill from something nasty. Some of the braver members of the party chanced the gap we created when we had to recharge the bubble wands and got across, but I love the end solution – truly thinking outside the box – one physician mixed an immune disease potion and administered it to Captain McNarr. Captain McNarr and Dr O’Kyle stepped in front of the golems and blocked the bubbles whilst the others ran past. Really cool solution guys!

More golems and a puzzle at the bridge (a blind man’s game where the party have to guide the player across a marked path) led the players on to the Merridian, a nexus of sorts of the secret ways. Although this ruined my night sight for a while after, it was something to look at – glow sticks, small LED lights making this really spooky ring of light in the darkness. We missed what happened when the party encountered the dwarf they were hunting for as we had to go and set up the next encounters (a common theme for the evening, each mix up of monsters “leap frogging” the encounters and carting the kit to the next encounter site), but I gather the players didn’t catch him then although he failed in his mission. And its a hop, skip and a jump into the Fae realms.

Supposedly at this point, they have a chance to get rid of a particularly pesky npc in the form of a liar and a generally bad person who tells them misdirected information on what’s about to happen – this was something to do with the Father Penden missions which have been running for a while. This guy is the High Father of the god opposite to the lady of luck (Tralda), and has been harassing the adventurers for a while. He’s hard to spot as he doesn’t always seem what he appears and many players have oaths sworn on killing him.

The party were harassed by golems designed to attack non-fae folk as they wandered the pathways and byways – I’m not sure if they were in fae realms or the secret ways, but they encounter a group of seelie fae and have lots of talking. They are introduced the a side plot point – the battle between the seelie and unseelie fae (cue outrageous accents) and the choice of who to side with. They also have a chance at gathering information about the dwarf changeling they’re hunting, who is looking for a fae knowledge shrine to learn how to destroy the Meridian. An optional extra (played by yours truly) is to play a rhythm game with a “friendly” golem, who enchants weapons if you win. The party don’t do anything stupid and are rewarded (yay).

We then travel on, with more golems, an encounter with the unseelie lieutenant (cue more accents) and another reward golem (me again) who seeks knowledge and rewards with an all heal. After a brief accident with a piece of amazing glowing  phys-rep falling in the river, the party advance onto the knowledge shrine and we make a quick get away. After a brief misadventure with a bunch of rogue chavas (we went round them after hearing voices), the party encounter a stranded Longstorian (me). Except she wasn’t quite what she seemed – I’d go into details, but this enters the realm of current active npc which may or may not turn up again and anyone from the branch reading this is NOT getting hints. Hear that?

This may turn into a regular npc I play (my own npc!) or may not, at the discretion of the refs.

Nothing much happens and the Longstorian, after passing on her information, vanishes into the fae realm, expressing the importance of maintaining the natural order. The secret ways are in danger – they must be saved. *hint hint*

The party hurry on, battling creatures on the way, whilst myself (still garbed in the longstorian role) and another dark cloaked figure hurry (in a sedate pace) down to the final encounter via the lower road of the dene, in plain view of the players (who, of course, were too busy paying attention to the battle to notice little old us).

A quick note – dog owners, clean up after your pets. Their leavings are nasty!

I won’t explain that, but will express my deepest thanks to members of the monster crew who cleaned up the kit after that misadventure (mainly my staff) and let us get on with setting up the Meridian for the last encounter.

The party were supposed to side with one of the fae lords who had been battling each other all this time (cue instances of emotions and strange occurrences yelled at the party as invisible monsters ran past), but the party took one look and decided to let them deal with it themselves. So they turned up unexpectedly at the final encounter as we were in the midst of … setting up.

A quick game of whispers happened as we (who are not refs) whisper misdirections in the ears of the party as they hunt for the stone that would destroy the secret ways before the dwarf arrived to claim it. He arrived and was knocked out and once the stone was found, the mages and priests huddled around to discuss what to do.

They took their time, so the Longstorian reappeared in their midst – no one noticed. The stone was destroyed by the fae they had agreed to help (not sure when that happened) and it was game over as the party leapt through the portal. The sun was rising. Dawn was upon us. All magics ceased.

I drove home on quiet roads into the rising sun and marvelled at the beauty of the city. A good night site!

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On a side note, my character has to take an exam for the next rank. It’s like school, I tell you!

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