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We’re home from the hills or rather back up from the August Bank Holiday trip to soggy Ethron. ‘Twas Summerfest and what a Summerfest!

This being our first, Lord A384 and I can’t comment on plot or props or how things compare to other events, but we can definitely say we enjoyed it immensely and both survived. Huzzah!

A huge thank you to all the lovely people who we met, pointed us in the right direction and generally made sure we were all fed and having a good time.

And now, the blow by blow events of the festival, punctuated with appropriate pictures pinched borrowed from Gelflingjo.

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We arrived at the campsite on Thursday afternoon in the company of one of our branch refs and pitched tents and did other helpful stuff like pitch other tents and help erect the compound for the event’s main stage. Later that evening was a bit of out of character interaction, singing around the bonfire and drinking. However, I was coming down with a cold, so ducked out early.

Friday morning was helping get the final pieces set up ready for “timing in” later that afternoon (where players stop being regular citizens of the UK and become full time-ish residents of the Axirian Empire – boo hiss). After listening to the brief first aider talk and helping set up one of the afternoon’s scenery, Summerfest 2011 was declared open and everyone scattered to get into player/monster kit.

And then the heavens opened.

Two missions were scheduled to go out in the downpour with the theme of arrival and capturing the compound back from those pesky Kriganites (grr!), one mission scouting the way and another “punching a hole” through the undead surrounding the camp.

We were monstering the second mission, throwing a mix of shambling undead and kriganites at them with a bit of plot mixed in – drowned seamen for that matter, along with the underlying plot for one of the weekend’s big bads played by Gelflingjo – Queen Eithne Taebfada (along with my super spiffy plot props – see below!)

Clan Bestock's BannersRonish log of the voyage of Eithne TaebfadaQueen Eithne Taebfada in war gear

Long story short, one brother betrayed the other and things went south from that and a great war band was drowned at sea. Oops. Now do you see?

After some interesting pyrotechnics and some careful footing by the players along a windy seaweedy path, the two missions combined to attack the camp and reclaim the compound in the name of the seven.

But did we not mention that for every Kriganite you knock down, another gets up in its place? No? Oops.

The enemy had a version of the “Black Cauldron” which returns the dead to life, creating a respawning enemy which really threw the players. But after a couple of “Huzzah, we killed the Primate of Krigan, we killed the Primate of … wait a minute …”, the players got the idea and began to tinker around with the cauldron. Unfortunately a first aid emergency called an end to the battle, so I’m not quite sure how they managed to reclaim the camp.

My impression is of “oh screw this guys, we’ll just let you have it then”.

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The compound consisted of a number of tents and marquees with a shrine to each of the seven gods of the game, a black smiths tent, the mercenaries tent, a guard post, physicians guild and several stalls selling costume and props, not to mention the HUGE beer tent tavern called “The Cat in the Puddle” which turned strange paper money into proper currency of silver and copper pennies. This tent also housed the first aid point and the sign in desk where you would be given your playing and monster missions as well as your essential times to play and monster and the compound monster slot of your branch along with the discussion of slave slots – which I have been told range from helping in the kitchen to running errands behind the bar, lugging kit for refs or litter picking – not that I would know as I was first aider for a while during the event.

That evening was the chance to meet people IC for the first time and generally socialise before the High King’s Funeral. A few missions also set off in the dark and the camp was “attacked” every now and then by the duty monster crew.

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Saturday consisted of missions to get rid of the beacon (mine) and reclaim items of kingship required to crown the new High King of Ethron. We won, of course. There was also the first of the two battles and lots of sun, not to mention the reappearance of a local badass played by one of our referees – the Great White Liche of the North. Look a this costume!! And my favourite picture of the day – “The brothers Shaw save the world (again)”

The Great White Liche and Eithne Taebfada face the playersthe brothers shaw save the world (again)

More missions went out in the evening with the High King’s Funeral and more camp attacks. After a particularly nasty one involving demons and a sneak attack, I decided to retire for the evening. Supposedly there was something to do with werewolves …?

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Next morning I got to play at being a camp monster, donning a werewolf mask and then acting as Ethronian Fae (without the face markings) and generally annoyed those players in the camp until a champion came forth to do combat with the great Eithilfrith … we then jumped a group of Crowans and tried to make off with the Primate. Of course, we didn’t succeed.

Then was our battle which had something to do with defeating Eithne Taebfada, visiting several barrows in a HUGE group of people being attacked by monsters. Mercy, luckily survived and there are some really cool pictures from the battle.

The troops assembleHold the lineOut of the mist ...Mercy's smiling now ...Have at 'em lads!

We emerged victorious after beating a hasty retreat to the compound and that evening the High King of Ethron was crowned amidst dancing and festivities – oh, and the odd misunderstanding almost resulting in Treason.

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Next morning it was pack up and leave after helping dismantle the props and compound prepared for the weekend. Then we made it home via a long stopover for coffee and a sit down and sorted the camping gear and character kit out.

Character kit wise – I had my first piece of tablet weaving on my person as well as an awesome tabard of awesome for Lord A384.

Tablet weavingAngry Stag is AngryEven Mercy gets a new tabard

A tablet weaving related post will follow shortly.

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