STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

Is an underrated Iron Maiden song, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m here to talk about gaming, specifically live action gaming.

The New Zealand LARP scene is awesome – seriously, it’s freaking awesome. Thanks to having the best wife in the world, I got to spend a day LARPing, on a holiday that was primarily about attending a family wedding. Do I have the best wife? Yes, yes I do). I’d previously gone there to game for the opening of St Wolfgang’s Vampire Hunters (I’m still embarrassed that they wrote plot for me, but couldn’t wake me) back in 2007 and itched to go back ever since.

We were talking part in the introductory games for the up-coming campaign Crucible, which sees several nations arriving on a mysterious new island. We, the crew, were playing members of the Wild Hunt, a grouping of the children of the forest such as trolls, satyrs, dryads etc and were made up as such.IMAG0136

A very exhausted, slightly dehydrated troll with half his face melted off

The 2 games that took place on the day saw the arrival on the island of the two of the game’s factions, the Drazhar and the Alteraanians. The Drazhar (Who are basically the Dothraki from Game of Thrones with a little less rape and pillage, a little more action) arrived, only to find themselves confronted by angry natives (That’d be us, the crew) and mostly unarmed (Whether a player had their weapons at the start was decided by a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors beforehand). Wisely, they chose to surrender.

After taking them back to our encampment (Around the corner from a pair of sunbathers, who were giving us some very strange looks), they were prodded with questions, tested on their skills and told to pick 3 of their landing to chase down a captive of ours, a sorcerer of the Ebon Legion, an NPC (Non Player Character) faction of demon worshippers despised by all. In this, they failed miserably, but it was A: stupidly hot and B: several were wearing armour. The game ended with a rousing fight between the new allies and a group of the Legion, which was a rousing victory for the good guys. (I played little part in the battle, but I’m open about the fact I’m a fairly shit fighter.)

The second game had a lot less details – basically, fight, rest and fight. The Alteraanians (A race of merchants and the richest of the factions) were confronted by an angry group of the Wild Hunt as they picked themselves up off the beach. We’d been instructed not to kill any of them, but give them a good scare. This, we managed quite well, as they’d left themselves spread out and unable to protect many of the more squishy members of their band. The second battle saw them much improved, bottle necking an opening with fighters with heavy armour and shields. Needless to say we tried, but got battered down repeatedly. And thus ended the day…

It was a blast and made the ensuing exhaustion, mild sunburn and feeling of “Oh gods, I’ve not used those muscles in far too long” worth it. It’s also made me want to do more work on getting the Sydney scene in shape, so we could one-day have games that Kiwis want to come play. Of the two games that I know of, Journeyman is the closest to getting going (And by which I mean it needs a lot of work), while Swordcraft Sydney (An offshoot of the Melbourne game) is still in the early stages. Not to mention, the I kind of owe the Freeform Collective a game…

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