Post Kings Stoke Wassail II

Had a really good time at the Wassail,

The Good

  • The food, oh god the food.
  • The players. I was rather nervous going to a player event on my lonesome, it was way outside my comfort zone, and everyone being welcoming helped my unease.
  • The crew, brilliant effort put into the NPC roles.
  • The combat – fun and safe and there was genuine feeling of danger.
  • They have a fort….(It was a dam fine fort too)
  • The village.
  • The décor. Everyone staying IC within the village making such an effort to make it look brilliant. Furs covering the surfaces, the fires. The apple… things, mmm apple thing…
  • The various Imperial Title holders A problem (or feature) of the main events playing a major Imperial role is you never have the time to sit down with others in similar role easily, you’re generally too busy to just sit down and talk shop with other characters for any length of time. Player events seem to be ideal for this, for a good while I was able to sit down and enjoy food and drink with fellow senators, general, archmages etc. and just chat which I think will be adding a lot more game to my main event come Easter. All because outside an event of this style, I don’t have the time. Beyond that, having the chance to talk to those desiring these roles without worrying about missing a senate session etc. In general, I think Empire will be especially good system to support player events.

The Bad

  • My nerves at the start. I hate feeling like a fish out of water, it settled after a few hours, but it really impeded my enjoyment
  • The street lights. Yeah there is nothing that can be done about them but walking in the dark with night vision then being dazzled by them was annoying.
  • GPS apparently hating the place and the A19 and York in general.

The Ugly

  • The scary engine light on my car that deigned it necessary to troll me for 150 miles.

I was crewing, and still had an amazing time. Was cool to get to play Eve during both evenings.

Ups:
*Naga massages etc
*Talking politics
*Discovering the art of League metaphor. Especially where the only sensible response to the conundrum set was stabbing.
*Kissing Harry and giving him a special message!!
*Getting to know Virtue and Gabriel a bit better
*Amazing people we were crewing with
*Putting on a giant hat that covered my eyes
*Dom’s terrible hat and all he did with it
*The amazing food
*Cleaving arms
*All the interactions with Felix’s Watch and all the fallout from how Eve responded to it.
*The wonderful (terrible) play!

Downs:
*I took an arrow to the throat which temporarily shook me up a bit, total accident, no permanent damage or anything.
*I ate too much amazing food and now I feel fat!
*I accidentally set up an IC tab and now owe Watkin lots of money
*I forgot to have a conversation with someone that I wanted to have
*Will I ever actually sleep at that venue ever?!
*My back hurts :frowning:

Cross-posted from Facebook:

I’m sure I’ve missed some things, but this post is long enough as it is!

Positives

  • The food by Serve it Forth! I think this is going to be one of those ones that end up on everyone’s lists.

  • Crew in general – everyone clearly put in lots of effort and it made for a damn good event.

  • Currock (sp?) the ex-Jotun thrall. Went from being a random NPC to someone I cared about, IC and OC.

  • The Feni’s failed attempts to pass for Marches:
    “Where are you from?”
    “Uh, nearby. Hang on, where did you say you were from?”
    “Chasewater.”
    “Oh yeah, we’re from there.”
    “That’s in Mitwold.”

  • Managing to figure out both what the leafy creature that visited us was and what its mixture of riddles and old wives tales meant.

  • Scratching nagas’ heads and watching them go catatonic from the sensation.

  • Pete Keeper continuing to be a distributer of wisdom and cock jokes. Best mentor :smiley:

  • Getting glomped by Kelpie both IC and OC.

  • Making a new best friend in Laurel Ramsbruck. Spending Saturday evening singing songs and exchanging rude jokes with her :stuck_out_tongue:

  • The various reactions to my totally uncontroversial pamphlet.

  • Thanks to Dean and all the rest of the Talbots for being so thoroughly horrible IC and so friendly OC. You guys bring me so much game.

  • Similar thanks to Emily Saunders for the delicious conflict. Lyn is a great character.

  • A late night debate with Highguard culminating in the promise of IC letters.

  • An even later night conversation with Iulian Shatterspire about Briardom, trauma, and chopsticks.

Negatives

  • Kicking off some of my blankets on the first night and waking up freezing.

  • As funny as the socks-in-tea incident was, this event has made it very clear that my boots are no longer fit for service.

  • Realising a bit too late that I could respond to the despair aura with a burst of energy. Didn’t get to do much during that encounter as a result.

  • Despite having known this about the character from the get-go and having done my research, I still felt quite nervous about roleplaying PTSD symptoms respectfully.

+FOOOOOOOOOD. Serve It forth, you once again pushed me to the point of food collapse. “I can’t eat more… THERE’S EMBER DAY TART? ONWAAARD!”. The various things people made and brought, especially the adorable and delicious teabags from Virtue. I kept ripping the beads off and hanging them on my belt buckle because what sort of unprosperous maniac wastes shiny things on a disposable teabag? .

+Turned up late, timed in, and was immediately ambushed by a Monastic Fanclub made up of the Marcher equivalents of Father Dougal. “OH WOW are you Pete Keeper! You know you’re a Paragon of Loyalty right?” “Wait, what?!”. Stating to Thomas that “these monks theological opinions have nothing to do with me”, Rebecca distracting them with Highguard and asking one of them if he got his ordainment by sending in turnip tops or something. A++ would be theologically trolled again.

+Realising I’d forgotten the porn, blaming it on the press being full of hedgehogs, and then Ros Hunter saving the day (FVGO “Saved”) by providing a copy for a Dramatic Reading.

+Singing the King’s Stoke Tower song while flashing the Heraldric Pants of Pride. Again.

+Everything Briar. Tilly’s pamphlets, responses to Talbots Being Dicks, and being a sweary blur of chatter and healing. Trying to persuade Smith that his natural talent for puns fit precisely into the Upwold ritual tradition. Irrah Harah Herald and finally doing that diplomancy. Iulian solving an unstoppable enemy by turning them into a steaming pile of mushrooms.

+Bronn being a good buddy to his Marcher friends and a Scary Fucking Bastard to anyone who looked malicious. As ever, creeping around in the dark as a pair of suspicious wizards with massive knives is not paranoid, it’s Vigilant.

+Working out just how many of the guests for one reason or another have extensive knowledge of the best way to use poison to murder people and get away with it. Yeaaah. Vigilance.

+Ynez’s persistence in trying to persuade people to become Leaguers, Prosperity Dedicates, Priests, or all of the above. Many discussions about the bewildering nature of Leaguer marriages and the fact that “I’m marrying two of my children next summit” if a thing that makes sense in context.

+Briar Sock Soup, the perfect food for trolling the Talbots. Accidentally invented during a failed attempt by Tilly to dry her socks. In a pot of water.

+The Tulpa of the Oak that was part eldritch and bewildering astronomantic phenomenon and part Stuff Your Gran Says. Having a proverb-off with it.

+Appearing behind people at least twice, the moment after they started making smutty jokes, grinning. Claiming this just summons Pete.

+Turning the assault on the fort into a personal game of Whack-A-Jotun by standing below the parapet taking swings over it at the archer and his mates whenever they stepped up.

+“We don’t do raiding. Our Customs Officials merely inspect boats for things that aren’t allowed. Such as Grendel.”. “What about dead Grendel?” “Those are contraband”.

+Bagging us a Sorcerer. Covering up my Mage Armour for the original plan of “Talk the bastard down and/or shiv him” and then realising there’s a horde of Feni between him and us and that’s not going to work. Helping drop him, legging it away due to wounds, then trying to get someone to stabilise and capture the Sorcerer. Realising this was never going to happen as he was now missing his head. Thanks Watcher. Thatcher. Having Speak to the Dead cast on the sorcerer mostly so we could torment him with a fake Excommunication to try and get information. Counting the mana we found on him, working out what needed 8 mana and a Winter Regio, and having an OHSHIT moment.

+“Well yeah, there was a despair aura, but when you’ve got a Holy Beermug that makes you want to use your skills to increase Prosperity, a sorcerer’s threatening your Prosperity, and your skills include “I have this big stick”… You run up and kneecap him.”. Cups solve everything. The Cardinal told Pete so.

+The pinpoint and cunning use of DREAD CURSES by many magicians of the Empire.

+Singing “And Earth Recieve Our Soul” near the end of the Wassail service. Isolated farmers singing a religiously slightly dubious dirge in the dark, around the fire. Proper Wicker Man Moment.

+Having enough enthusiastic crew and good briefs for them that the event felt so much bigger than last year with regards to plot and combat. :smiley:

GRAIN. It was GRAIN. They were turned into GOOD HONEST MARCHER GRAIN.

BEST ARCHMAGE

  • Coming back to the same site and same location IC, but with the whole year’s changes and upheavals to deal with. Especially the conspicuous absence of certain very prominent characters from last Wassail - overall very poignant.

  • Having the same house again and dressing it like a well-oiled machine. Very homely and comfortable, even if my shoulders complained post-event.

  • The Friday night plot. I loved the tension and moral ambiguity of the unexpected guests; the struggle to explain and debate the rightness of the Empire and the Way; seeing priestly skills prove utterly central to these arguments and shaping ideas of the religion in regards auras and their purpose. Carrack (sp?) in particular was an awesome character and I loved seeing his progression across the event, from fearful uncertainty through into quiet acceptance, via grief and pain. There was a particularly great moment when I thought everything was about to go wrong when the Faraden delegation appeared round the back of the tavern during a highly sensitive conversation - but it turned out OK.

  • Despite the OOC rules of no violence in the village, a feeling of actual danger and threat.

  • Unexpected drama involving my Chaptermates (and ex-Chaptermate)!

  • Singing! And the aforementioned pang of regret at the absence of Jenet Ramsbruck who had really made the tavern lively last year.

  • Developing a new character tic, mainly due to said drama and regret. I never really valued the concept of Hallowing quite so much but I’m getting a lot of game out of it, it seems, making a Dragonbone Symbol a very interesting item to have. It’s like a painkiller for the soul… and feels actively psychologically addictive. Lovely!

  • I was very happy with my kit; it kept me warm and dry and I’ve gotten to the point where I barely have to think about it. Incidentally, the trick of having a specific perfume/smell for a character seems to be working for me quite nicely now.

  • I really think the combat system shines at the smaller scale of the raids we were doing; maybe 20-30 a side tops? There were tactics, there were effective uses of special calls, being a squishy two-hit mage with a rod and buckler didn’t feel utterly pointless (and I even saw some effective combat spells!), and there even was an aura, which I slightly regret shouting at everyone to run into headlong (so some people may have missed the aura effect on the way in) but there was a ritual to interrupt, dammit!

  • Interrupting a ritual and getting use out of hardskill knowledge of ritual magic, as well as using ritual skills to help solve problems. I almost wish there had in fact been a portal to seal!

  • Feeling vindicated at being dedicated to Vigilance even though I mostly talk the talk about Wisdom - definitely did at least two Vigilant things this event.

  • The weather was nice and balmy in contrast to last year. The slightly earlier date was good in that regard, for sure.

  • The food! I managed to pace myself a bit better and actually went about the place sampling many different fares. Mmmm…

  • I really loved the rolling basically 24-hour time in. This is really my ideal in terms of LARP - basically fully IC environment, fully time in almost all the time.

  • I wasn’t as taken with the remembrance ceremony this time round. The increase in attendance and spread of nations meant it went on far too long, and it was hard to stay focused. There were a couple of very moving words, but they got somewhat drowned out I feel. Mind you, it’s an IC issue as much as anything, but it just didn’t hit the mark as well as last time.

  • There were a few jarring bits of dropping OOC; I visited one house during the Wassail evening proper in which the occupants kept swapping to OOC conversations which made it hard to engage. I was asked “where are you from?” and I had to take a moment to decide whether it was an IC or OOC question. There was a bit of dropping OOC in the tavern as well - I did slip a little myself at one stage admittedly (but it was about 3am on the second night and there weren’t many of us there by then). Actually, the thing that bugged me most was my own failure to properly switch into IC headspace immediately upon waking up. But I think that’s usually a tall order!