So…. I’m a geek and, I guess a nerd. When Morgan told us about the SwordCraft Quest Weekend to be held in September both Stuart and I were pretty intrigued. There were a couple of things about the Quest:
- It was in Geelong and dear Morgan was talking about driving down. By anyone standards, that’s a really long drive from Canberra, and not one to be undertaken lightly by someone with limited long distance driving experience. At the very least, we could help him to Geelong and have a weekend for ourselves
- We were kind of (ok, ok, REALLY) interested in an immersive Live Action Role Playing (LARP) experience.
So, we decided to cough up the attendance fee, along with weapons hire, for the weekend and take our chances. How glad I am, we did!
After a 9 hour drive or so on Friday afternoon, we arrived at the site where the SwordCraft Quest was held (Sokil Arts Eco Retreat, 425 Breakfast Creek Road Aireys Inlet) and checked in….
We had booked a “cabin” for the weekend, thinking this meant something self contained with cooking facilities. Unfortunately we were mistaken and it was “domitory style” accomodation and had no cooking facilities! EEEK! Fortunately Morgan had signed on to Free Company for the weekend and was partaking on their largesse (for a fee of course) and Stuart and I had a range of Isagenix Shakes and Snacks to get us through the day!
Did we mention that this was an immersive experience? No tech on the field, drinking vessels were to be authentic or “in character” for the weekend. I found this a small challenge, as we still had to provide 24 / 7 support to a number of clients – so with a bit of ingenuity, I found someone who could field the calls and address what they could and then escalate to Morgan and myself. This worked pretty well – I setup my laptop on the balcony of accommodation and used my phone to get an Internet connection. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that we would be far from civilisation and mobile data might be problematic. We prevailed however!
Given we would be entering an immersive environment, we debated how we could make plastic water bottles look “period” and what our “costumes” would be without spending a bucket o’ dollar on them. Costumes for Stu and I were a little easier than expected….:
- Where would a girl be without her black leggings? I pulled a couple of pairs from my drawers and packed them
- Top courtesy of Lee’s Dragon Dreams and another I had stored in my wardrobe
- Boots – well, where would any self respecting girl be without her Ugg Boots?
- oh yes, I had a crushed velvet cloak made many, many years ago and it found its’ setting this weekend…… It was cold enough on the Saturday to need both the boots and the cloak.
Stuart decided to take a visit to “Just Clowning Around” and picked up a “Knight”, “Kings Robe” and “Demon Priests” costume. Not overly original, but he seemed to pull it off.
In terms of CosPlay, it gave us a heap of things to think about and develop for more events.
We did agonize over how to make our drinking vessels (plastic water bottles) appear authentic…. but when we arrived we found they were selling “authentic vessels” at a reasonable price… yep! we’ve already utilised a few times at home since.
On to the weekend where we found out there were a number of warbands you could align with – honestly, it probably would have helped us to read the stuff on the SwordCraft site however, just by wandering around and announcing ourselves as “travellers from far off Canberra” we received a warm welcome from all bands. Actually, we deliberately avoided Free Company as this is who Morgan aligned with and we wanted to give him his room. Bands we can remember include:
- The Bretons
- The Order
- North Men
- Guardian of the Dawn
- The Bandits
- Knights of The Black Rose
- The 13th Free Company
- The Orcs (not sure if they had a warband name)
- Free man (unaligned)….
Each group has a pretty elaborate backstory, well worth asking to hear it.
Then you have the individual characters who have spent many an hour creating their costume and their backstory. I had the pleasure to speak to many of the participants about “who” they were and “how” they had created the character and there were heaps of stories – too many to relate here. It was really refreshing to see such creativity in the genre!
On Friday evening, we were sitting on the “back deck” of our lodgings whilst Daan and his partner, Erica, were ‘kitting out’. Daan is the leader of the Orc warband – and the length they go to to represent their characters is awesome. Whilst they were getting ready, I took the chance to ask some questions….
This week, we saw the release of a SBS2 doco (I think you could call it a doco) on the Quest. The commentator is a gentleman named Lawrence, who was on his first quest. This really just serves to show how inclusive the group is….. First time newbie is encouraged to join the personal duels ….. and ….. ok I won’t spoil it, take a gander yourself:
OK, so it was a great weekend. One I would like to do again but get more involved in the doing and not the observing.
Here are some choice photos from our weekend
Orcs, Bretons, Eastern Star, Free Co, “The Order”, The North, Bandits and Freeman
Quests, Battles, Reiving, Looting
Items Lost, Items Found, Items Looted, Items Stolen, Items Retrieved
Battles rage — The Order vs The Bretons, Free Co selling services to the highest bidder (a case of home brew qualifies)
How many and who made their mark in the death book? BETRAYAL! Political misunderstanding – reasons cited
Orcs on blood feud – don’t betray or they will take their toll in your blood
Fairies & Elves use Fae skills and magic – Fairy food drives questers mad
Children quest as well. Finding items, interacting with others. Learning valuable skills for later life
Immersive environment – in character, out of character…. inclusive
All are welcomed – be involved. Freeman may align with warbands… or not
End of day tournies – individual and warbands. Who will the days champions be?
Participants bristle with weapons. Armour clanks as Warbands move – Standards held high – troops rally!
Spellcasters; Necromancers; Wizards; Generals; Hoplites; Soldiers; Mercenaries; and Bandits all answer the SwordCraft call…
Charly Leetham, September 2013