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The UK Grand Expedition to Drachenfest and Mythodea 2011
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Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:55 am
Post subject: The UK Grand Expedition to Drachenfest and Mythodea 2011
So what is the UK Grand Expedition to Drachenfest and Mythodea 2011?
The Grand Expedition is an international collection of english speaking live action role players from across the globe who will be going to Germany in the summer of 2011. The Expedition itself is the plot device used to help organize this project. By combining the resources, experiences and energy of so many people we hope to create a dynamic role playing "super-group". We have members from several different LARP systems and even different countries. Rick Wynne, the Expedition organizer has been to both Drachenfest and Mythodea in 2010.
Then what is the Grand Company of the Western Seal?
"Gentlemen, cut-throats and mercenaries..." - Sir Brynden Everard, Lord Captain of the Grand Company
Within the Expedition itself we have the Grand Company of the Western Seal, an in-character group made up of various sub-groups. The Black Company, Drake's Talons and the Ravens are all mercenary units called "lances" that have gathered beneath the banner of Sir Brynden's Boar and the Grand Company. Not everyone is in one of the mercenary lances. Some are more of the independant type. Some are not fighters at all. We have knights, wizards, celts, orcs, healers and blacksmiths.
What sort of group are you?
We are a mix of different people and play styles. Over all we are a mature group of serious role players focusing on suspension of disbelief and high quality role playing. We are going to Germany to learn how they do things and show what UK LARP is made of. We want high standards of kit, with a focus on "coolthentic". We are not re-enactors but we want to take elements of historical re-enacting to help make our live action role playing gritty and realistic. We are people are going to live as our characters in a foreign country. We also have some families along, and just like real historical feudal armies, we intend to make them an integral part of the experience. If we take a re-enactor's attitude towards the daily living, this will help a great deal. In other words, strive to be IC at all times. Eat IC. Sleep IC. Have fun IC.
Suspension of what?
Disbelief. In other words, its not so much about realism as it is about making it believable. A quality fantasy film like “Lord of the Rings” is not realistic...but it makes you want to believe its possible, unlike say film “Hawk the Slayer”. What makes that possible? Good costuming. Good special effects. Good acting. We want people to remember that not only are we enjoying our own game, we are all part of someone else's game.
Let me give you an example. OOC people will get tired, thirsty and hungry. But the reality is that IC, so would their characters. Rather than drop out of character to eat, drink or sleep...we stay in character and do the very same things. IC leaders take care of their people IC. They ensure characters eat, drink and sleep...and thereby the players are taken care of as well.
This applies to almost all things. Players are bored? Odds are the characters would be as well. Sort it out, IC. Players are drunk....obvious answer here...you'd think so wouldn't you. But in my past experience people often treat drunk players OOC rather than IC. Obvious exception would be when things become really dangerous, then it goes OOC. Such as someone who drinks to much to be safe on their own. This guiding philosophy will also extend to risk = reward, work = pay. There will be IC benefits and punishments. All actions will have consequences. Heroes will be given medals. Criminals will be flogged. Anyone that does any work will be given coins.
Your groups are based on existing game systems right?
The German events are "open system", allowing you to "port" your current character over to their game. The more you've played with that character, the more experience points you get to use in the German systems. This allows well developed characters to translate into something close to what they would be in their home game system. We have a number of people using characters from the Curious Pastimes game system. We also have several Australian members who will be bringing over characters they have been playing for many years. What ever game system you are involved with, we can assist you in bringing that character to Germany.
What does the group look like?
As a group we want to impress. We want to be remembered. German larp has pretty high kit standards and unless we want them to think our LARP is weak, we need to make an effort in how we look. We want to have an easily identified group theme but we also want to be able to be individuals. So how will we do that?
We will be using a green and black overall theme. So be it tabard, sash, coat, cloak, braided helmet band, feather or whatever...just a touch of green and black ties you to the group identity. Imagine a Warhammer fantasy unit. You don't want all the minitures to look identical but you want them to look like part of the same unit. So on one you paint a green tunic and black trousers, on the next green trousers and black tunic. One miniture has all brown clothes but a green and black shield. You get the idea.
Use earth tones and use natural materials. Think dark and gritty. So we look more "living history" than "fancy-dress". Our kit should look lived in. Nothing modern should be showing. Use modern materials to keep warm and dry. Have comfortable shoes. But try to conceal anything that looks modern.
Are these events PvP or PvE?
Both events are a mix, but Drachenfest is primarily player versus player whilst ConQuest of Mythodea is primarily player versus non-player characters. There are exceptions. Our employers at Mythodea have some player character enemies we must be mindful of. And there will be NPC's wishing us harm at Drachenfest, in particular, the warriors of the Copper Dragon.
Does that make me spearcarrier third from the left?
Not at all. There will be plenty of internal group plot as well as the opportunity to get involved in all the vast amounts to plot set up by the event organizers. We want every single Expedition member, noble or of common birth to have an opportunity to become Big Damn Heroes.
Do I get paid for this?
Because of the background of the group, the Lord Captain has committed himself to paying everyone on the Expedition in IC coins. This won't make you rich but will be enough to have some pocket money for some services and materials at the events. The coins you get can be used at either event. You will be able to make more coins through your IC actions.
Sounds pretty serious, do we ever get time to just relax and have a laugh?
Its not just about vicious combat, political intrigues and mysterious quests. The Expedition Leader's reputed lack of humor is grossly exaggerated. Members will be encouraged to drink, socialize and have fun. There's shopping at the various trader stalls in the markets. Excellent food and beverages to be had. Music for your ears and dancers to perform as a feast for your eyes. Members will be asked to help out with camp chores and guard duty, but everyone will be guaranteed free time to explore and have fun. All of this in character! Our Lord Captain is a patron of the arts for example. Belly dancers will be invited to the camp on a regular basis.
Do we have to stay in-character all the time?
It's your event. We can only ask, we can't force, you to be in character during time in. This is 24 hours, each day of the event. If you find yourself desperate to step out of character, and most people need to once in awhile, we will have a special "OOC Tent" set up in our camp. Whatever happens in there is out of character. Everywhere else we ask you to stay in character as much as possible. If you break character you might find people treating you as if you are suffering too much sun, or too much mead. You may need to break character a bit at times for things like shopping and what not. Please try to keep it discrete. We want to create the impression that UK LARP is hardcore, so as to encourge people to travel to the UK to experience the fun we have here. Obviously if you have a real world emergency issue or a rules question you can break character to sort that out.
Is it just for the UK or can anyone join?
The Expedition is open for anyone to apply. The Expedition organizer is an American living in the UK. We have a group of Australians who are flying all the way from "Down Under" to join us in the UK for the bus trip over. We have Germans who will be joining our group to act as guides & interpreters for us.
That said we are role playing a group of people who have spent a great deal of time together on ships, braving dangerous waters to travel to mysterious lands for fame and fortune. We are a fellowship. The Lord Captain demands loyalty to the group from each member. It doesn't matter what you did before you joined the Expedition, past sins are forgiven and forgotten, but each member is part of the family. Its the Grand Company against the world if necessary. Any in character betrayal will have serious in character repercussions. That works both ways, the members are as responsible to the officers as the officers are to the members.
As you can see, we are a pretty diverse bunch. Why don't you join us?
Do I need to know a lot of background?
You don't have to, but it helps if you do know some background. Sir Brynden, the Lord Captain, travelled to Drachenfest and Mythodea last year. There he made friends with the IXth Roman Legion, in the Gold Camp of Drachenfest and Lady Siobhan, Nyame of the Western Seal at Mythodea. He was tasked to travel all "The Known Realms" to seek adventurers to travel to these magical lands again this year. And so the Grand Company was born.
You can learn more about Drachenfest here...
And more about the ConQuest of Mythodea here...
Do I have to be a good fighter to join?
No, not at all. There is a great deal of combat at both events. If you are not good at fighting, we will teach you. If you are a great duellist, thats wonderful, but given the battlefield its better to fight as a unit. Trust the people next to you. Stay together and fight as one.
But if you don't want to fight, you won't have to. There are a great deal of other things to do as well as bashing monsters. We need scribes, mages, entertainers, thieves, merchants, craftsmen, scholars, alchemists, priests, sailors and more. Women are encouraged to play whatever role they wish, we believe in equal opportunity slaying.
What roles can I play?
This is very much open ended. There are a few limitations. No undead. No demons. We are going to be working for the Nyame of the Western Seal at Mythodea. She is a spiritual leader of the Elements and as such frowns on the worship of anything other than the Elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Magic). So playing a rabid Sigmarite battle priest or witch hunter could be a problem. To play an officer or leader in the Expedition you have to have people to lead. If you bring a group of people with you, we will discuss with you how best to set that up.
Other than that pretty much any race and profession is available to you. You can choose to be from pretty much any background, although we prefer on costumes and technology that pre-date the 1700's. There are no "classes" per se. There are numerous skills available to allow you to tailor your character to your own personal choice.
I don't have much LARP kit; What do I need?
One of the benefits of joining the Expedition is the use of our tents. We will be bringing over a number of large UK army tents to use as barracks for members. In addition several members are bringing tents to act as command tents as well. As a group we hope to provide general camp materials. We will be buying consumable raw materials in Germany itself, lumber, straw, fuel, etc.
What you will need will be costumes, armor, weapons, etc. You may be able to borrow some items from other group members, especially if your character is killed. You will also have an opportunity to experience some of the greatest LARP shopping in the world. If you are travelling with the main Expedition bus, there will be weight limits. We are currently looking at 25 kg per player on the bus and 25 kg per player on our 7.5 tonne freight lorry. That's not a huge amount of weight when you consider camp beds, armor, warm clothing.
And there will always be work for people, even without armor, as we can always use more scouts!
It is essential that members bear in mind what the highest priorities are for kit. Warm clothes, bedding, medication, hydration systems, eating utensils. Germany at this time of the year is hot during the day and cold at night. We can also expect some rain in two weeks. Be prepared. There are good toilets and showers at both events. But we are still camping and that means some rough conditions.
You serve the Gold Dragon of Justice and the Rulers of the Western Seal. Are you all goody-two-shoes?
The Grand Company is an eclectic mix of characters. Its all shades of grey. Some are noble knights, others are thieves on the run. We don't have an alignment requirement but it should be noted that IC actions have IC repercussions. We will be in the service of some of the most noble and righteous of creatures. Some of us are heroes. Big damn heroes. Some of us are anti-heroes. There may even be a villain or two lurking in our midst. But beware, what you do in this life....may affect your afterlife.
Do I have to speak German?
No, you don't. Because the events are of such an international affair, english is often used at events, especially for spell effects and game calls. Most German players will happily switch to English if you let them know you don't speak much German. The refs are all quite happy to help out in English as well. Just to be sure we've also recruited some German players to the Expediton to act as translators. This can also become a role playing tool. Its easier to role play an illiterate warrior when you really can't read the local information board.
How is German LARP different?
1) Avoid aiming for, and hitting, anyone in the head. Even if they are wearing a helmet.
2) Heroic fighting is the name of the game. Tippy tappy fighting is frowned on. Act like you are actually swinging weighted metal. If its a sledgehammer, swing it like a sledgehammer...not a golf club.
3) Magic takes awhile. Even a healing potion will take a few minutes to work.
4) People will use their shield somewhat offensively. Expect a shield barge or two.
5) Buying IC coins for OOC money is completely acceptable and not considered power-gaming. You can try to loot people but most will not give up their IC coins, instead they will say go buy your own.
6) Wounds hurt. React to injuries. Scream a lot. Be ready for liberal amounts of fake blood, bandages, and scars.
7) Don't be a pappnase (cardboard nose). It basically means follow "Rule 7"....don't take the p*ss.
Don't be surprised if opponents (PC's and NPC's) want to grapple during a fight.
9) Special damage effect calls are rare but they are out there. Pay attention, they are usually done in english.
10) In German larp there are some players who may think it's their decision when their character is dead (they may fall over when you expect but they may not have permanent death when you expect it)
But wait, there's more!
OOC (out of character) is called OT (out time)
IC (in character) is called IT (in time)
Refs (referees) are called SL (Spielleitung)
Event staff are called orga (organizers)
NPC (non-player character) is called NSC (Nicht Spieler Charakter)
PC (player character) is called SC (Spieler Charakter)
Time freeze and man down rules are the same as the UK generally (you will generally hear English commands on this).
There are no thrusting weapons but you will see flails. That's right the ball and chain type. They have a nasty habit of hitting you over the top of your shield. Watch out!
If you are IC wounded, call for a healer (often heard to be pronounced "hi-ler"). If you are OOC injured call for a medic, doctor, or sanitaeter.
There are no OOC armbands...or finger in the air...but you can cross your arms, or your weapons, in front of your chest or over your head, and you are out of play. Some of the NPC's/NSC's will hold their weapons by the blade with the handle up in the air to reflect their being invisible.
Refs'/SL's operate pretty much the same in both countries. They may move players or stop fights if they think they are unsafe. One thing different is "dream sequences". Players that are awake in the late hours (after 3 am), usually in small groups around the camp fires or on guard duty...will be taken away for the sequence. This will often involve then being given important plot points by having the player watch NPC's perform almost an interactive theater experience. This can also sometimes happen during the day (rarely) or can be an "oracle's vision" or might even involve special abilities for a limited time.
German larps have linears as well, but you need to be on the look out for the plot hooks to get on the linears. If someone offers you an adventure its up to you to decide if you want to risk it...
Who is in charge?
We have a leadership theory for this project. In-character solutions for out-of-character problems. We are role playing a feudal military expedition. There will be leaders, and there will be orders. But we are still a group of friends in a foreign land trying to make our way. Officers in the Grand Company and its sub-groups have been selected because of their real world experience and leadership skills. No one will be made to do anything they are uncomfortable with. All Officers should be treated with respect by members, but generally sub-group members are responsible to their own Officer and the Expedition Leaders.
Sir Brynden Everard. Called the Black Boar. Once a bastard of common upbringing, he has risen to knighthood and is Lord Captain of the Grand Company. He has a fierce reputation as a chivalric champion of both Justice and the Western Seal. A stern disciplinarian at times, he treats the Grand Company as his family and has been known to defend indescretions made by his men as if they were his wayward children. In return he expects absolutely loyalty to the Company. - played by Rick Wynne
Sir Foralz the Unclean. A tartan wearing knight from the North. He's as rough as they come but utterly loyal to Sir Brynden and the Grand Company. Serving as Sir Brynden's right hand and responsible for all logistical issues on the Expedition. Sir Foralz is well known for his less than courtly sense of humor. - played by Steve Morris
In addition, there will be an Officers' Council made up of sub-group leaders.
Commander Rook (The Black Company) - played by Mark Dollar
Sir Thaddeus Drake (Drake's Talons) - played by Mark Holmes
Don Deigo Cruz (The Ravens) - played by Nelson Gallardo
Sir Samuel Keel (Keel's Men) - played by Darren Stocker
Some of the members are...
Jack Tiller: Squire of Sir Brynden Everard - Idealistic and a little naive, Jack works hard and wants to become a knight. He is eager to help out around the camp as well as get stuck in with the inevitable fights. A sheltered background makes him curious about nearly everything, so he may be found nosing around, although never with bad intentions. - Played by Tom Kedik
Sergeant Major Dread (Black Company): A disciplinarian, has a hard time taking orders from people outside of the Company, very rarely accepts punishment for his lads from outside of the Company, bears the Company battle standard on the field and defends it, not very charismatic. - Played by Lee Maxwell
Kylia Maelin (Black Company): A Witch seeking the protection of the Black Company in return for her services as a healer & alchemist. Does not appreciate being yelled at or given orders and will become rather rebellious if not treated with respect. Not a fighter but has no problem getting a dirty job done and can be rather vicious - Played by Debzy Starbuck
Sir Talon Hawksbury, Knight Errant (The Ravens): Talon is the second in command of the Ravens under the leadership on Don Diego Cruz. Talon is a follower of the old codes: Honour, Justice, Brotherhood and Truth. They serve him well now that his faith in the gods has all but disappeared. - Played by Anthony Hartigan
Do we camp in-character?
We do. These events total 11 days of 24 hour time-in experience. We will have a couple of out of character days between the two events. We will camp on the Mythodea site on the days before time in. There is little provision for actual out of character camping at the large German events during time-in. Camping IC is considered the norm and there are certain expectations on camp appearances.
What will we eat?
There are a number of food options. You can of course bring your own food and cook it yourself but that will be quite a chore. We hope to have at least one meal a day cooked as a group. For breakfast I'd suggest following the Continental example of fresh bread, cold cuts and fruit. All of which can be had on site from the traders. You can of course also spoil yourself with a wide variety of cooked foods from the numerous caterers on site.
How are we getting there?
Right now the plan is to travel over in numerous vehicles. The Expedition's main vehicles will be a touring coach (if we get enough people) or minibuses and a 7.5 tonne lorry. Some of our members are taking their own vehicles over. Our main bus and the 7.5 tonne lorry will start in Manchester on Sunday the 24th of July 2011 and make a few stops at designated pick up points in the UK. We then take a ferry across the Channel and continue on to Drachenfest to arrive on Monday the 25th of July 2011. This is estimated as a 12-14 hour journey.
Time in is on Tuesday the 26th of July 2011, so we have plenty of time to set up camp and get into character. Its a non-combat day, so we can shop (and party!) in relative safety.
On Sunday the 31st of July 2011 we break camp and take the 2 hour journey to the ConQuest of Mythodea. When we arrive we set up camp and relax until Wednesday the 3rd of August 2011. This will give everyone the opportunity to recover from our first week of adventures, wash and repair kit, do some shopping and perhaps do some partying.
We'll break camp again on Sunday the 7th of August and make our way back to the UK.
People can also fly over from their various home countries and meet us at the events. Depending on how many people come we might be able to assist with travel (ie the Aussie group is flying into the UK and taking the bus over with us to germany).
What's this about an Oath?
"I swear before this Company that I shall fight to the death for my Lord Captain, if my Lord Captain or his Officers should die I shall take their place and fight as they would have fought. If any here should see me taken with weak heart and run away, they shall remind me of this pledge, made here before my kin." - taken with a drink of mead provided by the Lord Captain....
What happens if my character gets killed?
Well that's not a huge problem. We've left a number of the Expedition guarding our ships. You can easily return to the group as one of the reinforcements the Lord Captain has called for. There will be people in the group who will help you re-outfit your new character under these conditions and its an excellent excuse to go buy some new kit from the market!
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Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:13 pm
Latest news of the Grand Expedition!
Good news and bad. We'll start with the bad. Unfortunately Sir Brynden Everard was killed by foul undead in Albion. His successor is Zeno Sidonius, a former Excubitor from Constantinople who has been travelling with Norsemen for the last decade. He has the full support of his officers and the Grand Expedition progresses with great vigor.
And so the good news....
The official Grand Expedition website is now up and running. Please feel free to drop by for a look!
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Joined: Mar 30, 2009
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:50 pm
Looks like some good fun.
I can't make it this year, and unlikely next, buuut I hope you are still going strong in 3 years or so. Myself and a few others would love to make it over there sometime and join you all.
One of the biggest concerns we've had previously about making the trip across the drink is that none of us speak the language fluently. But, joining up with a group of other English speakers and letting us muddle our way through the language while having others willing to translate where we fall short would make the experience far more rewarding.
Hope to join the group at some point! Good luck, and have fun this summer!
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Joined: Aug 24, 2002
Location: New England
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:56 pm
I have been keeping up on the grand expedition through facebook. And I know for a fact I woudl love to go. Unfortunately I cannot at this time.
Just when you thought the worse was over. Here I am. :0)
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Joined: Mar 12, 2010
Location: Meschede, Germany
Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 12:52 pm
What is the in-game reason for the expedition to be in Mythodea?
"Für den Imperator und Ankoragahn!"
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