"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
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These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

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Summoning 13: Improvement all over


Last weekend, I've been to Summoning 13: A big (~500 players?) fantasy LARP event lasting four days. The event is set on "the Vortex", a small world that functions as a the center of a web of inter-world travel. This means that Vortex sees a big collection of different people and creatures from different worlds (all of which have a fantasy-ish setting).

Five year ago I've been to a Summoning event before, then playing with the Nandor group. After that, I had decided that such a big event as the Summoning was really not my thing and stopped playing there again. This year, however, we were invited by [Olga][] and Jan to play a band of Barbarians. Or actually, more of a Germanic tribe, which were so often labeled as "Barbarians" in ancient history, just because they were not Romans or Greeks :-)

And, after a lot of packing and costume-and-prop-making stress (which had me doubting if I shouldn't have stuck to my original intention of not playing on the Vortex again), it turned out to be loads and loads of fun. It turned we were a fairly civilized bunch of people in the middle of a camp full of real barbarians (the dirty, bloody kind). Personally, I had a lot of fun playing Möttull, a (not-so) slightly simple boy. I was not allowed to handle any weapons ("Perhaps you can have your own axe once your bigger. Yes, maybe next year"), didn't understand half of what people where saying ("What are those people doing"), was completely impressed by everything I saw ("Enid, look! That man has a blue face!") and was sent to do all kinds of small tasks all the time ("Möttull, open the gate for me!").

It was especially fun to play a character with no skills at all (From the 15 character points available to build a character, I used none) at the event which is known for the superpowerful powerplay characters (of which there were not so much anymore).

As for the event itself, I found that it had greatly improved. The location was now a wooded scouting terrain, with a small grassy fields in which camps were set up (as opposed to basically just one big lawn on which both IC and OC tents were set up, with only limited separation between the two). Also, the props and costumes I saw were very good, which is a compliment for the organisation as well as all the players.

Having said this, I still think that smaller events allow for an entirely different experience, since the organisation can create a lot more personal and fine grained plot and in general facilitate in a more player-oriented way. However, it seems that bigger events do actually fill a slot in the LARP world that is centered around more than just "Fighting is a lot more fun with 600 people".


Also, on the subject of a facilitating and flexible organisation: During the weekend we performed the cremation of our late tribe leader. Instead of faking this with some nice crepe paper, we wanted to do a real burning. Fortunately, the organisation didn't mind this, and even allowed us to do it in the ritual pentagon (which was a nice stage for our ceremony). The ceremony turned out to be really cool, thanks to all our preparations (A body stuffed with guinea pig sawdust and wrapped in rune-engraved cloth, a custom made "stretcher" to carry the body, and since you can't burn a real barbarian without his weapon, a (huge) wooden axe).

So let me finish this post by thanking all those involved with the previous summoning, and in particular our barbarians.

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