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Witcher School – Where I Started a War with a Bard and Once Again Didn’t Murder Any Blue Stripes

Witcher School Leshen Marked

Spoilers for Episode 3 of Witcher School. 

Note: I started writing this post right after the episode back in October… and then I got busy. And then I sort of forgot about it. And then I couldn’t be arsed to proof-read it. My point is, please pretend this was published nearly a year ago, so I don’t have to rewrite my introduction. 

It’s that time of year: Time for another Witcher School write-up! And guess what? You’re getting two this autumn, because I will soon be leaving for Poland again. Hopefully I will have recovered both physically and mentally before then. Especially mentally, because I’m going to be playing a different character and I’ll need to let go of all of Stella’s issues, otherwise Eydis will end up stabbing bards for no reason whatsoever.

I’m telling you, you can’t trust the bastards.

This post is about Season 4 Episode 3. If you want to read my account of Episode 2, you can find it here.

Witcher School S4E3 Group Photo

Before I start the main post, I got a little bit of backstory you’ll need to understand my character’s issues in this episode:

  • Because of a deal with a certain mirror merchant, Stella is now terrified of bards. Stella herself was not aware of this fact at the beginning of the episode.
  • Another player has been sending me letters from his character to Stella. They’re signed, but Stella didn’t recognize the name.

My Character

Stella Witcher School
Once again, I was playing Stella of Nilfgaard, senior adept of the School of the Cat.

Stella spent most of her 7 years as a witcher suffering from failing mutagens, which almost led to her death in Episode 2. Due to the reveal of Meinard’s pet mutants, she began to wonder whether the mutagenist was really the best solution to her troubles. In the end, she found her ‘salvation’ in the form of the mirror merchant Gaunter O’Dimm. After making a deal with him, her mutations turned perfect, and while she knows there must be a price for her to pay – the brand on her face reminds her – she has chosen to enjoy her new life for now.

Be aware that she was desperate, not stupid.

Now that she is fully in control of her abilities, she has become more ambitious and intends to rise through the ranks of the witchers. Unfornately for her, that means she needs the support of her fellow witchers, and she has never before cared to form relationships with the witchers of the Wolf School (most of whom distrusts her intensely).

After the events of Episode 2, Stella received orders from Grand Master Astrid and went with a group of Cats to Brokilon to retrieve the mysterious elf Maeveen, the first elf she had ever known to wear a witcher’s medallion.


Witcher School

This was Season 4 Episode 3, and took place from 30th September to 3rd October 2021.

Once again I’ll skip over the workshops and setting, but if this is your first time reading about Witcher School, you can read my very first WS post to get a lot more details about the practical side of the game.

This time around, the utter beauty of Moszna Castle was marred by construction work, and I won’t claim it didn’t hurt the immersion, but we made it work. The scaffolding might have been hard to explain away, but we can always just blame the state of the fountain on Master Algir setting off bombs every five minutes…

Let’s talk about the game, shall we?

Invasion of the Cats

Kaer Tiele, once again the setting for our game, is the home of the Witcher School of the Wolf. As a Cat, I had gotten used to being an outsider, with only a few witchers from my own school around.

This was all about to change. The Wolves wouldn’t even know what hit them.

As I had left Kaer Tiele to go on Cat business between episodes, I was returning with the delegation from Kaer Marter, led by the infamous Grand Master Astrid, undisputed matriarch of the Cat School. With her, she brought several Cat masters, the elf Maeveen, the steward Hugo, and all the pre-Trial adepts from Kaer Marter.

There were a lot of Cats. I hesitate to say this, but I think there might have been too many Cats.

I fell in with Adrian, my fellow senior Cat adept and favorite murder buddy, as we walked from the forest towards Kaer Tiele. The rest of the original Cat delegation to Kaer Tiele – Halvar and Einar – had stayed behind at the Wolves’ castle and were waiting when we arrived at the courtyard. Grand Master Astrid greeted Lile, the Grand Master of Kaer Tiele, and they explained that their two schools were doing an exchange to learn from each other.

(This would have shown great spirit of cooperation, if Astrid hadn’t told the Cats out in the forest that she expected us all to see how much better the Cats did things after staying a short while at the Wolf School…)

Part of the exchange involved that every pre-Trial adept was free to choose which of the two schools they would join in the end. This seemed to me like a bad deal, since the Wolf School hadn’t managed to acquire a single new adept, ultimately meaning that they were the only ones to gain from this. But Stella trusts completely in Astrid’s judgment, so she wasn’t about to say this aloud.

For one thing, she wasn’t stupid enough to do so.

With all the Cats now lined up, it was time to bring out… the owls.

Yes, even when I travel halfway across Europe, I can’t escape them. And there were two of them! However, only one of them came close to being as crazy as the one in my home, since that owl was the sorcereress Philippa Eilhart trapped in her owl form. The other one was merely a lovely barn owl that had been rescued along with Lady Philippa. From my interaction with it a few days later, I would say it wasn’t evil at all.

What a novel experience.

Owl Philippa And Slowik
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

Friendly Blue Stripes and Elves with Grudges

Owlified sorceresses aside, the return to Kaer Tiele went surprisingly peacefully. Halvar came up to Stella to ask her about her trip, then soon started talking about spoons and got punched. Nothing much had changed there. Our group, the Ashes, looked vastly different from the last time we were together, though. For one thing, our beloved tea-drinking tutor, the grumpy old Skelliger Master Gunhild, had dropped off the map while out on the Path, so instead we got put under the charge of the cheerful Master Dagna. Personally, I suspect Master Gunhild was able to divine the future from those tea leaves of hers, and got out while she could, because the tutor was not the only thing to change in our group. We had also gained so many new pre-Trial adepts that the Cats far outnumbered the Wolves, and considering Gunhild’s feelings towards Stella, this could very well be her own personal nightmare.

(Danai, Gunhild’s real life counterpart, had written a message to our group before the game when she realized she couldn’t make it, and the post script was just “NO CAT SHENANIGANS!” I must remember to send her this post.)

But in spite of her tutor’s strong distrust, Stella quickly began to miss old Master Gunhild dearly. Because while Master Dagna is very likable and has a lot of great stories to share, Master Gunhild would never have allowed Halvar to keep going on about spoons during a team meeting. And she would most definitely not have encouraged him. It is my belief that Gunhild would have had him gagged and left in the corner after the second spoon comment, and that’s why Stella will always be a little fond of the Skelliger, even if the tutor accuses her of plotting murder every time she hasn’t seen her in five minutes.

Now… Let’s move on to the part where Stella is plotting murder.

It started quite innocently, with me hanging out in the tavern with Elze – member of the Ashes and convert to the Cat School – when a Blue Stripe we hadn’t seen before approached us. This was Leo, an older Blue Stripe lieutenant that had just arrived, and clearly he had yet to be told a few facts about the older Cats.

Leo said, “Hello. Can I ask you a question?”

Stella went, “I didn’t do it.”

Elze loyally added, “That’s right, she didn’t do it.”

Leo, at this point already very confused, asked what exactly it was I didn’t do, and Stella took some time to wrap her head around the fact that a Blue Stripe was talking to her without accusing her of anything. As it turns out, this was the beginning of a beautiful, fake friendship.

After the initial confusion had died down, Leo started asking a long line of polite questions, at first inquiring mostly about witchers and how they differed from normal humans. He was being very friendly and a pleasure to talk with.

Obviously, Stella knew he was up to something. She just wasn’t sure what.

Blue Stripe Leo
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

He went on to ask about the ‘woman that had arrived with the Cats’ and pointed towards Maeveen, who was standing a bit away from us in the tavern. Stella said, “Oh, the elf? I actually don’t know much about her myself”, to which Leo said he hadn’t realized she was an elf. Stella – who has a lot of bad personality traits, but racism most definitely not being one of them – immediately went on the offensive, knowing how Blue Stripes usually feel about elves (and what they do with them). She asked Leo, rather pointedly, if Maeveen being an elf was a problem, and Leo said that he hoped not, but that all the elves he had met were bandits. Stella pointed out that all the bandits she had met had been human, and Cat and Blue Stripe proceeded to have a longer conversation where Leo politely listened to Stella’s arguments in favor of everyone having the capacity to be homicidal maniacs, not just the ones with pointed ears.

It was also at this point that another Blue Stripe came up to us and Leo introduced him to Stella. The Stripe claimed to already know her, but Stella did not remember ever having talked with this ‘Olli’. After he had left, Leo let slip that Olli also went by the nickname ‘Butcher’, almost making Stella choke on her drink, considering that was the name signed on a couple of incredibly creepy letters she had received over the past months. However, this was a problem for later.

After Leo excused himself with the promise to think about what she had said, Stella was pulled aside by one of the new pre-Trial Cat School adepts – Yngvar – who had seen her talking to the Blue Stripe. He told her he had been talking to the elf Maeveen, and since Stella was a Cat, he felt he could share the details of what she told him with her. You see, Maeveen and Leo had a history, that history mainly revolving around Leo hunting down and killing Maeveen’s brother, then cutting Maeveen’s ear off before she was able to get away.

Didn’t know she was an elf, my ass…

I told the adept that I would take care of it, and smiled at Leo as I passed him on my way through the tavern. I requested a word with Maeveen after she finished the conversation she was engaged in, then led the elf into the privacy of a dark corridor where I told her the details of my conversation with Leo, how he had clearly been trying to manipulate me, and if Maeveen wanted him ‘dealt with’.

The elf graciously told Stella that all she truly wanted was an elven necklace Leo had taken from her as he was cutting her ear off, but she also said that as long as she didn’t have to be involved, she wouldn’t care if anything happened to the Stripe in the process of receiving the necklace. I believe her words were “Accidents happen”, and this was when Stella realized that she and the elf would get on like a house on fire.

There might be no survivors.

Murder Plots and Unfortunate Bards

Likely sensing that his expertise was needed, Adrian happened to walk by just as I finished my conversation with Maeveen. All I needed to do was tap him on the shoulder and tell him we had something we needed to discuss, and he knew Stella well enough to show up a short while later with Yorick – another senior Cat that had returned to Kaer Tiele after a year’s absence – and whisk us both off to a more private location for a little chat.

After we had locked ourselves in a darkly lit room, Stella quickly summarized her conversation with Leo, her promise to Maeveen, and her own problems with this Butcher person. I will skip quickly over the rest of the conversation, since it was mainly just half an hour or more of us discussing various ways to kill and/or frame or blackmail Blue Stripes.

That’s pretty much all we older Cats talk about when we’re by ourselves.

Before we closed the meeting, with the intent of taking the night to think over possible murder plans, I handed Adrian the letters from Butcher, so he could read them later. He had already readily agreed to help Stella kill the man, but I’d like him to know exactly why I felt I needed to do something about my newfound stalker.

I’m not going to add the text of the letters to this post, but I think this scene the next day where Dagna heard about the letters and asked Adrian about them summarizes them nicely:

Dagna: “Are they love letters or death threats?”*1 

Adrian: “I’m honestly not sure.”

Back to the night in question, the three of us left to return to the tavern. Since three Cats sneaking off alone would be seen as rather suspicious, Adrian decided that the official story was that we were just having sex. That’s pretty much the most innocent thing people will believe we’re involved in.

Stella and Adrian settled down at a table in the tavern, and spent the next few hours being entertained by Adrian’s bad attempts at doing Tarot readings. It was all nice and peaceful for a while.

Then Severin the Bard walked past.

Severin Witcher School
Photo by Piotr Müller

It had already happened once earlier that day, when Stella passed him in the corridor. Back then, she merely sneered at him to back off, to which the confused bard yelled after her that he hadn’t done anything.

This time around, Stella was sitting in a chair with her sword in her lap, with escape not being the easiest option. So when the bard passed her chair, most likely just to go get something to drink, she stood up with her sword in hand and told him to get away from her. Adrian put an arm around Stella and waved the confused and outraged bard away, and eventually Stella settled back in her chair tensely.

The second time Severin passed by the table, Stella’s sword was pointed at his throat, and who knows what would have happened if Adrian hadn’t kept her back, while saying to Severin, “Back away, mate. She will eat you.”

It’s a good thing Adrian just rolls with these things, because nobody – not even Stella – knew in-game what the hell was going on here. But things were about spiral rather out of control. So stay tuned!

(No, that was not a bard pun. Leave me alone.)

 

Stupid Injuries and Bizarre Punishments

A new day dawned. Due to me traveling from Denmark to Poland on the same day the game began, I had been up for 25 hours straight when I went to bed the previous night, and had then spent the night in that weird stage between sleep and wakefulness. Safe to say that I was NOT feeling too great in the morning, so I decided to partake in the time-honored Witcher School tradition of skipping morning warm-up and sneaking into breakfast later.

After forcing down some eggs and bacon I was feeling slightly more human, but I was glad my first lesson of the day was Archery with Master Aaron, so that I would get to stand still and just shoot stuff for an hour or so. Nothing particularly interesting happened during that lesson, so let’s skip ahead to Fencing with Master Edwin.

Now, I don’t have a good track record with fencing classes. Not only do I really suck at fighting with a sword, but I also always manage to injure myself.

Good news! This time someone else injured me.

And it was marginally less embarrassing than the Acorn Incident. But that’s not to say that Stella’s pride didn’t get even more bruised than her injured leg, because it was still a truly stupid and strange way to get put out of commission. The story goes that after we had gone through all the fencing training Master Edwin had planned for us, he brought us to the archery range and volunteered us to help the archery class with some target practice. Basically, we were given a LARP sword and then we just had to try to deflect as we were being shot with safety arrows.

Now, you’re not actually supposed to be able to get injured by non-defective safety arrows… but I guess I’m just that good at what I do.

You see, the very first arrow hit me on the upper part of my inner thigh. That’s not the most sensitive area, but for some reason, it caused a burst of pain that had me limping off the range and needing Master Edwin’s help to sit down in the grass. Edwin’s theory is that I made some kind of moment that stretched out the muscle in my thigh at the exact moment it was hit, causing the impact to cause far more pain than it should have.

Witcher School Archery
Photo by Piotr Müller

Despite my reassurances that the pain was already fading, Master Edwin ordered me to stay put and made the guy who shot me – who kept apologizing profusely for something that was in no way his fault – get me something to drink even though I wasn’t feeling sick or anything.

As the pain had faded into numbness by the time the lesson was over, I was allowed to stand up again, but Edwin told me to go see the medic. At the time, I thought this was rather unnecessary, since I was just dealing with a bit of inflammation, but I did as I was told and Elze helped me down to the basement to get my leg looked at. The medic examined me, put some anti-inflammatory gel on my leg and told me to take it easy and come back to see her in a few hours. So I went back upstairs (there are waaay too many stairs in order to get to the medic room) and joined the pre-lunch gathering in the courtyard.

I wasn’t in any pain at this moment, but I quickly found out that standing still made my leg stiffen up rapidly, so after the first couple of announcements, I was left with only one functional leg. And, of course, this was when Severin the Bard stood up in front of the assembled witchers and adressed Grand Master Astrid to tell her that one of her adepts had held a sword to his throat, completely unprovoked.

It could have been such a marvelous scene. Because Stella, who’s utterly loyal to the Grand Master who won her in a card game and saved her from bandits, would have walked forward with her head held high when Astrid began shouting for the guilty party to show themselves, and accepted her punishment with stoic dignity.

There was nothing dignified about me limping slowly through the crowd and grabbing on to the stone lion by the steps to steady myself, while Edwin and Dagna – the only ones that knew I wasn’t roleplaying my injury – leaped forward to whisper to Astrid, who then coldly told me I didn’t have to ascend the steps.

The Grand Master asked for no explanations – not that Stella could have given any – and said that if Stella couldn’t handle having a sword, then she would now lose the right to carry one. She then told me to hand Severin my sword, which – due to Stella still being terrified of the bard – was done by me almost throwing the sword at his face while I stumbled away and told him to keep away from me.

Astrid then told Severin that he could choose whatever punishment Stella had to undergo in order to earn back her sword and Severin said that she would do good to put herself in his shoes. He wanted Stella to learn how to perform and sing in front of everyone, and then he would decide if she had done well enough.

I don’t remember my exact thoughts at that moment, but I’m guessing they were something along the lines of:

“I’m going to punch O’Dimm in the face when I see him again…” 

 

Being an Invalid for an Afternoon

I would like to reiterate that I was not in pain at this time. I was just trying to rest my leg as per the medic’s order, but I didn’t have the heart to refuse when Jade offered me her walking stick, even though it made me appear far more injured than I actually was, because I didn’t know how to use the damn thing, which made my limping even more pronounced.

I pulled Master Dagna aside for an off-game chat, not so much because of my injury, but because I felt I needed to explain the whole “bard situation” to her and maybe get some help coming up with ideas for doing Severin’s challenge. I’ll admit to having a fear of singing in front of others, but I have overwon many of my small phobias at Witcher School, so I wasn’t too concerned about this. It was, however, a very tricky thing to do when my character couldn’t stand to be near Severin at all, so in my mind the situation called for a slight bit of meta-gaming.

Master Dagna promised to think of ways I could do it, and then walked with me to the dining hall for lunch, where I had a person on each side of me insisting on helping me down the stairs – there’s literally three steps down to the dining hall… – and I had to resist the urge to whack them with my borrowed walking stick because of their overwhelming niceness and consideration.

Jokes aside, I just want to say that everyone were being so super nice and helpful to me. And even though most of it really wasn’t necessary, I was so touched that I couldn’t get back into character as proud and aloof Stella all day, because I just wanted to thank people.

After lunch, I went upstairs – fortunately, my room was only one floor up – to rest a bit before Monster Knowledge class with Master Ylia. However, I had mistaken the time for the class – thinking it started at 15.00, and not at 14.30 – so I was already late for meeting up with the master when I limped downstairs at 14.50. At this point, my leg had started to actually hurt, because my short rest had made it stiffen up so much that every step made the muscle twang. I couldn’t locate my class with a quick look at the grounds outside, so I decided to look in the tavern in the hopes that they had started the class inside and hadn’t left for the forest yet.

That’s when I ran into Astrid.

Now, after watching Edwin and Dagna rush to tell her about my injury in the courtyard, I was convinced that Astrid’s off-game counterpart knew I wasn’t just roleplaying my bad leg. I had fully expected her to yell at me – it’s Astrid, after all – but when she shouted at me to go outside and look for my class – meaning I would have to walk all the way to the forest and then search aimlessly on a leg that was now rather painful – it all became a bit much for me. Because in that moment, I thought that even the NPCs who knew about my injury weren’t going to take it into consideration and play in a way that wouldn’t force me to opt out of the game completely for a while – like if Astrid had shouted at me to go clean all the cesspits, or something else which is a really sucky punishment in-game, but which I wouldn’t physically have to do – so I just went outside to the off-game side of the castle, sat down on the pavement and was just totally miserable for a while.

(Note: I later found out that Astrid really did think my injury was only in-game, so she absolutely wasn’t being inconsiderate on purpose.)

I managed to stumble upstairs to my room, where apparently a whole host of people had been looking for me, since I quickly had Halvar, Master Dagna and the medic there to check up on me. Regretfully, I had to admit to myself that it was probably for the best if I skipped the last part of Monster Knowledge, as well as Signs with Master Dirk. Especially if I wanted to partake in the hunts that night.

So I spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening resting in my room, with the occasional walk up and down the corridor to prevent my leg from stiffening up. Luckily, this technique did wonders, because I was so friggin bored. Daniel AKA Halvar was incredibly nice and brought dinner to my room, so I wouldn’t have to walk up and down the stairs, as well as stand around in the courtyard waiting for our group to be called inside.

I always feel bad for all the times I punched him – before and after – in-game.

De-Owlification and Night Hunt

Witcher School Philippa Eilhart
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

All of this meant that I was feeling well enough to join the hunts later in the evening, although I asked to be the torch bearer (meaning I wouldn’t be involved in any of the fighting) just to be on the safe side, because even though I could walk, I didn’t want to risk accidentally doing a wrong twist and making everything worse again.

Just to prove to everyone that I really was doing alright, I went with the group escorting the sorceress Lady Coral when she went to do the ritual to turn Philippa Eilhart from an owl back into a human.

There were lights, there was strange-colored smoke, there were hallucinating sorceresses, and then finally, there was Philippa Eilhart, human, but with feathers still covering her face.

There was no screaming this time around, so I assume everything went according to plan.

The night hunt was fairly straightforward as well. I carried my torch – and did my best to not light any trees or people on fire – and watched my fellow Ashes get attacked by monsters. We met an Alghoul, my old friend Pebbles the Earth Elemental, and… some Nekkers? Drowners? I actually don’t remember. But I think it was Nekkers.

All in all, it was probably the most peaceful night hunt I’ve been on. No important plot scenes, and hardly any injuries. I didn’t even get a chance to push the Blue Stripe who had gone with us in front of any monsters!

A Signs Master and a Godling with a Crossbow

I did the responsible thing and went to bed right after getting back from the hunt, so there isn’t really much more to say about that night. The next morning I once again skipped morning warm-up – my leg was doing a lot better, but push-ups and squats at 7.30 in morning is not worth risking anything over – got breakfast and got ready for classes. At the sound of the horn, we all gathered in the courtyard.

I don’t really recall any important announcements, but I think Grand Master Astrid was yelling at people who weren’t me. Then Master Dirk stumbled backwards out the castle door with a crossbow bolt in his chest and dropped dead.

You know, the usual.

I don’t believe I mentioned the Godling, but there had been a Godling around the castle for the last couple of days. Lovely gal, really, but it seems nobody ever told her about crossbow safety. The poor thing was horrified at what she had done, but claimed it was an accident. The masters took her away and we were all told to go to our classes, as if our Signs master hadn’t just died in front of us.

Life goes on.

Well, not for Dirk, I suppose…

Witcher School Dirk Death
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

Leshens and Water Bearers

On that depressing note, we started the day’s lessons. The Ashes’ first class was Hunting with Master Justus, a wandering master from the School of the Griffin. He told us there was a Leshen in the forest, one which other adepts thought they had killed the day before. But as it turned out, this was no ordinary Leshen, but an Ancient one, meaning that it would keep returning every time it was killed.

It had likely marked someone in the castle and Justus sent us off to talk to people in order to find out who it was.

We approached Hugo, steward of Kaer Marter and acting steward of Kaer Tiele, since that’s a job that requires you to know about everything going on in the castle. All the Cats knew Hugo was a vain man and the Ashes made sure to flatter his ego while we asked him questions about the people at the school. Obviously, Hugo knew what we were doing – and loved every second of it – and decided to push it as far as he could by telling us he had always wanted his portrait drawn. This is how this hunting lesson ended up with us gathered around a Hugo posing with his nose in the air, while Elze did her very best to draw him in a way that would ensure the serving staff wouldn’t get instructed to leave nasty things in our dinner.

But it must have done the trick, because Hugo casually remarked that we might want to pay attention to the people bringing us water. We all turned around to see a smiling servant woman holding up a jug and asking us if we required any water.

Leaving Hugo to enjoy his new portrait, we began questioning the lovely little woman – if I remember correctly, her name was Lily – about the strange mark on her hand, making sure to pretend we didn’t know what it was. Lily herself told us that it had just appeared, but that it didn’t hurt, so she hadn’t thought too much about it. We all thanked her for the water and headed back to Master Justus, who was waiting for us at the edge of the forest. We told him what we had learned and he said we would deal with it later. For now, he wanted to show us what we were dealing with.

Justus took us into the forest, and I had to tell him that I was not allowed to carry a sword, which he told me he already knew. When we got closer to the place the Leshen was staying, he offered me a sword anyway, and I stared at him for a while before finally saying firmly that I would follow Astrid’s orders. Justus took back the sword, told me I had passed the test, then commented to Master Elinor, who had joined us, that she could tell the Grand Master that she had a loyal witcher.

And Stella did refuse the sword out of loyalty, sure… but even if she had hated Astrid passionately, she would still have been too terrified of her to disobey her.

Facing an Ancient Leshen without a sword was a far less scary prospect. Justus sent us up against the monster in groups of 4, not to kill it, but simply to learn about fighting a Leshen. Without a sword, all I could do was to cast a few Aard signs to distract it while my group tried to hit it, but at least I didn’t end up with an enchanted tree vine to the face.

Witcher School Leshen
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

In the end, we picked up our wounded, and Justus and Elinor followed us back to the edge of the forest where Justus told us a few more things about hunting monsters.

Then he, Elinor, and I believe Master Aaron, suddenly attacked all of us. Of course, none of us were prepared for it, and that turned out to be the final lesson of the hunting class:

Don’t let down your guard, just because the monster is dealt with.

Potions and Punishments

Our next class was Alchemy, and I was rather disappointed to see that it would be taught by Master Meinard. Not that Master Meinard doesn’t teach interesting things, but Master Algir is the one who specializes in bombs… and I wanted to blow shit up.

Alas, fate would not have it so.

Alchemy went with some potion theory and brewing, in which I made a rather pale-colored Swallow potion together with a couple of our pre-Trial adepts, before Master Meinard took us down into the crypt below the alchemy lab. There, he made us meditate before taking a Cat potion – it’s as dark as Meinard’s soul down there – so we could see just enough to dissect some weird-looking pieces of monster meat. Why that had to be done in complete darkness, I will never know, but I have never seen Meinard happier than while watching us cut things open.

It was very disconcerting.

It was also during the alchemy lesson that Meinard took us outside and lined us up to watch as the Godling was brought forward. Even Stella, callous as she can be, thought the following display was rather barbaric. It was made even more barbaric because the Wolf masters claimed they were being civilized.

Accident or not, the Godling had killed a master of the school, and Stella would have agreed it needed to be killed. However, the decision had instead been to cut away the creature’s connection with magic. I’m not entirely sure how that’s supposed to prevent her from shooting people with crossbows, but I’m not about to argue with people who believe themselves to be righteous.

We all had to watch as one of the masters picked up a branding iron from a fire and burned a witcher sign into the crying Godling’s back.

Oh, so civilized.

Witcher School Godling
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

Deciding that Adrian was Replaced by a Doppler

Surprisingly, lunch went by without anyone dying. However, later I met Leo down in the make-up room where he had to get a giant bruise done, because sweet and compassionate Master Ylia had punched him in the face for talking shit about Dirk.

It was glorious, and I wish I had seen it.

Reluctantly, I decided to skip my next class, which was Fencing with Master Fineas. My leg was feeling alright, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I spent the time walking around aimlessly and stopping by the class occasionally to observe. At one point, I was sitting innocently on a bench, doing some cloak repairs, when a couple of Blue Stripes settled down on the bench a couple meters away. They were talking among themselves when Adrian showed up and approached them. I wasn’t paying much attention until I heard the following words leave Adrian’s mouth:

“I have a non-violent solution for you.”

This is where I finally looked up in shock and had to get involved in the conversation. “What did you just say…?”

Even the Blue Stripes agreed that we were clearly dealing with a Doppler and not the real Adrian. It didn’t make things better when he proudly showed what rune Maeveen had decided he had the strongest affinity with, because telling Adrian that he is closely connected with a rune symbolizing ‘fertility’ is bound to go wrong. As proven by the following conversation where Stella pointed out that Adrian was sterile, to which Adrian cheerfully argued that this was not the case and that he might just father countless children.

He even suggested that he could start his own “School of Adrian’s Offspring”. Fortunately, even Doppler Adrian agreed that this was unlikely to end well.

I made my escape and went back to see how the Ashes’ fencing lesson was progressing. Spotting the Godling sitting in the grass nearby, I went over and sat down next to her, then proceeded to have a rather awkward conversation with the creature that had thrice been branded with witcher signs and cut off from everything that made her who she was. And since Stella isn’t exactly great at comforting people, all she had to say was,

“Yeah, I agree. They should have just killed you.”

If Season 6 comes around, I swear I’ll play a sympathetic character, because all I wanted was to give the poor thing a hug (and then maybe maim the people who thought that magical lobotomy was better than a quick execution).

Depressed Godling is depressing, so I’m just going to add a happy photo of her braiding Master Fineas’s hair before the whole ‘crossbow’-affair.

Witcher School Godling Fineas
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

As our last lesson of the game, we had a new subject: Ancient Runes. This was taught by my new favorite elf, Maeveen. The Ashes went to the courtyard to wait for her, and she soon arrived in a furious huff. She stormed past us, barking something along the lines of “Move it!” and then headed towards the lawn without looking back. The rest of the group hesitated, wondering if we should give the angry elf some space, but Stella had no such concerns and went after her, plopping down next to her on the lawn with the words,

“Do you want me to kill someone for you? I still don’t have a sword, but I’m sure I can figure something out.”

Maeveen declined the offer, with a few comments that made me think I knew what had caused her anger.

Astrid had forbidden her from undergoing the Trial of the Grasses, something the elf desperately wanted to do.

Maeveen looked around and asked where the rest of my group was (only two of us were there). I pointed towards the people huddled by the edge of the lawn, telling her they were scared.

It was rather nice being the only one not getting punished for once.

Once Maeveen had taken her anger out on her tardy students, she told us about the various powerful runes, what human mages said they meant, and what they actually meant. After that, she helped each of us divine our heart rune (I think that was what she called it, but I’ve taken too long to write this post to remember half of these things). Stella’s rune turned out to be Dagaz, symbolizing balance. Since Stella had discussed her strange problem with bards with the elf, Maeveen mused that a bit of balance would indeed do her good.

It would probably also have done some good for the bard that stormed up to Master Edwin – who was teaching the fencing class across the lawn – and cut her own throat in front of him, while the stalkerish Blue Stripe Butcher desperately tried to stop her, and then got attacked by Edwin for his troubles.

Maeveen just rolled her eyes and finished going over her rune theory. This elf had no time for human drama.

As if we hadn’t just finished watching a highly dramatic suicide, our teacher took the Ashes into the forest to gather ingredients for making a runestone. Mine ended up being a rather horrible lump of clay, so when she dismissed us and told us to put our rune somewhere safe, I discreetly deposited it under a bush near the courtyard.

That bush is still keeping it safe, I’m sure.

The Part Where I’m a Horrible Person

I know fellow players who read this will protest that Stella is a horrible person all the time… but that’s all conjecture.

There were a lot of witnesses to this scene. And she almost felt a little bad about it.

Almost.

It’s time to deal with the leshen.

I fell into step with Master Elinor as she led the volunteers towards the forest. Leo saw us and approached to ask if he could tag along. Stella inwardly cheered at the Blue Stripe setting himself up so perfectly for an accident, but Elinor inadvertently foiled her murder plans as she barked at Leo that this was “witcher business”.

You’re no fun after you went back to being a Wolf, Elinor…

Soon we passed by Lily the water fetcher standing nearby, and Elinor nodded towards her and told us this was our chance. Stella was the one to stride forward and put a friendly arm around Lily’s shoulders, telling her how we were heading into the forest to deal with some things, and how we could really use some water while we were doing so. Lily, still absolutely lovely, agreed readily, pleased to be of assistance. And so we headed into the forest.

Even when Elinor stopped the group and started telling us about the person the leshen had marked and how we couldn’t kill it until that person was dealt with, Lily never suspected a thing. And by the time Elinor addressed her directly and told her she was the problem, Stella was already standing ready to grab her when realization dawned.

You feel like a real heel when you’re holding an innocent, crying woman to keep her from escaping while she’s being told how she either needs to die or abandon her home and her family to live out her life far, far away, never to return. But Stella really isn’t the kind of person to let compassion get in the way of dealing with a dangerous monster, so her only display of kindness was to tell the woman struggling in her arms that she could always choose the option of leaving Kaer Tiele. She even promised her that no one would do anything to her if she left of her volition, even if she personally wasn’t entirely sure Elinor wouldn’t have her killed before she was out of range.

Adrian’s act of kindness was to give her a purse of gold and then telling her to fuck off.

Witcher School Leshen Marked
Photo by Margielski Fotografia

Cat diplomacy, people.

In the end, Lily chose to run. And Elinor let her, watching her disappear down the trail, before finally scoffing. “A defenseless woman with a lot of gold travelling alone. That’s a brilliant plan,” she said, before leading us to the leshen. As I was still without a weapon, I stood back while a group went forward to kill the damn thing for good.

Singing, Drinking and Fisstech

You will have noticed that I haven’t mentioned my punishment from Severin since he set the terms earlier in the episode, but I assure you it hadn’t been forgotten, least of all by the Ashes, who had all decided to get involved. In fact, while I had been laid up with my bad leg, they had been busy turning our group of witchers into a makeshift band. With surprising enthusiasm, I might add. One of our newbies, Lennart, had borrowed Severin’s lute and had been practicing, and – of course – Halvar had decided he would be doing spoon percussion. Some were even trying to write a song for the occasion, but since no one could come up with a rhyme for “Severin”, I suggested we just do “The Drunken Witcher” instead.

Nobody said this had to be elegant.

And this leads us to the last night. Since Stella wasn’t actually able to approach Severin to agree on a time for the performance, we had no idea when we were going to be singing, but since we were all just waiting around for the Trial of the Grasses to start, we did a bit of practicing in the courtyard. I actually overcame my phobia of singing in front of people enough to teach the lyrics of The Drunken Witcher to those who had not yet spent countless evenings in Kaer Tiele’s tavern, and I would end up singing it for the rest of the time spent waiting outside. Eventually, however, it became time for the new adepts to leave for the Trials. As the responsible masters got their groups ready, I somehow ended up standing with Gedymin and a few of the older Ashes. Gedymin, who had been uncommonly cheery all episode, offered to share his everlasting stash of Fisstech, and Stella readily agreed, thinking it couldn’t possibly make her upcoming performance any worse. After the white powder had been consumed, she even got Gedymin to agree to sing with the Ashes later, which would have been an absolutely glorious sight.

With little else to do while we waited for the adepts to either return alive or their corpses getting carried out of the lab, we adjourned to the tavern. And for some reason, I found it incredibly easy to roleplay being absolutely off my rocker on drugs, and it was quite fun getting to play a Stella who was less aloof towards the Wolves, just because she was high as fuck. I ended up sitting with Jade and Ortho from the Ashes for most of the evening. Elze also joined us eventually, and she and Stella went off for a private “conversation” at one point, but they had both had a couple of rough days, so who can blame them?

Later, Elze went off to talk with other people, and her empty chair was filled by Master Elinor. Somehow we ended up talking about my problem with Butcher, and both Ortho and Elinor expressed concern for Stella’s wellbeing, considering the track record of the women Butcher had been obsessed with.

(See the part about the bard slitting her own throat. And she was just the latest in a line of unfortunate women.)

It’s kind of sweet that they were worried about Stella, even though they knew she was 100% going to gut Butcher and leave him in a drowner nest before ever considering taking her own life. And I’m fairly sure she told them something of the kind.

I’m not sure, but it might also have been somewhere around this time that Stella was told about Maeveen’s death. According to the rumors, she had gotten some adepts to perform the Trial on her and she had – obviously – died during the attempt. It was outrageously stupid, but Stella took solace in the fact that the elf died while trying to take control of her own life.

If she hadn’t been both high and drunk, she might have questioned the story a bit more…

The night went on. Elinor was making a lot of jokes on Grand Master Astrid’s behalf, but Stella let them slide, because even when you’re utterly loyal to your Grandmaster, you feel like people she once had stabbed to death have the right to talk a bit of smack about her.

Plus, it gave the beautiful interaction when Ortho told Elinor that Astrid was right behind her, to which Elinor scoffed and said she didn’t give a shit, only to look behind her and going, “Oh, she’s actually right behind me.”

The Kaer Tiele Massacre

Another fitting heading for this part would be “‘ARE YOU F@$!ING KIDDING ME?!'”

Once all the surviving adepts had returned from the Trials, we were called outside where our grand masters had some announcements to make. What were those announcements about? I absolutely do not remember, because of what happened next.

Flashing lights interrupted Astrid or Lile or whoever was speaking at the time, and a booming voice sounded from the balcony of the tower overlooking the courtyard. The man on the balcony introduced himself as Gildarts Pran, a man we had only heard mentioned in passing as the new sorcerer advisor to the king. He then went on to speak about how we witchers needed to be eradicated. You know, your typical villain monologue.

I’ll be honest with you: In the moment, I didn’t actually recognize the voice. If I had, Stella would probably have yelled a few choice words before the sorcerer cast a spell and all hell broke loose as every single witcher master suddenly started attacking the adepts assembled in the yard.

Some of the more collected adepts managed to fight back. The unprepared were cut down. Stella, still unarmed and high on fisstech, took a blow to the stomach from Master Eckhardt, and decided the best cause of action was to drop to the ground and let the people with swords deal with this particular mess. Laying on the ground, holding on to a similarly downed Elze, we watched as the mind-controlled NPCs battled the player characters.

And then the call came that ended the game. Talk about cliffhangers, huh?

Before we venture on to the next section of the post, I’ll tell you what everyone but me noticed about Gildarts’ first appearance:

It wasn’t his first appearance at all. It was Severin the F@$!ING Bard. 

Witcher School Gildarts

 

The Afterparty (or: Everyone Blames Stella)

Despite my obliviousness during the battle itself, it was very quickly made clear to me that Gildarts’ true identity was very significant for my character. I have never had that many people approach me at a Witcher School afterparty to ask me questions and/or blame me for not murdering the bard everyone had blamed for trying to kill during the game. The first person who raised the issue asked me “How does it feel to know you could have ended the season four episodes early?”, referring to the fact that I almost killed the main villain of the game without even knowing who he was. Even the guy who played Severin/Gildarts came up to me and told me,

“You’re like the guy who held a loaded gun to Hitler’s head and didn’t pull the trigger.”

After the fourth or fifth time, I just started deflecting the blame on to Adrian, who had held Stella back. If I’m going down, I’m taking someone with me.

I also ran into the guy who played Leo, whom I gave a hug while I told him woefully about how I didn’t get to kill him. He looked at me and put on an astonished face.

“Why did you want to kill me?! I thought we were friends!”

All part of the game, dear Leo. All part of the game.

I eventually caught up with all the people I needed to, and after I had eradicated half of the snack table and began losing my voice from deflecting accusations, I eventually called it a night.


And I suppose that’s it. I’m now left with a character with a cartload-full of issues and more than a few personal vendettas against extremely powerful characters.

I dare say next episode will be interesting.

 

*1 Even after knowing Stella for only a day, Master Dagna realized those were probably the only kinds of letters Stella would receive.

 

Photos by Margielski Fotografia and Piotr Müller

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Let’s Talk Dungeons & Dragons Characters

Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheet

Dungeons and Dragons logoWhile we’re waiting for me to get off my ass and finish the large LARP posts in the pipeline, let’s have a fun little discussion about an adjacent geek topic.

I have been playing so much Dungeons & Dragons lately. As of writing this, I have done three sessions for three different campaigns within the last week, and I’ll be continuing one of those this afternoon. Which means I have wanted to talk about little else, and I think it’s about time to give my friends a break from discussions on multi-class options and character plot quests.

So I need you guys to pick up the slack.

Tell me all about your favorite D&D characters (or characters from other tabletop games, but I might do a separate post for those at some point), whether you’re playing them in an active campaign or just have fond memories of them from times past.

I’ll share a few of mine as well.


Sidris

Level 7 Human Tempest Cleric


Sidris is a priestess of Thor who lived most of her life in his temple until one day she picked a fight with a group of goblins in the nearby forest and ended up being chased for miles before running into a group of adventurers who helped to even the odds. It was here she saw the chance to leave the temple behind for a while and go explore the world with this band of misfits.

She might have wanted to tell someone at the temple about this journey, but what’s done is done.

Now, she’s running around doing odd quests for even odder people, while being pursued by her fellow priests who want to bring her back and at the same time trying to figure out why the hell Thor has decided he wants her to become High Priestess.

She joined the party as their healer, but who really has time for healing spells when you have both Call Lightning and Thunderwave…? I don’t believe I’m exaggerating by all that much when I say Sidris is responsible for at least as much damage done to her party members as their enemies are. They’re getting better at keeping their distance, though.

Friendly NPCs don’t have the necessary knowledge to take those same precautions, but we haven’t had any casualties (yet).

I enjoy playing Sidris, because I get to be holy while still acting like a total degenerate in the eyes of most other religions. To Thor, alcoholism and tavern brawls count as worship.

 

Natalia Forsythe

Level 4 Human Necromancer Wizard


Going from Chaotic Neutral to Neutral Evil, let’s take a look at Natalia.

As of writing, Natalia only has 3 sessions to her name, but the character arc I had imagined for her has already been utterly derailed. She started out as a necromancer-in-training, out searching for signs of her master who disappeared after the city guard started looking a little too closely into why a lot of corpses were going missing from the local graveyards.

Her search took her to Ironhaven, where she was investigating a rather defective undead hill giant, when a barbarian wererat, a cleric who wasn’t very good at being a cleric, and an overly friendly warlock who kept handing out pamplets for his “Church of the Tentacle” all decided that they should join the Thieves’ Guild and that Natalia was going to be their leader.

Mind you, none of them have, at any point, asked her for her name. All they know is that she’s a wizard and that she’s smarter than any of them, which is an extremely low bar.

So now this necromancer is the leader of a branch of the Thieves’ Guild. She shares her new hideout with her three idiot subordinates (she doesn’t know any of their names, either), a goat, and various random people who failed their ability checks when being persuaded to join the Church of the Tentacle. And at this point, the goat might be the only who has realized that she isn’t exactly an ordinary wizard and that the basement is going to be filled with zombies once she gets access to Animate Dead.

Considering that the warlock has found a list of D&D related dad jokes, and that the cleric keeps putting his cursed armor back on every time we use Remove Curse on him, a couple of those zombies will likely be from our own ranks… I do not rule out that this character might end up as the Big Bad Evil Guy after she finally snaps.

I do actually have a short intro story I wrote for this character, but I don’t know if that’s something people would be interested in reading on this blog. Let me know.

Shalendra

Level 3 Wood-Elf Circle of Wildfire Druid


The newest character of the bunch, but I’m already growing rather fond of her. Shalendra is a kind and dedicated druid… who got kicked out of the Circle of the Moon because her fascination with fire led to one too many accidental forest fires.

I have only played her in one session so far, but it’s a lot of fun to play a fundamentally good character who just so happens to often screw up rather badly. The only reason she didn’t cause a forest fire in the very first session was because our GM was prepared and let the campaign’s first mystery be, “Why are all the plants in this forest fireproof?”

I have never played a druid before, and it would have been overwhelming enough simply with Wildshape and standard druid spells, but I was flinging fire abilities left and right in that first session, and I only got to use half of the ones I had. Circle of Wildfire is, well, wild.

Also, I have a Wildfire Spirit in the form of a phoenix. I call him Daeva, nearby people have to make saving throws when I summon him, and he’s my precious little baby and I won’t hear a bad word about him.

Aimon the Younger

Level 3 Human Rogue Assassin


I only got to play Aimon in one session, but it was hilarious and I intend to bring him back someday.

Aimon the Younger is a 89-year old assassin. He does not remember who Aimon the Older was, or how all these stolen goods ended up in his possession. He’s what I describe as an “absent-minded kleptomaniac” and I never made sleight of hand rolls for him. Every once in a while, the DM would just tell me what I had ended up stealing whenever the rest of the group took their eyes off me for a few seconds.

However, despite being mostly senile, he was surprisingly effective in combat. Be nice to your elders, kids… or you might just lose a kidney.

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Krigslive XIV – Giving Danish LARP a Shot

Krigslive Sollands Sidste

What’s this? Krigslive? You mean a LARP write-up that isn’t about Witcher School?

Strange days, indeed!

Krigslive is a Danish LARP set in the Warhammer universe with focus on military life and huge battles. This year, the setting revolved around a religious conflict between the armies of the North – the followers of Ulric – and the South – worshippers of Sigmar.

My regiment was Solland’s Last, and we fought for the South. The regiment’s backstory revolved around most of us being descendents of the inhabitants of Solland, which was destroyed around 800 years ago. Our ultimate goal was to reclaim Solland as an independent territory. This was made rather interesting, since Solland is occupied by Nuln, and Nuln had a whopping three regiments fighting for the South.

This will come into play later.

This being the first Krigslive, not only for me, but for Solland’s Last as a regiment, there were a lot of growing pains in the beginning. I will skip over all the parts where we were tired, frustrated and outright growling at each other, because I don’t want to distract from all the fun we had in-between. Solland’s Last is filled with great people, and I hope they know I believe that, even though I ended up heading out on my own a lot of the time.

And even though I handed in my resignation on that last day…

But more on that later!

Krigslive Sollands Sidste

 

Setting Up Camp and Getting Kidnapped by Boozy Monks

We all arrived on Tuesday – the day before the game started – to set up camp. I think my fellow soldiers realized how absolutely incompetent I am at putting up tents, so I was quickly sent out on a scouting mission to locate water stations and bathroom facilities.

Turns out, I’m not any good at that, either.

We did eventually get everything set up, and in the evening we settled down around a fire.

And this is when things got weird for me.

You know when a monk – robe, shaved scalp, the whole nine yards – hands you a bottle of homebrewed beer, extends his hand and says “Let’s go on a raid”…?

Don’t take his hand. Be smarter than me.

During this Krigslive, I often had times where I wondered how the hell I had gotten myself into whatever situation I found myself in. The first time was when I was waltzing around the Nuln camp with a strange monk – neither of us actually knowing how to waltz – bottle of beer still clutched in one hand.

I wasn’t even drunk. Yet.

This was until my new monk friend decided we needed to go on a mission to locate cups for beer pong. And, obviously, the only place to acquire cups for beer pong was all the way over in the North camp.

Why did I agree to come along…?

Well, it was damn good beer, for one thing.

So, me and the monk ended up with our arms around each other, walking through the dark fields towards the North camp. We picked up another straggler along the way, and the monk started telling us a story about some guy who got attacked by a werewolf while out for a piss.

Eventually we got to the North camp, and since we weren’t officially in-game yet, I was introduced to half of the people there, only a couple of whom threatened to shoot me. I also met Frieda the Flexible.

Frieda was a ballista with a built-in compartment for beer. I was immediately in love.

After taste-testing whatever dubious alcoholic concoctions the men of the North offered me – and reminding the monk to get the cups we were actually there for – a few more drunkards joined our little entourage and followed us back to the North camp, where it turns out that everyone had long ago abandoned the idea of beer pong. A couple of Solland’s Last members managed to wrestle me away from the monk (who hadn’t let go of me for more than a couple of minutes at a time all night) and get me back to our camp where I was promptly asked to go to bed, since I was clearly not as sober as I had been the last time they saw me.

The Game Begins

I was feeling alright when I woke the next morning. I never get hungover, but my body usually punishes me harshly for not sleeping and eating enough on previous nights.

Turns out, my body was just waiting until after I ate breakfast to make its point.

The rest of the morning was a shitshow, basically. Not literally, luckily (those toilets were nasty enough as it was), but the stress of getting everything ready for the game to start is pretty hard to handle when you almost keel over every time you try to do something more strenuous than moving a cup.

Add to that the fact that my armor had been misplaced and no one could find it, and that I didn’t have the info I needed to make my character work in relation to the rest of company, and it’s safe to say that I was not feeling particularly ready by the time we were supposed to go in-game.

I was supposed to play the drill sergeant in charge of the recruits (though I eventually decided that this was not going to work out and demoted myself to Private), but at that point I just felt a desperate need to get away from the camp. I also felt a need for food, and I had heard rumors about people selling sausages during my scouting mission the day before, so I set out towards the in-game trading post placed between the North and the South camp.

This was the decision that would end up defining the rest of Krigslive for me.

At the trading post, I met the merchants, Alex and Owen. I’m going to blame everything that happened to me for the rest of the game on them, and there’s nothing they can do to stop me.

I ordered a sausage, only to discover that I was supposed to pay with in-game currency, not the actual money I had on me. Since I hadn’t been paid in-game yet, I made a deal with merchant Alex to spread the word about the trading post’s services and getting them some firewood, since they were running low.

I got my sausage, and – feeling a lot better already – I went back to my camp to find the rest of my company getting ready to head out for the first battle. Since I still didn’t have any armor, there wasn’t much else for me to do than to sit this one out, so I helped getting everyone else strapped into their armor, then waited for them to leave…

…so I could make one of the recruits left behind help me steal firewood for the merchants.

The Descent into Iniquity

Firewood theft aside, I would probably have been alright if that was where it had ended. I might still have been simply “Private Adler” by the time this LARP came to a close, but Alex just had to go and pay me extra for the firewood so that I had money on my hands at the very moment Owen put up the board with the Blood Bowl bracket.

I had decided to play a responsible character this time around, I swear. I was going to be a good little soldier who took her job seriously, and not the same kind of chaotic misfit I tend to play.

I hadn’t even thought of reading up on Ranald when I was trying to get into the Warhammer lore.

But alas, even the best-laid plans are doomed to fail.

This is an overly dramatic way of saying that I bet all the money I just earned on a deadly sports tournament.

My bets were as follow:

  • 20 marks on Owen’s Eagles
  • 30 marks on Middenland’s Killer Whales

Stay tuned for the following day’s results.

 

Invading the North Camp with Song

Having missed out on the first battle, I volunteered when the South camp’s Quartermaster asked for people for a reconnaissance mission. We were simply going to check on the various holy altars placed around the area.

Simple, right?

Well, it started out simple. There were a few skirmishes with patrols from the North camp, but all in all it was rather quiet.

Until the Quartermaster decided on going to the North camp.

He told us that the Northlingers had three relics in their camp, and that we should try to steal them. Obviously we couldn’t just walk in there in our Solland uniforms and take off with their artifacts, so we hatched a plan. It was the most stupid, foolish, suicidal plan we could have come up with.

It really shouldn’t have worked as well as it did.

We stripped three of our soldiers of the recognizable parts of their uniforms and sent them off by themselves. Then the rest of us took up position in view of the North camp.

And then we started singing.

We couldn’t have been more obvious if we tried. But as one of my comrades would later describe it: “Nothing to see here. Just me and fifteen of my heavily armed friends out for a stroll.”

We were marching so slowly that we barely lifted our feet, and singing so very loudly, that no one could have doubted we were trying to attract attention.

And we did.

At first, the North camp soldiers merely looked at us as if we were idiots, so we started singing even louder. The enemy soldiers were now approaching us slowly, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Behind them, completely unnoticed, our three incognito agents entered their camp, and we raised our voices once again. Luckily, Solland’s Last has marching songs with plenty of verse.

 

Hvis Sigmar gav os et tegn, var det ik’ så skidt endda
Hvis Sigmar gav os et tegn, var det ik’ så skidt endda
Hvis Sigmar gav os et tegn, var det ik’ så skidt endda
Åh, Sigmar, frels os nu

Bare Solland ville rejse sig igen
Bare Solland ville rejse sig igen
Bare Solland ville rejse sig igen
Åh, Sigmar, frels os nu

 

And that was about the time the North brought out their rifle regiment.

I firmly believe that you have not lived life to its fullest until you have been chased by half an army while still singing at the top of your lungs to drown out all the yelling and the rifle fire.

 

The Victory of Sigmar’s Sirens

I’m a little fussy on the details of our escape, but somehow we ended up at the road leading towards the tavern. We had a lieutenant with a bullet in her leg and absolutely no idea what had happened to the people we sent into the enemy camp, but as stopped by the side of the road, desperately trying to catch our breath, we saw a running figure in the distance.

It was one of our operatives, and she had succeeded.

Our victory cry as she dramatically fell to her knees with the relic raised in her hands could have been heard all the way back in the North camp.

We went back to report our success and hand over the relic to our general, the Arch Lecturer.

Then we went to the tavern.

The tavern at Krigslive was a neutral space, so soldiers of both camps were drinking together as we arrived. Some of us settled down by the fire with some guys we didn’t recognize, and it was only some time later one of them went:

“Wait… Were you the ones singing?”

“Yeah, that’s us. Were you the guys chasing us?”

“Nah, we were behind the rifle guys.”

This was when the North guys dubbed our party “Sigmar’s Sirens” and made us do an encore by the fire. Since most of us were so tired we couldn’t remember which verse came first, we just started making up lyrics, but nobody complained.

I ended up sitting with some lieutenant with a great hat. It soon became my hat, and I was informed that I was now Lieutenant of the 19th Hockland regiment of the North, because obviously the rank goes with the hat. I handed over my own beret and informed him that he was now Private Adler of Solland’s Last.

I’m not exactly sure who talked us out of just returning to the other’s camps and claiming our new roles in each other’s regiments, but it’s probably just as well.

 

Joining Together Against a Common Enemy

Another day dawned, and since I still didn’t know where my armor was, I decided that I wanted to take a break and relax a bit during the first battle of the day.

Clearly, the weather gods had other plans.

While the properly armored soldiers were out hitting each other in the head, those of us left in the South camp got to do some inter-regiment bonding when a storm hit and we had to spend the entire time running around saving everyone’s tents before they took off. I believe one guy taking a nap in his tent got a nasty surprise, but his company must have managed to fish him out.

We had just about managed to secure everything against the wind by the time the fighters got back.

That’s when the sky opened up.

Since we had had enough people left behind in the camp to secure things during the battle, we were also able to withstand the heavy downpour that followed in the next hours, but we soon heard that the North camp hadn’t been as lucky. Not only had they left almost no people behind, they were also located at the bottom of a hill and their soldiers had a longer walk back after the battle, so the rain had already started by the time they got to their camp.

A few of Solland’s Last suggested ceasing hostilities for now and went around recruiting people for a humanitarian mission. I stayed behind to make sure our camp was secure, but I hear that the South delegation was welcomed with open arms when they went to the North camp with coffee, hot chocolate, and some helping hands.

Did Someone Say Gambling?

The downpours kept coming with impressive regularity for most of the day, but I eventually managed to get to the trading post to check on the Blood Bowl results.

Neither my Eagles nor my Killer Whales let me down, and I won 160 marks.

Well, I had to keep going, right?

My new bets were:

  • 40 marks on Owen’s Eagles
  • 40 marks on Middenland’s Killer Whales
  • 20 marks on Nuln’s Cannons (in the Biggest Loser bracket)

By this time, the merchants had already dubbed Private Adler as their “first, best and worst customer” and this was a title that would stick for the entirety of the game.

They were also running low on firewood again, so I took the chance to earn some more money. And by “earning” I mean “discreetly trying to haul a wagon of stolen firewood out of the camp under the noses of the officers”.

The agreed price for the firewood had been 100 marks, but obviously Merchant Al tried to haggle. We settled on the original price, and me putting 20 of it on Reikland’s Reavers. The Reavers were fighting the Eagles (who I already had money on), but the Eagles’ sudden popularity had made their odds go up vastly since I placed my bets, so I thought I might as well cover all my bases.

Obviously, this meant I had to put 20 on Hockland’s Harpies in the Biggest Loser bracket as well, since it was the only fight I didn’t have a stake in yet.

This was when Alex handed me a strange, black coin and gave me an invitation to an “event” the following night.

Ranald coin Krigslive

I wonder what kind of event this little kitty could possibly grant access to…?

On an unrelated note, I spent the next four hours playing dice with the merchants and an assortment of soldiers from both North and South. At one point, we were playing with a captain and his sergeant from one of the Nuln regiments. The captain casually grabbed the sergeant’s pistol and informed us that he would have to shoot us if he lost.

Looking back, I really wish I had remembered this man’s face, because I might have made better decisions the following night if I had…

Fortunately, no one ended up getting shot. I did, however, both win a lot of money and lose it all again. I also learned that smutty artwork was valid currency when making bets, a fact that everyone except me seemed to know. I then said the words I would come to swallow within a few hours:

“We don’t have any smut in Solland’s Last’s camp. It’s all very boring.”

Croquis Sessions and a Wedding

It had somehow slipped my mind that the captain of Solland’s Last was getting married to the captain of another South regiment, Sortensol, and that my hours long absence might be noted if I was late for the honor guard, so in the end I made my way back to the camp.

Weirdly enough, I couldn’t find any of my fellow Sollanders, so I ducked my head into the main tent.

I’m not sure what I had expected, but I feel I can confidently say that it wasn’t a half-naked Nuln soldier posing for an art class against the tent pole.

Since there were no words that seemed suitable, I just sat down on the nearest bed, where Solland’s Last’s herbalist proudly showed me her artwork of the North army’s general. For the sake of keeping this blog post somewhat family friendly, I will say that at least he was still wearing his fur cloak…

The rest of my company were drawing the Nuln soldier (who I’m still not sure wasn’t being held against his will) while he posed in various ways. At one point, an NPC stuck her head into the tent, looking for someone, and I jokingly told her she could come in if she stuck some money in the model’s pants.

She tucked 30 marks in there and made herself comfortable.

Her partner poked his head in looking for her at one point, then quickly backed out again. He was still waiting outside awkwardly about thirty minutes later.

Also, I have photographic evidence of this entire thing, but out of respect for the poor man’s dignity – and the desire to hang on to blackmail material – I have only posted it in Solland’s Last’s private Facebook group…

We eventually had to wrap up this bachelorette party – then there’s that much smut, it’s still a bachelorette party, even if the bride didn’t have time to attend – and get ready to escort our captain to her wedding.

Krigslive Bryllup

We walked in formation to the altar of Sigmar and took up position with the soldiers of Sortensol to create an arch with our weapons. Our captain went to the altar to await her blushing groom, warhammer and shield by her side. Sortensol’s captain was escorted, modestly wearing a veil, so the bride would not see his moustache until they were officially wed. As is only proper.

The Arch Lecturer performed the ceremony, and it was a very beautiful occassion.

Any choking sounds heard can be attributed to this, and had absolutely nothing to do with the members of the honor guards trying not to burst out laughing whenever they made eye contact with each other.

We then marched the happy couple to the tavern for the wedding feast, which I soon had to leave to go chase zombies in the dark.

You know how it is.

Some More of Me Doing Basically Nothing

I think I might have gone into a coma that night, because I woke up to discover that part of the tent had collapsed on top of my face at some point. I got up, got dressed, ate some breakfast and fixed the tent, just in time to head inside to wait out another bout of heavy rain. I decided I was just going to lay back and rest until the weather cleared…

I woke three hours later. Apparently one of the others had been going in and out of the tent a dozen times, and accidentally knocking stuff over, but I had been dead to the world.

Suffice to say, I had skipped out on that morning’s battle as well.

With my Post-Larp shutdown out of the way several days early, I set off toward the trading post. Owen saw me coming from far off, spread his arms, and yelled, “Ah, Adler! My favorite customer!” I mimicked the gesture and yelled back, “I’m here to take your money!”

As you can see, we had a beautiful friendship going on.

And I put my money were my mouth was. Or, rather, his money. Looking at the Blood Bowl bracket, I concluded that I had won as many bets as I possibly could have. The only reason I had lost on anything at all was because I had bet on both teams in one of the matches. I won 310 marks in all, and – since this post is basically just a glorified gambling ledger – here’s the winning teams:

Main tournament – Semi finals:

  • Reikland’s Reavers
  • Middenland’s Killer Whales

Biggest Loser – Semi finals:

  • Nuln’s Cannons
  • Hockland’s Harpies

It was almost nostalgic placing my last Blood Bowl bets of this Krigslive, but the next two matches were the finals. I put 100 marks on the Killer Whales, since they had yet to let me down, and 50 marks on Nuln’s Cannons.

Then I sat down next to Alex and didn’t leave for the next four hours. One of the North guys I had gambled with the day before came by and asked if I just lived there now, and the general consensus seemed to be that, yes, I was now a semi-permanent feature of the trading post.

The rest of the afternoon passed quite peacefully, apart from Alex yelling at a plane flying low over the field.

“Get off my fucking lawn! Fucking dragons…”

Krigslive Merchant Al

I have no other photos that fits in this part, so here’s a picture of Alex after he nicked the hat and cloak of the North’s Inspector. 

Running Out of Luck

I did eventually head back to the Solland’s Last camp. But that was mostly because I had finished up eating the merchants’ food and drinking their beer, and now figured I would go and eat the camp food I had actually paid for. Besides, I needed to get ready for the event. At this time, I knew that at least one other member from Solland’s Last had received a coin and an invitation (in-game name of Katrine) and I wanted to pick her up so we could go together.

Just in case it was all a trap and we’d be getting ambushed, you know.

Oh, and I also wanted to get my pay for all that soldiering that I most definitely didn’t do. I needed all the money I could get my hands on. I might not have known much about what was going down that night, but I was pretty certain it would involve coin changing hands.

Repeatedly.

The next few hours went by with Katrine pestering every officer she could find about when we would be getting paid, and me casually asking people if they wanted to bet money on whether or not my luck would last. Fiona, our herbalist, handed over 20 marks, and Lau – another Private – carved me a small wooden die as a lucky totem.

The rest of Solland’s Last just pointedly pretended not to hear me making obvious plans to indulge in activities outlawed by our lieutenant.

The very second said lieutenant handed over the day’s pay, Katrine and I shot off to go check the Blood Bowl results before we had to go to the meeting spot for the event.

But we were both out of luck there. Me, because I had lost on the Blood Bowl for the first time despite my frequent previous bets – and I lost on both matches! – and Katrine because she had asked Owen to put her money on whatever I – who, at that point, had a reputation for winning everything – had bet on.

This didn’t bode super well.

Alex must have thought the same thing, because he sidled up next to us and asked us how much money we had brought for tonight. We told him.

Honestly, if this had been real life, we would basically have served ourselves up for a mugging by going to this thing.

Not quite confident in our chances with our current finances, Alex offered to sponsor both of us, in exchange for half of our potential winnings. As I had a total of 370 marks, and Katrine had 120, he said he would cover the difference that would bring us both to 500 marks.

I pulled Katrine aside, asked her if she wanted to sponsor me with her 120 marks and then accept Alex’s deal for 380, so that we could both play, but only give the merchant a stake in one of our victories.

As I told Alex later that evening, it wasn’t cheating. Just good ol’ trickery. Ranald would approve.

Luckily, Katrine was up for being my partner-in-not-quite-crime. She handed over her money, went back to accept Alex’s deal, and off we went to the meeting place.

Quite Possibly the Weirdest Night of My LARP Life

We approached the meeting place and quickly spotted a shady looking individual, who waved us on after we presented our black coins to him. We walked up to the secluded spot by the woods – a marvelous place for an ambush. Just saying – where several of our buddies from Sortensol were already gathered. Including their captain, who looked rather sheepish as we were joined by a third member from Solland’s Last, and said, “You didn’t bring my wife, did you…?”

Well, guys, this is when things get properly weird.

Once everyone had arrived, we were herded a bit further into the forest. There, we were all asked to put on blindfolds.

You know the night won’t end well when this is how it starts.

Now all blindfolded, we were made to hold on to a long rope and follow. The next 15 minutes were us being led around blindly in circles, constantly stepping on each other’s feet and – though I can only speak for myself here – wondering if we were going to get murdered. These fears weren’t completely laid to rest once we arrived at our destination and removed the blindfolds to find ourselves in a dark room, dimly lit by red light.

We were asked to sit down at the tables placed around the room and we awkwardly did so. I ended up separated from my fellow Sollanders, but beers had been placed in front of us, so I figured I would be alright.

I’m not sure why, but I feel convinced that you serve wine at ritual mass murders.

A man in shabby robes, who I vaguely recalled to be the keeper of the tavern – and, if I hadn’t been gambling elsewhere, would have known to be a priest of Ranald even before that evening – called for us to be quiet and started speaking. In case we had held any doubt about who the patron god of the event was, the priest called attention to the altar of Ranald placed at the far end of the room, and told us about how the Givers of Coin (and that’s when I noticed Alex and Owen lurking in the shadows) were working towards creating a church for Ranald and his followers. He gestured Alex forward and the merchant began telling us why we were there.

We were going to have a dice tournament. It was going to be an all-or-nothing game, though we could bow out at any time if we wished. If we chose to leave while we still had money, we could chose to donate whatever we had left at the altar of Ranald. Otherwise, in Alex’s words:

“If you leave here with coin, we’ll allow you… but we can’t guarantee your safety.”

Do I need to tell you that every single person made sure to donate their remaining money before leaving the game that night…?

To the future winner, Alex told them that they could choose to donate all their winnings to help build the church of Ranald, but unlike the others, their safety would be guaranteed if they decided to leave with the money.

Time to begin the game.

Alex was the dealer for my table, but the familiar face didn’t bring me much luck. I lost round after round, rolling the crappiest numbers I ever have outside of healing critical fights in Dungeons & Dragons. I was convinced I was going to be one of the first to leave.

Oh, and when you left the game, you had to leave the room. A couple of guards very helpfully ‘escorted’ you out the door…

I was almost out of coin when my luck finally turned. And when I finally won a round, Alex started the next one by saying,

“Solland’s Last goes first.”

That might just have to become my new catchphrase, because once he had said this five rounds in a row, these words now just made everyone else at the table groan. And unbelieveably, I was still going by the time the other tables had emptied and the last-standing players came to join us for the final part of the game.

Believe it or not, but despite every single one of my roleplaying characters having gambling problems, I don’t really gamble in real life. Had it been real money on the line, I wouldn’t have been able to handle how utterly intense this game got. We were 6 or 7 players left – a majority of them from Nuln regiments – and the game constantly changed in a new person’s favor.

I think we were 4 players left when the final round came, but honestly, I can’t be sure. A mixture of disbelief at still being there, the pressure of the game, and those very strong, sweet-tasting cocktails they had started serving us instead of beer, makes the entire thing a little bit hazy.

But I do remember a few crucial details:

The buy-in for the final round was 3200 marks.

I only had 620 left.

The Ranald priest lurking behind me said that the church would sponsor those of us left who couldn’t afford the buy-in, so we all remained at the table. I was the second to roll.

And I rolled great. Something between a cheer and a groan came from the rest of the players, but I was still convinced that my luck couldn’t last. However, the Nuln soldier next to me made an awful roll. In the end, there was only one guy left who needed to make his roll. I was vaguely aware that I had seen him before, but I didn’t manage to place him until around 5 am when I was lying in my tent, trying to go to sleep.

To give you guys some insight I really would have liked at this point, I’ll refer you back to the earlier part of this post about the Nuln captain who threatened to shoot me.

Moving on…

This guy picked up the dice, held them in his hand, looked me intently in the eye across the candle-lit table, and told me that if he lost this roll, he would be okay with losing to me. Then he said this,

“If I do lose this roll… Will you take my hand in marriage?”

I wish someone had been taking photos in there, because I’m kind of curious to see the look on my face at that moment. It took me a moment to find the words to reply,

“I’m sorry, what? You’re saying I should marry you if I win everything?”

Gotta respect a man who looks you straight in the eye at a time like that and just goes, “Yes.”

I think my brain gave up on me at this point, because I don’t really remember what he said next, just that he kept going on and on, until I eventually shouted, “Okay yes, I’ll marry you. Just hurry up and lose already!”

He rolled, and the rest of the table started cheering when they saw how bad the numbers were. I just leaned back in my chair, and I think there might have been a slight bit of hysteria in my voice. “Wait, does that mean I’m getting married?”

I can’t even tell you how much money was in the final pool. The stack of notes was so huge that no one really wanted to count it all. However, half of it belonged to the church, as they had sponsored me. I had also vowed that half my future winnings for the rest of my life would be donated to Ranald, and at that moment I decided to also give half of my half of the evening’s winnings to fund the building of the church. I think it might have been because my overheating brain couldn’t quite figure out how I would fit all that money in my belt bag, anyway…

But it didn’t end there. At this point, the rest of the players had left the room, except for my new fiance, who was hovering by my shoulder like some captain-sized fly. The Ranald priest looked at me and asked me if I wanted the church I was helping to found to be an open church, as opposed to be secrecy of the traditional cult of Ranald. My to-be husband kept talking in my ear, telling me that I absolutely should not agree to create an open church.

I looked at him.

Then I looked at the guards by the door and said,

“Is he still supposed to be in here?”

I think it was this moment, as my future husband was physically thrown out of the room after a few words from me, that I realized this night might not have been so bad after all.

The priest watched dispassionately as the guards returned, then casually said that if I wanted to get rid of him – meaning my fiance – it could be arranged.

This was probably why I accepted when he offered me the chance to be in charge of the new church as its High Priestess. After all, every little girl dreams of growing up to have henchmen who will assassinate the guy she agrees to marry on a whim.

I also said that I wanted to create an open church of Ranald. Admittedly, at this time it was mostly out of spite, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized that I could make it work. Because I never said everything had to be out in the open, right? As I would later try to explain to my husband – who was way too drunk to listen to a word I said – Ranald is also the god of con artists, and every good con artist knows the value of misdirection. Make sure people see what you want them to see, and you can keep doing all kinds of things unnoticed in the shadows.

But, yeah… Mostly it was out of spite.

Another Wedding (Because I was Too Slow in Accepting an Assassination Offer)

Once again, most of what follows is kind of a blur. I’m not sure what was in those drinks they gave us at the high-roller table, but they hit like a sack of bricks.

Or maybe it was just the hysteria. Who’s to say?

But I do know that my new fiance was let back in the room after the priest and I finished the details of our agreement. Since I was actually supposed to keep a fourth of my winnings, but nobody wanted to count out how much this would be, the priest just handed me the 700 marks he happened to have on him, which was fine with me, since I just needed to pay my ‘other’ sponsors. Now, I finally got the chance to ask my husband-to-be his name and found out I was marrying Captain Wilhelm Kessler of the 8th Nuln regiment*1.

I also found out that it was happening now.

I had barely stashed away my stack of money before the priest made an announcement and told everyone to prepare for the wedding.

It’s safe to say that I was not prepared.

But no one cared what I thought. Suddenly I was sat down by the altar of Ranald, my index finger wrapped around that of Captain Kessler, while the priest performed the ceremony. I’m not even sure when he arrived, but suddenly my husband dragged me forward and offered our joined hands to the Arch Lecturer – to the general for the entire South army – who kissed them and gave us his blessing.

If I hadn’t already lost the last of my sanity, I just gave up and allowed it to flee for safety at that point.

I was now married and stood around blankly accepting congratulations from various people. I was rescued briefly by Katrine who had reappeared at some point and was now trying not to break down laughing. Apparently she had been waiting outside with one of the Nuln soldiers that had been playing at my table, who kept talking about how he was “in love with my dagger-shooting eyes” and she found it absolutely hilarious that I married his captain in the short time between he was thrown out of the room till they were allowed in again.

I never did find out which Nuln soldier she was talking about, but dagger-shooting eyes is the kind of compliment I appreciate. So thank you.

I also found out that my new husband was rich. Apparently I had married some nobleman’s son and he was absolutely thrilled with how pissed-off his father was going to be that he had married some peasant (who was now also the High Priestess of a god his son should probably not be affiliated with).

Later that night, I did wonder out loud to Katrine who of us would get the other assassinated first. Either way, our marriage seemed to have an expiration date.

For the rest of the night, I just went along with the whole thing. My husband led me by the hand around the tavern (did I mention that the super-secret event location turned out to be in the tavern?) and made everybody kiss my hand as he introduced me as Frau Kessler, and then, the new High Priestess of Ranald. I would have preferred it the other way around, but I was still too shell-shocked to offer much protest. My husband – it feels bizarre every time I write that word – also demanded nearly everyone we encountered give me a wedding present. Trying to live up to my new position, I made all who tried to give me money donate it at the altar of Ranald instead, but I did end up having to accept various other items. A surprising number of people gave me smut as a wedding present, but I also ended up with a wooden die and a box of “bad schnapps” – courtesy of the Ranald priest – which I made one of my husband’s subordinates carry back to the camp and never saw again.

I was also introduced to another guy from the Nuln regiment – I think he might have been a corporal – whom my husband told me would do anything I told him to. He told me to make him do something, and I just looked at the man and told him to give me his hat. He obediently handed it to me.

I think one of the last things that happened before Katrine helped me convince some of the Nuln soldiers to take their captain back to their camp – so I could flee from the man who hadn’t let go of my hand for more than 30 seconds at a time – was that the Quartermaster and the Tactician of the South army asked to talk to me and my husband. The Tactician gracefully congratulated us on our marriage, but also expressed a desire to hold a ceremony where we would be ordained under the “right” god – meaning Sigmar – the following day. My dear husband was already beginning to sprout more half-drunk demands, so I told him to shut up, then kindly informed the Tactician that we had already been married under the god of whose church I had now been appointed High Priestess of.

I do hope I managed to use my ‘dagger-shooting’ eyes here, even as I smiled.

It was really mostly for show. As a follower of Ranald, I felt it was my duty to make this high-ranking posh boy sweat a bit, but as I wanted a public church of Ranald, getting the general to bless its High Priestess in front of the entire South army would help to cement my position.

Plus, it would be hilarious.

After getting corrected about four times, the Tactician finally surrendered and changed his wording from right god to Sigmar, and ensured me they wanted to work together with my new church. So I agreed to be married (again) by a Sigmar priest, and my husband offered up my hand for the Tactician to kiss, which he did gracefully. Then Captain Kessler turned and offered up my hand to the Quartermaster, who just looked at us with a stony face. After about a minute of this stand-off, my husband literally shoved my hand in the Quartermaster’s face, so he didn’t so much kiss my hand as my hand kissed him.

Good thing Kindra Adler doesn’t get easily embarrassed, because Michelle Louring is still slightly mortified when she thinks back on this scene.

But as I mentioned, after this, Katrine was able to rescue me and bring me back to our camp. I don’t think we had been out of earshot of other players for more than a few seconds before we both went off-game and broke down laughing. It didn’t help when I realized I was still wearing the Nuln corporal’s hat and that I had no idea where my own had disappeared off to.

We were still way too giddy from the bizarreness of the evening by the time we got back to the camp to go to sleep, and we could hear people still up and about in the Freiburg camp next to ours, so we decided to join them for a bit. Lo and behold, who would we find there but my dear husband, sitting together with Alex the Merchant and a few other people?

My husband grabbed my hand as soon as he saw me and pointed to the guy sitting next to him, telling me he was awfully grabby and asking me to make him stop. I put a kind arm around my husband’s shoulders and told him that he was a grown, independant man and that he could handle this himself. Captain Kessler turned to the grabby guy, and said flatly,

“The wife says no.”

Eventually, Katrine and I dragged him off – after he had decided to pay off Alex (who was not happy after learning about the little sponsor arrangement between me and Katrine) so that he would stop threatening me with retribution – and made him go to bed, before turning in ourselves.

It was about 4.30 am by that time, and both me and Katrine’s off-game counterpart would start randomly giggling uncontrollably with regular intervals for a long time after we had both gone to bed.

 

The Morning After (or, ‘What the Hell Happened Last Night?’)

I don’t really drink that much, and when I do, I have a hard time getting truly drunk, so my real life hasn’t offered many mornings where I have woken up and wondered what exactly I had gotten into the night before.

You get so many new experiences with LARP!

I remember making eye-contact with Katrine, who asked me – quite gleefully – if I was ready to tell the captain, and I just let oout a pitiful groan.

I did mention that gambling is outlawed and that Solland’s Last hates Nuln passionately, right?

I stumbled out of bed, got dressed, and then put on the hat I stole (does it count as ‘stealing’ when I was just grossly abusing my new position…?) the night before, then exited the tent with a grinning Katrine behind me. Solland’s Last’s lieutenant looked me up and down as I was eating my breakfast. She asked me where my beret was, and I truthfully told her that I had absolutely no idea.

I believe Katrine was still trying not to burst out laughing.

As I sat there, trying to figure out how the hell I was going to break the news to my company, one of my fellow soldiers set me up more perfectly than if we had planned it. She sheepishly called for the regiment’s attention, then hung her head in shame and addressed our captain.

“Captain, I have an admission. I, I put 10 marks on the snail race last night.”

Her display of utter contrition, and the captain’s reluctant forgiveness of her transgression was all the cue I needed to stand up and clear my throat.

“Well, while we’re at it, I also have an admission. Or two. Possibly three.”

I then turned to the captain.

“Captain, I regret to inform you of this, but I will have to hand in my resignation.”

Captain Aria Fux of Solland’s Last raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Yesterday, I was offered a new position and I decided to accept it.”

“What kind of position?”

Once again, I could see Katrine grinning in the background as I answered.

“I have been charged with leading the new church of Ranald as its High Priestess.”

At this, the captain blinked a few times to compose herself. “You have what?”

I bowed my head, grimacing slightly.

“It gets worse. I have also married Captain Kessler of 8th Nuln.”

The captain just shook her head, clearly not prepared to deal with this madness first thing in the morning.

“We’ll talk about this later.”

And so ends the story of Private Adler. There was still the last battle between the armies before the game was officially over, but not much more interesting happened roleplay-wise. But I did run into my “husband” by the restroom a little later, getting a chance for a brief off-game chat, that mostly boiled down to him telling me, “Bloody hell, you’re mean. But it’s awesome!”

And as we all know, that’s my aim in life.

Fast forward to that evening at the afterparty, where I spent most of my time glaring at young people and wondering how much alcohol was needed to enjoy techno music, until eventually Owen the Merchant (or his off-game counterpart, that is) made it his mission to make me stop acting like a grumpy old man. I don’t know that he had much success, but I appreciate the distraction.

And it was almost worth suffering through the terrible, for a lack of better word, music*2, just because I kept running into people that would bow as they greeted me, because they had been around when I was made High Priestess. I definitely need to stop playing characters of low standing, because I could get used to this.

I also ended up talking to my monk friend from the first night. I don’t think he was any more sober than he was back then, so our conversation went something like this:

“Oh, I got married.”

“To whom?”

“Captain Kessler of Nuln.”

“I’m sorry, but I might have to kill him.”

It’s truly heartwarming how many people are offering to kill my Krigslive husband.


And that’s it, really. I honestly hadn’t expected to get enough roleplaying experiences for a write-up post from this, because Krigslive is mostly seen as being about, and I quote, “Getting drunk and hitting people with foam sticks”, so I’m pleasantly surprised at how much roleplaying I got to do at a LARP where the roleplay aspect is such a minor part of the game. Of course, I got to roleplay this much because I barely got to do any fighting, but in the end, I’m pretty sure I had more fun like this.

Maybe I will give soldier life another try sometime, but for now I’m content with being the Queen of Gambling.

If you’re new to the blog and enjoyed this rambling mess of a LARP write-up, be sure to check out my other geeky posts. We got more LARP, a bit of Dungeons & Dragons, and some video gaming. I probably have some ramblings about swords as well.

 

Footnotes:

*1 It could be 13th Nuln. Hell, it might even be 32nd. I was both so intoxicated and sleep-deprived that it’s a wonder I can even remember the name of the guy I married!

*2 I’m the oldest 28 year old you will ever encounter at a party. 

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Adventures in World of Warcraft Shadowlands

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Bastion Statue

We’re taking a break from our scheduled book content to give you a gaming post. This is, of course, in celebration of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the new expansion to the game I have been playing for 15 years, like some loon with game Stockholm Syndrome.

Even though I have not played for more than a year – and though I actually missed the (first) release date announcement for Shadowlands – I had to come back. More out of habit than anything.

I reactivated my subscription a couple of days before the Shadowlands launch, so I would have time to do the pre-patch content. I’ll sum it up like this:

“Not much is going on here, I’ll just–ARRRRGH, ZOMBIES!”

…Which brings us to Shadowlands.

Basically, Sylvanas steals the Lich King’s hat, breaks the world, and then kidnaps a bunch of Horde and Alliance leaders, forcing us to do something about it.

It sounds lame when I tell you about it, but the cinematics are pretty damn cool.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Cinematic Trailer

By the way, is nobody feeling guilty about leaving Bolvar sitting on a block of ice since 2009…? If we’re going into the realm of the dead to rescue Jaina and Thrall, surely we could have at least tried to find a way to save the Highlord from the Lich King’s influence without everything going to hell (literally).

He seems cool with it, though.

Cool, heh…

Yeah, I’m just going to roll with this, and not edit out unintentional puns. You have been warned.

The Maw

World of Warcraft Shadowlands The Maw

I don’t have that much to say about our intro into the Shadowlands. We go in, we kill some poor, tormented dead people, we find Jaina and the others rather easily… and then completely fails at rescuing them. ending with Anduin sacrificing himself to save us.

Damn it, Anduin, why do you think we went here to begin with?!

Oribos

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Oribos

We arrive at the center of the Shadowlands, and amazingly we’re not executed on sight. We meet the Arbiter, who’s supposed to be judging every soul entering the Shadowlands, but she’s been sleeping on the job and allowing everything to go… well, to hell.

And, really, what is up with these shady as fuck headless traders everywhere? The inhabits of Oribos admits to having no concept of possessing stuff, so what are all these foreign traders doing here? Where did they come from? Why don’t they have heads?!

I think I need to go lie down…

 

Bastion

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Bastion Statue

Bastion is the first leveling zone we get to. There’s a lot of blue people there.

My initial impression of Bastion was that it was reeeally pretty. Utterly gorgeous, really. And then…

“Owl creatures… There are owl creatures here…”

These ‘stewards’ seem to have been created from my nightmares. They’re ridiculously cute and eager-to-please, with squeaky, happy voices, but I have lived with a cute-looking owl for far too long to fall for the innocent facade.

Obviously, these things are the main villains of this expansion.

 

Maldraxxus

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Maldraxxus

The Kyrian of Bastion were very welcoming.

The Necrolords in Maldraxxus threw me into a free-for-all melee within five minutes of arrival.

Different attitudes, you know.

I liked Maldraxxus. It’s the kind of place where everyone – from tough warrior women to slime-obsessed plague doctors that lost their minds long ago – can rise through the ranks.

The crazy necromancers trying to kill you is just part of the deal.

 

Ardenweald

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Ardenweald

Ah, Ardenweald… A beautiful, tranquil forest filled with happy Fae and… you know, the horrible corruption that makes everyone go insane and kill their friends.

Happy people makes for poor quests.

Speaking of quests, could I please get the option to say no when I’m traveling through an empty forest and happen upon a crying girl asking for me to help her sick granny? My only thought was that this was a trap.

It was indeed a trap.

My last comment on Ardenweald is this:

Oh my god, ghost otters! <3

 

Revendreth

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Revendreth

This place is all vampires and gargoyles. I love it.

Also, I’m really digging the Venthyr’s fashion sense. If you’re going to be arrogant assholes involved in corruption, you should do so while looking fabulous.

And you should definitely get a crossbow… Even if you might end up in a three-way crossbow stand-off where you all eventually shoot each other.

…If anyone asks, that wasn’t my fault.


If you want to know what Covenant I ended up with: I went Night Fae on my mage. I’m not entirely sure why, but I cackled manically throughout the entire “Azeroth play” quest and I couldn’t stop. It’s not like the comment “You can’t just stab a planet!” is even funny, but for some reason it had me in stitches.

I’m a bit broken.

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The Bookish Owl – Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights

Dragon Age Tevinter Nights

Let’s get geeky with Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights!

This is a collection of short stories from the Dragon Age universe by several different authors. So many, in fact, that I’ll just list them at the end of the post, instead of at the top like usual.

As regular readers will know, I’m obsessed with the Dragon Age games and the lore behind them. So I had to read the antrology that’s clearly meant to create hype for the upcoming fourth Dragon Age game.

And guess what? I’m hyped.

The stories turned out to be much darker than I expected, but that is in no way a bad thing. There’s also some funny moments between all the horror, and I think Lessef from the story An Old Crow’s Old Tricks might be my new favorite character of all time. A tiny old lady, who’s a scary and professional assassin one moment, and the next jumps onto her servant’s shoulders and yells “Onward, to cookies!”

Definitely what I needed, after the nightmares The Horror of Hormak gave me…

Tevinter Nights include the following stories:

Three Trees to Midnight by Patrick Weekes
Down Among the Dead Men by Sylvia Feketekuty
The Horror of Hormak by John Epler
Callback by Lukas Kristjanson
Luck in the Gardens by Sylvia Feketekuty
Hunger by Brianne Battye
Murder by Death Mages by Caitlin Sullivan Kelly
The Streets of Minrathous by Brianne Battye
The Wigmaker by Courtney Woods
Genitivi Dies in the End by Lukas Kristjanson
Herold Had the Plan by Ryan Cormier
An Old Crow’s Old Tricks by Arone Le Bray
Eight Little Talons by Courtney Woods
Half Up Front by John Epler
Dread Wolf Take You by Patrick Weekes


Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights

Ancient horrors. Marauding invaders. Powerful mages. And a world that refuses to stay fixed.

Welcome to Thedas.

From the stoic Grey Wardens to the otherworldly Mortalitasi necromancers, from the proud Dalish elves to the underhanded Antivan Crow assassins, Dragon Age is filled with monsters, magic, and memorable characters making their way through dangerous world whose only constant is change.


Dragon Age Tevinter Night