The Woodland Fair

This past Saturday was the summer one-day event of Cottington Woods, the fairy tale themed campaign boffer LARP. In game, it was the Woodland Fair, a day where all of the characters gathered to enjoy a festival. There were games, performances, contests, singing, dancing, and tons of food. But it wasn’t all peaceful- there was a fair bit of danger as well.

As I mentioned, I decided to create a new costume for my character, Quill, the wind-up doll turned priest (well, priest-in-training. But she has the priest header.) Up until now, I’ve been wearing her priestly garb to all events, but I thought the Woodland Fair was a nice excuse to wear something more festive. The outfit came out very dolly-like, all pink and fluffy with bows and ribbons- and it got a reaction out of the crowd. I think it made a lot of people smile.

The Summer Tree and Quill

At the Woodland Fair, I…

…helped decorate the Summer Tree

…met residents and staff of the Asylum

…bought flowers and gave some to the Prince of Hearts

…learned to play the Game of Graces. (A nineteenth century game played with sticks and decorated hoops)

…watched a shepherding contest run by Blue and Bo Peep. Among the contestants were a scarecrow (the sheep thought he was tasty), a shepherd, a brer sheep, a brer sheepdog, and a wolf.

…helped free the Muse with song, storytelling, and poetry

…signed up for the contest of strength (something like a caber toss) but unfortunately missed it

…helped hunt the silver tusked boar

…helped the Master of Ceremonies get her marbles back

…helped rescue a Riding Hood from wolves

…went into the forest and met the White Stag

…ate dinner where Lord Death and Nevermore the Raven were guests

…learned some traditional Renaissance style dances

…foolishly followed a will-o-the-wisp into the woods

…helped the king the Clublands fight off some angry trees

…helped break a lord free of a sleeping curse

…helped decode a message found in a tomb and return a spirit to rest

…tied for first place in an art contest

I think the highlight of the event, for me, was the dance. One of the bards played the music on her flute, while another PC lead a large group through the steps. It didn’t further any plot or offer any mechanical advantage, but it felt extremely immersive. I very much felt like part of a small community enjoying itself at a quaint festival. I hope we’ll have more of these types of events in the future.

And here are the final versions of the art I submitted to the art contest. I shaded the portrait on the left a bit more.

People actually did seem to recognize the portrait of my friend, which was very nice.

The illuminated poem was quite rushed,  so the text is sloppy and I made various small errors in my haste. But I’m still glad I had something in an illuminated style to submit, because it ties in to my character concept.

It’s “This Bridge” by Shel Silverstein, slightly altered to fit the setting of Cottington Woods. I also used this poem in place of a bio in the last Intercon booklet. To me, it reflects some of the reasons why I LARP.

Here is the original:

“This Bridge”

This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see;
Through gypsy camps and swirling arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wonderous worlds I’ve known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there-
The last few steps you’ll have to take alone.

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About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
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8 Responses to The Woodland Fair

  1. It is funny, but I was in-character confused because Quill looked wrong. I didn’t know how to react to dolly Quill. It was an impressive costume.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the dancing. For Bess, this is a passion, and it was great that she got to indulge in it freely.

    “This Bridge” is perhaps my favorite poems to read to my daughter, so your illumination brought out a big smile.

    • Fair Escape says:

      Thanks! It’s interesting that it wasn’t just the costume itself that got a reaction, but also the contrast with my usual costume.

      I hope we get more dancing opportunities- maybe celebrations or a masquerade ball or something!

  2. JJ says:

    Your new costume was awesome! 🙂

    And agreed, dancing was a ton of fun.

  3. I love your costume!–very gothic lolita, which is totally appropriate for a doll.

    I also really like what you did with the illuminated poem, and how you rewrote the name to give credit without breakin immersion 🙂 Very clever.

    I’m wondering, do you have any ideas for things we could do this weekend for the event we’re NPCing to liven things up? I know they suggested bringing musical instruments, but I am completely amusical. The closest I can do is recite poetry, but that seems… odd, for a culture that doesn’t rely on a written language.

    • Fair Escape says:

      Thanks! I thought the poetry contest was going to be mostly people reciting their own poems, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t accidentally stealing credit. (I also have credited song lyrics to “the Smith of Arrows”.)

      I actually think reciting poetry and stories is a great way to do it. A culture that doesn’t rely on a written language still passes on poetry and stories via memorization and recitation, right?

      What about simple board games? Chess and checkers are probably too involved and don’t feel very “non-Western” but I bet we could learn some simple Egyptian games like Tab. Mancala has apparently African origins (and lots of variations, I didn’t know that). I personally associate Backgammon with the Middle East. …And apparently it has roots in Iran. They’re all simple enough that we can carry on in-character conversations with PCs while we play.

      • Oh, I didn’t think of board games! I admit, I know nothing about mancala or backgammon… you might have to teach me 🙂

        I’ll have to think if I know any good poetry. Most of what I know is Edna St. Vincent Millay, which doesn’t quite work 😉

  4. If you have an appropriate memorized poem or riddle, that would work. I have heard there will be games set up. The npc to pc ratio is over 2 to 1, so we may have to create some of our own fun.

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