The Beasts in the Woods

The weekend before last was the first event of the last season of Cottington Woods. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it there before late on Saturday evening, but I did have a lot of fun for the short time I was there. We had a one day event in January, but somehow it feels like it has been much longer since I was last in the Woods.

The weather has, of course, considerably improved since that snowy event. It was chilly (especially when the wind blew in from over the ice on the lake), but it wasn’t so bad. The only real problem was the mud, which was bad enough to require a four wheel drive truck to ferry people and equipment up and down the main road, leaving deep, squelchy ruts for me to clumsily trip over a few times.

The lovely, ice-capped lake in Cottington Woods.

The theme for the weekend was the tale of Beauty and the Beast, but with a dark twist. A ghost named Maurice showed up at the Cotting House, repeatedly asking for help for his daughter. She had been cursed to bring out the beast in all men, and now men from their village were vanishing. Over the weekend, the PCs had to prepare the spell to undo the curse and perform it while fighting off the monsters the poor men had become.

Being a LARP about fairy tales, Cottington has an ongoing theme of tales-within-tales. When NPCs come out to tell stories to PCs, we’re often drawn into the tale to watch the story play out for ourselves, sometimes even taking on roles within it. Late Saturday night, one of the witches of the woods brought us out to tell the story of how a Riding Hood had traded the heart of a faerie for a curse that would hide him. And on Sunday morning, Robin Hood brought a number of woodlanders into one of his adventures, though he and Brother Tuck disagreed on some of the details (and amusingly, the scenes around us shifted back and forth while they argued.)

Other adventures we had included fighting off fungus-infected creatures of the woods, retrieving three keys from the shadow-infested Goblin City, and helping Dr. Julius Green (ersatz Jules Verne) retrieve the crystal that powers one of his machines. And during one of my favorite moments of the weekend, a number of animated mops and buckets invaded the tavern, making a general nuisance of themselves while The Sorcerer’s Apprentice played on a guitar in the background. (Our resident scarecrow was inspired to write a limerick. There once was a magical bucket…)

We capped the event off by aiding the High King in sneaking back into his own throne room, which had been taken over by his cursed queen.

It’s so hard to believe the last year of Cottington Woods has begun. I’m looking forward to the next spring event, but before that, the first event of Fifth Gate is coming up in a little over a week. I have sewing supplies for costuming and shield covers all over the place, and the members of my warband are busy working out character builds. I think it will be very strange for me to play a character other than Quill in a boffer campaign…

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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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