At the end of last May, the spring event of Fifth Gate: Silverfire. Fifth Gate, for those who don’t know, is one of the local boffer campaigns that has two parts: Silverfire, a high fantasy world, and Wrathborn, a post-apocalyptic world. Each world has one event in the spring, one in the fall, and together, we have one large combined event in the winter where the denizens of both worlds come together.
This past event was Silverfire’s first since meeting the Survivors of the Wrathborn world at the first combined event. We also had a one day dinner event in January to mark the end of our time in the Crossroads between the worlds and say goodbye before returning to our own realms. I had considered switching over to the Wrathborn side for a year — that is, my character would have left the dinner with the Survivors and gone with them to their bleak world. But sadly, their spring event conflicted with my schedule, and missing one out of two events seemed like a shame. Oh, well, there’s always next year. One Survivor from the Wrathborn world did join us Champions for the year in the Silverfire world. It made for great roleplay opportunities as he learned about our world firsthand. He also proved amazingly useful in a battle on Sunday, when our enemies used magic to slow us all, but he was able to remove that curse from a number of us, enabling us to move quickly between the various points on the field we were trying to defend.
The weekend opened with all of us being lead into the dark to witness a vision of the Silverfire King (a one-time hero who turned on us; many Champions now call him the Silverfire Tyrant) trying to force his former allies to forswear their Orders and pledge allegiance to him. Through various rituals, we were able to save some of them. We spent much of the weekend working on weakening the king by taking down some of his allies, the Silversmith and his bodyguards. After the rescues, some of our allies came by with a giant map of the region and updated us on the political and social changes that had occurred in our absence while we were in the Crossroads between the worlds.
On Saturday, almost immediately after I woke up, we heard rumors of Silverfire knights roaming the woods and attempting to infuse our cabins and tents with Silver. We weren’t entirely sure what the consequences would be, but we knew it would give the King an advantage over us we couldn’t afford, so we ran off to defend our territory. The Eyrie had a dark, emotional moment when we were forced to slay an old member of our warband.
I think one of my favorite events of the weekend was when my Order, the Disciple of the Tempests, went into the mountains to face a foe called the Stormbreaker. On the same excursion, we had the chance to expand on our training by taking on the Aspects of different types of storms. One Disciple became a spirit of the Hurricane, another the spirit of a Typhoon. My character temporarily became a spirit of the Snowstorm. I particularly like such scenarios in Fifth Gate because they give players access to a new set of abilities and tactics to try out for a little while. (The lesson from this particular training session: archery in Fifth Gate is terrible against a shield wall, whatever gifts the Storm may give you.)
Sadly, I missed a few other encounters for the Disciples of the Tempest that sounded like a lot of fun. I’ve been hoping to spend more time with the Host of the Maelstrom, our counterparts in Stormcoast that party way harder than us Disciples. Hopefully, there will be more of them at the next event in the fall.
Late Saturday night, we got word that the forces of Ruin were attacking two Gates, and there were refugees attempting to flee to safety. We chose which Gate to defend (knowing what would befall the other Gate) and fought one of the toughest battles I’ve ever been in in all my years of boffer LARPing. We had known we wouldn’t be victorious, but we wanted to enable all of the refugees to escape and weaken the enemy as much as possible.
The battle devolved into what is often affectionately referred as a “Hedgehog of Doom“. (I don’t know if this terminology is common outside of the local Accelerant community.) The term “clusterfuck” got thrown around a lot, too. Basically, the enemies were very strong, with a few invulnerable (or near enough to it) creatures among them, and they were re-spawning in all directions in the dark, which resulted in us getting wrapped and then completely surrounded. We got tangled up into a tighter and tighter ball in the middle of the field until we reached the point where we were literally tripping over one another and too tightly clustered to swing weapons properly. When we finally bid a hasty retreat from the field, we left a significant number of dead behind on the field.
Personally, I prefer my boffer LARPs to have the occasional brutal, desperate sort of fight. A high number of combat encounters often feel as though PCs are highly likely, if not guaranteed to win (though this varies from game to game, of course,) so having these kinds of fights in a nice change of pace that reinforces the darkness and seriousness of the setting and the situations the PCs find themselves in. But once we began literally stepping on one another, the fun became compromised. We knew before the battle began that this wouldn’t be a victory — we’d just be trying to enable the escape of as many refugees as possible and hopefully take down a lieutenant or two in the process before running from the field, but it went much worse than expected, both from an in- and out-of-game perspective. There’s been a lot of discussion about it that should probably form the basis of its own post.
The event came to a close on Sunday after I fought in one more battle, this one against the Blightbinders, where the Survivor’s ability to remove the Slow effect came in handy.
It’s worth noting the roughest aspect of this weekend was the weather. It was unseasonably warm for May, in the 90s (mid-30s to you Celsius adherents) and extremely humid, which makes it the hottest LARPing event I’d ever played through. Combined with the intense humidity, the heat was brutal. It was hard to sleep on Friday night. Tellingly, players kept sneaking off to hang out in the walk-in fridge. (I was there a number of times myself.) I think the NPCs deserve massive kudos for being willing to fight in that weather. I don’t know if I would have been willing to do it, myself.
I had made a few new costuming pieces for my character to debut at the event, but it was so hot, I couldn’t stand to wear layers except late at night. I made a new tunic, a haori-like jacket out of what I personally consider to be the most beautiful fabric I’ve ever worked with — a textured blue koi fish print a friend shipped to me from Japan. I was so scared to cut it for fear of ruining it… and that fear proved founded when I finally got up the courage to sew with it. The jacket has some, let’s just say, construction issues. But it’s wearable.
I didn’t get any photos at the event, so I took some hasty selfies at home trying to show the layers of the outfit, which clearly did not come out well. I will try to get better photos soon.
It’s very disheartening but… it’s also incentive to keep improving my sewing skills, I guess. The staff of Fifth Gate has just announced that there will be a masquerade ball at the next capstone event, coming up in January, which I find to be incredibly exciting. I love a masquerade ball! It’s early, I know, but the announcement came early to afford us the opportunity to costume if we want to, and I really want to! I’ve already started up a pinterest board for inspiration, doodled up some design sketches, and went on a fabric scouting trip. I’ve also been poking around online to see what kind of fabrics I can order. Someone recently introduced me to SpoonFlower, and I’m somewhat addicted to it.
I can’t wait!