I know why most of you are here. To see a photo of me in my armour, so let’s get that out of the way. Please bear in mind that this photo was taken on the last day of DrachenFest when I was sunburnt and my hair hadn’t seen a hairbrush for a while.
And whilst we are in photo mode. Here are my two favourite photos from DrachenFest.
Now that the photo portion is over, for the time being, DrachenFest itself was epic. It was like nothing I have ever seen nor been involved in. Seeing an entire city and surrounding camps being built in just a day and a half is awe-inspiring. Seriously, they built a city containing shops, taverns, bakery, post office, library, various guilds and a jail. We even had a morning and evening edition of a DrachenFest newspaper. And in that city and surrounding camps lived 4,500 people wearing some of the most incredible costumes I have ever seen.
DrachenFest officially opens on the Tuesday night with the Ritualkreis (ritual circle) in which the Avatars are summoned. There is an Avatar for each camp, except the Orc camp, which doesn’t take part in nonsense like Avatars or battles to decide which Avatar is most powerful. They prefer to keep it simple and just try to kill everyone. The opening and closing Ritualkreis are a theatre production with lighting, music and pyrotechnics – all held in the middle of a field.
Wednesday starts with the Day of Peace which lasted for only 7 hours. The only reason it lasted for 7 hours was because it was 30C and too damn hot to try and kill anyone. Peace would have been over much sooner if the weather was cooler. DrachenFest is really not a peaceful place.
The rest of the week up until the Saturday was full of raids, small scale battles, dangerous walks to the city and the most exciting activity of all – going to take a shower. No, seriously, nothing is more thrilling then doing a 1.5km commando run at 2am in the morning hoping not to be killed by orcs so that one can merely have a shower. To be honest, it is surprising that we showered almost every day given what we had to go through.
Saturday was the day of the final battle, when 4,500 people and accompanying referees and paramedics (yes, even mock battles get dangerous) assemble on the battle field to fight it out. By this time alliances had formed between the different camps (except the Orcs, of course) and after the sounding of the cannon (yes, an actual cannon), full scale war broke out. There is nothing more thrilling or exciting than to be part of battle involving so many people. My job through most of DrachenFest and the final battle was to protect our healers, a job known as Heilerschutz. However, we won’t mention that partway through the final battle we lost track of just where our healers actually were. This is the problem with forming coalitions with other camps, you have to protect their healers as well as yours and when yours go wandering off, well… Let’s just say, no healers were hurt during the final battle and leave it at that.
After the final battle and before the closing Ritualkreis, things got weird. You aren’t supposed to fight after the final battle since the rankings have all been determined, but well when 4,500 people get kinda bored, you have silly mock battles taking place. I thought the final battle was pure chaos, but that is nothing compared to the chaos of bored LARPers on a cool afternoon. You also have two year olds (yes kids take part in DrachenFest too) running around with rubber knives killing people inside camp. There is nothing cuter than a 2 year old holding someone at knife point. Kid is going to an awesome LARPer when she gets older.
DrachenFest was an amazing experience and if you have any interest in LARP whatsoever and can get yourself to Germany, you have to go! DrachenFest is run in German, but there is enough international attendees that things are translated into English, when people remember. The most famous quote in our camp (Schwarzes Larger) was said by our Dutch players who got frustrated at hearing camp orders shouted out only in German and responded with ‘Say it in English, motherfucker’. This quote was repeated fairly often throughout the week, mostly in fun. However, camp orders, chants and slogans sound awesome in German and the English versions don’t sound nearly as cool. Seriously 250 people yelling out, ‘Für den Schwarzen, Alles muss enden, Alles wird enden’ sounds much better than people yelling out ‘For the black, All must end, All will end’. Trust me on this one.
Now for some more photos:
Many more photos of DrachenFest 2012 can be found here, all with captions so you know what you are looking at.
If you want to know how I handled coping with LARPing in German, that post can be found here.