LARP War Journal: Another Year, Another Bellum Adventure
This past week was my game’s big event of the year, Bellum Aeternus VII. Our biggest one because there’s no other time throughout the year where you could expect between 400-500 people participating whether there the full duration or making a day trip. Also our biggest in general since they added an extra day to this event making it five days in contrast to the usual four. While the seventh Bellum in the history of the game, for me this would be my fourth. Since starting, there hasn’t been one yet that I have missed. Always a great experience to spend with friends while escaping real world problems.
Day 1: If there was a difficult day, it would have been the first day. At first everything was great. Got to my group’s camping spot, was the first one there, set myself up, relaxed waiting for everyone else to slowly crawl in. The weather was fine as well on the way there and while setting up. It was only as the day passed when it hit that this was going to be the coldest day of the week. When I say cold, I meant cold even with heavier garb on. It was manageable once the welcome party began and there was a big fire to huddle around, though that could only do so much. Weather aside, the company for that first night was a good start for what I expected from the rest of the days. Beer, other drinks, random conversation with random people.
Day 2: Surprisingly got up bright and early the next morning when it came time to truly begin getting my camp together. We put up the walls, figured out where everyone was sitting, where the fire would be lit, where our meals would be made as well. Once that was done, just about everyone else had woken up at that point. We had our first meal, while at the same time getting down some details about the adventure we would be hosting later during the day. After this, I decided I would go check out the merchants who I found a few nice things from. It stung a bit that I couldn’t find as much as I did last year, though also probably for the best that I wasn’t killing my wallet again.
So getting back to camp, it was then time to prepare for the adventure. What we put together was a scenario where the veil was weakened between the world of man and fey. We had three factions: The Trolls, Elves, and Vikings. The Trolls and Elves had a treaty, though they secretly still hated each other. We pretty much were giving random quests between the three factions. They either made sense or they didn’t. The most fun was getting the players to kill each other or do something to the other faction. The rewards were cards that they had to make a hand out of. I was a Troll which was a fitting role for me. This was the first time I was toying with paints even though it is a pain to make colors like red show on my skin. That aside, the adventure was fun when it came to players constantly running with our requests. We even made something out of bananas that we just kept getting back bruised and mush. Between these quests, there were monster encounters such as fighting a Minotaur and Siren. We kept this going as long as we could before players began turning away to go get their dinner or partake in some of the other things going on.
The only pain that day was how the winds picked up and never let up in intensity. Blew our walls down, took some tents with it, and made keeping a fire going a chore. This wind seriously didn’t stop till the last day.
Later that evening the Drauhaus Brauhaus tavern opened up and that was where the festivities began. When I say that these people drink, that is exactly what they did which added to the craziness once the Bardic contest began. I was back and forth from the tavern, but I could hear loud and clear the singing, preaching, flute playing, and much more. That second night I spent a good amount of time getting around to other people who I didn’t yet interact with yet.
Day 3: On this day, the start of it was both slow and rough. The first night tends to be when everyone lets loose and the weather is just right. The main thing going on this day was the Firebrand Tournament. our adventure still ran throughout the day, but majority of the people spent their time there fighting. Because of that, for the most part we didn’t move around too much as NPCs. We had one guy going around as a Hunter with a chicken he calls Gertrude. What’s so funny about this is how it is a chicken hat on top of a giant fireball spellball. This thing took off with one player and was just being passed from one player to the next. They were either trying to turn it in for points, kill someone else with it, or play keep away.
The most fun had this day was with my group as out of nowhere we somehow ended up creating new characters out of nowhere. It started as a simple joke that took off as we were all suddenly roleplaying as country-like characters. If I remember, one friend was sitting there and suddenly has some fake teeth talking about “I was born without teeth, and look at me now”. It was the way he said it and how it came out of nowhere that just made our day and took off from there. No one outside our camp could really make sense of what was going on, and that was the beauty of it. I got into it hard myself by picking up some furry legs and vest, finishing my look with a top hat.
Day 4: Things didn’t quite go as planned this day. This day is usually the one where all the heavy fighting takes place with scenario battles and what not. My country was supposed to do “Hard Black”, which for us meant going back to our original characters and rolling in with heavy armor/tower shields. unfortunately that didn’t happen because some of our guys ended up pretty much killing themselves the night before at the tavern. I wasn’t too shocked when that came up, so for the most part I spectated the battles which was new for me. Normally I would be quick to jump in for a fight just to even things out with spells and mends. The main fighting I got was that night once Pit Fights began. This was also a first because I didn’t sign up for them and I usually do just for daggers.
However there was a surprise when another chapter game decided to add Tyrcathian dagger fights to follow the Pit Fights. I wasn’t too sure about this one at first because the idea was that you wrestle your opponent’s dagger from their back to stab them. Couldn’t use your which was also attached to your back and holstered under your belt. My initial thought was “This is how you get a concussion”. Either way I still gave it a shot because “Why not?”. Lost the first round, won the second, then got eliminated on the third. Very fun when the blood gets pumping. I just have to work on technique like some of the others who were more experienced. This one girl stole the show in almost every fight she was in. Smallest thing and yet every round was against guys or girls twice or triple her size. Over here hanging upside down from a dudes arm, draw a dagger, and shank him several times. I was so very impressed. Definitely felt like I was learning something from watching her.
Day 5: There wasn’t too much to do on the last day since it was all clean-up and packing. I did however finally reach my point of suffering when everything that week finally caught up to me. The drinking, little sleep, fighting, and much more hit just like that. Though all the same I couldn’t find myself ready to say goodbyes and head home. The only driving force that morning was trying to beat the rain which conveniently waited till later that day.
Compared to most Bellum adventures I have gone to in the past, this one was the most enjoyable. Tried not to be all over the place and focus on spending time with a lot of the people who I don’t get to see as much as I would like. It made a big difference that there was only that one night where the weather was abnormal. Sometimes it will either be too hot or maybe on the last day/night pour rain horribly. When I got home, I was just not ready to give up what was worth spending five days on. You really don’t set everything aside like that and find yourself willing to go back to real life so easily.