A Maelstrom moment

On April 20, 2012 by aquarion

Someone on Reddit asked for “Your best/worst larp stories ever”. Now, most of my best moments larping need to be secret for a little while longer, I think, but I posted one of my favourites, and for lack of content here, I’m copying it :).  All the events happened in game (Well, mostly. There’s dramatic licence involved).

Photo by ostephy on Morguefiles.

The system is Maelstrom, UK fest larp. Summer event. The event hosts had chosen to host the festival on land which contained a palisade, and the event organisers (OOC) had agreed to physrep it, so the field is dominated by this giant wooden wall, complete with guarded gate. They camped inside, I was camped outside.

Now, Maelstrom is almost entirely player driven. Massive wars in uptime will happen if two sides are brought to war, monsters only happen if people summon them. There are good guys and Bad Guys, but they’re (almost) all players, and that night some of the most long-running, long hidden Bad Guys came back with an army of summoned undead behind them. Rumour, like a barking dog, ran before them of their plan to attack that night.
The hosts weren’t massively popular, and they were soon… evicted from their nice safe defendable area, and most of the characters (Somewhere around 700? ish?) decamped behind the palisade for the evening. Fires were lit, songs were sung, the clouds gathered in, night fell, and then the storm came.

The storm was awesome in the non-internet sense. Worthy of Awe. Great cracking forks of lightning shattered the darkness, the clouds above us rumbled like the march of gods. Black clouds lurked above the campsite…

…but no rain fell.

The oppressive humidity of an unbroken thunderstorm lay heavy upon the site, ominous and foreboding a doom that was certain. The undead were sighted from the gates, and by gunpowder and swordpoint driven back into hell. It was only temporary – they would rise again, of course – but their presence was proven.

A cry came from behind me, “The shrines are falling” and I ducked into a nearby tent to check. The shrines of my goddess – The Weaver, of free thinking and careful action – bestowed calm and enlightenment on those within, but this one’s effect was shattered. Someone had cast a spell to blight this land, to make it easier to raise the fallen bodies of our comrades as weapons against us.

I am Detail Marshall, priest of the Weaver, my shrine is on the outside of that wall, and within it lies the body of my friend Tac, who was murdered and whose funeral I hosted hours before. I couldn’t let him rise again. I had to reconsecrate my shrine.

Beside the gate an argument was breaking out. Friends of mine wanted to get out to check to see that all the camps were evacuated, that nobody was trapped outside in this. I explained what I needed to do, that unless this was done Tac was certain to rise up undead, and – Weaver bless them – they joined me, and the gate guards relented.

The gates shut behind us firmly, emphasised by the sudden clap of thunder the crack of doom, that lit up the field before us. Never had my camp seen so very far away.
For a dark and stormy night, we could see well. Shifting gaps in the clouds let the full moon shine though, and though the thunder around us shook the world we could see the course before us. We ran.

Something followed.

A sword was pressed into my hand and I waved it without skill as the approaching forms shambled closer, but before they reached us a shout from my left and “Mister Marshall, you seem to need some assistance”… one of my flock, leading a patrol in the dark. They saw off the creatures of darkness and guarded us while I stepped into the shrine.

I chanted and represented the space to my lady, asked for her blessing upon it, and I don’t think it has ever taken so long for my prayers to be answered. Occasional clashes outside told me that the world was still dangerous, but eventually the oppression around me lifted, my thoughts became lighter, and the shrine was consecrated again.

The storm crashed around us as we hurried back to the camp, only hoping that the spell would not be repeated. We huddled within the walls around our fires, the dry storm lit the sky around us,

and the night wasn’t over yet.


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