Maelstrom is a Live Action Role playing Thing. Basically, it’s much like tabletop, traditional role playing, except there is no GM (though there are Refs, and the refs Know All. Or most) and the fighting is done using latex weapons and numbers instead of dice and numbers. The effects of this are that your actual, real person ability to, say, dodge an axe blow are a large amount of your character’s ability to do so. If you’re hit, you’re hit. (Probably, taking into account armour, magic and random acts of senseless plot). In the Geek Hierarchy LARP is looked upon as more geeky than normal RP. I can only beat my new level by becoming a 13 year old gamer. I have sunk to a new high of geekyness.

So, we have two stories here. They clash sometimes, intertwine sometimes, and sometimes they have no relationship to each other at all.

The first is the story of Nicholas ‘Aquarion’ Avenell, Sysadmin, Programmer, Geek and Larper, who has been convinced to go to Maelstrom. Wears glasses, a white shirt and red trousers. And a hat.

The second is Detail ‘Det’ Marshall, Self professed Light-greysmith, Gunsmith and seeker after cool new things. He has been sent to the New World beyond the Maelstrom by his father, who is a celebrated blacksmith, to learn to be a proper blacksmith and smith things. Assumably blackly.

He is my character. His background is basically that he was born into a family of blacksmiths and is awful at working iron, beyond the specific requirements for making pistols. Pistols not being the family trade, his father has given him the plans to build a smithy in the new world and the instructions not to return until he can use it. He plans to use it to make pistols, unless he finds something more interesting to do. His mother, however, is related to another family who have have representatives in the New World. These are Marshall Enterprises, and taking his new family’s name, Det has joined up to make as much money as they can.

Det wears glasses, a red shirt and white trousers. And a hat.

Friday I got to Cambridge, found my lift and got to Maelstrom (Thanks Geoff for the lifts both ways 🙂 where I hung around for a while getting an idea of the place until the rest of the group arrived when we filled in my character sheet, I handed it in to Game Operations Desk (“GOD”), and they suggested I come back for the full event pack (And stuff I needed to officially roleplay) in about an hour. Wandered around a bit more, put up tent, got into character costume and went to GOD to queue for ages and pick up pack. Hollow laughing. “Try tomorrow morning”. Blah. Dinner from the burger place.

Wandered around a bit with the rest of the group, but felt headachey and decided I had – despite hat and shades – been out in the sun too long, though it was late evening by then. Went for a lie down.

Woke up at 4am, and was heartily and repeatedly sick, fortunately outside the tent, whilst trying to remember where the paragraph about the phrase “Heartily sick” that was running around my head was coming from. Still headachey. Began to hate the world and everyone inside it. Drank lots of water. Went back to bed.

When GOD reopened I went to get my character pack, and began a wonderful pattern that lasted several hours. It would involve standing in the queue for a while, getting to within two people of being served, and then having to dash off to the toilets. Feeling progressively more dead tired and ill, I eventually lasted long enough to get my character pack and dashed back to the home base, via the toilets.

Got shouted at a bit for losing the representative card for a bit of equipment, was apologetic but didn’t care much due to death. Recharactered properly, and went officially In Character.

Advanced hatred of world and everything in it to hatred of whole new world which I didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend due to illness. Failure to remain in character. Most of day spent dazed in tent drinking water. Grah.

We went and talked to a Dragon, which was interesting (The system requires dragons to require the full costume, which is something of an ordeal, especially on a weekend like this weekends was), and various other people. We watched Stuart Marshall – our glorious leader – overcome great odds to win a Circle of Treachery (Read: ‘Civilized’ Mass battle)

Saturday evening I recovered. So I ate some food, and satisfied that it was staying where I put it, did the only thing sensible after a day of feeling sorry for myself and dozing in the tent. We went drinking.

We found a pirate camp, where they were drinking grog port. We sang songs, including the Pirate Alphabet, which starts like this:

A is for ARRRRRR! as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink)
B is for BOOTY! which you can sell to buy GROG, as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink)
C is for CHESTS OF BOOTY! which you can sell to buy GROG, as in@ “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).
D is for DAVEY JONESLOCKER! ([hat to chest] [pause] [replace hat]) “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).
E is for EVEN MORE BOOTY! which you can use to buy GROG! as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).

etc.

There was port, there was alcoholic liquid white chocolate, there was a pineapple and vodka drink in a hollowed out pineapple, and there were drinks of many and varied different sorts.

Much Grog.

I slept… better that night.

Sunday was Fun. We talked to people, drank tea, and I was alive enough to enjoy the whole experience. Plans were plotted, deals were done, and in the background plot happened.

All in all, something I’d like to do again. Once more with health, I think.

On the way home we hit a pheasant, then I came home, had a shower, got a drink and promptly slipped on a bit of paper on the floor, hitting my head on the window and spilling my drink over my bed. To a large extent, this has not been my weekend.