Drachenfest 2018 (Germany)

Sooo… Looks like I’m actually going to this. The website is hideously out of date (this is common) so here are the actual dates for 2018: Tuesday 24 July - Sunday 29 July. Tuesday is just for setting up, though, so I’ll go from Wednesday 25th to Sunday 29th only because I’ll have minimal luggage. (I’ll be in Europe before then, and stay for another while afterwards.)

Anyone else crazy enough to join this? I’ve been once before in about 2011 or so, so feel free to ask questions.

Here are some links if you’d like to have a nose around.

Official website (out of date but the content of the menu down the side doesn’t really change): english version
Official forum (mostly in German but with some English sections): http://drachenfest.info/forum

There’s also a Facebook page if you’d like to follow the link near the top left on the official website. I’m not on Facebook so it doesn’t let me see what’s on there.

The largest English-speaking mob seems to be in the Gold camp but I remember Red having some fairly visible Italian and Spanish player groups as well. As international players, they’d be relying on English to communicate with the rest of their camp. I myself am most likely to end up in either Grey or Silver because it looks like some of my friends from Germany might be in those two.

Predictably, Chaos and - I think - the orcs don’t admit any players that are under 18. The website has more general information about the camps and you should be able to find some more on the forum as well.

Or, like I said, just ask me. :slight_smile:


Awesome! Walter and I went in 2012 and it was such a great experience.
We were part of the Grand Expedition (and english speaking group, primarily form the UK, but others from all over) in the Gold camp. Its such a one in a lifetime experience.

My main tip would be get involved in the town stuff, because I heard great stuff (I only tangentially got involved in things), and also don’t be too afraid of dying, because I’ve also heard great things about going through the Limbus. If I went again I would be a combatant, but I also had a great time being a healer (the gold camp has an awesome healers tent set up).


Heh. Yes, I think I’ll go as a barber-surgeon/sheep vet type because it doesn’t involve weaponry or heavy armour. Or as a scholar. The less luggage the better, at least for me…

You bring up a few important points, too:

The Grand Expedition doesn’t exist anymore. The guy that used to run it (Rick) still goes to the event, but primarily to run his stall in the trader’s area. There’s still a strong international presence in the Gold camp, though, because someone essentially picked things up where he left them under a different name. I don’t know the people involved but I’m pretty sure they’ve got a semi-active thread in the English Corner on the official forum.

For those of you that are having a look at the website, you’ll see that the event is mostly PvP because it’s a contest between the camps. So it’s important to realise that death during this contest isn’t permanent. Instead, you go to a sort of twilight dimension/dungeon-like thing called the Limbus. You’ll have to traverse that (think the Minotaur’s labyrinth but for ghosts) and find the exit in order to come back to life and re-join play in your camp. I’ve not been in there myself but I’ve also heard that it’s a pretty awesome experience.

Because of some events in a related campaign, it is now also possible to come back with the help of a so-called Twilight Guardian. These are NPCs with a very specific role and outfit that you can talk to IC after you die. I don’t know exactly how that works either but it’s likely that they’ll give you some task to complete before they let you back into the land of the living.

The city is a neutral zone, i.e. no combat unless you’re in the arena. All of the OOC traders are there, as are the IC guilds, some taverns and inns, at least one casino and some shadier organisations that need to be found IC if you play that sort of character. The guilds are a good starting point for anyone playing an academic of any sort, e.g. an alchemist, a scholar or a mage. There are also some religious orders and at least one temple related to the dragons. Those are staffed by NPCs but your character is obviously welcome to go there for spiritual guidance if they worship one of the dragons directly.

Each camp has some institutions of its own as well, quite often a library, some sort of field hospital (organised by the players themselves), a military council (also elected in-game) and the like.


I just realised I never posted an account of how it went…

It was brutally hot. After - as I’m told - 2017’s mud-a-geddon, 2018 was nicknamed various versions of warm-a-geddon. And that’s putting it mildly.

That meant that there were long stretches where not much was going on: the site has barely any trees on it, nobody wants to run around a battlefield in plate armour and 35+°C heat, and the distance between camps can be…considerable even if you’re not wearing much heavy stuff. Battles and sieges were kept at a much lighter level than other years and diplomacy was mostly conducted after sundown.

So I essentially had the wrong character for this sort of event. Healers can only function if they get the odd patient, and we got very few most of the time. Then there was another annoying factor that had nothing to do with the weather: instant magical healing.

I play a fairly un-scholarly field medic with a specialism in treating wounds. I don’t normally know how to cope with illnesses that go beyond the everyday fevers, tummy bugs, sciatica or embarrassing rashes. I definitely don’t know how to cope with potentially deadly altered states brought on by handling unknown artifacts.

Enter the wizards and elves of the LARP world. If anybody’s equipped to deal with that sort of thing, it’s them. So I have no problem with them taking over if it’s blatantly obvious that the standard stuff won’t get us anywhere.

The problem was that, becasue of the small number of battles, that was all we got for quite a long time near the beginning. So they all swooped in before us normal people even got a chance to look at the unfortunate victims, and started doing their thing. But because they ran out of stuff to do, they hung around - and started doing this to every.single.IC-injury that came in.

This was beyond frustrating. Not only did we have less to do than we expected, being the specialists that we were, we were also being shoved aside for things that we could actually do. So there were quite a few moments where I seriously questioned the wisdom of playing a field healer at a battle event - if that sounds absurd to you, you’re not the only one.

All that said, there was still fun to be had. I started to establish some sort of unofficial diplomatic relations with the field hospital of an allied camp and managed to get into two others because I knew some people in them. (One was not an ally while our relationship to the other was…complicated.) There was a heroic and very rushed attempt to help out that same allied camp with a resource (a dragon egg that was being transported there). We failed by about a hair but it generated a lot of play and action for at least three or four camps for a while. So that was well worth the effort.

The final battle itself was great. My camp had won in 2017 so it wasn’t going to stand a chance. Sure enough, the battle started out terrifying because we lost pretty epically early on and there were a few moments where it looked like the winners were about to mow down the healer groups as well. They didn’t or we managed to dodge them, I can’t quite remember.

Then the healers from my camp regrouped and we decided to have some fun - by treating everybody’s injuries regardless of affiliation. So we assessed them, diagnosed them, stitched them up - and then one of my colleagues announced to the unfortunate patient that the final healing potion was going to be administered as an enema. The faces when it sunk in what she’d just said were absolutely priceless. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that much during a big battle and I don’t think the patients had either. It was glorious, and gloriously silly. :smiley:

Who won? Blue camp, after collecting a staggering number of dragon eggs. So they’ll be the IC hosts in 2019.

Would I go again? It depends. It was a lot of effort for sometimes not too much gain. I really missed being part of a larger group that I knew and could hang out with IC during the dull bits. I was sort of teamed up with two players I already know, but they’ve got fairly young children so it was clear to everyone that anything they got up to was going to happen around their children’s needs. There was a field hospital, which I got an introduction to and got along with. It still wasn’t the same because I was pretty aware that I might not be able/decide not to go again so any ties I made with them were always going to be temporary. I didn’t grow close enough to them to trade war stories in the end because everyone packed up quite quickly - especially me, who had a long way to drive that day.

So I guess the answer is yes, maybe - but only in an IC group that shares the same space on the campsite. It’s just much nicer that way.


I still read bits of the Drachenfest forum every once in a while. There’s a Spanish player that’s been pretty active recently, and now I know why: turns out he’s gone and written an unofficial guide for international players.

I don’t want to know how much time he spent on it, but he did an excellent job and the PDF can be found here.

Quite a few of the things he points out apply to all LARP in the German-speaking areas of Europe, not just to Drachenfest. Some, on the other hand, are very specific to the event.

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Interesting. That “invisible plotwriter” technique looks very stealable for people in campaigns here.

That one’s actually not something I’d heard of before. But I can see it work well over here.