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.
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.