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The Wizard's Desk

The Wizard's desk is a blog space where our staff and creative leads offer their insight and experience on engaging with DrachenFest US! We're excited to share what we can, so pull up a seat!

A guide to camp life, or how to turn a patch of grass into a home for a week.

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

We get more than a few enterprise applications for the bazaar--and don't get us wrong, we're thrilled to get them! That said, we also want to tell you that you don't necessarily need to be in the bazaar to make your concept work! In fact, a lot of enterprises, from merc companies who get lent to other camps for a price, or even something as simple as a gambling hall, make just as much sense in the camps, and DrachenFest wouldn't be the same without what we like to call Camp Enterprises.


 


Camp life is one of the central pillars of play at Drachenfest


It’s far more than a place to sleep and eat, hang out with the Avatar, or defend against sieges. These brief insights will share two decades of why some roleplayers, especially in Germany, call a DF camp their ‘real home’.


A home is filled with medieval life


One of the best things about DrachenFest camps is the sheer amount of everyday life that happens as part of the camp. We don’t just mean the OOG mundane, like brushing your teeth or looking for a last clean towel. Medieval fantasy life has a multitude of potential opportunity spaces to serve as a platform for roleplay. In short: There are basic frameworks that support the camp IG and provide, in addition to great roleplay, specific roles. Each of these frameworks is run as a camp enterprise by players, for players.


Camp enterprises don’t just provide a tactical support or scenic benefit to a camp--they themselves become the lifeblood of the camp. Things to do, places to hang out and spend hard earned in-game coin, a place where in-game and OOG expertise can be found, and most of all, the immutable sense of ‘this is our home.’


Starting & growing a camp enterprise: A how to


The three steps in creating a Camp enterprise concept are...

  1. What service does your enterprise provide for others? What do we do? Having a few ideas and examples is a great start. Some examples: ‘We host a card game in the afternoon’ or ‘We store and house siege weapons.’

  2. What infrastructure can we use to build our enterprise? From most affordable/easiest:

    1. A tarp/sunsail with four poles and table & chairs

    2. Multiple sunsails with tomato stake & rope fencing

    3. Dedicated tent(s)

  3. Decoration & signage Conveying your concept to others in your camp visually and immediately can be as simple as hanging a sign saying ‘Rusty Axe Teahouse’, or as fancy as having your own logos embroidered on banners which you hang in front of your enterprise, with signs pointing towards your enterprise from the camp main square.


How does it work? Who’s responsible & who’s in charge?


If you choose to run a camp enterprise, your Camp Coordinator and by extension, DrachenFest itself, will want to know who the enterprise lead is, but that's as far as it goes. This person or persons are responsible for the theming and safety of the enterprise. This space is your or your group’s personal space. No player can force you to use it for any purpose you don’t want it used for, demand access or use in-game or out-game leverage to make you do something you don’t want to do regarding your enterprise. If you choose to open the enterprise to camp access and use it as a roleplay space for others, it then greatly contributes to the camp and becomes the magic glue that makes a camp feel like ‘home’.

Here are some examples of camp enterprises...


Gatehouse enterprises

While standing guard is obviously extremely exciting for the long periods of time between sieges, decades of DrachenFest gatehouse life have spawned a number of enterprises into existence. Typically, these are placed adjacent to - and in the case of more complex palisade & gate builds, as part of a camp’s wall.

  1. The guardhouse gambling den. What on the one hand might just seem like ‘downtime’ activities are a central nexus of roleplay for all camp members. A poker table, dice games, etc. all surrounded by very sharp larp weapons is great grounds for some exciting roleplay and ends up being a prime hang-out spot.

  2. The armory, blacksmith, leatherwork & repair, quartermasters. Being able to really repair your armor IRL, in addition to having the in-game skills of ‘repairing shields and armor, is a great boon for any camp. Players with real-life leatherworking, metalworking and even larp weapon maintenance skills can provide a great service to their camp by running a camp enterprise that provides these IRL skills for their comrades.

  3. The war room / diplomatic lounge. Oftentimes hosted by former generals, commanders, champions, veteran fighters, diplomats or other envoys, these spaces are excellent platforms to strategize, hold meetings, even welcome diplomatic envoys and allied commanders. Battle alliances sealed in another camp’s war room, on a candle lit table with a full map of the camps, in stunning decor is a fantastic roleplay experience.

  4. The siege workshop. Designing not just the weapons themselves, but the space in which they are stored, maintained, built, and repaired adds not only gravitas to a camp but provides a great tactical advantage in coordinating them. These also add potential key roles to fill such as a siege master / chief engineer or similar, and their team of artillerists.

All things arcane

Some say magic is an art, others a science. But components aren't free, and books won’t read themselves. Magical camp enterprises often provide specialized services based on the type of roleplay the players enjoy and their character’s personal journey.


  1. Mages' retreat / Druids' grove / Priests' shrine etc. Plot need solving? Emergent problems? Troubleshooting magical questions? Having a set location where magical needs both personal and camp-wide can be discussed can greatly facilitate the logistics of organizing your camp. From organizing rituals to brainstorming ideas for how to get rid of a curse, to simply having a space to craft scrolls and make components. Having multiple instances of these with different areas of expertise can make a camp feel powerful and provide fantastic roleplay. Some even serve the most excellent tea.

  2. Camp library. Every camp will generate in-game documents, lore & other fantastic works. A camp’s library is a fantastic endeavor for a player who enjoys collecting, documenting and storing these for future use and reference. The roleplay of running a camp’s library can also provide a calming space for those who enjoy more graceful and intellectual stimulation versus those who like hitting others with sharp pieces of metal. A library is also a great place for plot to be generated or integrated. Want someone to find a neat scroll for your personal plot, that you crafted ahead of time? Or want to hire a scribe? A librarian would know where to find them.

  3. Fortune tellers. Swindlers some, but not all. Divination, reading the bones, or even your dreams.

  4. Arcane laboratory. For those who want to go the extra mile. In our IRL age of LED lights & sounds, a place to troubleshoot, build and even host the tools to help others add lights, sound effects, etc. to their magic is a fantastic boon. For example, an arcane laboratory or similar can provide light and sound for camp rituals.

  5. A temple to your Dragon. Perhaps the avatar’s throne isn’t enough? Perhaps some enjoy the roleplay surrounding the avatar and the magical aspects of the dragons? A temple can both facilitate gameplay surrounding the avatar as well as provide a platform for plot and ceremony. Did someone complete a fantastic plot and is blessed by the avatar? Does a fighter wish to pray to the Dragon?

All things mundane

  1. Taverns / Teahouses / Barbeques. A common place to eat, drink or be merry as a camp enterprise. Similarly, a platform to host bards and dance into the night.

  2. A black market. Have stolen artifact cards, potion cards or other illegally acquired goods to sell and trade? A magical blood bank? Cursed items? A list of all the leadership characters from another camp? Crude but precise in-game maps of each camp? Poison? ANTIDOTES? A black market can be a great place for the more unsavory to hang out. Of course officially, this could be something seemingly mundane, like the camp lumber mill. Or the dishwashers. Or the flower shop. You get the idea.

  3. Camp area or duelist’s ring. While these might simply seem like public spaces one can use - it takes quite a bit of effort to plan, maintain, and schedule such a space. A dedicated camp enterprise run by veteran fighters often integrate themselves into hosting training army regiments, testing out tactics or simply holding duels for honor and glory.

  4. Archery range - Rangers, scouts, hunters & trackers. Often run by those who enjoy the adventure of the unknown, these can be hired to help find specific items or people relevant to plots, for revenge, or simply to have certain messages delivered with the shaft of a well-placed arrow. A well-equipped group of scouts can be both tactically invaluable as well as provide a fantastic roleplay space for those who love to practice larp archery. And who doesn't want to see a camp archery tournament?

  5. Heralds' quarters, bard enclave or a camp newspaper. While the tactical advantages of having your own information (or disinformation) network can be greatly advantageous, often the social side of players who enjoy writing poetry, or even artwork can be put to great use. Commission a herald to write a tantalizing song about your personal nemesis who wronged you the night before. Or print a set of pamphlets denouncing the other camp’s horrific ritual.

 

The truly phenomenal

Finally, the magic of a camp comes from it’s uniqueness. Here are some examples of truly wonderful, unique camp enterprises we’ve come to love over the years.

  1. The dentist. A medieval dentist who loves the roleplay of pulling teeth, and selling an assortment of small to large (crafted) teeth, from a variety of mundane and magical creatures.

  2. The feather shop. Buy a pretty feather! Maybe you need to make a magical item or simply want to gift someone a feather? Buy them here.

  3. Any sort of craft item - make small pieces of jewelry, or tokens, or love letters, or funny cards, or fortunes, or promises, or curses, or baked goods to sell for in-game currency!

  4. The coffee cart. A medieval cart, with steaming hot coffee or chocolate for 3 coppers? Any time of the day or night? Yes. Yes. YES.

  5. The vegetable stand. An assortment of IRL vegetables for a splash of health into a larp festival diet, as well as some larp vegetables for proper food fights, or throwing at someone in the stocks.

  6. The sacrificial pit. An efficient pit, run by blood orcs, with well organized logistics of when, where and how the fake blood resources are used for stunning scenic play.

  7. The camp spy networks, disguised as cooks, clothes washing enterprises, tax offices, etc.

what about Sabotage & Conflict? Don't worry. Player-run camp enterprises can never be sabotaged.


The only exception would be player-run war-game enterprises which become explicit tactical components in the war game. For example, a siege workshop or war-room, or treasury for IG documents. As with all sabotage, saboteurs must check in with referees before the act, and are given specific parameters. Any deviation, or damage to property results in OOG disciplinary action against a player.


For war game enterprises, the enterprise lead will create a dedicated, visible space or specific item that can be a representation of sabotage. For example, a siege workshop might have a large, specifically painted fire-hydrant red wooden platform on which a saboteur can place in-game items that were applied to the weapons, such as in-game corrosive oils, scorpions or a love potion. By design, at no point in time will saboteurs ever be allowed to take or touch enterprise items.


Get creative, because you have the power.

Think of your camp is your canvas. We know that what makes the DrachenFest so special is all of you, and we know that you'll do amazing things, and we can't wait to see what our festival looks like in a few years.

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