After the first DrachenFest-US event in 2022, we asked you to share advice for next year’s players. By far, the most common pieces of advice were:
Read the Rulebook and Warbook Thoroughly
Drink Water, Take Breaks, Take Care of Yourself
We would like to add:
The term “First-Year DrachenFest Syndrome” refers to how new players often get overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion or frustration. Our advice is to not worry about having a ‘perfect’ first year–make peace with the fact that you’ll miss things, you’ll make mistakes, and you’ll learn stuff which will change how you approach the game next year.
There’s a phenomenon called “Crazy Friday”. Towards the end of the event, when everybody’s batteries are low, many people feel pressure to wrap up their plots, and Do All The Things. This can lead to pushing yourself (or others) past the limit, and crashing. Be extra good to yourself (and each other) on Friday and Saturday!
Here's some great advice from your fellow players.
This information, before the game, would have greatly improved my experience:
“Remember that this is a game! Please do the things that YOU want too, your team is important but having the time of your life is even MORE important. Don’t be afraid to ask camp refs or your leadership to clarify any rules / mechanics. We all want to make sure you have a good and safe time.” -David G
“You have to make your own story. If you wait for things to happen around you you're gonna miss out on the experience. Don't be afraid to get killed in battle also that's the best part.” -Keaton L
“As someone who is generally quiet when in a new environment by default. Don’t be nervous to speak up. And just know that your camp is behind you every step of the way.” -Deanna
“There's a ton to do, so don't shy away from checking out as much as you can. You won't be able to do everything, so if you find a niche that's fun for you, go for it. If there's an idea that you have, make it happen! People will support your play. Just be sure to return the favor.” -Steve F
“Don't feel nervous about what you're 'supposed' to be doing. There's all kinds of things you can just decide to do for yourself and everyone will find a way to make it work in-game. If you're looking for something to do, just engage with someone in-character, don't feel like you have to wait for someone to rope you into something (and you most certainly don't have to engage with combat if you don't feel like it).” -Mimi
“Just relax and have a good time. All the other players here are really nice and open to help or hangout with you.” -Kayla
“No, really, go crazy on costuming and your persona! Play loud, play crazy, give people a reason to talk to you or have an opinion about you! Don't feel confined to the limitations of realistic period, we're *really* an open fantasy game, and unless you go modern/sci-fi, nobody is going to shame you. Also: get a water bottle. Keep it on you, keep it full. Consider a parasol and a hand fan. You're wearing sunscreen and reapplying every three hours, yes? It's hot, the sun is a deadly laser, take care of yourself.” -Tyler B
“If there's something cool you want to do, just get some friends on board and do it. If it doesn't affect other people, nobody is going to stop you. Make that weird ritual circle, brew that experiential potion, start that summoning chant. Go die, I hear the Limbus is cool.” -Jamie B
“Winning at this larp is building the best experience, not getting the most eggs” -Nik O
“Pursue ANYTHING you want to do, and if you're not sure how to do it, talk to your camp ref and they will provide guidance. Find an experienced larp buddy or experienced DF buddy to team up with to make it easier.” -Mike P
“Drive your character like a stolen car, make reckless decisions, do the dumb, meet new people... keep going, you won't regret it. :)” -Nate K
“Pretend you're as new to the make believe realm as you are to DF. Ask others for help and information in game and in character. Figure things out alongside your character and take time outs to ask out of game questions only when you need to.” -Ben A
“You get from this game what you put into it. That's the best part. Think of something your character wants to do and talk to your avatar, second, or oog support to try to figure out how to get it done.” -Anthony A
“Find what you love and focus your energy on that.” -Keith R
“Have a good background story for your character, especially if you haven't played them before, because a lot of initial interactions with other characters involves comparing backstories and talking about each other's worlds.” -Micah H
“There a million things to do during the event. Don't feel obligated to do 'what your camp needs' and instead do the things that make you happy.” -Marque S
“Acquaint yourself with the refs/coordinators before a problem arises. Don't be afraid to ask for help; whether it's RP, game mechanics or other concerns, most larpers love to be helpful.” -Dean A
“You can tap out at any time, so you shouldn't ever feel pressured into things. Do what you can to tell a good story collaboratively, involve others in your schemes. You can try just about anything, just check with a ref first.” -Max T
“Be honorable, have fun. Listen to others, but don't give away too much information. Make your story happen, but don't ignore the needs of the camp. Hydrate, eat food, and recoup. The Festival takes a lot out of you. You'll have a great time!” -Zerker
“Don’t make any decisions on what you’re gonna do this weekend--let it come naturally and go for the adventure” -Alan S
“I hope your boots are comfortable!” -Benjamin S
If I could have all the players know one thing to improve next years experience, it would be:
“Winning the contest takes back seat to making a good story. Theatric fighting is the name of the game unless otherwise is agreed upon beforehand.” -Keaton L
“Check out the bazaar stuff during the day! The vendors need love too!” -Diego G
“It's a game, just roll with things. The stakes are astonishingly low if you take a moment to think about it, so just have fun.” - Jamie B
“You are here to celebrate the playing of larp with other players. most plot, if not all plot, is generated BY you. It will not come to you, you should go find it. There is no such thing as an NPC in this game. all characters are players and should be treated as such.“ -Nik O
“The camps are are opponents, not enemies.” -Brianna B
“Don't forget to bring a towel!” -Sam H
“Just reiterating, the most important aspect of the game is the players and the staff. A person will ALWAYS be more important than the game, no matter what. I always appreciate that point being driven home REPEATEDLY.” -Nate K
“Talk to the refs if you are having an out of game problem/you're not having fun.” -Dakota W
“You get out of the event as much as you put in. Don't be afraid to try new things.” -Samantha B
“The only advice I could give is the same advice I would give at any event: Bigger. Louder. More fancy hats.” -Dean A
“Defending your camp at all times is not 100% necessary. Going out and exploring, even leaving your flag less defended, opens up all kinds of interesting things that can happen. You can't get satisfying revenge if nobody ever takes your stuff.” -Brian N
“It’s not a battle game that you really need to win! It’s fun to win but I continuously got blinded, shamed, and killed the first day and it was worth the entire price of the event just for that day.” -Charles G
“Lean into your camp and root for it - you were chosen for it for a reason!” -Peter W
"That this event is called Drachen FEST. It is a festival, a celebration of storytelling and character. It's not DrachenWAR, it has a war element that pushes the emergent plot, otherwise it would stall, there has got to be threat and conflict. It's a festival where we all bring the best of what we give to our home games and give it hard here to create this game world. It is a space of constant gift and celebration. Your 'character' can explore things that you would never dream of at your home campaign. Because it doesn't matter. It's a festival.
It is a pure celebration of true 'Play to Lift' and you 'Win' by making someone's event. You 'win' by thinking up how you epically lose in a duel to make your opponent feel like their character, you bring your knowledge of props and storytelling and teach your camp through example. You bring some extras so they can try it out. You consider the legacy you'll leave behind in this hobby. Because those players are going to take that new skill back and blow their home game away.
It's a festival, it's a swapmeet, it's a convention, but all in character.” -Renee O
See you soon, in the Dragon World!