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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!

The Dragons Want You! To Join the Referee Team

The world of the DrachenFest-US is the creation of many coming together to tell their stories. From all over North America - and overseas! - people come to visit the Drachenlands, and to represent their Dragon in the contest. The spectacle, the drama, the victories and the defeats - they are only possible because of the unique blend of play styles and player philosophies the participants bring to the event.

An event as large and complex as DrachenFest requires a robust support structure. At the heart of it are the Referees, who keep the game and the contest running smoothly. In addition to the larger-than-life characters of the Avatars, their Seconds, and the masters of the various Guilds, Out-Of-Game (OOG) Referees in the camps and the Bazaar, and on the battlefield, are a critical part of the action and the spirit of Drachenfest US. 

“I love seeing the creations of the players come to life and take pride in helping them accomplish it.” ~ Jason, Silver Camp Lead Referee

Referees are an integral part of the DrachenFest system. They validate player efforts in alchemy and herbalism; witness their skullduggery and sabotage; and help them to design magic rituals big and small. They’re kind of like the game master in a tabletop game! Working from the Ref Stand in each camp, you get to feel like you are a part of players’ stories, helping them to succeed one game system at a time. 

“I love being able to see the entire game. As a Ref I'm able to go to any camp and see all the great things people have brought to the game. I felt so welcome at every camp.” ~ Ronny Rose, Battle Ref Team

DrachenFest is enormous! With five Camps, seven Guilds, an open battlefield, the Bazaar, and all the action in between, there are always stories being told. As a Ref, you see and hear stories that a player would otherwise miss out on. Swapping stories with your fellow Refs, while chowing down on the provided meal plan, is a great way to learn about what is happening, and what you may wish to investigate yourself while off-duty.

Being a Ref is being a part of something unique in American larping, helping to shape it for the better.” ~ Rhys, Referee Coordinator

DrachenFest-US is a rules-light, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) sandbox game like no other in North America. We all bring our own understanding of those concepts to the Drachenlands, and sometimes they clash. Being part of the Referee Team is an opportunity to guide players towards a common understanding, and a better play experience. If you want something to change, the most effective way to see it is by stepping up!

“I’m interested, but I have some questions…”

The full DFUS Referee experience is tough to condense down to a blog post, but here’s some answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: What happens when I fill out the Referee application?

A: A member of the DF-US team will contact you within 5 business days (usually sooner) to confirm your availability and arrange a brief introductory video call.

Q: How much experience do I need to become a Referee?

A: None! Volunteers do not need to have larp staff experience, or GM experience in general, to join the Referee team. You may have more to learn, but we value the fresh perspective of newcomers to our staff. 

Q: Is being a Ref similar to being an NPC in other larps?

A: DFUS Referees, while on-duty, are entirely OOG and wear the signature yellow hat for visibility. When off-duty, Refs are free to get in costume and join the larp, and are not expected to perform Ref functions or wield Ref authority while off-duty.

Q: What’s the price of a Referee ticket?

A: Attendance for Referees is free—you do not need to buy a ticket! 

Q: What other benefits does a Ref receive?

A: Referee Team members can expect to receive:

  • Two Free Staff T-shirts

  • One Free Staff Hat*

  • Meal Plan - 3 meals per day throughout the Festival

  • One Early Arrival Voucher for a significant other or traveling companion

  • An opportunity to join a Referee-Exclusive Bazaar Enterprise

  • Discounts on DF-US merchandise, including tents and partner vendor products

  • Access to behind-the-scenes info and updates

Q: I already bought a player ticket, but I would like to be a Referee instead. What should I do?

A: Send us a message via the website chat function and let us know, we’ll sort it out!

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