When: 4-8-August 2010
Where: Rittergut Brokeloh, Germany
Who: 7000+ players, 1500+ NPCs, 300+ crew. Live Adventure is the organizing structure.
Plot summary: The good guys of the elemental forces (fire, air, water etc) try to take over the bad guys' fortress (anti-elements, undead etc) where they captured the avatar of Earth. Over the course of the game, the good guys took it, then lost it, then took it again, i.e. won. Of course, with 7000+ players, you can assume there were a bit more stories than this one.
We played the Tonneau Joyeux (Merry Barrel), a group of mercenaries (not aligned with any element and selling ourselves to the highest bidder). The coat of arms is a modified Swiss flag as the group comes from Switzerland.
While taking part in very large battles was interesting, it's just not for me: due to very understandable safety concerns, it is very organized, so people mostly stay in their battlelines, wait a lot before actually being in contact with the enemy etc. I enjoyed more the various smaller contracts, including the wiping out of an entire family of drows, complete with chases accross the field, hunting for our targets etc, fighting in a non-linear fashion etc.
Same goes with the classic fantasy plots, e.g. "free the high elf princess from the fortress": I actually had way more fun running self-created missions. At some point we decided to create a postal brigade to deliver letters to the dead characters of our group (some of our players are NPCs now and their characters joined the undead army). We wrote letters on parchment with quills, tied them to arrows and ran behind enemy lines to fire the arrows behind the fortress wall (we didn't know the battle would be ongoing at the time). The looks on the fighters' faces was priceless.
Our group contains orcs, drows
What was really fun was seeing the "good guys" being uncomfortable when we would enter their camps, or trying to hire only the humans in the group. A bunch of Sigmarites from the camp of Air even attacked us during a battle against the bad guys, so roleplaying the racism part was interesting.
Arriving on the battlefield on the first day: yeah, it's pretty big.
We spent a good chunk of the battles breaking down walls and doors with our small ram
There were several very cool siege weapons but the best in my opinion was the vikings staircase on wheels. The pic doesn't really do it justice, that thing was huge!
More racism: once the good guys controlled the fortress, they didn't let non-humans through (see poor uruk-hai who can't join the party)
My favorite place on the site was probably the city. Due to its size and the quality of the costuming, it felt just like being in a movie. You could get lost in it the first day, there were town guards chasing people etc.
It featured real shops to buy LARP supplies
food stands so that you didn't have to cook
And big hot tubs
Plus you ran into interesting characters like repurgators
or medieval rappers
The seafarer's quarter featured a very cool building-that-looked-like-a-ship
It was a great place for night time entertainment (fire dancers etc), with candlelit tables to pretend you're Kubrick shooting Barry Lyndon while waiting for your beer or cocktail.
And lots of pirates that just look good in the background
People did all kinds of rituals, from the most tribal and party-like
to the more organized and solemn
The Natives organized boxing matches
And there were ninjas running in formation, but I can't talk about it, otherwise they'll kill me
So all in all: mad fun, and I'll prepare more stuff to do for next year. With the quality of the costuming, organization and its sheer size, Conquest provides a fantastic backdrop for many projects that would be just too disruptive in a smaller LARP. I'll also try to be less shy about imposing English on other people, as it didn't seem to be too disruptive in the end. A big danke schön to the organizers!
Note: some pics are mine, other stolen from various websites. For more, check out: