You'll quickly notice that these guidelines are written with lots of room for the Safety Staff member to make a judgement call on whether a weapon is safe or not. This is intentional, to allow the Safety staff member the authority to determine a weapon's safety.
A Safety staff member is completely within their authority to disallow any weapon for criteria not in this list. If a player wishes to appeal a Safety decision, the Directors hold final decision authority.
General Foam Weapon Construction
ONLY permitted core materials are: PVC, graphite rod, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. All other materials are forbidden.
The core of a weapon may NOT be felt during a swing.
All striking surfaces must be padded adequately to prevent personal injury when striking an opponent with strong force on that surface.
If the striking surface of a weapon is shaped (flat of a sword, side of an axe blade, etc), the flat side must also have sufficient closed cell padding to remain safe during a swing.
If the striking surface of a weapon is NOT shaped (fun-noodle shape, etc), the striking edge must be designated with contrasting-color tape or fabric.
All non-striking surfaces must be padded adequately to prevent personal injury from incidental contact.
Foam density must be such that it can flex with easy pressure from the Safety's hand.
No weapon, regardless of size or construction, may flex more than 30 degrees from true during a strong-contact swing.
Handles and grips do not require padding, so long as they are not in danger of striking a target (subject to safety approval).
Hafted weapons must be at least 80% covered in closed cell foam. Handgrips must be far enough away from the striking surface to not pose an immediate danger of hitting the target.
Any significant variance in foam density of the same kind renders a weapon unsafe for combat. This rule is speaking about "weak spots" or "soft spots" in an otherwise-uniform piece of foam. It also applies to gaps in the foam at connection points.
Flail and hinged style weapons will be evaluated on a case by case basis. The flexible/rope/chain section of a flail-type weapon cannot exceed 8", not including the striking head.
Striking head of a flail-type weapon must be made entirely of foam.
Boffer Weapon Notes
Some specific rules apply to boffer-style weapons. Because there is no uniformity of manufacture, boffer weapons will be subject to particular scrutiny in regards to safety. Brittanis suggests that home-made boffer weapon makers build their weapons carefully and with safety in mind at all times.
Brittanis highly recommends that boffer makers work hard to shape, decorate and construct their weapons to LOOK like the real thing as much as possible. Bonus Character Points are awarded to weapons with greater aesthetic appeal.
Weapons wrapped in a spiral fashion are forbidden. Foam density and hardness will be checked carefully.
Metallic tapes of all kinds are forbidden. This applies to materials actually MADE from metal, not gold or shiny silver COLORED tape.
Duct, electrical, cloth, and strapping tapes are approved for use in weapon construction.
It is HIGHLY recommended that boffer weapon makers GLUE the foam to their cores with contact cement rather than secure with tape. This method is far more secure and results in less foam slippage along the core, and preserves weapon durability for much longer.
All surfaces of a boffer weapon must be covered in tape. No exposed core is permitted.
Latex and Urethane Foam Notes
Because of the typically-higher density foam used in these weapons, it is easy to swing too hard and potentially bruise or injure a target. Staff will not hesitate to remove a player's permission to use latex weapons if they are found to be fighting irresponsibly.
Only Staff can permit the use of these kind of weapons, and it will be noted in your Player File. Bottom Line: SWING WITH LESS FORCE THAN YOU THINK YOU SHOULD.
Use of Latex and Polyfoam weapons in Brittanis is a PRIVILEGE. It is not a right.It can and will be revoked by the Directors for unsafe fighting.
These weapons will almost NEVER have a Thrusting Tip (see below).
Because of the variance in construction between companies, each weapon will be evaluated individually. Just because one of your buddies bought the exact same sword, and his sword passed Safety, DO NOT ASSUME yours will pass too. You know what happens when you assume...
Most polyfoam and latex weapons (in the US, anyway...) are made with the core FAR too close to the tip for a thrusting tip to be safe. Please be aware of this before trying to get a latex/urethane weapon to pass.
Thrusting tips will be judged on a case by case basis. If approved, thrusting legal weapons will get a second, differently-colored tag from Safety.
Boffer thrusting tips must secure the core tip with a piece of penny-sized hard metal or hard plastic to prevent core puncture.
Amount of tape on striking surface of a thrusting tip must be kept to a minimum to allow air movement during compression. Cloth tape is HIGHLY recommended.
Boffer thrusting tips must consist of a majority of open-cell foam.
All other thrusting tips must have a minimum of 2 inches of foam between the end of the core and the end of the weapon striking surface.
“I swear by sky with sun I greet,I swear by earth below my feet,I swear by sea with tidal roll,I swear by fire within my soul.For as I live and as I breathe,My blade I never shall unsheathe.A true and healing hand I lend,The wounds of heroes I shall mend,And by Brittanis’ watchful eye,I keep my oath, or may I die.” –Oath of the Landsworn“From the land we spring forth. With the land we are sustained. To the land we return in the end. The land guides us from cradle, to grave. If we seek to hear Her voice as we hear the leaves rustling in the wind, or the cry of a newborn babe, we shall be greeted with silence. If however, we live worthy, harmonious lives and we are completely at peace, Brittanis will speak to us. For Her ultimate desire is that peace and harmony should reign over all the land, and that those who would embrace Her should prosper.In Her court the heroes of ages past stand as witnesses to her glory. This I have seen in visions and dreams. Perhaps it is they--the heroes of ages past-- who whisper the Oath of the Landsworn directly to the hearts of the worthy. Perhaps it is they who are the source of our heroic abilities. Yet what does the voice of Brittanis herself tell us? For it is well known that…” –Text of the only known fragment of ‘The Call of Brittanis’ written in the year 1720 Augustan, by Olondus the White, Landsworn.The Landsworn protect the land of Brittanis and those who strive to live free and well upon it. The heroes who walk this difficult path come from many different races and cultures, they worship various gods and hold different things sacred, but they all share in common some things of great significance.The Landsworn are all bound by a deep and magical oath to the land of Brittanis itself. The oath is shrouded in mystery, and its origin unknown even by those who have sworn it. Though all Landsworn know it by heart and can recite it easily, none can tell you where they first heard it, nor by what means they came by it. Each Landsworn remembers only that they took the oath willingly and accepted the burdens and boons which came with it.Some say that an apparition of Brittanis herself administers the oath, sealing the occasion with a kiss so powerful and alive with magic that mortal mind--even the minds of Heroes-- cannot bear the remembrance of the occasion. Others believe that the heroes of ages past, who defended the land in their own age, now watch the current generation. Should they find one worthy of the oath who is willing to accept it, they whisper it to the fledgling Landsworn in a dream or vision which defies attempts to define or recall it. Whatever the truth of the matter, those who take the oath and become Landsworn soon find themselves tapping into an incredible source of power derived from their devotion to Brittanis Herself.The Landsworn’s power is tied to the fact that they eschew violence entirely (no matter how justified it would seem), and embrace wholeheartedly the natural tenets of peace. So intrinsic is the link between their abilities and the peace of the land that the powers they wield cease to function even when combat is within their line of sight. The Landsworn embody and represent the end of strife and war that the Heroes struggle to achieve. While a peaceful nature is necessary for the Landsworn, it does not put them at enmity with those who would take up sword, axe and shield to defend the land. Far from it-- the Landsworn support and aid the Heroes of their age in their endeavors. Their nonviolent nature is a beacon of hope, a shining example of what could be if only the evil forces of the world were defeated once and for all. Those who mistake the Landsworn for weak or an easy target however, do so at their own peril. While the Landsworn will not themselves draw the blade, their abilities often earn them mighty friends who are only too happy to protect the Landsworn in turn.The Landsworn are not often found on the front lines of combat, but they are no less valuable than those who bear the brunt of the battle. The Landsworn are the healing hands that mend the warrior’s wounds. They are the sages that solve the great mysteries of Brittanis. The kind word, the watchful eye, the friendly hand that tends the fire; wherever they go the heroes they walk among soon find them utterly indispensable.
This is a BETA TEST CLASS. It is likely to be tweaked/changed/overhauled as live play give Staff more data.
Landsworn is the class for non-combatants, those who cannot or choose not to engage in foam weapon combat. Landsworn players cannot hold or wield a weapon, wear physical armor, or engage in foam weapon combat.
Characters who choose to have the possibility of engaging in foam weapon combat CANNOT purchase skills from this list.
The bright, safety-orange Landsworn collar must be worn at all times in character as a Landsworn.
LANDSWORN CANNOT SPEND or REFRESH STAMINA WITHIN SIGHT OF COMBAT.
If an enemy combatant comes within melee weapon reach of a Landsworn, the Landsworn immediately falls to the ground (as medical condition allows), and take a Stun effect.
Players who are normally standard combatants may, at medical need, choose to have their character become Seasonsworn, a kind of Landsworn, for their recovery. All previously-spent CP is converted to Landsworn skills, and the character reverts back to non-Landsworn status once their OOC medical need resolves. These “temporary Landsworn” are referred to as Seasonsworn, for their oaths are for a specific time. Seasonsworn MAY NOT CHOOSE CRAFTING SKILLS that they do not have access to already on their sheet. Example: a Seasonsworn who already has access to the Alchemy class may purchase freely form that class while Seasonsworn. A character who has no Crafting skills may not acquire them when they become Seasonsworn.
Landsworn DO NOT choose a Source at character creation.
Landsworn begin play with 2 Vitality.
Because of their special nature, many Landsworn skills come from other lists and Sources. The Lists are linked here, and the skills the Landsworn has access to are identical in all respects to the skills on those other lists. Example: The Heroic Healing skill is 2 CP, and costs 0 Stamina no the General Skills list. If a Landsworn buys this skill, it costs and functions exactly the same as it would if any other Hero bought it.
If a Landsworn gains a skill (through Background, Allegiance, or some other means) that creates an attack effect, they do not gain that skill. Instead, their maximum Stamina goes up by +1 per skill they lose in this manner.
Landsworn can ONLY choose skills from this class list, except as defined below.
A Landsworn can not use any item that creates a harmful effect, except when that item is paired with a beneficial effect (a potion that causes Heal + Agony is useable, an engram that adds Agony to a spell is not). They can, however, create such items and provide them to those who can use the item.
ALL Skills in this section have Empowerment as a Requirement.
Aura of Healing
Blessings of the Faithful
Because of their special nature, the Landsworn have slightly different access to the Spell Lists than normal spell casters. The spells available for a Landsworn to purchase are strictly limited, and as such their skills work a little differently. Otherwise their spells and spellcasting work identically according to the standard Spellcasting rules. A Spellcasting Landsworn can purchase only ONE of the skills below. Arcane Landsworn Magic (6 CP) You can purchase ANY of the Landsworn spells from the Air, Earth, Fire, and Water lists with Major access per the normal spellcasting rules. This skill counts as Magical Art for purposes of Requirements. Otherworld Landsworn Magic (4, 3 CP) Requires Empowerment. You can purchase ANY of the Landsworn spells from the Major lists of your patron god with Major access per normal spellcasting rules.This skill counts as Magic of the Master for purposes of Requirements.
2nd Purchase: You can purchase ANY of the Landsworn spells from the Minor lists of your patron god with Major access.
Primal Landsworn Magic (6 CP) You can purchase ANY of the Landsworn spells from the Autumn, Spring, Summer, and Winter lists with Major access per normal spellcasting rules.Landsworn Spell ListsAIR
“Lo there do I see my father; Lo there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers; Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me, they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever.” --13th Warrior“Galahad, you have been long enough with your father Lancelot, therefore leave that ship and start upon this horse, and go on the quest of the Holy Grail.' So Galahad went to his father and kissed him, saying, 'Fair sweet father, I know not if I shall see you more till I have beheld the Holy Grail.' Then they heard a voice which said, 'The one shall never see the other till the day of doom.' 'Now, Galahad,' said Lancelot, 'since we are to bid farewell for ever now, I pray to the great Father to preserve me and you both.' 'Sir,' answered Galahad, I no prayer availeth so much as yours.” --The Quest of the Holy Grail“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” --Inigo Montoya, The Princess BrideBrittanis is an explicitly Arthurian game-- it’s in the name, in the story and history of our shared world. We’re not bound to any particular version of the legends, but there are many recurring themes that travel through nearly every iteration of the Arthurian story. One in particular I’m talking about today, and the beginning of our plan to accomplish those story themes. In short, Brittanis Chapter 1 ends in Winter 2017. From that ending, Chapter 2 will begin Spring 2018, telling the story of a new generation of Heroes as they are called to defend Brittanis.
Don’t freak out.
It’s gonna be okay. In fact, it’s gonna be AWESOME.
Why Chapter Two?
If you haven’t read through the rest of the Design Diaries, I recommend you do so before continuing forward.
(NOTE: the game acknowledges the inherently sexist nature of the source material. Our examples from the legends may be misogynist, but the LARP we run most certainly is not. Ask around among our players if it concerns you.)
The Arthurian Cycle
What you’ll notice throughout all those blog posts--other than “Jason loves bullet points”-- is that our game design strives to look back toward our source material; this is no different. The Arthurian tales are a generation-spanning series of myths and tales. It is literally an epic legend that, despite the name, is vastly larger than just the personal tales of King Arthur. From a purely chronological tale, it starts with his father King Uther and continues through Arthur’s lifetime and into that of (depending on version) his son and sometimes beyond. It spans at least 3 generations, and in many tales 4 generations. If an average human generation is about 20 years, that’s at least 50 years of in game time, far more than that if we assume periods where things just aren’t happening. Bottom line: many of us would be dead if we intended on playing through our version of Arthurian legends year by year. We’ll never make it to the end. Assuming the game itself would last for 50 real world seasons is nice to consider, but impossible. However, breaking up our version of the Arthurian Cycle into discrete pieces that cover the most dramatically pivotal years of the tale breaks the story up into smaller, much more manageable pieces both logistically and thematically. The idea is to break up the entire Arthurian narrative into several Chapters of 5ish years each, then make a clean break and tell the next Chapter of the Story with the next generation of Heroes called to defend Brittanis, and eventually Camelot as well. As I write this, we are sitting at the beginning of Season 3, which if you count our Playtest Season 0, is actually our 4th year of playing through this Chapter. We’re approaching the end of Chapter 1. Everything is beginning to come to a climax and then the spotlight will go out on these Heroes and the next Story will be told.
In the source material, over and over again a protagonist tries at a task... and fails. Sometimes they are completely unable to complete a goal, but far more often they are able to fulfill part of the quest but not complete it fully. Perhaps they don’t have the right magic item, but their son manages to find it and complete his father’s quest. Or the father isn’t worthy--but his son is. Or the grandfather made a deal with a faerie that binds his children down to the 7th generation, and so forth. Progressing into generational stories allows the game to live and breathe these kind of stories. To be clear: there are going to be a lot of un-resolved story threads in Chapter 1. This is deliberate, so that many quests and heroic journeys become themes that follow that Heroic Lineage through the entire Story. It also lets us not be forced into contrived timelines that don’t make sense for the Story itself.
Address Power Creep
Long term gamers, especially tabletop and LARP, understand that phrase intimately. Any time you have a rule set that allows for character improvement, the characters who have been in-game and earning that advancement steadily will eventually overshadow new characters to the point that there is a significant power gap, and ultimately a “Fun Gap” as well restricting the ability of new players to really plug into the game and community. The Chapter break addresses this in an even-handed and clean way. Every character is retired, and every player starts anew on equal footing with everybody else. Resetting the game in this way also allows the “new player” and “old guard” dynamics to shift and change over time, instead of stratifying the player culture in a way that causes resentment and stagnation. Note that the plan IS NOT to kill off all the characters; rather, their time in the spotlight of history comes to an end and they retire from the world-shaking events of history.
See LARP In A New Way
This is something new among LARP--especially in the USA. Generational storytelling emphasizes a whole different kind of game culture, decision making, and perspective than any other game. Will your decisions change knowing your descendants will carry your name, for good or ill? What stories will be told of your deeds when your children and grandchildren are the ones recounting those deeds round the Y Seeth Perry fire? Will it affect your goals, your priorities, your choices in the critical moment? It should--and that allows players to participate in storytelling that is different in feel, theme, and scale than any other.
What’s the Plan?
Keep in mind this is a very macro scale post. We’re working on the details, and we want to get this right, so I’m going to be talking in very broad strokes here and not getting nitty-gritty.
You're Setting Up Chapter 2 Right Now
We’ve got two years of Chapter 1 still left, and a TON of the way Chapter 2 functions will depend on how the last 2 years of Chapter 1 play out. Staff genuinely doesn’t know what’s gonna happen too far in the future, but we do know that some Chapter 1 themes are going to influence how Chapter 1 ends, and the situation of the world as Chapter 2 opens many years later.
The Chosen One: who wins the race for the Treasures? What are the circumstances of the Summoning? Who accomplishes it? Which Treasures are used? Who tries to stop it from happening at all, and are they successful?
The Fomorian Invasion
The Silurian War
All these things and many more will influence Chapter 2. However, regardless of where these plotlines are developed at in 2017, when that Season ends, so does Chapter 1. We’re working on an organized way for players to be able to continue the quests of the Ancestor Heroes, and this all ties together. What a Chapter 1 Hero cannot accomplish, her descendant may be able to continue or complete in Chapter 2. The greatest glory may take more than one lifetime to achieve.
Ancestor and Legacy Heroes
Again-- breathe. Don’t freak out. These are big ideas-- we’re working on the details and won’t be releasing a lot of data on until next season. For now, however, here are some concepts we’re working on:
The Basics: midway through 2017, all existing Heroes will be asked to write a Heroic Legacy for their character--basically a short bio including identifying information about their Chapter 1 hero, quests the hero was pursuing, major character traits, favored weapons/fighting style, etc. This ALSO includes deceased/inactive Heroes. The Heroic Legacies will be listed, along with pictures of the hero in kit where able, on the website.
All players will generate new starting Heroes using the Brittanis 2.0 rules (more about that in another blog post) for Chapter 2. All CP totals, Reserve Points, etc start over equally. Everybody begins as a new Hero, telling a new piece of the Story.
In Chapter 2 and beyond, players are encouraged and incentivized to play the descendant of a Chapter 1 Hero. Depending on how far we decide to advance the world’s timeline, descendant could include any of the following:
Child/grandchild/other genetic descendant
Adopted, niece/nephew, cousin, other familial relationship
heard tales of the Chapter 1 Hero and strives to emulate their “ancestor”
Other options are possible, but the most important part of the Legacy Hero is that they take up the unfinished quests and business of their ancestor.
Chapter 2 Heroes will be required to be significantly different from their Ancestor. Emulation is great, but outright copying the previous character will be forbidden.
Playing the Legacy of a different player’s Hero will be a statistically-advantageous option to playing the Legacy of your own Chapter 1 Hero.
Signature Items can be passed down from Ancestor to Legacy Hero, with a possible option for the Ancestor to add a power to the item that symbolizes/represents their own influence on the magic of the Signature Item.
Ancestor Heroes will all go through a random “how the intervening years treated you” process, and the players of Ancestors who survive into the timeline of Chapter 2 will, as dictated by plot needs of current players, come onscreen in the role of their Ancestor Hero aged appropriately to the new timeline. Special Ancestor Events may even be possible as a kind of “flashback” to previously-undiscovered chronicles of the Heroes’ deeds are discovered that influence the current Chapter’s action.
What Do I Do Now?
BREATHE. Calm down a bit. Resist freaking out, let the adrenaline subside, and then breathe some more. It’s gonna be okay.
You Are Already An Ancestor
Start thinking of your character as the next generation’s Ancestor--because they very well may be. What short term goals does your character have? What about long term goals? It’s important to remember that many of the long term goals might not be complete-able before the end of the Chapter, but making progress on those goals is always possible. Perhaps Lancelot couldn’t claim the Grail, but he located the castle and understood what was required to achieve it, and passed that knowledge on. King Uther fought to unite all Britain under his rule, but ultimately only his son could finish the job. Even Merlin couldn’t accompany Arthur through his entire kingship, and passed the responsibility on to a host of other magical advisors (depending on your version of the tale).
You Don’t Have To Do It All
Generational gaming means that not everything is going to get finished by the time the curtain closes on Chapter 1. It means plot threads are going to be left hanging, and that is explicitly intentional in the design. It means there will be disappointments to go along with the triumph, as well as joy to accompany the sorrow. It means there will be evil left unvanquished, deeds left undone, and valor left unclaimed, and that’s okay. It means your descendants will be busy. It also means you have the chance to focus and really shine a light on what you want to accomplish in the short and long term.
Family, Relationships, and the Future
This is vitally important for Generational Storytelling. Does your character have a lover or spouse, whether they are onscreen or not? Children already? Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews? What is your view of them? If not, are you seeking to pass on your family name yourself, through your House or Clan, or in some other way? How will you build your Allegiance so it survives till Chapter 2 and beyond.
Pass It On
Take notes. Record your adventures, both the success and failure. Write to your descendants NOW. Write down your thoughts, and discoveries; let not the memory of your deeds pass into the night, but keep them shining in the hearts of your descendants. Think about what quests and advice you want to pass on to your descendants, and WRITE IT DOWN. That’s all for now; more next time on the Brittanis 2.0 rule set!
LEVEL UP YOUR LARP!
Whether a brand-new LARPer or an old hand at strapping on the foam and going to war, this event has something to help you scratch the winter LARP itch as well as improve your skills, kit, and knowledge of Brittanis.
Everybody works for somebody. If they don't, there is something WRONG with them, because nobody will speak for their value to society. The system of oaths and fealty is one of the first things discussed on the website. It’s on the main World page. It’s further discussed on the Allegiance page, explaining some of the difficulties the Unsworn face. This is no secret-- it is a foundational underpinning of the culture and world of Brittanis. It’s a universal truth of the world in Brittanis. Society as a whole must have a way of determining who is friend and enemy, who can be trusted and who cannot, and how people can transfer from one of those groups to another. The world of Brittanis is deadly-- far moreso than our world today. Armies march back and forth across the land, evil is a presence growing in the shadows everywhere-- and that’s before you consider that monsters are very real. Knowing who you can and cannot trust is of vital importance, and knowing what Lord a person is sworn to can potentially tell you a great deal about them. For example, the simple fact of knowing that someone is sworn to a lord known for generosity and kindness is far different than knowing a person is sworn to a lord known for cruelty and murder. Oaths of loyalty and fealty provide a social structure to determine whether your life is in danger or not, and to what degree. If their lord is your lord’s enemy, that tells you something, because by taking your oath you have made your lord’s enemies your own. If their lord is a staunch ally of your lord, you can be reasonably certain you’re in safe company. To use a real world example, one of the reasons the Sheriff of Nottingham is such a nasty character is because everybody knows who the Sheriff's Lord is--Prince John-- and the fact that the Prince knows about the Sheriff’s perfidy and does nothing to stop it means that the Prince actually approves of what the Sheriff is doing. The whole chain is broken. The Unsworn are outside that social structure, and not in a good way. Why won’t a lord accept your oath? What reason could there be for nobody to take you in? What have you done that makes you so very stigmatized that nobody will vouch for you? BEING UNSWORN IS NOT A GOOD THING IN BRITTANIS. Being Unsworn literally means, “Nobody wants me,” or some other set of circumstances where your Lord has died and nobody took his place, or something else equally as bad. Unsworn-- both PCs and NPCs-- are distrusted and stigmatized. PCs and NPCs alike will treat you poorly, because they have no way to categorize you and literally don’t know if you have a dagger up your sleeve with their name on it. Being Unsworn will likely be a far less fun experience than you might imagine it to be when creating a character.
Y Seeth Perry
The holiday of Midwinter’s Peace is a day where some of the social norms of the year are abated. Y Seeth Perry is the holiday of welcoming and hospitality, and as such it is the one time of the year where the Unsworn more freely mingle with those who have taken oaths of loyalty. It is the one holiday of the year where the Unsworn are less stigmatized-- the only days of the year where you can be certain that the Unsworn standing in front of you doesn’t have a dagger ready to strike. Many stories tell of the Unsworn presenting themselves at the Midwinter Feast specifically to be considered for membership in a House or Clan-- the Deep Magic of the world enforces nonviolence, and that gives the Unsworn a chance to be welcomed and allowed to make their case. Many legends tell of the Lord giving the Unsworn candidate a task or challenge in order to earn their place in the House, or being allowed a provisional status of membership until the next Y Seeth Perry where they can swear fully. But in all cases, the stigma of being Unsworn is lessened somewhat during Midwinter’s Peace because the fear of betrayal and violence that usually follows the Unsworn is abated. The holiday does not enforce trust or magically produce positive regard, but it does remove the fear of violence and the unknown that follows the Unsworn everywhere. In many cases, this can lead to
Out of Game Concerns
Midwinter’s Peace is the holiday that accompanies our Winter Feast, which has thus far been a great opportunity for new players to join the game in a combat-free, low(er) stress kind of way. As such, it is in the game’s best interest to set up the event to be welcoming to new players, regardless of whether or not they have chosen to swear to a House. Under normal circumstances, heroes coming in as Unsworn would be subject to a great deal of stigma, but they also have the option of going elsewhere on the game site in order to get a change of scenery. At the Feast, that’s not possible because the physical location is a couple of large rooms; everywhere they go there would be someone potentially shunning their character. Not a way to make a positive impression to a player on their first event when they can’t go elsewhere to get away from it if they choose. At a full event the stigma attached to being Unsworn can be avoided or at least walked away from; not so when everyone is in the same room. As a result, the in-game negative cultural structure surrounding the Unsworn is lessened at the Feast, and in many cases Unsworn actively seek out Houses to see if that is where they want to end up permanently. This allows new, Unsworn characters to have a chance to interact with the Houses and see what characters are a part, and get an idea if that’s where they want to play. The next time they meet those characters they might be standoffish and distrustful, but at least during the Feast, they have a chance to interact in a more positive manner.
(Recorded by Antonius Aquila, scribe to Pendragon Julius Ambrosius, 64 AR)
Common Names: Y Seeth Perry (nobility), Seethberry Feast (smallfolk and rural areas), I Sîdh Perrhîw (Elvish, pronounced roughly “ih seethe perree”), Oswynberaas (Dwarvish, pronounced “OHSS-ween-ber-awss”), Midwinter’s Peace (a common name everywhere)
Date varies from year to year. Sometime in December - February.
Midwinter's Peace is a day of Sacred Truce. Grudges are set aside, and all are welcome at the feast halls. No fighting is allowed from sunset to sunset. Even in times of war, both sides will lay down arms and the field-camps will blaze with merry fires and singing — though it's rare that soldiers will have the courage to test their opponent's camps' hospitality, there are tales of it happening, some heartwarming, some funny, and many of dubious authenticity or historical accuracy. Editor: I mean, really, Queen Alithera *was* around at the same time as Marcus Lucius Caesar, but did he ever bring his wife to Brittanis (was he even married, or did he only father bastards?), and was he *really* convinced that "loaning her for the night" was part of the holiday's tradition of hospitality? It is a funny song, though...Holly and evergreen feature in the decorations. Editor: Likely because it's WINTER and that's the only color and freshness you've got.
Lighting candles, torches, and fires to brighten the darkness and warm the cold night. Editor: Some things are universal, I suppose.
A "Grace of Evergreen" is painted on the brow, three red berries and two green holly leaves. A simplified version (Editor: for the less artistically inclined) uses simple runes for the leaves.
Pies full of spiced minced things like apple & raisin, meat, mushrooms and root vegetables are traditional in the North.
One tradition is to go out to the woods and sing lullabyes to the trees, wishing them — and the hibernating birds, animals, and seeds around them — deep, peaceful, restful sleep. In most of Brittanis this is just a quaint folk tradition, but there's the underlying assumption that the tradition comes from the Forest of Seridane or the near The Waste, where coaxing the wilds to sleep would be a more life-and-death type of warding.
It is good luck to make offerings to the hearth — usually a pinecone or stick, decorated with evergreen and linen or cotton string in festive colors. These pinecones are often accompanied by a written prayer carried to the gods in the smoke.
The colors of the feast are:
Red - hollyberries, banked embers, and blood. The color of Service.
Green - evergreen, healing, peace, and faith that summer will return. The color of Midwinter's Peace.
Amber - fire, warmth, generosity. The color of Hospitality.
Largesse, Etiquette, and Humility are the Character Values of the day. The Laws of Hospitality and Guest Rights? are scrupulously observed.
Elvish (Both Gael'Dar and Erin'Tar): I Sîdh Perrhîw (literally "The Peace of Mid-Winter" ...as in the middle point of the winter season, not the Solstice). This probably trickled into Common as Y Seeth-Perry, which then became Seethberry, among the commoners. Peasant folklore says that "seethberry" is another name for the holly berry itself, so prominent in decorations and the traditional "Grace of Evergreen" marks upon the brow.
The Tiberians, of course, think that their culture invented it, or had the true origins of it, that it was created by The White Court as a truce among the Gods and a time for forgiveness and peaceful settling of accounts. The Elves were almost amused at their arrogance in forgetting that the holiday was much older than the Tiberian people or their religion.
Free Dwarf Oswynberaas
The Dwarves have a different, somber way to observe the holiday, which they call Oswynberaas.
No dwarf likes to be away from their Freehold at Oswynberaas, but can hold to the spirit of the day by observing the solitary vigil beforehand, and joining the nearest Seethberry Feast to renew friendships, mend alliances, and forge deeper connections with others. Though the Freeholds are enclaves of Dwarven culture, they are not as isolated from the world as Valyngaard was. That isolation contributed to its downfall, and Dwarves are aware that the way to rebuild their people and prevent another Red Prince from rising to dominion is to forge alliances and take their place *within* the world, which is why Freeholds are so often adjacent to cities.
Even in dwarven Freeholds, though the morning and midday feast are spent rebuilding relations with family and neighbors, the afternoon usually sees many Dwarves leaving their freehold to mend friendships, seek forgiveness, and touch base with important allies, business partners, and friends within the nearby city. "Reclaim the lost, rebuild the broken, refuse despair."
Before dawn on the day before Y Seeth-Perry, there is a religious service lamenting the sorrows of loneliness and the emptiness of being cut off from the living connections of the breathing world, and the harsh judgment of the Gods on those who violate laws of kinship, hospitality, and oaths of loyalty.
From there, every Dwarf leaves in silence, not making eye contact with each other. They spend the next 24 hours in isolation, in silent vigil, fasting and meditating on what it would be like to be completely cut off and alone, if no-one they had ever made contact with made it through the night, and they woke up only surrounded by the dead and regrets. It is a harrowing vigil, a "Forge of the Heart" as some rituals are called in Dwarvish. Each Dwarf examines their actions and behavior toward their family, friends, and allies in the past year, with an eye toward examining where they were building, and where they were breaking.
The vigil is a test of the Dwarven resolve to refuse despair, and regrets are forged into resolve to make amends and live with a stronger commitment toward constructive community if they should emerge on the day of Midwinter's Peace and find that they have been judged worthy of another chance at life among the free people of the living.
At dawn on the day of Y Seeth Perry, the dwarves emerge from their self-imposed solitary confinements, and make their way to the great halls to seek out strained kinships and beg forgiveness, make amends, and put all of the last year's petty strains to rest. Even problems that cannot be solved through this ritual of introspection and renewal are at least set aside for the day in the spirit of Midwinter's Peace. After the morning's tears and embraces, there is a great midday feast where the Dwarves eat heartily as they seek to re-ground themselves in their place in the living world.
High Elves are a little exasperated by the Dwarven custom. Most Erin'Tar perform a meditation of self-examination and distancing oneself from worldly ties as a daily discipline, and see it as a refreshing and calming practice. Putting it off for a year to try to do it all at once seems a little undisciplined and reckless, and leaves the Dwarves distraught, overly sentimental, zealous, superstitious, socially codependent, and generally just reinforces what the Erin'Tar see as Dwarven shortcomings. Besides, if the ritual is going to be that sort of death-and-resurrection affair, it shouldn't be done every year — how exhausting, when one lives as long as an Elf! Better to save those sorts of initiatory rituals for rites of passage and truly important events.
Editor: Many Humans spend this day in merriment and feasting, so are a little surprised at the way Dwarves get so earnestly sentimental at this time of year... though it's not unusual for a few humans deep in their cups to be overwhelmed with their love for their fellow people, too. Bawling and "I love you, man" "I love you, dwarf" is not exactly uncommon by the end of the night.