Barnswood Scout Camp

Barnswood Scout Camp is a medium-to-large, wholly encapsulated and LRP/LARP friendly scout camp between Leek and Macclesfield.

Map to Barnswood
The purple flag marks the site entrance

The site is more accurately situated near the village of Rushton Spencer, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0RB. Sat Nav takes you either right to the gate or down a nearby road – depending on which you use. TomTom got us to the gate, Pinman’s phone didn’t.

Once down and up a dirt track you reach a generous car park with gates into the site proper.Site Map

I’d recommend having someone man the car park on day one, just to make sure that space is best made use of.

Map on siteMy initial reaction to the site was wholly positive. It is well out of the way from random passers by and has a number of large clearings.

The clearings are obviously intended for camping but make for excellent skirmish areas. The larger clearings could be used for large IC tents but with the addition of all the various bunk rooms these would be cosmetic.

The GatesThe site has a circular pathway running around the perimeter and a couple of paths bisecting. For the main part, the paths are solid and well maintained, a one way system is well signposted to guide traffic around when dropping off kit.

There is even a secondary car park to the north.

BuildingsThe buildings are of varying sizes, the largest of which have kitchens. The kitchens are unstocked so your caterers will need to bring their own pots, pans, crockery and so forth. The bunk space is OK but the majority of accommodation will be down to either camping or floor space. Make sure your attendees know to bring their sleeping bags (and camp beds if they haven’t been allocated a bunk).

ClearingWe’ve only used the site once but did so on the many positive recommendations we have had from other site users. Many other LRP systems have made use of this site and it definitely ranks alongside Candleston as one of the best the UK has to offer.

Recommended Monster BaseI have a full album from our Friday Site Walk on facebook.

TPK (Gryphon Spring Event 2010)

There's only one PinmanI was very disappointed last year when we couldn’t run an Autumn event due to lack of forward planning. We promised ourselves that we’d just have to up the stakes with our Spring sanctioned event.

We knew we had big boots to fill and were very aware that many players ahd mistakenly written off our last event (War of the Weasels) because it had a beastkin theme.

Three things influenced the choice of event theme:

  1. The end of the Akari/Entropy plotline at the Gathering
    1. We had an Akari General to get rid of to truly end the plot.
  2. The Siege of Elvas
    1. This was a harsh event, high risk and heavy combat.
    2. Players from multiple factions and guilds united under one banner to fight a common foe.
  3. The awesome events run by some of our previous plot reps
    1. Every one of the events run by Wayne, Chris and JB have been high combat events that do not suffer fools

We wanted to run a high risk, high combat event that would remind old school Gryphon players of the kind of threat that the old Obsidia events had.

Awesome!We also wanted to run an event that could be attended by the kind of player that historically have never been able to attend a Gryphon event – namely unliving characters and necromancers.

The latter was a huge risk, many of our player base’s characters are so vehemently opposed to this kind of character, that the whole thing could have turned bloody before the plot was introduced. As it happens, the players took it in their stride and now have a lot to talk about at events later in the year.

The first night was fraught with problems. Aside from the ever present paranoia that half your monster base will back out at the last minute, we also had a lot of the event IC (In Character) paperwork to print (and in some cases write).

Gryphons and GuestsI’d spent the day before writing a story about our main protagonist, one I may blog here at a later date; there were also plot clues in the form of letters and orders that had to be formatted with an Aztec font to give the players something to think about. With all that to panic over the electric supply to our venue blew – literally, with smoke and sparks erupting from the ground and everything.

Now credit were credit’s due; Our logisitcs guy, Adrian, managed to rig enough electrickery into the monster room to allow for lighting and laptop. Printing, on the other hand, was out of order until E-On had fixed the supply. So with half the site cordoned off by the Sparkies and monsters made-up by candle-light, the event continued. Players were very understanding and managed to carry on despite the sound of E-On’s diesel generator and the brilliance of their night-vision-destroying floodlights.

The Witch QueenI actually arrived from checking into a Premier Inn, whilst the E-On van was trying to work out where to go. I was fully kitted out in black shirt, dark shemaghs, longsword, daggers and quarterstaff when the van drove up and asked if we were having problems with the electric. Luckily I’d already been briefed by phone so I started to explain where to go and who to speak to.

The warden of the scout camp was on site now and Adrian was ready to receive visitors from E-On. All of a sudden the driver asked me:

“Do you know Bob Bobertson?” or something like that.

“No. Why?”, I respond.

“Oh, he’s a venture scout.” comes the reply.

As I stood there wrapped in my “Murder Robes” (ordinary sith robes for the uninitiated), all I could think to say was “Sorry, I’m from Huddersfield.”

The night went on, the original plot had to be reworked to account for the electric repairs but we still managed to get some heavy combat in. Lots of high level unliving (that’s undead, skeletons, zombies, wraiths and wights) in the dark.

Akari STIt was truly frightening, the darkness didn’t help and we could have been a lot better organised as players. So badly did the first night go IC, that I actually worried that the players might not achieve the overall objective after all.

The next day was better. Having arrived back at our hotel around 4am, the 8.30am start was not appreciated but I still had to get hold of the Aztec font required for the IC documents. We had a shockingly poor breakfast at our Premier Inn, chippolatas and limp bacon. After breakfast I spent a good hour trying to get access to the Internet with my O2 PAYG 3G USB dongle. It wouldn’t have it so I ended up paying a fiver to Spectrum for the privilege of downloading less than a floppy disk’s worth of data.

Back on site I learn the full impact of the night’s fighting. Several player characters dead and a couple of escapees who had initially been captured for execution later in the day. The day continues pretty much as the day previously. I’ve missed the appearance of my IC nemesis, Isis, a previous player character who haunts me, blaming me for her death.

Why?There are various combats throughout the day when we learn there are sacrifices being made; these are hampered by the same lack of organisation amongst the players and we begin to look shoddy and embarrassing to our visiting guests. More player characters are captured and killed, which has the bonus effect of increasing monster numbers and new player character healers – both of which are welcome.

On the back of this we return to the player base and find fresh players characters, some of the ref team and monster crew have brought their characters out for a brief spot of R & R. Whilst this starts well with some good banter, it ends badly when a friend starts acting in a decidedly uncool manner and we’re ordered to deal with his character.

Ancestor botherersI eventually have the pleasure of listening in as the players decrypt the origin story I wrote for the big bad, inwardly chuckling as they piece it together. It is about this point I start to feel really good about the event. Sat working on the decryption are such a diverse mix of player characters and each and everyone of them are debating what the story means and how it effects their plans.

As day turns to night and energy (both physical and IC magical) wanes, the fighting gets heavier and tempers shorter (well, mine does). I try to grab time to sit and relax with long time friends but for some reason I don’t feel welcome and so move on to find new company. I find myself relaxing with erstwhile enemies of the faction and guests rather than friends, which can only be a good thing. As a faction NPC my remit is to be there for all players, not just those I usually play with; still I can’t help but feel a little dejected.

After everyone has eaten their evening meal we manage to hold a trial for a young player character who stands accused of murdering a friend to save his own life. The trial itself is obviously a test of our own sense of justice and the relevant players seem pleased when we find the accused not guilty; his actions being justified by the impossible situation the character found himself in. The trial itself got people talking and was an awesome piece of role-play action for those involved.

Aulus Hero PoseEventually some of our guests go out “Wabbit Hunting”, this quickly turns into the penultimate big fight of the night. From somewhere the plot team have pulled out a Displacer Beast and our guests are loving the fact that there is such an old school foe to face. At the same time the rest of us back at player base (a handful of thinkers and low combat characters) are nearly wiped out by a monster crew of two. I stress for a while, the personal disappointments of the day weighing on me, but the event’s Sanctioning Officer helps calm me down and we move onto the final fight of the night.

The final fight of the second night provides some well needed comic relief. A group of possessed slaves have come looking to destroy our unliving guests. This leads to a great many waves of low level fighters being held at bay by everyone.

The next day we set out with a clear plan of action. We fight our way to our objective and whilst we struggle to do so, we eventually manage to beat back our opposition and save the day. The disorganisation of previous days had been pushed back and we worked together as a driven team – granted, I felt like I was being ignored in the driving seat but we won in the end.

And so now we look forward to the next one in Autumn, maybe I’ll write an IC account of the event; I’ll certainly write a review of the site in the next day or so.