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Feast of Fools
[04/30/2003] [Lord Muerte]

To those of you who attended the Sword Knight Boot Camp this past weekend, congratulations for showing up to what appeared to be, from what I've read, a wonderful event. But for those Amtgarders who live further east, and don't have a lot of frequent flyer miles, there was a great event a little closer to home.

The Barony of Crystal Groves, based out of Hagerstown, MD, threw their 4th annual Feast of Fools. This event has gone from a minor camp-out in some old guy's back yard in West Virginia, to a decent-sized event in a secluded mountain meadow in the same state, to a large, vibrant event thrown just outside of Hagerstown, near Huyett, MD. This year's attendance was the highest ever for this event. And the last count I heard were 184 Amtgarders.

The events were many, with some old favorites and some new ones. The arts and sciences event was, once again, a fun event to witness the products of. The theme of the arts and sciences was "cheesy". Congratulations to Adrian of Solstice for her sweep of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Her paper chain mail was outstanding- and as cheesy as it gets. And there were some very accomplished craft merchants displaying their wares. I know a lot of people left the event with more stuff than they showed up with.

The Archer's tournament was fun, and a bit of a diversion from the norm. Rather than one shot at a target to determine whether you go on to another round (misses are eliminated), there were three shots each round, and each successive round at a further distance. The target itself had a black ring, a green ring, and a red bullseye, with a life-sized styrofoam head. Shots to the colored portion of the target scored points, shots to the head deducted points. And the little eyeball that flew out of the head when you hit it was a crack-up. Congratulations to Sir Vasa Wolfrider of Crystal Groves for his decisive win.

There were two big planned battlegames. The first, on Saturday was quite a let-down from what we've come to expect from Crystal Groves. It wasn't any one person's fault, mind you, it was just a weird and unblanced game. The plan was to have a Monty Python redux as the quest idea. It was held in a big open field, and everyone kind of split up into whatever teams they wanted to. The monsters included a Black Knight that couldn't be killed except by removing all his limbs, Trolls, and a couple of White Rabbits. The White Rabbits in this game had white seige weapons in addition to their normal abilities. The object was to go around and deal with the monsters in whatever way you could to find infomation on the Holy Grail. Whoever found the Grail got a lovely little cup as his relic to keep. The complication thrown in was the music and the "minstrels". There was a car on the field, and whenever its radio started blasting the muscial number, "Camelot", from the movie, everyone was to drop their weapons and dance. Then minstrels would run onto the field and whack random people, thinning out the field. The monsters ignored the dancing, able to attack and also thin the field. Once the music stopped, players could pick up their weapons and attack the fleeing minstrels.

Sound complicated? You bet. Add to the fact that every player had only two lives, and it got nasty quick. The White Rabbits ended up nabbing a few Druids to wander the field with them and waste players. I ended up dying to an evil little minstrel, and to a druid under White Rabbit control. How would I fix that battle? Take away the unlimited lives of the minstrels. No white seige weapons for the Rabbits. Normal class lives. I think all of these ideas would have helped... but it ended up being kind of a lame battlegame. The impromptu full-class game of pop-goblin football that sprang up later that day made up for it though. It was fast and fun, with no odd complications. Just full class maneuvering,and pop goblins streaking across a field with a football. Very fun in all.

The other planned battlegame was a lot more fun. It was a standard company flag battle, thought it was full-class. The Wardancers, the Mithril Host, the Saracens, a new company called Slough-Riders, and the angry mob (those of us with no company) took a hot, sunny field to do battle. There were a lot of stops to clarify rules, but it was a good fight overall. The biggest improvement I would make is to have the reeves talk before hand about what constitues a flag in the base, how the count proceeds when it's dropped, and such. But the only other thing beside a few minor injuries that stopped the fighting were reeves from different groups interpreting rules in different ways. My biggest gripe about that fight was the reeve's decision to not allow field equipment. As in, if a Warrior, or whoever, tosses a javelin at you, you may not throw it back, even if you can use javelins. What's worse, I was told that the people I had lent my darts and javelins to could not use them. The head reeve decided that no field equipment meant that if you didn't own the weapon, you couldn't use it, even if you had permission from the owner to use it. I'm still of the opinion that that ruling was utter B.S.; it's my equipment, it passed safety checks, I can let anyone use it I wish. I don't bring a pickup truck full of loaner weapons out to not loan them out. The problem was easily circumvented, though. I sold a bunch of javelins and darts for a song.

In the end, the Slough-Riders took the field, with the angry mob coming in second place. It was, all in all, a good, hard-fighting, fast-paced battle.

There were three more high points to Feast of Fools that were not actual fighting. The feast was absolutely delicious. The problem was, the food was late being served, due to the fact that our chefs had their order quadrupled (like I said, the biggest turnout yet) with only 4 hours before the feast. So Court was held in the interim, and was mercifully short. And when the food arrived, it was well worth the wait. The chefs have cooked for the last 3 events at Crystal Groves, and forgive me for not remembering their names, outdid themselves yet again. For their outstanding efforts, both were made Lords, and I applaud it.

There was a young-un's quest for those too young to participate on the battlefield. Crystal Groves constructed a very fun little quest involving Peter Pan (Sir Vasa), Shrek (Father Roland), a dragon (Peace) and Snow White (Koutouri). Though I'm a little old to have participated, I got to watch, and it was awfully fun to watch them try and give Peter Pan back his shadow.

And finally, amidst the ditching, and the roleplaying, there was the most hilarious event of the whole weekend- the competition to see who was to be crowned the King of Fools. For those of you who've seen the television show "Who's Line is it Anyways?", you'll understand how the competition went. For those of you who haven't, watch the show. People were voted off the "show" by a panel of judges every few rounds. Out of 8 people, 2 were eventually chosen as the King and Queen of Fools, myself and a guy named Sara (group unknown). Hilarity was enjoyed by all, including the judges, who we competitors had in tears.

So, in retrospect, what with two days of misty rainy-ness and a day of sunny-ness, the event was a rousing success. Lord willing, I'll be back again next year.

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