|Twelve Kingdoms in Twelve Months|
Event Eight: Rosewood
Host Kingdom: Valley of the Silver Rains
Location: Silver Falls State Park, near Salem Oregon
The first thing that impressed me about this event happened almost as soon as I started considering the event. The event autocrat did a great job on pre-publicity. Event website was intriguing and had full information up early in the process. Lord Nobody also managed to do a good job of keeping people informed by e-mail without devolving into useless spam. On a personal note, once Nobody learned that I was coming he did a wonderful job of communicating with me. I was also interested in Rosewood because the very nature of the event is a Role-playing extravaganza. “Rosewood” itself is the name of a Drow Household in VSR and the whole idea of the event was to promote RP. I was expecting a full timed planned RP activity like I have heard about in the description of Discord, among others. Instead I found a reasonably normal Amtgard event with a player driven, non-structured RP built around it. This meant that there were lots of folks in with black faces and white hair. It was slightly remarkable how much full Drow make-up changes a person. I swear I introduced myself to some people twice.
Speaking of introductions, I have never had so many Amtgarders introduce themselves to me by their mundane names as I did at Rosewood. I hypothesize that it has to do with the fact that they all have multiple personas so they use their own names more often. It is just a slight cultural difference. The gate was another slight cultural difference. Gate sign-ins were being taken in a little cabin next to the road and people were parking and then going in and paying. The sign-in process took about 10 minutes but people were being patient about it, by and large. Quite a change from gates where the trolls have to physically block the road to make sure the event makes money. Friday I got some swings in one-on-one with a few folks and Downfall shared some beer with me. I got to meet lots of folks. There seemed to be a certain number of people skulking in the night and RPing with themselves in weird ways.
Saturday morning was lovely. I got some breakfast and then we got some ditching in. It was 6-10 people only and that was a little bit depressing for a Saturday. The ditching broke up for the Rosewood relic auction. The auctioned off relics had nifty powers good only for the weekend. Some of the physical items were pretty well made and were good souvenirs but it surprised me quite a bit to see the money they raised in the auction. About fifteen items were sold with prices ranging from $15 to $65. Sixty-five dollars does seem a lot to pay for one extra wizard spell point per level that lasts only for the weekend. After that was the masterhood tourney, which was a strange one-on-one full class free for all. I missed it to ditch and chat. Next was the quest. As Amtgard quests go this one was very well received and the NPCs and players both went beyond the call of duty, costume wise. After the quest I had to go to town to fetch the beer I owed Downfall. I made the mistake of trusting the feast time. Otherwise I would have stayed for the bear-pit. I heard that the bear-pit was fun but that no one really gave Maurice a run for his money.
I got back and there was actually plenty of downtime before feast or court. They filled part of it with that most venerable of Amtgard fundraisers, “Pie-in-the-Face”. Once more I learned that VSR is another world. Pie in the face really meant in the face rather than in whatever part of the body would cause the most discomfort. We had the vocal stylings of Silky-smooth the alter ego of Derek Roth to sell the pies and he was at least a funny as the usual pie auctioneer. Nonetheless the pies all went for $100 or less. This means that the Relic auction raised notably more money. That was a revelation to me. The feast itself was good quality and the cook strongly told me that the lateness of the food was caused by the scheduling of other events rather than any fault in the kitchen.
After the feast there was partying and also a lot of skulking and mugging Drow and non-Drow for no better reason than the color of their face paint. They also had a drunken cribbage tourney for those less interested in skulking. I was worried that as someone who did not understand (or want to worry about) Drow politics, I would miss out but there were plenty of folks willing to sit around a fire in one of the cabins and talk about the old days. I went to bed early because I was just worn out but it was a great event. There was a full schedule of Sunday events but to get my flight paid for I had to fly out of Portland at 1 PM. I was particularly sorry to miss the belted family battles because I wanted to see them. Without any squires present I would have gotten beat anyway but it looked like fun.
In closing, VSR has had a reputation of playing Amtgard ‘differently’. That is somewhat true. Certainly they emphasized role-play in a free form sort of way more than the IM or the Texas kingdoms. They also have a reputation for being a little aloof. This was not true at all. I was as well accepted at Rosewood as I was anywhere on my trip so far. I strongly recommend VSR events and events in the Pacific Northwest in General. Thank you to all the people I was privileged to meet.
Grades (my choice of 8 broad categories) Site location and air travel friendliness: A (Only a little more than an hour from the Portland Airport, the drive was easy and the Amtgard directions and signage excellent. The only thing that keeps this from being an A+ is that the State of Oregon uses the smallest road signs ever.)
Site itself: A+ (Would that every site was this good. Cabins, good roads, showers, Feast hall, good fighting field and good fighting trails all in an amazingly beautiful setting for $5 a person/night. Only lack of lit ditch field kept this from being perfect but since most VSR folks wouldn’t have ditched anyway, I give it an A+.)
Feast: B+ (There was a main feast with the coronation court and two breakfasts provided as part of the feast fee. All these together were a great value and the food was tasty. Only negative is that they ran out of one dish.)
Court: C+ (Court was good and it seemed that people were recognized. The reason this gets a lower score was the lack of pomp and the fact that the court was very hard to hear. I was within 30 feet of the speaker but I could only hear part of it.)
Ditching: C- (There wasn’t enough of it for one. For two, there were no lights and for three there was only marginal interest in ditching.)
Battle games: B+ (Sort of a strange full class, every man for himself free-for-all which I missed but which seemed OK. I played a monster in the quest and I had a hoot. Most players seemed to enjoy the Quest also.)
Other planned activities: B-N/A (The Highlander games were sort of a mixed bag but fun. There was also a Belted tourney and a bear pit, both of which I missed. I am sorry that it came down that way. I would have liked to give Sir Maurice a challenge.)
People and attitudes: A+ (First this grade could be a little skewed because I was a little bit of a VIP but it certainly seems like VSR does not deserve the reputation for being standoffish.)
Best Thing Hardest Working Autocrat in Show biz.
Worst thing Having to miss all of Sunday’s fun to sit in the Portland Airport because of a delayed flight.
Next event: Golden Plains Coronation
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