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Chronicles of Demgard 2014/1 - Expedition to Arnbjörg review

Two years ago was my first time that I went to a larp out of Croatia. It was Drachenfest 2012. Not long after, I went to my first larp in Hungary - Chronicles of Demgard 2012/2 - The Secret of Hartwigstein. Traveling to another country to larp there? It was quite an adventure. However, time passed. Croatia joined EU, simplifying the border controls. I crossed the border again to play Chronicles of Demgard 2013/2 - The Sternn Pass Incident, and then again in March for the second PoRtaL convention in Budapest. Going to Hungary for my third Demgard larp was... well, pretty much like a hop to the neighborhood. And due to my newborn daughter, probably my last international larp adventure this year.

Unlike the previous 2 Demgard games I've been to, this one started earlier - however, this is a Demgard summer game (first one that's international), and the summer games they have are bigger. So Friday was also the playable day, and I arrived at the terrain near the city of Tatabánya, Hungary (60 km west from Budapest) a bit late, just at nighfall. I set up my tent and changed, and I entered the game...

The Chaos army, with Horned King and a summoned wyvern. Photo by Sindeon

There were three factions in this event: First Joint Expeditionary Force consisting of two "civilized" nations (Western Empire and Uspenland), the local Tribes of Arnbjörg and a Chaos force consisting of the followers of the Horned King. The setup was basically a tug of war between the Expedition and Chaos, with Tribes being the key faction in the middle, to see who will gain influence over the land. I was with the Expedition, playing the same character as the last larp (which only a few characters on Demgard do - most were new, fitting the situation).

Looking at the scene. Photo by Elena Loken

Intertwined with all this were many personal storylines and goals. One of the more noticable things was the fact that Chaos really functioned as a corruptive force, and during the course of a larp many characters joined it. With the Chaos on Demgard working pretty much the same way as Warhammer Chaos, it was a nice way to explore why someone would join them.

Internal divisions in camps, tribes counseling, finding the hidden valley with the Fourth Tribe in it, diplomacy, threats and very decent costumes were just some of the gems of this event.

However, similar to last 2 Demgard events that I've been to - the plot resolved too quickly. The Tribes didn't create a champion who could defeat the Horned King. Weakened by deserters and traitors, the Expedition could not stand against the Chaos so it withdrew, together with most of the tribes, leaving the lands to the Horned King. And by 4 PM it was all over, which was a shame because I probably enjoyed this event more than previous Demgard events I've been to. Some 3-4 extra hours of content would've made it perfect in my opinion. I used that time to pack up and get all of my non-essential gear to the car, remaining for the party night but ready to go early in the morning.

The character I played is getting retired. He had enough excitement this past year. But I'm looking forward to the future Demgard events.


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