I’ve said before how much I enjoy the “Tavern Quest” games run by Omen Star. It’s the most marvellous lightweight lockdown experience of mutually agreed storytelling, based on some sketchy tropes nailed together with so much plagiarism that it counts as research. Your characters meet up the night before some momentous event, and play what you’ll do. You play it out over a Discord channel, chat and video. You lean into your tropes, and make a story together out of some character ideas with big gaps for you to identify with. It’s simply a glorious evening’s fun.
Then one starry night I was deep in my cups, and they’d implied there might not be any more… So I wrote this:
Harry Harrold, private message, October 2021
"OK. It is late. I am drunk. But I saw your "no more 'meet at'. They each take ages" post, and thought - "Maybe one more? Dammit, I could do one more?" I am confident I could write a Christmas-themed 'Meet at Yule". event, and if I could, would you run it? There's so many tropes to pillage..." ... "So many flavours of midwinter festival to rob, so many Pratchett tropes for inspiration, so many elves to steal, even one of two reindeer to borrow. It's all there, and I can do it in time, let alone your help which would be amazing.."
And thank the deities of larp, they agreed… So we wrote it. I had a lot of fun working within their writing process, details of which are theirs. And here it is – well, here’s the teasers. (And here’s the sheets…)
Meet at the Midwinter Feast
“Midwinter comes to the Grand Duchy as long, cold nights take their toll. The spirits of the season gather at the feasting table to thrash out the true meaning of the celebration that will be spread across the lands. Little do they realise that some guests arrive early and they are not the kind of guests you can just turn away.”
The first TavernQuest scenario of 2022 is the long awaited MEET AT THE MIDWINTER FEAST in association with LarpX. Our latest TavernQuest adventure promises to be full of festive cheer and midwinter mayhem!
We will run the event on Saturday the 15th of January
You play one of twenty Characters in a fabulous fantasy journey you will never forget! The larp is theatrical style with a focus on playing bombastic characters in a supportive and uplifting environment.
Each online experience is 2 hours long with a full briefing beforehand so you know what you will be doing. The larp is played on our Omen Star Discord Channel and tickets cost £15 each.
You will receive a casting form by email when you book with further developments sent via email and on our TavernQuest facebook group. We will update you on when you will get your character and other practical information next week.
“Festivities, mystery and the true meaning of Midwinter all hang in the balance and time is running out. Deck the halls with magic and mayhem for soon it will be time to…
MEET AT THE MIDWINTER FEAST!
(I add: The characters fall vaguely into four groups. They might fall in, out, for, and over each other. They’ve each got 3 suggestions of objectives, and 4 pre-existing connections, but during the event you simply follow the story – there’s no points for achieving a goal, they’re just ideas of what might make you a good story for an evening’s roleplay. This game, the four groups are…)
The Spirits of the Feast are the supernatural manifestations of the seasonal festivities. They gather every year to argue over the true meaning of the season and see which of them will sit at the head of the table.
The Spirits of the Season are those Elves who are committed to making sure that whichever vision of the Midwinter Feast takes precedence, it is celebrated fully. They work hard and squabble among each other frequently. They might have different opinions on what the Spirit of Midwinter really is, but they all agree that someone has to put the work in and that someone is them!
The Winter Court are Demonic Overlords of the wolf, the bear, the goat, the boar and the stag. Keeping these demons appeased helps keep the peace in the Duchy over Winter. But they have their own allegiances and disagreements among themselves and the Duke thinks it would make sense if they had a space to air these grievances in front of everyone else.
Finally in true Tavern Quest style there are five “Celebrated Guests” who have just turned up and cannot be turned away for very different and very valid reasons. Each one of them brings their own set of problems and perspectives to the feast. Long experience has taught everyone in the Duchy that it is not only rude to turn away guests who arrive early, it is often hazardous. Sometimes, of course, it is just as hazardous to let them in.
The Spirits of the Feast
“What is the Spirit of Midwinter and who really knows the true meaning of Jule? The competition is fierce over who exactly gets to set the tone of this festival, and the future of Midwinter is at stake!”
🍇 Ramracket the Spirit of Revelry
“Ramracket is the representation of wine and good cheer. Manifested since truly ancient times, the old spirit of wine and revelry knows how to have a good time. They are here to make sure that people remember that this is the season to be jolly!”
🎁 Bellycheer the Spirit of Giving
“Bellycheer is the manifestation of generosity. The old traditions of kindness and mercy in the middle of winter are being replaced by newer traditions. Will people remember the true meaning of midwinter? It seems impossible, but you have to try!”
🕰 Winterkill the Spirit of Tradition
“Winterkill is a reminder of the old ways. A brutal time where survival was at the heart of the Midwinter festivals. Times do not change that much. Bring out the sacrifices and punish the wicked, it is time to let the bitter cold separate the weak from the strong.”
🧸 Bummock the Toyseller
“Bummock is a merchant with their own dream of midwinter. Making toys and gifts for everyone all over the Duchy while creating jobs for seasonal workers at reasonable rates. A simple dream of a perfect yule where families shop together, eat together then spend some quality time together.”
🛷 Mulligrubs the Mean
“Mulligrubs is the rejection of the midwinter spirit and the punisher of the mean. They delight in the torment of lesser souls and would rather everyone just left things as they are. People are becoming more mean and bitter, which is a step in the right direction, but you suspect they will need a shove if they are going to abandon this ridiculous cheer forever.”
The Spirits of the Season
“Of course nothing gets done without the assistance of the elves who make the magic happen. If they can ever agree on what needs to be done, that is.”
🌲 Aquifolium the Spiky
“Aquifolium is irritated. Nothing works like it should, nothing is organised like it should be. It’s annoying. There’s so many distractions, and it’s hard to keep concentrating on one thing for long enough to fix it properly. Such a lot to do! If only Aquifolium could relax a little…”
🍃 Helix the Climber
“Helix is smart and ambitious. They’d love to find someone powerful and important to stick to. Someone who’d give them the position of respect they deserve. They’d need to be good enough, of course. That’s not happened yet, but there’s world enough and time for Helix to find the one.”
🌿 Viscum the Pure
“Viscum would like to think the best of everyone, and they try very hard to do so. It’s just not always possible, and some folk need a nudge to be as good as they can be. Helping people with the right kind of goals gives Viscum the greatest pleasure.”
🍄 Agaric the Secret Mushroom
“Agaric is a charming sort, a bit guarded, but well worth knowing if they like you. Or so folk say. If they don’t, well, rumour has it you wouldn’t want them to to dislike you. Does anyone really know them, though? What’s under that cheerful-looking facade? What’s Agaric hiding?”
☕️ Crump the Cosy
“Crump is a happy traveller from far away. They’ve come to the Grand Duchy with fine things the like of which have never been seen before. Candied fruit, and sweet treats for everyone. How could anyone not like that? Only someone who was Very Jealous of how popular Crump is!”
The Winter Court
“The noble demons of the winter court simply must be invited for the midwinter feast and the Duke has followed this tradition. It seems unlikely that they will put their differences aside for one Midwinter Meal but it’s the thought that counts.”
🐺 Glissade the Sovereign of Snow
“Glissade is a powerful winter demon with a mastery over ice. The snow sovereign creates magical realms in the ice where they capture the unwary. They hope to capture the whole of Midwinter, together with its seasonal courts, in their magical realm where they will rule supreme.”
🐻❄️ Winterim the Rime Frost
“Winterim is the bringer of cold winds and ill omens. An ancient demon with power over the winds, so old and powerful that they are believed to be created at the time of the first snows. They are here to take what is rightfully theirs but find there is a lot of competition.”
🐐 Capra the Curious
“Capra is the demon of fauns, satyr and goats. Cranky, stubborn and nosy, they want to be in the middle of everyone’s business and often find themselves way over their head! They have great plans for the Winter Court if they can just get the right people to hear them out.”
🐗 Scrofa the Wild
“Scrofa is the manifestation of the Demon Boar. They are often misrepresented as savages and brutes and Scrofa has had enough. It is time for people to appreciate the intelligence, sophistication and bravery of the porcine world and this is the place to turn that image around.”
🦌 Tarandus the Noble
“Tarandus is a truly ancient demon administrator representing the Demonic Stag in the ancient woods. They want to make sure the proceedings happen with a sense of decorum and tradition. They have no real aspirations of power but they have ancient standards to uphold.”
“It isn’t a feast without guests and this feast is no exception. Enter five wanderers, who cannot be turned away.”
⚔️ Viridian the Knight
“Viridian is a questing knight. They travel from duchy to duchy looking for worthy foes, and worthy challenges. They’ve braved the deepest dungeon and the wildest wood. At midwinter, they rest, and this year they rest here. Nobody would turn Viridian away. Better they are your friend than your enemy.”
🎞 Jol the Storyteller
“Jol is a bard. They are a teller of tales and a spinner of stories. Their gift is to find the soul of a place, and draw out its wisdom to tell elsewhere. There’s dark rumours of what Jol takes with them when they leave. None know for sure.”
🍎 Scurryfunge the Apple Seller
“Scurryfunge is a simple soul. They travel here and there, selling apples, and leaving happily ever after. Nobody has a bad word to say about them, and they’re in no tales, or at least no tales told more than once. Sometimes, it’s true, Scurryfunge moves on in a hurry.”
🥂 Yowndrift the Entertainer
“Yowndrift is an itinerant performer. They are a music maker and they are a dreamer of dreams. They are usually accompanied by followers; dancers, actors and poets. Oddly, they’re here alone, though, for the feast tomorrow. Maybe Yowndrift needs a new troupe to travel with?”
🐾 Sitzmark the Tracker
“Sitzmark is a forest-dweller. Someone who lives with the dark trees, deep in the heart of the wood. Their coat is stained red, edged in fur and discarded now they’re inside. Even the finest hunter needs to rest, and this feast is their time. Sitzmark can relax now, they think.”