Sunday, February 26, 2012

WotS campout weekend *aka Why Metrocon is rated so badly*

So if you read the post I put up about Metrocon, you may have noticed I talked about a group named WotS in the article. You also noticed that it was a different story for a different time. And if you have been rather attentive, you actually have noticed that I have said that I would eventually tell the story of WotS.

Well today, I spill all.

WARNING: If you are a WotS supporter who makes angry comments when WotS is called a LARP, leave now and do not return. Posting of angry comments on my blog will be met with swift deletions *or as swift as I can bring it*.

Note: If you want to see the climaxing event that ended my WotS days, scroll down until you see the Caps Lock motivational picture and sentences that are in caps .

Note 2: If you want to see how this affected Metrocon, scroll to the bottom.

A quick briefing on what WotS is: WotS stands for Way of the Sword, a florida based LARP that started in Orlando but has expanded to several other areas including Jacksonville. It was there that I began my LARPing days as an archer. That was August of 2009.

 The group picture taken just hours prior to the weekend fiasco

Fast forward to June of 2011. It is Monday and I have just returned to Jacksonville after a disappointing Metrocon journey. Drained due to what felt like a wasted trip I sullied around in Jax waiting for Friday to arrive so that I could head back north to attend a meetup in Augusta, Ga. But in a surprise move by the navy, they deposited a bonus into my checking account almost 2 weeks ahead of when I was expecting it. Bolstered by a new found source of cash, I made the fateful decision to attend the WotS campout happening the weekend after Metrocon.

After informing the Augusta lolitas I would not be attending their meetup, I packed my things and headed back south to Orlando, where the campout was being held. Now before I continue, let me just say that campout was said to be the GRAND event that you could attend for WotS. That weekend... was just un-describe-able. I do not think words could have expressed the anger I felt for WotS that weekend.

 This is what I could have been doing.

I arrived Friday afternoon and went on to go find the Jacksonville group that I had associated with the most. I was rather miffed to find not the 30-ish strong I had come to expect but rather a rag-tag group of maybe 15 people. And of the 15 people, 6 of them were leadership position type. It was quickly apparent that this was not the GRAND event that you could attend for WotS. After all, how does a city that holds atleast 70-ish fighters only send 15 to Orlando? Obviously atleast 20+ people had something better to do *yes I have taken work schedules into account. But these events are announced months in advance. Its not like people are informed a week in advance*. I wish I had been 1 of those 20+ people.

Most of Friday was spent doing nothing. It was a giant cluster fuck of a system and no one seem to have any power over the event. The iteniery clearly stated for a 3 pm start to the weekend but nearly half of the clans didn't arrive till significantly after 5 pm. Which ended pushing everything back to the point where nothing really got done except for some night game, where the rules were so loosely and quietly stated that newbies had no idea what was going on.

Saturday morning was spent in the same manner as Friday. A day that was suppose to have started by 8 am was delayed to 10 am because people refused to wake up. The iteniery called for stretches and drills. Not knowing what they had in mind, I quickly came to find out that they tried treating us like we were in the military.

Now I don't mind being treated like I am in the military if I am in the military. But this is a fucking LARP, with people who probably have little to no discipline *people waking up at 10 am but the day was suppose to start at 8 am* and no training. And here's the kicker: 'leaders' were calling people retarded and stupid because they were unable to follow supposedly simple but terribly convoluted directions. Yea, even a military smartie like me had problems following the 8 people trying to give out directions.

And the day never got any better. The supposedly great East vs West battle *Japanese vs Europeans* that everyone talks about was so one sided that I could have just sat down and never cared *Japanese domination*. And the next battle was canceled when someone took a throwing spear to the neck. He was not severely injured but it was decided that enough was enough.

Before I get to the climatic ending of my time with WotS, let state some of the great deficiencies of the Jacksonville group I was staying with. Yes, they were overleadered. When you have 6 leaders and only 9 people under you, something is vastly wrong. And then for the small amount of people from Jacksonville, they had some major logistics issues. I mean... How do you not have enough water for even half a weekend? An emergency trip had to be sent out to grab water and food supplies. I was astounded at just how poorly organized this trip was.

The climax of it all though came at right around 4 pm Saturday afternoon. A quick pickup battle was organized and teams were being selected when I was asked to not archer since I would be the only archer on the field and it would give one team a huge advantage. So I asked if I could then wield my arrow as a weapon, which was OKed by the people who asked me not to archer. Most everyone else on the field seemed cool with it too as I fought the first 5 minutes of the battle with my pokey arrow. But then, one of the higher ups who was watching the battle ran onto the field, jumped in my face, and just began screaming at me. The words went somewhere along these lines.

Caps have been added for dramatic effect.


"What's the issue?" I ask


"Guy, this arrow won't break."


And that was that. I left the field, on the verge of tears. In the quickest send off that I had ever done, I ran to the closest person I knew, hugged her, told her I was leaving, and just ran off. I had left several arrows behind but I did not care. I jumped in my car and just gunned out of there.

*The arrows I used were and still are carbon steel based. Chosen because they bend then cleanly break when put under severe duress. It is the reason that my archer clan used ONLY these types of arrows, in the event that an arrow broke, it would limit the danger to others.*

Several days after the event, I reviewed the rules and regulations on arrows. Nothing ever stated that I could not fight with the arrows. Feeling cheated by people who created their own rules, I made the decision to abandon WotS and enforce a negative policy. Now whenever people ask me about WotS, I do everything in my power to convince them not to fight for WotS. Instead I encourage them to find other LARPs, such as Avegost and SCA, who would not be as negative as WotS was to me.

So how does this affect Metrocon you ask?  Well let me tell you. I was on Navy leave at the time. And I always grade how well my leave week was based on everything I did. Metrocon by itself was terrible but not so bad as to be dead last. It was the blowup at WotS that lowered Metrocon's grade even more by lowering the overall grade I gave my leave time that month. Its unfortunate that Metrocon was hurt by an event that had nothing to do with it but in my book, they were close enough to make it the worst week that I had in 2011.


  1. I'm sorry your larp experience was so awful. I stumbled across your blogpost when I was looking into wots, I heard they allow headshots. But from their videos, their medieval wear is lacking/nonexistent and their weaponry looks like its not padded properly to allow full force swinging, let alone headshots. I do Dagorhir myself. I'd recommend it. For one, it's far more organised, and has established rules that haven't changed much in the last ten years. It's also significantly cheaper than the SCA. And no one would ever let you stab people with an arrow. It's forbidden right there in the rules.

    1. Heh. I haven't LARPed since this incident. I've tried to start up with Avegost, since they are currently the closest to me. But they only do weekend events in Waycross. And after this fiasco of an event, I've never been willing to give up another weekend for a LARP.

      And yes, the arrow thing is now officially in the WotS handbook, put in there shortly after this incident. But at the time, it was a convoluted rule that was "yes you can" and "no you cant" and yada yada yada gray area.

      As for their gear, they lack just about everything outside of weaponry. And I think this issue is attributed to WotS HIGH turnover rate. For a while, I was periodically able to join in on a practice or two. And EVERY time I went, there were new faces who weren't there before and missing faces from the last time I had gone.

      O and they let sub-18 year olds play. Bad news just waiting to happen there.