I'm going to jump out of order for a bit so I can try to get my thoughts up while they're still fresh in mind. We hit a few Amtgard meetups but I've spent so much time participating lately that I haven't had time to write much about them.
But anyways, back to Samhain.
Reading the Belegarth boards, you get the impression that events are where it's at. They're the reason the game exists. Fighting at your local realm is all well and good and you need to start learning somewhere, but events are where you move from dozens of folks to hundreds of folks fighting. People bring out their best equipment and gear to show off, new and interesting scenarios are set up, the game becomes everything for a small period of time.
I'd been keeping one eye on Samhain during our wedding, wondering if it was toon soon afterward to try and attend. We were pretty burned out from planning the wedding and I wasn't sure if either Autumn or I would be up for getting everything made and ready in time for the event. I broached the subject with her and she seemed excited so we pushed ahead with plans to go.
As I mentioned in my last post, my first blues were only a semi-success in that they were constructed properly but were way too whippy and likely wouldn't pass weapons check at an event. So I went out and purchased some 3/8" inch fiberglass fencing poles from a local ranch store and just to be safe, DAP'ed, strapping taped, and liquid nailed them together into a solid dual core. I worked on them every night up to the event and we finished the covers at midnight the day before.
We also lacked fighting garb. We had the pirate garb we bought for our wedding but it wasn't exactly something we wanted to roll around the mud and grass in. So we stopped by Jo-Ann's and picked up some green, black, and brown trigger cloth, which happened to be on sale at 40% off. Being pressed for time we went super simple and just made a couple tabards from the cloth based on a pattern Autumn found online, modified with splits and points at the bottom edges. I got some plain ring-belts off Ravenswood leather to wear around them and we were mostly set. I would have liked a pair wrap pants for each of us as they look much better than just wearing levis but we ran out of time. We also picked up safety equipment like a cup for me, volleyball kneepads and speedbag gloves to protect our hands and we were set, game-wise.
We planned for a second camping trip in less than a month, packed our gear into the car and headed out. Unfortunately because of work, last minute packing, and childcare needs we didn't arrive in Ogden until after dark and missed the Friday evening fighting. We did arrive just in time for full fledged drunken revelry. Loptr was already three sheets, Breeder (whom we'd gotten to know through Amtgard) was comfortably buzzed, and there was a nice festive atmosphere. We quickly got our tent set up and roasted some hotdogs over a campfire for dinner, chatting with our Uruk-Hai neighbors who were also relaxing around the fire.
One thing that surprised me that first night was how many people were walking around in garb, even though they weren't fighting, even though it was a little chilly. It definitely lent to the atmosphere of the event, enough so that I decided I would toss on my simple tunic and ring belt under my coat. We stayed with the Uruks for a bit, and I had an educational conversation with Forkbeard about the history of foam fighting in Utah. The guy was just as big as I imagined and, despite of his internet persona, one of the nicest guys I talked to at the event. After a bit we wandered down towards the drumming drifting from the center of camp.
We found it at the Black Lions camp and listened to a few folks try their hand, with the dancers trying to keep to the sometimes irregular beat. I'd read about bellydancers at other events so I wasn't entirely surprised to see some at Samhain, though it did seem kind of cold for them. It was also our first exposure to the larger-than-life Lilith as she harangued the drummers and cracked everyone up as she danced. I didn't get too drunk, just enough for a nice buzz that enhanced the experience. Being the old responsible adults with a new baby, we turned in pretty early.
In all it was a nice way to ease into the culture of the group, to meet a few new faces and settle in before the fighting proper the next day.