There has been some confusion as to who I am. I am Leah Tardivel. I am a part of the cooperative called Mandala Studios. I am female and I am definitely not Simon (ed- Simon appeared in the photo on Leah’s last blog post). Simon is not going to the LT in July/August as far as I know.
For me the biggest thing was seeing the lights working in the Imperial Regio. The regio was one of my projects. It’s not yet complete, but we have got it to the stage that the lights and sounds are working and the stones are built. We came so close to having the sound last event that it was crushing to have to accept that we’d have to run with it. There were delays to the order, we’d been sent the wrong leads and the wrong lights, and eventually had managed to get everything sorted only to open the boxes on site and discover that the power leads that were supplied with weren’t the right leads to run the lights. This seems stupid. We went out at 1am on Saturday morning to play with the lights and see how they worked. There are still issues (for example people treat the stones as a boundary, which they’re not intended to be, and the amount of litter left on the was awful) and we have plans to continue to develop this area. I’m happy. I love the way the pinnacles of the obelisks glow. Hopefully those of you who play Empire also appreciate the changes.
Something else that made my event was the costume standards of players arriving to monster battles. They looked stunning. Thank you.
We know weather has a massive impact on events, as it has a massive impact on us. These events are run on agricultural land, which has an unfortunate tendency to turn to mud when it rains. Before Empire 1 2015 it rained a lot. When there is extreme weather it doesn’t have a massive impact on the number of players that attend an event. Matt has repeatedly said it has a large impact on the number of players that attend the next one. I feel a bit sorry for those that couldn’t risk E2 given there was rain forecast because you missed something beautiful. Hopefully we will have some of those people at the next event.
So why did this event work?
Most people have been very positive about it. Partially it will be because we were dreading another event that was as much work as the last one. A lot of us were. I showed that by posting a blog about the stupidity of my hobby. (A hobby that is very much the centre of my life, there’s little I do that isn’t linked to LRP in some way). Things were easier. We weren’t approaching an entirely new site after a winter of dashed hopes, doubt and inability to make decisions and get work done. We were better prepared, we had ideas and plans, and the weather was on our side.
Rain means mud and on a new site it always will. Getting the basic infrastructure sorted and right means taking time to work out how people will flow through spaces, what their needs are going to be. Who will be where when. There is only so much you can do by trying to imagine these things. Sometimes you’ll just get it wrong. With the monster tent the point at which flow matters most is the point at which we shuffle 400 players through and into costume to monster a battle. We have to talk about where we want them to go and where we don’t want them to go, and lay things out to make the best use of the space. I had a moment of panic when players returned from the Saturday battle through the wrong entrance and spent a little while reversing the flow of people to stop chaos happening. As a result we left a pile of armour outside. Fortunately the skirmish krew brought it back in.
A bigger problem is working out who needs access to toilets and water when and where the best place to put these is. This is a balance. We need to sort access, both for the people using them and for support crews. People will be jostling for space and will both want to be close enough to use them when needed and far enough away not to smell them. They’ll appreciate convenience but resent the presence of ooc vehicles to empty them and keep them working. Everything is a balancing act. When the event is muddy more compromises have to be made to keep things working.
Last event taking down Monster took two days. The monster tent is rather large and requires a significant number of people to remove it. We didn’t have that number of people on site on the Tuesday after this event, so the tent had to come down on the Monday. Matt asked for help and the entire crew pitched in and got the tent empty in 15 minutes. This made me unbelievably happy. I do some of the take down for monster, but actually spend most of my time driving PD stuff that can’t be left in a field back to storage in Coventry (including the orc masks so we can clean them). Knowing monster was sorted and Ali could get the tent down before she ran out of people was a relief.