Presidents Blog - Vision Statement
To those who are new to the world of Markoth, as well as those who have been with us since it’s inception, this is for you. Battlecry is at a pivotal point in time, where our choices will shape the direction and future of our game.
As the creator and current president for Battlecry, it is my responsibility to share the vision, direction, and to set goals for Battlecry, as a community to strive for.
As it stands, over the last few years, the amount roles I’ve taken on due to Battlecry’s short-handedness has prevented me from focusing on my role as President as well as the direction of our game’s future. However, as many of you would be aware – we have recently trained a large number of brilliant officials, talented GM’s, and great people have stepped forward to put effort into creating factions as you see them now. Having people step forward for our game has freed up close to 10 hours per week from my schedule, as well as allowing me to play a campaign for the first time only this year.
The end goal, the direction, and indeed the overall vision for Battlecry is something that for many years, has only ever existed in my head. It’s something I’d had in mind when making tough calls, when writing plot, and when designing objects of our game. But that isn’t fair on those who play it. My priority has always been making sure the players feel a part of this game – so I’m now shifting my focus to actually directing the growth of Battlecry.
So now, I present to you the vision for our future!
The Journey So far – Jan 2021 – Jan 2022
Battlecry Age of Markoth currently runs weekly events every Friday night for the better part of 4 years (155 events as it stands as of 14/03/2022), initially, our Eastern Sydney location attracted around 30 participants. This location served as a launching pad for the game, in which we laid the building blocks for our LARP. However, issues hampered growth on many fronts; our location was inconvenient, difficult to access and lacked facilities. We had 4 officials, and only one GM with more than a month’s training. We went through multiple admin shuffles, and struggled with covering costs in any meaningful way, relying on me pouring my personal funds into propping up the club.
As we ended lockdown, Battlecry was in a precarious position, our storage location was failing us, and fees were looking to go up. Battlecry was at a crossroads. We faced the heartbreaking decision to fold the club, or to move it out West in an attempt to recover our position.
We made the tough choice to move location, and focus on building the club. Immediately, we had a spike in numbers, and a renewed sense of excitement filled the team. Battlecry was alive! But we had work to do.
We ran training for our official’s team, which saw 20 people participate as a way to give back to their community. I cannot stress enough how much these people changed the quality of our events. I promised I wouldn’t single efforts out but Wynter Norman has to be mentioned here as someone who just stepped up, took the role of Head Official, and changed my life.
We saw the immediate development of sub factions – in a very real way. We saw the emergence of The Hounds, Camdoria, The Iron Claw Clan, The Chain, The Command, The Cartographer’s Guild, Kirisaka and the Crows. These groups developed from single concepts into fully fledged units, each maturing with their own unique style and aesthetic. But this progress moved faster than the planning was able to keep up with. With my last 3 years of Battlecry being a heavy focus on keeping our field available, I dropped the ball on lore, setting, and the vision of our game. It was just something I couldn’t prioritise due to the workload of other, more vital tasks.
So now, as Battlecry had met its crossroads, and had completed its direction change, I had the same challenge arise. I felt the need to step down as President. I wanted to see someone else take the reins and have a chance at steering this beast toward everything I wanted to see it become, and more. I wanted to slink off into the shadows and work on things behind the curtains. The issue that plagued me was not stepping down, but would the Jenga tower of Battlecry withstand that? Would someone even want to take over? Would the leadership be strong enough to continue its growth? I feel Battlecry is in an exciting period of growth. With growth comes abundant potential for new-fangled things, but with it also comes instability. I would love to be able to pass on the mantle soon, when I feel Battlecry has a more solid foothold and direction. But I don’t feel like that day is now.
Instead, I would like to focus on building the foundations for the future of Battlecry and laying the plans for the future if Battlecry has any chance to survive me stepping down as President.
Super Factions & Sub Faction Aesthetics
Battlecry will continue moving toward a game in which sides are easily identified by their colours, styles and aesthetics. Currently, we have begun by directing faction leaders to design their subfaction around a colour and aesthetic scheme, and dressing their faction according to that scheme, but this is only stage one. This staged approach toward improving factions will aid in further encouraging costume quality, immersion, as well as a feel to the event which makes people both on and off the field stare in awe at the brilliant display unfolding in front of them.
I have investigated many overseas and local LARPs. Speaking to organisers, players, and volunteers about how their system works, and the challenges they face. At many overseas games, the clothing restrictions, style guides, and even period restrictions or cultural barriers are heavily enforced. In consideration of the desired outcome, we looked to create an accessible middle ground for our battle game, which lent itself to easy, attainable barriers to entry, with a focus on progression.
At the end of the day, we all want to look cool. We want to jump on the battlefield with a costume that people envy, that makes us feel proud and that shows who we are. However, there is a line to walk regarding total freedom to wear what you’d like, and the overall theme of the event that Battlecry will be aiming. This goal is easiest shown in pictures.
The first thing to notice about this picture is that every character is unique. They each have their own look, their own aesthetic, their own style, and their own characters entirely. However, looking at them on a battlefield, you would instantly be able to place them on a faction, and possibly even a sub faction level. The important thing to realise is that these changes to our game don’t actually limit your choices, they simply provide more direction into how to build your character to fit the game.
This is another shining example from Empire – in England, of a faction with a faction theme. This group is easily identified, hard to confuse with the last example, and easy to place on a field. Each person is able to do what they want, but there is a uniting theme, stronger than the last example that gives them a level of cohesion.
Fell and Fair, in the USA run an event called Weekend Warrior, which caters roughly to around 300 players over weekend games run multiple times per year. The style restrictions surrounding armour and costume (to the point where if you have strapping in the wrong place, or armour that looks too fantasy, it will be declined) is not something we wish to uphold. But that being said, the results of these rules breed a culture of incredible costume cohesion. As displayed in these pictures.
This level of costuming and national resemblance is something Battlecry want to move towards. Having a unique style, and a costume guide for each sub faction will help players decide what they would like to play as, what kind of character they want to field, and will help them belong. It’s not about limiting choices; it’s about providing a place in which each choice has belonging.
Over the next 2-3 years, Battlecry as a whole will be helping faction leaders build their theme, their style and their overall nation identity through workshops and information sessions. We will be helping lead the way for our factions to grow, and assist them with the resources Battlecry has when it comes to crafting, design, lore writing and even suppliers (offering discounted sub faction orders).
In the end, we want a game in which factions are easily represented, confusion on who you belong to is non-existent, and the game flow is never interrupted with complaints of friendly fire.
Goal for Events
The goal for our weekly battle game is:
We begin with an empty field. The first vehicles arrive, as the sign in desk flips it’s sign and opens the event. People trickle in, signing up, bringing their friends, registering and taking to their sub faction ‘meeting spot’. As more and more cars turn up, the meeting spots swell with activity – people getting ready, people cleaning armour, people excitedly talking about the campaign and the world as a whole. The officials team meet in the centre of the now set up field as the weapons trainers take everyone to their sessions. Hundreds of players take to the field, each attending the weapons session of their choice to improve technique and train with the rest.
The training completes as the officials call for the start of game. The factions line up, and the officials read the plot for the first scenario, sending both sides to their spawn points. Both sides are given a strategy time, in which a table is set up for them with a map. The leaders and officers of each side congregate and plan their movements, developing their strategy to overcome the opposition.
The officials call the ready signal, and both sides roar with anticipation. The Battlecry of 100+ players per side is deafening, as the whistle blows and both sides explode out onto the field. Shields clash, archers volley, skirmishers spill out from the formation to pick off any who dare stray from their faction’s safety.
The game itself will evolve with the players, it will develop and change depending on the demands that the situation requires. Overall, we will be focusing on bringing the exciting, interactive games, with engaging and stimulating plot, regardless of numbers. But at the end of the day, our battle game offering won't venture far from where it is. We are happy with the format; we won’t be drifting far from it.
Lore & Plot
As the game grows, lore and plot will become more important to people. Subfactions will hunger for purpose as both sides seek to find meaning in the battles that take place each week. With the increase in numbers comes an increase in contribution toward to lore. I hope to eventually transition into a Loremaster position, which would allow me to focus on what I secretly relish within LARP – the weaving of a good story.
The game is in the founding stages regarding lore. With only the bones of the world laid out for public viewing. Over time, events, and players exploring, the world will be fleshed out further and further.
Within the next 2-4 years, I hope to slowly piece together a lore team, to focus on expansion of the world. I want our game to come to life, with nations having identities, cultures, and customs. I want an annual combat tournament with entrants touting family heraldry, fighting for honour and glory within Markoth. I want feasts, masquerade balls, strategy meetings, barbarian moots. I want the players to breathe life into the words they have helped write.
This is often where we get the most questions. How hard is it to just hold a weekend game? Other LARPs do it? Can’t you just, hold a camping event and run some battle games? Why don’t we just go out into the bush and have a social weekend.
The vision of Battlecry weekend events is not something as simple as holding combat in a bush setting. Organisational, legal, policy, rules, props, costumes, training, logistical, and financial hurdles are just a few of the things that will have to be navigated.
We want to do something unique, something fun, and something that offers people far more than just combat. A rules system that is in depth – but not over-complex, a setting that pulls people in, and allows people to get involved in the plot of the game, rather than even requiring a sword. Our games aim to be a seamless mixture of epic story, with exciting combat. Players will be pitted against the world, with death being a very real threat, and the story something that everyone contributes to. A true adventuring experience.
We want a functioning town, a society of players with an economy, guilds, Super faction camps, and a setting that people will discover, unfurl and talk about for weeks after the event. Our Battlegames will be a separate experience, with the light hearted fun of the social games providing a good juxtaposition against the immersive, gritty experience of the weekenders.
In short, we want our games to become legend, and the players to become the conduits for the lore. Be you a mighty fighter, hellbent on growing your name in the lands as a sell sword who will kill anything for a price. Perhaps you are a merchant, seeking to build a real business, and work your way up the chain in the town to eventually pull the strings, or influence those at the top. Or maybe you’ll be a scholar working in the mage’s guild, uncovering new spells from ancient scrolls that actually get added to the game via the lectures at the magic academy.
No matter what direction you hope to go in, we need to create a system and a setting that can handle these desires. We might have to start simple, and slowly add on these extra layers, but we will be looking to begin that process soon. These events won’t be for everybody, but if you are excited about something different. This might be perfect for you.
The endgame is something many people mention, but never really grasp. It’s a concept that I’ve toyed with and considered many times whilst listening or having conversations about the game’s potential. Right now, the goal of our games is to grow them to a size which delivers a fun, unique experience for each person on the battlefield. A game which is run by the community, and fosters the best parts of what makes society work. We will have rough patches; we will have hiccups and we will even make some blunders along the way. We have fallen, stood back up and have climbed higher than we were before, Battlecry is a game that has persevered.
Overall, our game is something amazing, which delivers so much for so many. We intend for that to only improve over the next 5 years. I hope to use my time as President for the best outcomes. To build a legacy which will outlive me as President. I promise to my community that I will give everything I can to ensure the success of this group, this sport, and the amazing people who step in and help lift this incredible game. Battlecry.