Dragonbane was a large international live action roleplaying game (LARP) project. The game itself took place from July 27th to August 4th, 2006 in Älvdalen in Sweden, close to the border of Norway. There were 325 players from several different countries. While there was little media coverage in other countries, it received the attention of Scandinavian newspapers and gaming publications.
The game events took place in the fictional village of Cinderhill. The game setting was based on the world of Valenor, from Mike Pohjola's game Myrskyn aika (Age of the Storm). The setting mixed influences from the late Iron Age and the Middle Ages. The game aimed for total immersion and there was no out-of-character area.
Organisation and arrangements
Dragonbane was an unusually large LARP project with a budget approaching 1 million euros. Most of the funding came from dozens of corporate sponsors, including several major corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard. An entire village was built for the game, as was a large electromechanical dragon.
The Village of Cinderhill
A medievalish town called Cinderhill was constructed for the game, and for the future games to be.
The building of the village begun on spring 2005 and lasted (few winter months excluded) until the very day the game begun on July 4th 2006.
The Cinderhill Village was burnt down on summer 2012, because the land owners did not want to keep it there anylonger.
The village contained 4 long houses, a smithy, a bakery, a healers hut, toilet facilities, wash house, carpentry and a grand temple. All in all 12 buildings with 320 indoors sleeping places and a floor area of over 500 square meters.
Cinderhill was very much a work in progress. There were many ideas that stayed to be realized.
The Dragonbane project was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of LARP, and some critics expected it would never run. The originally advertised event in Estonia was postponed and moved to Sweden. Less than a third of the 1000 player spaces were filled. But still the project went ahead, and after several preliminary events (to help build the site and establish characters) the 5-day game was run.
Several last-minute technical problems restricted the mobility and articulation of the dragon. Some of the camping areas (outside the village) were reported as inadequately provisioned.
Player response to the event was mixed, dwelling both on the high standards of immersive environment and on the technical and organisational flaws.
The game was billed as a single event, and as yet no plans have been announced for sequel events.
- Johanna, Koljonen (2008). "The Dragon Was the Least of It: Dragonbane and Larp as Emphemera and Ruin". In Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros. Playground Worlds. Ropecon ry. ISBN 978-952-92-3579-7. "The international fantasy larp Dragonbane (July 27th - August 4th, 2006) was unprecedented in ambition... The game was intended to accommodate a larger number than 325 players."
- "Previous Coverage of Dragonbane" (HTML). Dragonbane website. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-07-09.