A battle at The Gathering
|System||Proprietary (foam weapons)|
|Event style||Weekend fest events with up to 4000 participants|
Lorien Trust (sometimes abbreviated to LT) is the trading name of Merlinroute ltd., a live action role-play organisation that runs LARP events in Locko Park, Derby, UK. It runs what were some of Britain's largest Live Roleplay events, once attracting around 4,000 people to the larger events. Numbers however are significantly less in recent years with an estimation of around 1000 attending the larger events due to strong competition from rival organisers such as Profound Decisions. It was formed in 1992, originally as a charitable organisation (hence "Trust" in the name), in response to perceived problems with the Summerfest (LARP) event. The Lorien Trust uses its own set of LARP rules, known simply as the "Lorien Trust rules system". In addition to the four events held per year, the Lorien Trust also sanctions many smaller events to use the same system and game world.
The Lorien Trust's flagship event is The Gathering. It is held over the August bank holiday weekend. The final battle of The Gathering normally draws over 1200 players on each side. Lorien Trust claims that these are the largest live action battles in Europe.
These events are set in the fictional world of Erdreja. The Erdreja setting is described as "high fantasy/medieval".
Lorien Trust Events
- The Great Edrejan Fayre (GEF)- A sports competition themed event, previously known as the Heartland Games
- Spring Moot
- Summer Moot
- The Gathering - Lorien Trust's flagship event
Erdreja is a relatively free-form fantasy world which imports its concepts from numerous sources including D&D and fantasy novels. The LT's campaign focuses around a small region of the Erdreja, known as the Heartlands. This region is divided into ten separate kingdoms, each governed by one of the Factions of Erdreja. Each Faction takes its name from an animal associated with the country. Every player character belongs to one of the ten Factions. Characters may also be members of none/any/all of the ten Guilds.
The ten factions and their main inspirations are:
- The Bears (primarily Scottish clansmen)
- The Dragons (based on Celts from Ireland and Wales)
- The Gryphons (French and Spanish noblemen)
- The Harts (English in the tradition of King Arthur)
- The Jackals (Arabic and Ancient Greek people)
- The Lions (also English, sharing the Harts' background with Viking Roots)
- The Tarantulas (mainly Drow from the Underdark)
- The Unicorns (seafaring traders)
- The Vipers (Teutonic people including many Goblins and Orcs)
- The Wolves (based on Viking cultures)
The fourteen guilds are:
- The Healers
- The Incantors
- The Bards
- The Alchemists
- The Militia
- The Bank
- The Archers
- The Scouts
- The Mages
- The Armourers
- The Watchers
- The Great Library
- The Casino
- The Corruptors
Within the Factions, players organise themselves into semi-independent groups. Each group usually has some kind of common purpose (a military unit, for example, or a trading company), and many players will put great effort into giving their group a strong identity.
In addition to the Factions, there are also a number of international Guilds, whose In Character role is to provide training and support for members of different professions. Out of Character, the Guilds also help to administer the LT system - the Mages' Guild, for example, handles the distribution of spell-cards (OOC items needed by players of magic-using characters).
In the early years of the LT, Erdreja was conceived as an open gameworld: players were allowed to play any kind of character they wished. Over time, the problems of maintaining continuity in such a free-flowing system, coupled with the growing prevalence of larps with closed gameworlds, led the LT to exert some control over the types of character permitted in the system. That said, there is still a wide variety of races and character roles available to players. The races, like much of the rest of the gameworld, are drawn from fantasy literature:
- Beastkin Beastmen, etc.)
- Urucks (Goblins, Orcs, etc.)
- Ologs (Ogres, Trolls, etc.)
- Dark Elves - Dark Elves, Drow and Norns
- Fey - Wild Fey, Seelie, Unseelie
- Wee folk (Halflings, etc.)
- Other (Which encompasses anything else a player can make an acceptable costume for, including; Golems, Genies or Garthim. Though only in very special cases are the related attributes of these races applied to the character.)
Erdreja is saturated with magic of various kinds, and spell-casting characters are common. In-character rituals are often carried out by players to create magical items or to further an ongoing plot. Religion is universally based around ancestor worship.
In June 2011 the Lorien Trust gameworld (more specifically the bears faction forums) was found to be the 385th most visited website by the UK's Department of Transport. This was picked up by various newspapers and the BBC. In September 2012 the Sun newspaper published an article mistaking the game world for one replicating middle earth and the lord of the rings, rather than having its own fantasy setting. In October 2012 the Huffintton Post posted an in depth article exploring a first time roleplayers view of the Live Roleplay scene from the point of view of someone attending the Gathering for the first time and interviewing a number of attendees, charting The Lorien Trust and other systems in the UK.
- BBC article covering the Gathering in 2001
- Lorien Trust rules
- Live Role-Playing Games: Implications for Pervasive Gaming, a conference paper employing the Lorien Trust as an example of a live roleplay system
- Sunday Times article "The land of make believe" (26/10/2003)
- BBC article "Nottingham - What's On" (22/8/2001)
- "Lorien Trust Official Site". Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- "LARP Mag Issue #2, June 06, Section IX: "The History of UK LARP"". Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- "Department for Transport Internet Usage". Department for Transport. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- Sanchez, Raf (2011-07-29). "Belly dancing and medieval role play: civil servants' favourite websites". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- Chapman, James (2011-07-30). "Cyberslackers of the Civil Service: Officials make tens of thousands of web visits on taxpayers' time and money". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- "Civil servants' web habits revealed". BBC news. 2011-07-29. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- "Lord of the Rings fans turn the Midlands into Middle Earth". The Sun. 5 sept 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- Allison, Peter. "Something for the Weekend: Live Action Role-Play and the Gathering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 November 2012.