Hack and Slash used to be a fan site about LARP before becoming what it is today. In this time, we used to put on articles and stories of ‘recent events’ and anything else we felt like splashing across the page! So here is an article which was written by one of the team at the time, ‘Tom Smith’ in 2007 about Spearhead, which we still consider to be a quality LARP company with outstanding players. This has been posted up using the original graphics and presentation of the time.
So there you have it, an ace review and taste of Hack and Slash history!


Tom Smith
Bloody Report By: Tom Smith Hell
Spearhead LRP 3 day Roundhouse Event
27th,28th, 29th April 2007

Rotting, sword wielding zombies, paralyzing skinks and deadly spirits – these were just some of the nasty gribbles that the brave adventurers from Haven had to face on this third (and perhaps final) trip to ‘The Island’. The basic storyline for this weekend was that the players had to try to free the spirits of the island from corruption by removing a relic called ‘the heart of the earth’ from the ground and destroying a large green shard. The event itself was set in Powder Mill woods near Battle, a site complete with its own beautiful roundhouse that was hand built by the owner of the woodland, Richard, and happened over a period of three days, from the Friday evening to the Sunday afternoon. I arrived on the site a little earlier than the other crew members due to my train and had a great time pottering around until a Mr. James Luce turned up and showed me the true beauty of the site that we were on. Taking me to the campsite, he showed me the amazing roundhouse which was erected in a truly historical style, with mud/clay-covered woven wicker walls and a thatched roof. We got the fire going, put some sausages, apple and potatoes on and waited for the others to arrive. We didn’t have to wait long!

The master storyteller, Si, his wife Sarah and the first player of the day, Gavin, turned up shortly after the food was put on and we swiftly got to setting up the site to make it ready for everyone. Most of it was unpacking and setting up tents, so I won’t bore you with the details, but it didn’t take long and soon we were sitting round the campfire drinking beer and eating cooked sausage. Of course, soon afterwards Si pulled out briefs for the crew and so the present monster team got to sit around and laugh about how we could make life hard for the players. It was also at this point that I got the nickname ‘boy’ from an NPC that I had to play for some of the weekend. I think that it’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life! The players and crew turned up in drips and drabs and slowly the campfire gathering grew until nearly everyone was present but even so it wasn’t until about 7/8pm that we got started for real.

Break 1

Once everyone was kitted up, we the fun began. The players made their way as a group to their starting position and a small encounter with a group of skinks (snake-like creatures that poison their daggers with a paralyzing venom) was set up to get the adrenaline flowing in their veins before they finally reached the campsite. When they did get to the campsite, looking wonderful I might add – every player’s costume was very good - they got settled in and started to set themselves up for the night. Of course, we couldn’t let them get too comfortable, so more skinks were sent to attack along with my muffled shouts of ‘help!’ as my NPC ‘boy’ turned up on the scene along with his master (another NPC) called Deloro Lames. We got safely into the camp, but boy wasn’t safe from the players. As he was running away from an attacking baddie, an unsuspecting player decided to quad him in the leg, much to his and his master’s distaste (and everyone’s amusement). This was accompanied by “why did you think he was a skink, he’s holding a bow!” and “sorry old chap!”

Needless to say, the players managed to fend off the skinks and finally got down to some serious eating, as a superb

Dinner time  
Dinner Time for the adventurers

meal of fresh chili con carne was kindly delivered in pots by a group of passing feral-like folks called the Feoag, along with lovely crusty white bread. Let’s face it, they needed to face the most dramatic part of the evening on a full stomach!
As night well and truly fell, Deloro and boy made their excuses and left, leaving the players with a box of bone ash that they could use to create a magical ward to protect themselves for the night. It’s a shame that they were not fast enough as just as things were winding down, out of the darkness came a corrupted spirit called Dante flanked by two ghostly bodyguards and singing mournfully about the pulse of the earth. She went into the roundhouse and demanded to know why the warriors from Haven were there again, leaving her entourage, myself and another crew member, outside for the main purpose of scaring the players senseless if they passed us or tried to get in or out of the building. The Havenites, not being renowned for their negotiation skills, managed to upset Dante and so being her servants, we of course had to jump in there and defend her honor. After escorting her for a short while, we returned and managed to corner the players in the roundhouse and they took quite a savage beating. I got a little over zealous and nearly killed someone but they survived, beat us and then all was well once again. For about half an hour at least!

The finale of the evening was a small zombie attack, which was more of an atmospheric scare tactic than anything else, as the players were tucked up safely behind their ward. Also it gave the crew a chance to stumble, limp around and moan without being totally under the influence of alcohol, a task that we all managed to complete very effectively (probably because of having too much practice whilst intoxicated!). With a creaking of bones, a skeletal figure came and threatened the party at this point as well, specifically targeting a player called Marn, claiming to have seen him before, before slinking off again into the darkness. Then, thoroughly shaken, the players retired and a time out was called. It was the end of an eventful day.

Doing what he does best
He's always up that tree!
Tom plays an Archer - Boy
Ash is back, and this time he's drinking beer

Day two of the weekend dawned to the rich smell of bacon sandwiches cooked over a blazing campfire - a wonderful tradition and one that I’m sure will exist for years to come. This was a big day for the players with a lot for them to get done and so we got started as quickly as possible, so once everyone had woken up, arrived and been kitted up, it was about 12:30pm! The day started with a short linear adventure for the players in which they had to liaison with a spirit called Heerot who told them what they would need to do to get the ‘heart of the earth’ from beneath a large pyramid relic. By obtaining this they could destroy the large green shard and free the land from corruption. Of course, to get to Heerot, they had to get through crew members playing skinks and corrupted spirits first, which, to be fair, they did extremely well and really pulled together to overcome the challenges before them.

Of course, with all of the crew now back at camp because their alter-egos had perished, it was Pimms o’ clock and we all had a refreshing fruity goblet of the fruity beverage. I still find it hard to believe that we managed to drink Pimms complete with lime, strawberry, apple and mint in the middle of a campsite miles from anywhere, but it happened! At this point, the master storyteller and ref Si was playing Heerot. It’s very rare that he ever has a chance to play any of the characters that he creates and it’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to see him role play, but I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities in the future!

Once the players had finished chatting with the old spirit and had returned to camp, there was a wonderful display of role-playing skill as the players proceeded to start crafting and chatting amongst themselves. They had been told by Heerot to collect skink skins and use them to create armor that would hide someone so that they could sneak in to skink territory and steal a stone to help them unlock the pyramid – fortunately the skinks weren’t shy and began attacking the group again, allowing their hides to be harvested. By this point Deloro and boy had also turned up and

  Healer in the house!
Ade plays Ethan, Healer of the Group

were helping out, but Deloro was complaining about a bite on his arm. The apothecary Ethan (played by a guy called Ade and possibly one of the best role played healers out there) took a quick glance and declared that the entire arm would have to be removed! This was a moment of some of the most brilliant role play all weekend, as Deloro was made drunk, then held down by about four people as his arm was mercilessly hacked off by Ethan and other players. A fantastic moment was when Ethan cried “I can’t seem to get through this bone!” at which point a player grabbed an axe and sliced straight through it (accompanied by a horrific scream)!

Before dinner time, a small group had to go out accompanied by boy to collect suitable branches that could be fashioned into staves that could be used by Deloro to create a ward. This was a simple task and everyone was soon sitting around the fire feasting again, this time on chicken, pork and mashed potato. It was a shame that the players insisted on cutting off Deloro’s arm before he ate as it left the poor old boy having do it all one handed – with boy’s help of course!
Dinner went down a treat and soon the group was off again, this time hunting diamonds (because, as we all know, diamonds are the only thing that can kill a Mantine!). Unfortunately, they did not expect much resistance and were shocked to see a group of Sithac warriors standing there to oppose them (the Sithac were a group of feral-like people who worshiped the spirit of the snake). What was even worse is that they actually trusted the second group and left the secluded place of safety, coming out into the open where they were almost hacked to pieces! Yet again, however, they showed their solidarity, pulled together and defeated their opponents, sending the leader running with his tail firmly between his legs. They collected the diamonds, returned to their camp, and the crew enjoyed nice cold beers whilst plotting to make life hard for them later on in the evening!

As the darkness of night closed in, the players got themselves ready to go out and collect the foundation stone that

Bear Crafts the Armour  
Bear crafts the Armour to be used to fool the Skinks

would help them unlock the pyramid from the skink infested land to the south east of their camp. Being the intelligent souls that they are, they had crafted a suit of armor out of skink skins that Heerot enchanted to make them invisible to the skinks themselves, making the task a lot easier for them. Unfortunately, the mage in the group had forgotten all of the scrolls and the stone was surrounded by a ward! Even when the ward was penetrated, the archer lifting the stone got his legs blasted to pieces by traps that were lying underneath! This aside, they did manage to get the stone and escape virtually unscathed – the armor did its job. I was terribly disappointed – I was a cave skink and I wanted to job some people up!

To fully unlock the pyramid, the group also had to collect a crystal called Dante’s key from her grave. Fortunately, they had stumbled across it earlier on in the day and so had both items needed to unlock the pyramid. That meant that it was time for another zombie attack! As the players all gathered around the pyramid, the crew came stumbling out of the darkness groaning and demanding flesh, swinging their swords wildly in an attempt to knock down the players. At this point, they all scattered, leaving the zombies to take down any of them that decided to stand still for long enough! Those that did go down also got the pleasure of being bitten by the infected zombie’s teeth, one player even got bitten on every limb! Somehow, they managed to pull themselves together and remove ‘the heart of the earth’ from the relic, an action that angered Dante slightly. She came once again out of the darkness with her spirits, shouting threats and calling the zombies to her, threatening judgment on the following day before retreating into the darkness once again. Thoroughly spooked, the players retired for the night and gathered their strength for the final day to come.

The last day was the ultimate culmination of the party’s plans. Without much discussion they headed down to the shard to complete the ceremony that would destroy it and release the land from corruption once and for all. They all did incredibly well in this last part of the adventure coming up with great ideas such as building a barricade around the shard so that they could only be attacked from one side and defending themselves extremely well from the relentless spirit attacks. They managed to complete the ritual, but did not want to sacrifice anyone’s lives by leaving them by the shard to make sure it exploded, so they constructed a rudimentary device that would explode when the fuse burned out. Dante turned up at this point and swiftly put a stop to it but did not bank on an angry feral warriors jumping over the barricade to smash it themselves! With a huge bang the shard exploded, sending shockwaves across the island and killing the noble ferals who destroyed it. It was with heavy hearts that the Havenites made their way back to their boat and departed, thinking back on the two magnificent creatures who had sacrificed themselves to destroy the corruption in the land.

Break 2

This was an excellent weekend for both the players and the crew. The role playing that the players did was amazing and the players thought that some of the encounters were the most dramatic of their entire time LARPing. Of course, none of it would have been possible without the effort or story writing/telling skills of Si, so we are all in his debt for providing everyone involved with an exciting and stimulating weekend of role play!

Top teeth

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"Thanks again to everyone at Spearhead for putting up with H&S and a BIG thank you
to Tom Smith for spending the time to write this article! (back in 2007!)"