Heart of Arcadia

Most people know this, but for those who don't, Heart of Arcadia is a Fae LARP, not a Changling LARP, Mind's Eye LARP, or in any way related to White Wolf or the World of Darkness. There seems to have been much confusion that White Wolf invented LARPs or the entire Arcadia mythos. You can see our THWAQ for a longer version of this rant. The short version is, forget anything you ever read in Changling and go back and read Shakespeare.

Arcadia

Arcadia, carved out of the Wylde by the oaths of the Great Houses. Arcadia, idyllic land, land of magic and the Fae. It's a great place, really. Lots of pretty stuff. Magic everywhere. You'd love the place. Jane Austen crossed with A Midsummer Night's Dream and you've found Lady Snapdragon's Gardens, tended by House Willowfair. Poison Elves without all the pointy ears (or Elfquest if they weren't so short) and that's House Blademarrow patrolling the border with the Wylde. Yep, lots of pretty stuff and lots of Capital Letters. That's the Fae.

Magic

Magic is very core to Arcadia, but generally not as you might assume. Everything in Arcadia is created out of magic, but the Fae don't generally treat this work as "spells." It's just crafts. When you need a new bowl, you go to a potter who makes them. He makes them out of magic, but the process is an awful lot like what a mundane potter does. The only difference is there is no clay. There is only magic. So potters know how to turn magic into pottery, and blacksmiths know how to turn magic into metalworks, and printers know how to turn magic into paper with writing. It all takes about as long and requires similar tools and is about as hard to learn as it is in the mundane world. Magic is everywhere, so raw materials aren't a big problem, but generally speaking, a Fae blacksmith can't just summon a sword out of thin air.

Generally speaking that is.... There is Sorcery, and minor spells and trinkets aren't all that uncommon. But an awful lot of spells in Arcadia are focused on making small pretty things like glowing, dancing embroidery. It's a stable world for the most part; people focus on the finer things in life.

Great Houses and Others

The people of Arcadia are divided into seven Great Houses:

Allbright – a superstitious house who keep an eternal flame burning.
Blademarrow – a house of warriors sworn to defend Arcadia
Edgewylde – a fallen house once dedicated to the protection of the Wyldings.
Kroneheir – the Servants of Arcadia, the house traces it’s lineage back to the rulers of Underhill
Willowfaire – the Growers of Beauty, they grow the beautiful gardens at Arcadia’s center.
Thornstaff – a house with a talent for wild magic, one of the vanished Unseelie houses
Blackforge – a house that builds magic devices, one of the vanished Unseelie houses

And there are others:

Unhoused – outcasts from houses and their descendants who live on the borders of the old Edgewylde lands.
Legacy – a secretive order of monks who have a deep understanding of the magic of Arcadia.

Fae

Fae look very similar to humans but live close to 1000 years. After reaching puberty in their late teens, their aging slows dramatically such that they age about a tenth as fast as humans. So for most adult Fae, you can divide their age by ten to get a rough idea of their human equivalent age.

Fae are extremely infertile, which is somewhat good given their long lifespans. They also do not marry for life, but rather treat marriage as a contract between two Houses for the purpose of bearing and raising a child. Everything is negotiable in these contracts, who belongs to whose House during and after, who pays for what, how long the marriage will last, everything. But generally speaking the House that is gaining the child will support both parents for the duration of raising the child (usually 20-30 years) and then the marriage will dissolve. Marriages are almost exclusively between Houses. Marriage within a House is unheard of, and marriage between the Housed and Unhoused is quite rare (and frownded upon). The Legacy marry rarely but always demand the child.

Every so often a couple will declare that they are "soul-bonded" and try to marry for life. This is generally frowned upon by polite society, but soul-bonds are real things, and if the soul-bond actually exists then it is a great honor for the House. Not an honor most Houses actually want, but an honor they can't rightly refuse. Only the Legacy can tell whether a couple is truely soul-bonded, and the family will generally discourage the couple from being tested. Most couples fails the test and it is a terrible blow to them. Better that they marry under contract and see if their love endures.

History

Over four millennia ago, Arcad led his followers out of Underhill and into the Wyld. Underhill, the home of the Fae of untold generations, was dying, its magic failing. The Wyld is the vast area of untamed magic inhabited by strange creatures known as Wyldings. Through a magical ritual based on seven oaths, the Crown and the chosen leaders of the houses created an oasis of order out of the Wyld. And so Arcadia was created.

The land was divided between the houses and Arcad became the first Crown of Arcadia. Sadly, Arcad lived only a short time, ruling wisely and well before his passing. A new Crown, Lannier, was crowned and held Arcadia in his care for two and a half thousand years.

This was a time of great peace and prosperity for Arcadia. Once a century the Crown would hold the Ceremony of Renewal. The head of each house would attend with their Oath-piece, the physical manifestation of the oath they took at Arcadia’s creation. The crown and the Heads of the houses would restate their Oaths, reinforcing the magic of Arcadia.

Then about 2000 years ago, the Wyldings attacked Edgewylde, massacring most of the members of that house. In defending themselves, Edgewylde’s oath was endangered. The head of the house, Elias, escaped into the Wyld, taking with him Edgwylde’s oath-piece to keep it from breaking. Only the intervention of the warriors of Blademarrow prevented the rest of Arcadia from being overrun by the Wyldings. Two of the houses, Thornstaff and Blackforge, were in league with the Wyldings and fled their lands in the wake of the Wyldings defeat. King Lannier sacrificed himself in a magical ritual which saved the damaged Arcadia from being torn apart by the loss of the Edgewylde oath. The Legacy identified Titania and Oberon, a soul-bound couple, as the new Crown of Arcadia.

Current Events

Titania and Oberon have ruled Arcadia for two thousand years. While known for their adventurous spirits and penchant for wandering far beyond the borders of Arcadia, this time they have been gone for a long time, even by the standards of their own extended lives. Arcadia fares well in their absence, for they have left affairs in the hands of a capable Regent, Lord Grey.

But the time for the Renewal Ceremony is in but two days, and efforts to find Titania and Oberon have met with little success. Before the ceremony, a new Crown must be selected. The Heads of the Seelie Houses, contenders for the Crown, and many others have gathered at the capital to influence the events that will determine the future of Arcadia…