We are currently working to add to and improve the contents of this document, please bear with us and do get in touch if you need any further information
Welcome to the Tarantula Faction! We are very pleased that you're interested in being part of the faction, and we hope we can make it as easy as possible for you to get started. If you are new to the Lorien Trust we recommend visiting their website (www.lorientrust.com).
On this page we hope to be able to give you some advice about the faction, the play styles you're likely to encounter and a little bit of recent history to help make your start a little smoother. Each section should contain links out to more detailed information, should it peak your interest. If you have any questions that you cant find answered here, please feel free to register on our forums and we will be happy to help.
- Who Are The Tarantulas
- What To Play?
- The Underdark
- Booking & Arriving at an Event
- Let's Go!
The game world of the Lorien Trust is divided into ten playable factions, each faction is comparable to a country with its own leadership, history, traditions and values. The Tarantulas are a subterranean faction that make their home in The Underdark, the network of caves and tunnels that stretch under the Heartland's occupied by the other factions.
The Tarantulas are often described as being "Lawful Evil", whilst this is largely true for an overall ethos, it is by no means exclusive. The faction contains characters that would span any number of descriptions and variations.
The Tarantula Faction comes from the historical "Drow Empire" that once controlled the Underdark. The Tarantulas are a more inclusive faction, however carry many of the traditions and social ideas of the Drow. The creation and nature of Drow means that most Tarantulas and residents of the Underdark will do anything to survive, no matter how dark the means may be.
Anything at all!
Whilst as a Faction there are certain preconceptions about play style and ethos, but as with any faction (or even real world country), the Tarantulas are made up of a wide variety of characters and players who all have their own unique and varied views. Whilst the traditional image of the Tarantulas would usually lean towards "dark" and "evil", we have many characters that would buck that trend and we are delighted they do so. A breadth of views and opinions keeps the game interesting and the opportunities presented in trying to convince others of a view point can provide some of the best roleplay experiences possible, so we always enjoy seeing new characters and players that may be different to what we're used to.
Whilst we are from an out-of-character perspective fully accepting of any play style, please be aware that "lighter" or "good" play styles may not have the smoothest IC experience. Whilst we welcome people playing those sort of roles (it would be pretty boring if we all agreed with each other, all the time!), we can appreciate that sort of gameplay may not be for everyone's taste.
When it comes to selecting a race, the doors are still open. The Underdark is a hostile place, and is often a home of last resort for the desperate. Any number of races have found their way into the Underdark, driven underground by war, hiding from the ravages of natural disasters, some are even the horrors that stalk the tunnels preying on those foolish enough to enter. The Drow are the iconic race of the Tarantulas, however it is in no way required. The only common part is that most races come to the underdark out of some form of desperation and drive to survive, and their mindsets - even if generations removed from that event - usually reflect that survival instinct.
The Underdark is controlled, in a very loose term of control, by the Drow. The Drow were driven underground during a war with other elves that happened many thousands of years ago. Since being driven underground, an empire grew and they stretched to cover and control most of the habitable sections of the Underdark. Due to the enormous scale of the Underdark, the sections between these habitable areas are largely uncontrollable, giving rise to many small groups, creatures and a wide array of interesting threats.
With the above in mind, you've most likely come here looking for help, advice and guidance on creating your first character with the Tarantulas, or possibly even your first ever LARP character. So for some practical advice.
The Lorien Trust has a predefined list of races it allows to be played, although it is not exhaustive and many other races will simply be played as a subset or deviation of another race. Every standard race is currently represented in the Tarantulas, and many of the lammie supported races are as well!
So what to pick? Here are some of the most common choices.
If you speak to any of our players, it wont take long before the suggestion of Drow comes up. The faction is based upon the idea of an old Drow Empire. Drow within the faction will typically come from a Drow House or group. Whilst the faction is no longer exclusively ruled by Drow, the heritage and background allows for a lot of roleplay opportunities.
Drow is typically portrayed as black-skinned with white hair with pointed ears. However there is no minimum phys-rep within the Lorien Trust.
Playing Drow is a very make up intensive choice, and that naturally isnt for everyone. However there are a lot of roleplay opportunites afford by playing Drow, thanks to the rich and unique background they have at Lorien Trust. It is worth noting that whilst you may be familiar with Drow from other fantasy sources, twenty plus years of living history have shaped the Drow within the Lorien Trust in their own unique way, whilst still holding many of the typical ideas of Drow.
Whilst still a subset of Drow, Dark Elves tend to vary in having no make-up and ear tips. Groups of mixed Drow and Dark Elves are rare.
We've all got a little experience at being human, making it an obvious choice.
Many groups in the Tarantulas are styled as Drow Households, led by an "Ilharess". This of course is only any good if you intend to be playing Drow, so of course isnt the only common option. There is a great deal of history regarding Drow and Elven clans, with many households able to trace their lineage to their ancestral roots. Most groups within the Tarantulas will have a lineage following a clan of dark elves.
The non-drow groups are often styled as mercenary groups or packs that have sworn service either to another household or the faction itself. It is common for groups, packs, or tribes to form in a effort of mutual protection from the harshness of the Underdark.
These are of course only suggestions, and we welcome any group style you can imagine!
We do recommend that any new group contacts firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help any worries you might have, and help provide any background you may need for your chosen style. We do like to see every group given an opportunity to be involved with plots affecting the Tarantulas and the Underdark, and this is often the first step of integrating you into the faction.
Within the Lorien Trust, and certainly within the Tarantulas, "The Ancestors" is a phrase you will hear often. So what do we mean by it? The most simple explanation as to what an Ancestor is would be somebody that was so loved by the people of Erdreja, or even Erdreja herself, that they became immortalised and saved from death, although certainly no longer alive.
Whilst every faction has Ancestors, they are a fundamental part of life in the Tarantulas, and a little of that story is needed to really understand it.
Once upon a time.... Lothiriel was the leader of the Illythiri elves, and one of the most revered people upon all of Erdreja. Whilst performing the ritual of gazing to talk to Erdreja, Lothiriel was betrayed and killed by Evron Satuun. All the elves felt the loss of Lothiriel and a great period of mourning was held. However, so revered was Lothiriel, that Erdreja felt her death too, and rather than let her be lost forever, Erdreja created a plane for Lothiriel to continue to exist on, and she became the first Ancestor.
Centuries later, a number of elves wanted to end the period of mourning and to move forward. This outraged Lothiriels husband, and he lashed out at the head of the council in Lothiriels name, striking him a mortal blow. As he called out, Lothiriel granted him her power, and the first Incantation was cast, as was the first Harming blow.
War soon followed. On one side, the elves who felt this new power was dangerous and should be forgotten. On the other, the "dark" elves who wanted to preserve Lothiriels memory, and master her new power. Eventually, the "dark" elves were forced into the Underdark and later became the Drow.
Over many centuries Lothiriel continued her sacrifices in death, allowing herself to be changed and corrupted to allow the changes to the Drow that enabled them to survive within the Underdark. These corruptions culminated as Lolth, and the focus of all Drow society.
Please bear in mind that this is a very simplified and abbreviated version of the history!
This split led to the formation of the Tarantulas and the Underdark, and as such is the reason why the Ancestors are front and centre amognst our concerns, as the majority of those that call the Underdark home are descended from those that chose to follow Lothiriel's memory.
Lothiriel later became Lolth, who is the head of the Dark Elven pantheon. The other ancestors of the Tarantulas are made up of the leaders of the clans that followed Lothiriel's memory. Like other factions, each ancestor stands for something a little different, has their own aims and mindsets but will typically all show a certain reverence and loyalty to Lolth. Despite the Tarantulas "dark" image, we even have an ancestor of singing and dancing - just please don't tell anyone!
The Tarantulas are led by a Val'sharess, this title is akin to Empress but is also held with a faith based gravitas. The Val'sharess will often have two advisors who are authorised to speak in her place on very select subjects. These three positions are typically held the faction NPC's.
Below this, the Val'sharess will select a number of people to fill certain expert roles, and act has her go to for expert information on those chosen subjects. These roles will often be similar across other factions and may hold title's such as High Mage or War Commander. Any of these roles are available to players.
Following the traditions of the Drow Empire each region of the Underdark is ruled by the dominant group, and rules with complete autonomy on all local matters, however must answer to the Val'sharess on any matter she requests. That sort of intereferance is rare, and typically a group or house would be left to have total control over their lands.
For more information on our current leadership, please read: Leadership of the Tarantulas
NPC - Non Player Character
A character controlled by the Lorien Trust and/or a Faction or Guild plot team. Faction and Guild leaders are examples of NPC roles. They are there to provide depth and colour, and make a living, breathing game world for you to enjoy. All NPCs are answerable to the Lorien Trust and such an appointment and continued appointment is subject to Lorien Trust approval.
DPC - Directed Player Character
A DPC is a player that has volunteered to help a selected NPC team. As they remain a player they are largely free to play the game as they wish, however on occassion they may be asked by their NPC team to help shape the game around them. An appointment as a DPC and continued appointment is subject to Lorien Trust approval.
The Tarantulas make their home in the subterrenean empire known as the Underdark.
This network of natural tunnels, caves and caverns is known to expand across all of Erdreja, however the Tarantulas are only able to control small pockets of it under the Heartlands. The tunnels themselves are known to regularly collapse, whilst new tunnels open elsewhere; For this reason the Underdark is considered to be constantly shifting, and any map of the Underdark is unreliable at best.
Naturally this makes navigating the Underdark perilous and is not an endaevour that is ever undertaken lightly. Most people that have braved the depths of the Underdark do so out of desperation. With nothing left in front of them, they turned to the deep to find some small hope of salvation.
The Underdark is as vast and changable as the surface, and even features a large number of rivers and lakes (although some are comprised of lava rather than water), with most regions having their own cultural stylings - often owing to the surface lands influences.
Of course the scale and volatility of the Underdark aren't the only risk's. Many of the most horific creatures on Erdreja make their home in the Underdark, and the perils of facing such creatures around every corner make the Underdark a place only for the desperate, the bold or the foolhardy.
Thanks to the expansive history of the Lorien Trust game, there is over 20 years worth of in game history that just keeps growing! Whilst this makes for a very rich and live game world, it is very difficult to try and document. We are constantly trying to update the history and bring as much of this huge gameworld into your hands.
Before The Founding
The elder races lived long and peaceful lives on Erdreja. Elves, dwarves and fairy folk, all lived in relative peace for millennia. When the younger races came to the world this peace was shattered. Within a few centuries of their arrival, the Race Wars began and many thousands of lives were lost within just a few decades.
During the wars, the younger races developed a device that was powered by the magic of the elder races. Although normally long-lived, the elder races aged quickly and died while they continued to use their incantation magic.
The device was hidden from the elder races. In a desperate attempt to counter it, the elder races performed a mighty ritual, banishing the knowledge of incantation magic from all Erdreja. Only the dark elves were unaffected, shielded as they were by the miles of solid rock between their underground home and the surface. They guarded the knowledge of incantation magic against the time when it would be needed again on the surface of Erdreja.
The banishing of incantation was one of the last, desperate acts of the elder races. The fairy folk had retreated to the unseen court, the dwarves and their kin had fallen back into the far south and only the elves were left to fight the younger races. Kingdom by kingdom, the elves were gradually overrun and pushed eastwards, where they made a final stand. Over a thousand years ago, the younger races defeated the last elven army and the few remaining elven lords took the last of their people into hiding.
The wars were finally over and the younger races stood victorious. Cities were built and a great civilisation was created. Tebron, who was the greatest warlord of the younger races, was declared Emperor and ruled from the great city of Tebronia, that bore his name. The empire of the younger races was founded on the day that Tebron first sat upon his imperial throne and the Calendar began anew with the first year AF (After Founding). After Tebron’s death the capital was renamed Malkarn and it remained so until its destruction.
The elemental colleges, as guardians of the empire’s knowledge, created a great library in the north, built on the ruins of an elven city once renowned for its learning. The city of Norhault grew up around this library, which became the greatest seat of learning in the known world. The library was formally opened one year to the day after Tebron was crowned; the first day of January in the year 1 AF. For several centuries the empire prospered, and peace returned to the lands.
Just before 500 AF, a great cataclysm took place. A ritual was being performed in the capital’s great ritual circle to bring rain to the drought stricken southern farms. It is still not known how this ritual was disrupted, or by whom, but it seems that the unexpected disturbance released all the magic within the circle.
This uncontrolled power flowed to every other known ritual circle, shattering many and killing hundreds of people. Violent earthquakes rocked the land, mountains were smashed and the capital Malkarn itself was dragged beneath the waves, as the whole of the Imperial Heartlands sank. The
waters of the great seas rushed in to separate forever the northern and southern continents. Albion, Cymria, Erin and Western Norsca (now Orkneyjar) became islands as the land around them disappeared and the seas flooded in. Whole communities died, including the emperor, his family and most of the ruling lords of the empire.
The end of the empire began a period of almost six hundred years of war between the remaining nobles, over who would rule the new lands. It soon became apparent that none of them could achieve total victory. The empire was gone forever and instead the Heartland countries became
small independent nations. They were ruled over by lord generals, who warred continuously with each other over the borders of the disputed lands.
The Gathering Treaty.
In 1091 AF, the last true battle for the city of Norhault was fought and the lord general of Caledonia took back control. This was also the year of the formation of the grand council, an alliance composed of representatives from all the factions. After much discussion amongst the people of the Heartlands, most agreed that they had fought the last war and looked forward to a new age of peace.
During the discussions of the grand council, the Gathering Treaty was drawn up and signed by all the lord generals of the Heartlands. The treaty stated... and still states... that the grand council would discuss disputes between the factions in a civilised manner. Should a dispute not be resolved by diplomacy then, at an annual Gathering, representative forces of the disputing factions would fight a battle under a magical ritual of peace. This ritual would allow combatants to subdue, but not to kill, each other. The victory conditions for these battles would be determined before the combat took place.
In 1095 a brave group of people found and destroyed the Mordred device, that the younger races had created so long ago to hide the knowledge of incantation magic from Erdreja. The courage and dedication of these adventurers allowed incantation to return to the surface of the world.
To this day, the factions of the Heartlands still hold to the principles of the Gathering Treaty. The original document has undergone revision, leaders have come and gone, nations have fallen and new kingdoms have risen from the ashes. Yet still the principles and agreement of peace remain.
The library appears to be missing information about this subject. If you have any information to contribute, please do send it to us.
The history and depth of the Lorien Trust is one of our best selling points, and we would love to be able to keep a little history alive here
History of The Tarantulas
The Tarantulas are one of ten factions that attend the Gathering of nations. In 1092, following the collapse of the last Drow empire and an extended period of isolation from the surface world, various Drow Houses elected to return to the Heartlands with the gathered tribes of Teutonia, known as the Vipers.
In 1093 AF, the Houses of the Underdark unified in purpose and formed a new nation called the Tarantulas under the leadership of Valsharess Shinane Moor'Den'Aar.
For the next few years, the Tarantulas were beset by in fighting as the major houses, Naxos D'Fey. Moor'Den'Aar and Gereshen fought for control of the faction. This tradition of in fighting spread amongst the other emerging houses and allied groups. In the end, Gereshen emerged as leaders, before Valsharess Saravay Gereshen was taken to become a handmaiden of Llolth.
The rise to power of Valsharess Inzil Talos marked a change in the Tarantulas. The infighting of before began gradually to subside as the identity of the faction began to solidify. However, this did not establish itself until the rise to power of Valsharess Al'De'ath Karrash Morr and her advisors Lord Lastarius Cruentatus and Lord Hellbron Karrash-Morr. Together, this powerful set of leaders finally forged a faction from its disparate parts. Evidence of this was the Tarantulas showing on the Gathering battlefield of 1101 and the faction's victory at the Heartland Games of 1102.
The Dark Alliance
It was during the reign of Valsharess Al'De'ath Karrash Morr that the Dark Alliance between the Vipers, Bears and Tarantulas was formed. This agreement, that also included elements of the Wolf Faction at times, created a strong accord that came to dominate the political arena of the Heartlands.
The strengths of the Tarantulas were gainfully employed in the pursuit of the Alliance's aims. This period saw the return of Satuun and the rise in use of demonic magic. The powers of necromancy became more widespread in their use and vampires walked in the night.
The alliance ended in 1104 with the cessation of the Bears Faction from the agreements. This brought war between the Bears and Tarantulas, each supported by their allies. Both factions suffered terrible casualties, most notably for the Tarantulas, the destruction of Lord Helbron Karrash-Morr.
The Northern Alliance
From the wreckage of the Dark Alliance, the charismatic leader of the Vipers, Lord Ordos, constructed a second pact; the Northern Alliance. This treaty, between the Vipers, Wolves and Tarantulas continued the polices of the previous accord, allowing its members to labour in the interests of their common good.
The Northern Alliance began to fall apart when, in 1107 led by Lord Gabriel, the Tarantulas massacred the Unicorn Faction. This forged a unified opposition against them and an alliance of the Lions, Dragons and Bears rose up in the years of 1108 and 1109 to culminate in the sacking of the Tarantula faction camp in 1109.
Since their inception, the Tarantulas have experienced periods of both persecution and aggression. The Tarantulas learnt from their tormentors well and struck back very successfully against those nations that threatened or harmed them.
The Viper Betrayal
The once strong alliance between the Vipers and the Tarantulas fell apart when a large number of Tarantulas from House Mlezzir and House Cruentatus were killed whilst visiting the Vipers camp. There are many stories of what really happened that night, all that is really known is that many of the oldest and most respected of the faction were killed by our strongest and oldest allies. Over the course of a weekend the violence escalated, with the Vipers and Jackals attacking the Tarantula camp directly. There was no way we could hold up against such numbers and the camp fell. Many of the lighter factions saw this brutal attack and rallied behind us as we took our fight to the Vipers.
Wolves, Unicorns, Bears and others all rallied behind us. Even the Jackals would not directly stand with the Vipers and they fell quickly. Our retaliation was brutal, many of those responsible for the deaths of our fallen were executed on that field. A truce was called between the two nations, both were uneasy but officially the fighting stopped for a while. That was until 1112, whilst forming up for an honour battle the Vipers switched sides and found themselves lined up in front of the Tarantula lines. The Tarantulas naturally wary held back to avoid any confusion. Once the main line had moved forward the vipers turned and drove straight into the side of the Tarantula lines. Here they then executed J'bri'thk, Advisor to the Valsharess. Once again a retaliation was swift. Led by an Avatar of Lolth, the light factions once again rallied behind us as we took the fight to the Vipers. Their queen escaped into saftey, her people fell. The Avatar of Lolth stood amongst a pile of Viper bodies, she had claimed them as her own and nobody would be taking them from her.
The Vipers offered up the person responsible for the death of J'bri'thk and another uneasy peace was drawn. Regent Tepesh of the Vipers has since left the throne and new leadership rules the Vipers, time will tell how long this peace can last.
Recent history (The Daemon fey)
With the arrival of Valsharess Al'tath and Her more openminded policies concerning the surface dwelling nations the Tarantulas have begun to open up new avenues of understanding with the heartlands, which has allowed new alliances to blossum and old wounds caused by years of conflict to begin to heal, however deep below the surface a new conflict has begun
In late 1115 the Daemon fey an ancient foe of the Tarantula nation began a covert war against our empire, which errupted into a full scale conflict by mid 1116, Armies have clashed and some of our home cities have been destroyed, tens of thousands have been slaine or worse "converted" to serve our enemies cause... the eradication of our way of life.
However this war is far from lost for we have faced these foes before and triumphed even though the cost was great, and so we shall defeat them again with Faith, cunning & steel
By now you've likely started to get some ideas, and maybe starting to get excited about the opportunites of playing within the Lorien Trust world, so where do you go next?
Well the first obvious step is getting yourself booked for the events! Of course there are multiple events, and if you're just starting out you may not want to commit to doing all four main events, so how do you pick?!
Spring Moot - This is the first event of the year. This event tends to build up a little slower, as for many it is the first time they've attended an event in 6 months, and dusting off the cobwebs can take a little while.
Great Erdrejan Fayre - This event is a little unusual. The primary focus for this event is a wide array of games designed to make use of as many character and occupational skills as possible, and in the most interesting ways they can. This event tends to feature less combat, and is the only one of the four that does not allow for Ritual's.
Summer Moot - This event is often referred to as the short moot. Whilst the dates of events are changeable, this event typically doesnt fall on a bank holiday weekend, meanig it only runs Friday to Sunday. The side effect of this is it tends to have slightly lower attendance, however the days are still just as action packed!
Gathering - This is the biggest event of the four and draws both the biggest crowds and the most activity. It is the highlight of the Lorien Trust year, featuring the best opportunites for large scale combat, powerful rituals and all manner of roleplay.
All of these events can be booked at www.lorientrust.com with discounts for booking early and for booking multiple events.
You might have noticed a distinction of four main events, during the year there are many smalled events known as Sanctioned Events. These events are run throughout the year by the various smaller teams that help make Lorien Trust events possible. These events are typically 3 days long, and cater for 50 to 100 people, running from smaller independant sites.
The best way to find these events is via your chosen faction or guild, unfortunately there is no single source for them. The events run by the Tarantula Faction can be found at http://events.tarantulafaction.com.
You've got your ticket, you've prepared your character kit, and you're ready to dive into the action. What next?
The exact layout for each event can vary each year, according to weather & ground conditions so you should always refer to your booking pack for more information, but as a rough outline...
When you arrive at the site there are a number of tents set up to sign you into the event and check any weapons or armour for safety. This step can be a little time consuming, but is for your own benefit. Nobody enjoys finding chunks of the weapon being torn out on poor quality armour!
From here, there will be a site map showing where each faction is camped, and the check in staff will be happy to direct you if your'e struggling orientating yourself with the map.
Once you arrive at your chosen faction, it will be outlined by a blue nylon rope. Some factions split their camping areas, prioritising In Character themed tents towards the front of the camp. These tents often provide some sense of disguise for plastic tents and can help keep the world more thematic. If you are unsure how the camps are laid out, heading further back into the camp is usually a safe bet, although asking around your faction won't hurt either!
If you're driving to the event, vehicles are often allowed onto the camping fields, but is dependant on the weather. When you are permitted, you only allowed 30 minutes to drop off your kit at the camp before moving your car to the designated car parks.
You've picked a race, your character and your faction. You've set up your tent, and you're ready to get stuck in!
There are a few last bits of information that are useful for new players, namely what should you expect to find around the event.
Traders & Food Vendors
Lorien Trust events have a number of third party traders that operate at the events. There is a dedicated section for food vendors as well as a fully licensed bar. There is also a regular array of LARP traders offering a range of goods to help further your hobby. Specific traders at events may vary between events
Toilets & Showers
There are a number of portable toilets around each camp, with blocks near major thoroughfares. There are also more accessible toilets as well as showers available near Event Support. All the toilets are cleaned repeatedly during the day, however should you encounter a problem please let your faction security team, or event support know and they will arrange for it be resolved.
Event Support, Security & First Aid
With luck, you'll never need to visit any of these three locations, but its worth being aware of them. All three of these tents are kept together close to the main set piece and have signs outside each.
The Lorien Trust keep a staff of highly trained first aiders available at all times, should they be needed.
Security & Event Support are there to ensure your event runs smoothly.
This tent is your primary port of call for anything regarding your character. Whether you want to learn new skills, change existing skills or are unfortunate enough to need a new character, this is the place to go.
The Lorien Trust relies on players volunteering a small portion of their event to provide the monster roles for the rest of the game world. Whilst they ask factions to do so at particular times, they are always keen for extra monsters and always have roles available.
If you should require one, this is also the best place to locate a Referee or Marshal.