Queen of Hearts Event Information

I’d like to notify the community about some large-scale adaptations that we are making to Queen of Hearts this year to make the event more feasible after a year (or two) that has been very abnormal. These changes are a temporary measure for the sake of this coming August. It is our intention to return to our traditional format in 2023.

A full reworking of the rules and how things will function is forthcoming for those who like to delve into all the details. For now, here is a simple explanation of how things are going to work this year.

The things that are changing:

  • There will be two teams.
  • The two team organizers are Matt (Cecil) and Travis (Elwin).
  • They have been asked to build teams from everyone who wishes to play at QoH this year but also to work together to make sure that the rosters of both teams are pretty close to balanced going into the event.
  • If you and your group want to play at QoH you should reach out to either or both of them. I will help facilitate that as needed.
  • People that show up at the event day-of will be randomly sorted onto the two teams.
  • There will be no pre-event crafting/non-com competitions. All of these tournaments will take place wholly at the event with all materials provided by the event.

    The things that are staying the same:

  • All traditional war maneuvers and combat tournaments will function much as they always have.
  • All cards, points, scoring, awards, and prizes will be mostly unchanged.
  • There will still be a presentation of non-com and performance tournaments after dinner break.
  • You will still get to fight in epic fights with your friends all weekend long.

    I recognize that a lot of this is a departure from what we normally do, and if others were hatching Queen of Hearts plans that run concurrent to these adaptations then I deeply apologize. Keep those plans on hold until next year when the format will become traditional again.

    There are a couple of specific changes in the philosophy of the event for this year to help make it work within the constraints we find ourselves in. First, individual tournaments are going to be deemphasized in their scale. While individual demonstrations of skill are important to the event, we’ve decided to try to keep teams fighting together as a large group as much as possible without long bouts of pulling people away. Second, with only two teams we’re going to refrain from having a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each tournament and returning to the historic system of only having first place points for everything. Finally, as has been stated earlier, all crafting will happen at the event for the crafting tournaments and much of it will be jovial in nature, though certainly still worth doing your best in.

    Site Rules

    ❧ Alcohol and Drugs

    Swift River is a dry site because of the way their alcohol licence works, and the site also does not permit marijuana because of their nature as a sportsman's club. If you bring alcohol or pot, even though it is legal in the state, you are risking our ability to use the site again. Therefore, anyone found drinking or using marijuana will be asked to leave. There is a zero tolerance policy on driking and marijuana and to further enforce this, anyone asked to leave site due to drinking or cannabis will also have 10 points subtracted from their team.

    ❧ BBQ Pit

    BBQ Pit There is a Barbeque Pit that will be available for use. Bring your own everything, including charcoal.

    ❧ Cars

    Cars and trucks will only be allowed on the roads and in the parking lot. Be prepared to carry all of your equipment to where you will be tenting (it's not far). Anyone that is unable to carry their equipment for medical reasons should contact us beforehand so we can arrange for you to have help.

    ❧ The Chest

    Somewhere on site, released at some point, there will be a hoarde of goodies called 'The Chest'. If you are the lucky one who finds 'The Chest', please don't hoard its contents. We want to provide players with the treasure they so richly deserve, so please don't keep it all to yourself.

    ❧ Dogs

    Dogs are allowed on site but you must clean up after them. Keep them far away from the pheasant cages.

    ❧ Kitchen

    No one is permitted in the kitchen except for event staff (Rhiassans and Marshals.) Please ask for permission before entering the kitchen for any reason other than a true emergency.

    ❧ Magic

    We are not requiring the pre-registration of Magic Items, Weapons or spells. Make sure to check with the Magic Marshal when you get on-site.

    ❧ Medical Problems

    Anyone with any pre-existing medical conditions should alert either the EMT or one of the Event Holders upon arriving on site. Anyone who is severely allergic, asthmatic, hypoglycemic, pregnant, or has any other condition that could have a bearing on your safety at our event should let us know so that we can better help you in the event an emergency arises.

    ❧ Missile Weapons

    You are responsible for making sure you leave the event with the same number of arrows/bolts/beanbags you had when you set foot on-site. Please be responsible and don't leave missiles in the fields or woods.

    ❧ Night Quest Safety

    When you are night questing, you must either stay in fields, clearings or roads (very wide paths) or stay on the cyalume-stick-lit paths.

    ❧ Pheasant Pens

    In an area near the back of the site there is a very large pen where pheasants are raised for game. Scaring them causes them to fly up and be hurt by the cages. Please give the pen a wide berth especially if you have a dog on site.

    ❧ Sani-cans

    Sani-cans will be provided. The septic system for the tavern building's toilets is not equipped to handle the number of people attending Queen of Hearts, and therefore the indoor toilets are off-limits to eventgoers. The bathrooms themselves (sinks, mirrors, and as space for changing) are available for use - just don't use the toilets.

    ❧ Shops

    Shopkeepers are welcome to set up their shops, but must tell us beforehand. We will have a location set aside for shops.

    ❧ Smoking

    Smoking will only be allowed in certain designated locations. This is a very serious safety concern, and anyone caught smoking anywhere but in the smoking areas will be asked to leave. Even if it's wet out.

    ❧ Tenting Area

    There is NO running and NO fighting in the Tenting area - EVER.

    ❧ Trash

    Trash cans will be available. Please use them, we don't want to spend hours cleaning up messy tenting sites.


    ❧ For GPS and Internet Map Users

    The Address is: 79 Moore Road Belchertown, Massachusetts.

    Map coordinates are: 42˚ 14' 23" N, 72˚ 20' 43" W

    ❧ Old Fashioned Directions

    Find your way to the intersection of Rte. 202 and Rte 9 in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

    Take 202 South into downtown Belchertown.

    Go straight through the set of lights; you'll find yourself on Rte 181.

    Follow 181 until you turn onto Cold Springs Road on the left (immediately after a pink sign on the left that reads "Angle Cuts Etc.")

    Follow Cold Springs Road, bearing left at the fork that is the intersection with Michael Sears Road, until you find the entrance to the Swift River Sportsmen's Club, which will be on the right.

    Drive all the way down to the end of the road to the gravel parking lot.

    Running a Team

    ❧ Banner and Heraldry

    There are no requirements this year for a banner that your team brings to site or worn heraldry for any members of your team.

    ❧ True Supporters

    In order to run for Queen you need three True Supporters. This is a group of individuals who work together to keep the team functioning at its most productive levels. Though we emphasize that this year’s event will need little preparation before arriving at the site, at the very least these three people should be as prepared as possible to execute their roles as described below. Doing so involves numerous different responsibilities that are divided as follows:

    General: The general is responsible for leading their team on the battlefield. This individual usually decides a strategy for the war maneuvers, positions people within the ranks of the army, and has overall control of the flow of battle to best pursue victory. When starting a war maneuver, the general may be called upon in order to make overall decisions for their team. A general is also responsible for managing the honor and sportsmanship of the team, making sure that all combatants are being their best selves at all times.

    Senechal: The seneschal is responsible for making sure that the team is where it is supposed to be when it is supposed to be there. When the marshalling staff sounds the horn in order to communicate directions, the seneschal is expected to respond promptly. Making sure teams take the field when they’re supposed to and individuals are reporting where they need to be are the main functions of the senechal, along with distributing playing cards from the marshals to the members of the team and other basic organizational tasks.

    Provost: New this year is the provost role. The provost is responsible for knowing all of the rules for every tournament as written on these pages and making sure that all of the members of their team know the rules of a war maneuver before it starts. Questions about tournament rules should be directed from members of the team to their team’s provost and only the provost should take those questions to the marshaling staff. In short, any communication that comes from teams and any queries they have always go through the provost. This year we will provide the Provost on each team with a booklet with all rules to make their job more manageable.

    ❧ Team Caps and Composition

    There is no team cap this year. Matt (Cecil) and Travis (Elwin) are responsible for team construction and balance and are essentially marshaling staff in that regard only: their decisions about who ends up on what team are final.

    ❧ Basic Tournament Rules

    All tournaments are live steel unless told otherwise by a Marshal. Because of the magic of the Solar Powered Resurrection Point, at the conclusion of a tournament and the word of the marshaling staff, dead combatants are returned to life. Being returned to life in this manor does not repair armor or restore spells.

    Armor may be worn in all war maneuvers unless you are told otherwise by a marshal. Repair spells will be required to fix armor, as it is not instantly repaired by the magic of the land. Rumor has it that someone freely donating a Mystic Forge to everyone in the tournament may change that. I guess we'll have to see if it works.

    Each team may enter each tournament once. As individuals win tournaments, they will be given playing cards representing their contribution to their team. These cards are worth points towards becoming Queen of Hearts and allow the possessors to initially compete in the culminating tournament of the weekend: Queen's War. Cards are not stealable items. If anyone is caught stealing cards, they risk disqualifying their entrant for Queen of Hearts, and may be asked to leave the event. See the rules of Queen's War for more details.

    ❧ Event Honorific Awards

    Everyone who puts forth the effort to throw a Queen of Hearts Team is a vital part of the tradition that has kept this event going for over two decades. As such, the staff of Queen of Hearts has decided that more needs to be done to honor the effort put in by the teams and individuals who make Queen of Hearts so successful year after year. To help us approach that goal, we have come up with a set of honorifics that will be presented to teams and individuals as a part of our yearly awards ceremony. These awards are not worth points for your team, but they are a way of recognizing those who truly stand out and showing our appreciation to all of you who put passion and effort into this event every year.

    Best General, Best Senechal, and Best Provost will all be decided upon by the event staff and recognized during the closing ceremonies.

    ❧ Team Honorific Awards

    Team with the best Pageantry: Beyond the garb of the queen, beyond the creation of a team banner, there are sometimes teams who truly demonstrate that they exist to bring accolades and honor to their queen. Pageantry can partially be about the props and physical things that you have that increase the visual impact of your team, but it is also about the attitude of respect and reverence for the individual that you are fighting in the name of.

    Team with the best Camaraderie: This award is for the team that demonstrates the strength of the bonds that keep them together. More times than not, a Queen of Hearts team bridges the gaps between groups and nations and causes different types of people to be united in the same goal. Even if a team only consists of a single group, it is one of the rare occasions where every person in that group is working together towards a common goal. To overcome the disparity that exists between groups and individuals and unite in purpose is a difficult goal. This award honors the team that does so most effectively.

    Team with the best Spirit: This award is for the team that best encompasses the spirit of friendly competition, respect for themselves and their opponents, and the proven ability to endure with high morale and a positive attitude no matter what difficulties they have to face. This is the type of team that makes it rewarding to throw Queen of Hearts every year, to bear witness to the strength of character that they bring to the field.

    ❧ Team Given Individual Awards

    For each of the following set of awards, members of the marshaling staff will consult with some or all of the true supporters on each of the teams (individually). Together they will compare what they have seen throughout the weekend, and a member of each team will be awarded the following based on their overall contributions.

    Most Inspirational: There are moments throughout the weekend for every Queen of Hearts team where stress and weariness take their toll on the morale of a team. But regardless, there are always those who can overcome those limitations, who brush off the tension and push themselves forward through the difficult moments, inspiring their teammates, even their opponents, to do the same. One such person on each team will be dubbed most inspirational.

    Team Tactician: The war maneuvers at Queen of Hearts each have their setups, their rules, and their conventions. Many competitors know the rules for all of the tournaments, but a select few ponder over them, analyze their every facet, think through each scenario to plan how their team can be most successful. Generals often lead the charge and shout the orders, but behind the generals are those who advised them with their calculations and their predictions to help find victory for their team. One such person on each team will be dubbed team tactician.

    Team MVP: There are dozens upon dozens of factors, both subtle and great, that contribute to making a Queen of Hearts team successful. There are those who give the best of themselves in combat, there are those who work for months on the planning and preparation, there are those whose support is absolutely critical to everyone making it through weekend intact. Everyone on a Queen of Hearts team is valuable, but this award is meant to honor the one person on the team who worked their hardest and gave most profoundly toward the goal of making their team successful.

    Magic Guidelines

    ❧ Basics

    All magic must be checked in with the Magic Marshal before it is used in any tournaments. No spellcaster may break restriction in any tournament, even if it is "limited".

    ❧ Interventions and Divine Aids

    Interventions and Divine Aids must be marshaled in such a way as to make them worthy of the power of each of their respective circles, but also not be so powerful that they unbalance the fight in an unfair way. As such, the following is a list of powers that you can expect to receive for using each of those spells in tournaments. You may attempt to ask for a different boon that you believe to be equivalent in strength to what is listed below, but if the marshal will fail your spell if they believe you are asking for something too powerful.

    ❧ Intervention

  • Resetting the 1st through 5th circle spells of a single path of a single caster.
  • Replicating the effects of any other spell, 4th circle or lower.
  • Allowing a character to up their weapon restriction if they forgo the use of a path of their spells.
  • Things that target and help younger players (extra raises for 1st year players, for example).
  • Creating an extra "Healer Staff" or "Blacksmith Staff" at the caster's location (in the tourneys that use those staves).

    ❧ Divine Aid

  • Resetting a single spell, 4th circle or lower, for a single caster.
  • Replicating the effects of any other spell, 3rd circle or lower.
  • Retrieving spell prop(s) that are out of a friendly caster's reach.
  • Receiving a single casting of a long range combat raise ("character name, rise and fight!")
  • Revealing the position of an opponent's circle spell.

    ❧ Regional Magic

    For every regional slot you have you may pick any other spell that could have been legally learned in that slot and have that spell for the duration of the event.

    ❧ Magic Items

    You must check any magic weapons or items with the magic marshal before they can be used.

    The magic marshal will be following the guidelines below.

    The EH is the final arbiter for that event. The EH reserves the right to deny or modify the powers of any backed magical item. If he says your amulet of raise dead casts repair item, so it does. The EH is ultimately responsible for the safety, fairness, and fun for the entire event. Thus, they need to be entrusted with all system mechanics during that event.

    All magic items must be searchable and stealable, and all items must be clearly labeled as "stealable".

    Any items or weapons that are used without approval by the Magic Marshal or outside accordance with the Magic Marshal's regulations will be removed from play for the duration of the event.

    ❧ Powers That Will Work (but you still have to check them in)

    Any magic weapons that are JUST magic weapons will work. You can swing magic in tournaments.

    No other magic items will function in tournaments apart from a weapon's ability to swing magic.

    Any one (1) power in an item that effectively duplicates the spell effects of a first through fourth circle spell will be allowed by the Magic Marshal. The magic marshal reserves the right to choose which power is active, in the event that an item or weapon was created with multiple powers. If the power chosen for your item or weapon has multiple uses, it may not be invoked more than 3 times per event.

    Knights of the Eternal Flame / Knights of the Realms' Knightly Blow.

    ❧ Powers That Will Not Work

    Powers that allow mages to break their weapon restrictions or otherwise are deemed to interfere with the game balance of system spells & abilities (ie: makes spells immune to disruption, or gives unlimited calls of "poison" to a weapon) will not be allowed. Any item that grants complete, continuous, immunity to a form of damage will not function.

    Powers that involve invisibility, teleportation or otherwise require players to ignore people or things they can plainly see will not be allowed. For similar reasons, powers that give characters "magical" travel. (Ie flight, teleportation) will not function. Any power that bestows armor points on locations not physically covered by the item itself will not function. In addition, no item power may allow a character to have more than 2 points of armor over any location at any time.

    No scrolls or potions created at previous events will be allowed, unless they were specifically released by the eventholder as the event's magic item. No item may bestow a tick upon an unwilling participant, and no item may remove a tick from a character under any circumstances.

    Items which instruct players on how to play their characters, or that forcibly change the way a player roleplays their character against the player's will won't be permitted.

    ❧ All Other Item Powers

    You can get an idea of the power level of items that we are going to allow based on our rules for what items work. You are welcome to bring your items to the magic marshall and ask about them, but don't be shocked when very powerful magic items are not passed.