“Courage confronted in the visitation of twisted emptiness.
Be it hate manifest or hate ambiguous.
Lay down thy crown.
Take up good conscience.” –Bran Haeprect, personal journal
Live action roleplay, or LARP, brings the fantasy of tabletop or written roleplay games to life. LARP comes in all shapes and forms. From medieval swordplay to vampiric rituals set in actual castles in the scenic Polish countryside, LARP allows participants to fully immerse themselves in handcrafted stories.
While most LARPs have a theme, they tend to be singular. A group of friends out of Alberta, Canada sought to change that by bringing together historical accuracy coupled with fictional influence. The Crownless Company call themselves historical reenactors but have added their own flavor by bringing together long forgotten heroes with those that live on through the written word.
Recently, Rogues Portal had the opportunity to chat with Josh Albers and Josh Rose – also a Rogues Portal contributor!
Rogues Portal: How did The Crownless Company come to be?
Josh Rose: We were all friends before we began the Crownless. We often spent a lot of time with one another, but we all discovered we had a passion and interest in Lord of the Rings. Josh Albers and David Rempel are part of a Viking reenactment society. Glenn Kelly did some LARP with another group in Alberta, Canada.
Josh Albers: The Crownless Company unofficially began with my friend David and I taking photos in viking kit during camping trips. I had seen another group on instagram doing something similar, Fell and Fair, and was very interested in doing things like that myself on camping trips.
Things really took off, however, when David and I both met Glenn at a friends party. We hit it off right away and discovered we had a lot in common. We talked with Glenn about how he had been involved in Heavy Action Role Play in Victoria called Medieval Chaos. He was interested in us joining him there one day, when it was posited that we could do our own thing
Rogues Portal: Nice! Are those all the members you listed?
Josh Rose: There’s also Riah Kelly, Connie Albers, and… Andrew “Odaudlegeur”. Connor Hussey is a brand new member who has joined. He’s currently living in Ontario We usually do our photoshoots wherever we can in Alberta. We’ve done some shooting in Calgary, but also closer to the Rockies.We don’t have regularly scheduled meetings. We all have varying schedules and try to get together when we can. But sometimes friends getting together for beers often leads to chats about what we want to do with the Crownless next.
Rogues Portal: What is the next step for the Crownless? The press release seems to indicate there is a hope to orchestrate larger events.
Josh Albers: David and I were very much interested in Storytelling and mythology and what these stories used to mean to us. So we wanted to create a kind of storytelling project that highlighted the importance of how stories built people up and revealed their character and how we actually live these stories on a day to day basis, even though the setting is different.
Rogues Portal: What does “kit” mean? And also, hows does Heavy Action Role Play differ from what LARP is commonly thought of as?
Josh Albers: Kit is what we call the costume, and a Heavy Action Role Play, near as I can gather, tends to deal with much larger groups and a combat system that is perhaps a bit more aggressive.
Rogues Portal: Speaking of outfits and weapons. Handmade? Purchased? A bit of both?
Josh Albers: They are mostly bought, we use blunted steal weapons for combat and photo so as to retain an image of realism. Outfits are often a combination of bought and hand made.
Josh Rose: Some are bought from people who handmade them
Rogues Portal: Are the storied shoots the ones featured on the groups Instagram?
Josh Albers: They are indeed. As well a bunch of extra photos we take during them to continue to fill out the account a bit.
Josh Rose: When we’ve gone out we’ve had a basic idea of the story we want to tell. The final storytelling happens after the photos are taken.
Josh Albers: Part of our next step forward is to have the each member sort of planning new shoots and curating them. This will come very much in handy for Connor who is in Ontario
Rogues Portal: Do either of you have any favorite moments that have taken place so far?
Josh Rose: Setting off the smoke bombs for our Blackwood storyline was a heck of a lot of fun!
Rogues Portal: I bet!
Josh Albers: As far as the shoots go, the Wraith shoot was a lot of fun. The smoke effects made it feel like a movie. But my all time highlight was seeing other instagram accounts take our thoughts and make their own posts addressing the content. Also having Fell and Fair, my inspiration for doing this at least, add us and give us a nod.
Josh Rose: As to your earlier question about our next steps: I think our next steps right now are growing our audience and building on the stories. Establishing who the Crownless are in their world. Following that would be organizing events where people could partake in this world of ours. Like a DnD weekend. Except we hit each other instead of rolling dice.
Rogues Portal: Is there anything else either of you would like people to know about the Crownless?
Josh Albers: I’ve been working on a kind of story/mythology for the last four years or so, which influences much of my own contributions. A timeline was made for us to kind of pick a point in our stories history to portray and then inform other elements. As Josh said, a weekend character camping experience is in the works.
I think the most important thing about the Crownless is the desire to build people up through story. So many of the stories we grew up with are being subverted and I don’t think we realise what that does to us. We need stories that tell us we have the capacity to triumph over tough times. We need stories to help us see the things that have been hiding deep down all along.
Josh Rose: I think the biggest thing people should know is that this is for everyone. We may be setting our stories in fantastic mythology, but it’s something we can take back to our real lives to inspire us.
Josh Albers: So true, seconded, these stories are for everyone to get a hold of.
Josh Rose: As long as they have instagram.
Josh Albers: Haha!
Rogues Portal: Reminder: tell everyone to get Instagram.
Josh Rose: Exactly!
Josh Albers: One of these days we’re likely to push beyond those walls, but right now that is our chosen venue to tell stories.
The Crownless Company consists of:
- Josh Rose (headlong_flight)
- Andrew (odaudlegur)
- David (greysaints)
- Riah (rjkell)
- Glenn (theadventuresofglenn)
- Josh Albers (verdantwarden)
- Connie (connielynnalbers)
- Connor (connor_w.r._hussey)
Press Release – The Crownless Company
The Crownless Company is a group of historical and fantasy reenactors, but are first and foremost storytellers. With influences from Game of Thrones, Vikings, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the Crownless have set out to create their own fantasy world with deep mythology to inspire others. The original purpose of mythology was not to escape the world, but to prepare people for the real world by sharing lessons and inspiring them.
In the world of the Crownless, the Crownless Company is an underground federation of rangers, founded by ancient kings, who laid down their crowns in order to fight against a dark power seeking to bring ruin to the land. They now consist of nomadic clans of solitary agents, all of whom undertake an oath serve their cause without recognition or thanks, continuing the tradition of laying down crowns.
Recently we undertook a project that resulted in a 9 post story on Instagram called “The Blackwood.” In this story, members of the Crownless hunt and fight a wraith which is haunting the woods and terrorizing unknowing villagers nearby.
The Crownless Company was shaped in a few different ways. Chiefly, however, it was when new friends, met at a party and found they had a great deal in common. Shortly after, a meeting over drinks was had, and a vision was cast for a project inspired by similar groups found on Instagram. All of them deciding that what they were looking for couldn’t yet be found in Alberta, they decided to start it for themselves. Eventually the Crownless Company would like to host HARP (Heavy Action Role Play) weekends where people dress up in kit and enter into a handcrafted mythology and reenact essential ideals found in storytelling. A real-time storytelling experience with aims of uplifting and encouraging all who are involved.