Vendor Spotlight: Of Science and Swords

Good afternoon Swordcraftians!

We’ve heard from volunteers, we’ve heard from game veterans, we’ve heard from new players and from families that LARP. Now it’s time to find out what it’s like to be a vendor in the LARP community!

You know them, you love them, you buy almost all of your gear from them! Please say hello to the staff from Of Science and Swords!

 

Of Science and Swords was originally a bookstore specialising in SpecFic and Fantasy. When Avi and Jas heard that OS&S was closing their doors in 2010, they decided to purchase the business, and give it new life!

At first, Avi and Jas carried on with maintaining OS&S as a bookstore. It had always been their dream to run a bookshop – Jas speculates that repeatedly watching Black Books might have had something to do with this – but after a couple of years of business, it seemed like the book market wasn’t doing so well in Melbourne. However, customers did seem very interested in all the prop and replica weapons that OS&S had mounted around the shop as decorations. In 2013, Avi and Jas decided to terminate their lease contract for the OS&S premise, but continued to sell LARP gear from their website, https://ofscienceandswords.com.au.

photo 14 - basic logo

Premise and location have always been a struggle for any business owner, and OS&S in no different. With hundreds upon hundreds of costume, weaponry, and prop options, finding a place to display it all can be a challenge.

“People want to be able to look at things, try them on, give them a swing before they commit to purchasing it, so if you want to run a retail store on top of shipping things out from a warehouse, then you need more space again,” Jasmine said. “To give you some idea, if we wanted to have just one of every item we offer out on display, we’d likely need a 200-250m showroom, and we’d have well in excess of 1,000 individual items.”

photo 2 - weapons wall

Avi and Jas believe that the space they have in warehouse in Oakleigh has paid off. Without the space to store and display stock, it might have been impossible for the business to expand the way it has.

“We also think that with that ready availability of stock it has also accelerated the rate at which LARPing has been picked up in Victoria, if not Australia wide, as people no longer have to pay such excessive amounts for shipping or wait nearly as long on shipping turn-arounds.”

Of Science and Swords stocks inventory from several different suppliers, including Epic Armoury and Calimacil. In fact, Avi is the official representative to Australia for Epic Armoury, and works closely with all suppliers to make sure the community gets exactly what they’re looking for at the best possible prices.

Of Science and Swords also attends conventions across Australia, to connect and provide for the Australian LARP community at large.

Conventions are a fun and stressful thing to attend when you’re working. Driving across country to attend a convention that you don’t get to actually ‘attend’ can really get to you after a while, but Avi, Jas, and their staff believe it’s worth it.

“It’s really fun trying to convince people, especially cosplayers, that they want to get into LARP. Depending on who I’m talking to I’ll use lines like “It’s rugby, but for nerds!” or “Can we interest you in Sword Art OFFLINE?” or “But ladies! You get to hit f—bois in a park with sticks!” – Avi

“The best thing about conventions is seeing our customers faces light up when they discover the concept of LARP and battle sports. There isn’t a convention that goes by that we don’t introduce someone to our LARP lifestyle-cult who will express glee at the previously unheard of activity. It’s a great feeling.”  – Jasmine

“Conventions are amazing but so tiring. Its rewarding to see the effort everyone puts into their cosplays.” – Tom

photo 7 - Tom

Tom has been working for OS&S for over two years now, and loves every minute of it. Tom likes helping players find what they need to complete their kit, and truly enjoys the happiness it gives the customers when they find that perfect piece for their costume.

Kay and Ash feel much the same as Tom, and enjoy interacting with the community, and making people’s dreams come true – their own dreams included.

Kay, who has been with OS&S since 2011, says she wanted to work for OS&S because she’s a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and loved the idea of working with things that interested her so much.

“Working for OS&S is equal parts standard desk job and surreal experience. 15 year old me would never have imagined repairing armour, doing a prosthetic tutorial, explaining how to make fake blood, and then sitting down to adjust stock levels being a normal day’s work.
Working here is the same as any other job, it has it’s ups and downs, but not everyone else gets to hit their boss and their customers at least once a week.”

Ash, who joined the OS&S crew just last April, says that it’s like living a dream.

“It’s great being able to help people find what they’ve always fantasised about having.
I started working there because of family since Jasmine is my sister and I wanted to help out with the business but it’s really a lot of fun being able to play with weapons all day too. Best war profiteering job I could’ve asked for!”

Avi and Jasmine have put their heart and soul in the LARP community, and so have their dedicated staff. In our growing community, it’s important for players, volunteers, and vendors to work together to make every game better than the last. Thanks for everything you do, OS&S!

-Kayleigh Helm
Social Media Director, Editor for Swordcraft.com.au

Weekly Player Spotlight: The Warna Family

Good afternoon Swordcraftians! Welcome to this week’s Player Spotlight!

This week we’re focusing on what it’s like to be a family that LARPs together.

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Dayan Warna has been playing Swordcraft for about four and half years, ever since he attended a Saturday game at Darebin Park. He plays a character named Rajahdan, “a lazy, greedy mercenary who fights to pay for the luxuries in life.” He sometimes plays as Shamadan, “a crazy shaman, who talks to his dead brother William, his uncle William, and his grandfather William.”

Enjoying his hobby with him are his three children. His eldest son plays the character Rajahaidan, and his middle daughter plays the character Snow Leopard. His youngest son, Tornado, is not yet old enough to play, but longs for the day he can join his family in glorious battle.

 

Dayan originally ran with the warband The Sisters of Kira Earta, and toured for some time with The Guardians of the Dawn, before settling into his current warband, The 13th Free Company. Dayan’s eldest son, Rajahaidan, joined him in The 13th Free Company a year ago, and Snow Leopard has taken to the field of battle only a few weeks ago.

Dayan says his role as both a member of The 13th Free Company and as a father has not caused him issues at Swordcraft.

“They (The 13th Free Company) were understanding with my part time basis and adjusted to include my family and my friends. It really is a family warband.”

 

Dayan says the major drawback of playing as a family is, of course, the cost. It’s one thing to suit oneself up in armour and weapons, but it’s quite another matter to get the whole family involved. He doesn’t regret it though. In his own words:

“It really is the best. I can’t wait for my youngest to join in, and he loves the kids events. He really gets into the character and story. Its so very serious for them. It’s also time with the family. Other families go camping, we just add swords and spears to our adventure. It’s also doing things, being in events, making friends, shared cooking, shared meals and the like. It’s a bonding time and its also a sharing time as we have done fund raisers for cancer, local CFA’s groups and other events as time and opportunity presents itself.

And we all have fun.”

Dayan’s advice to other parents looking to get into Swordcraft is to just do it! Dayan, like many other parents at Swordcraft, is happy to be approached by parents looking for advice when it comes to participating and bringing their children into the community. Though you have to be 16 to participate, Swordcraft is very welcoming to families, and at Quest, children have plenty of space to act out their own growing LARP ideas.

“Family and community are big pluses,” Dayan said. “How do you define fun? I’m one of those loitering from about 5.30 on a Friday, chatting to the early arrivals on weekends I don’t have the kids. On weekends I do have the kids, it’s a three hour round trip from the city to Berwick, to collect the kids and back to Carlton to play.

We do it because it’s fun! How do you define fun?”

-Kayleigh Helm
Social Media Director, Editor for Swordcraft.com.au

 

New Player Spotlight: Jacob and Shaun

Hello Swordcraftians, and welcome to our first weekly New Player Spotlight! Every week we’re going to get to know a new player or two; their names and possible future characters, as well as what drove them to give Swordcraft a go. Without further ado, please meet our first series of spotlighted new players, Jacob and Shaun.

Both Jacob and Shaun first fielded on the 10th of March and were members of the green militia and red militia respectively.

 Jacob has been excited to come to Swordcraft since first seeing it at a convention several years ago, in Melbourne. After watching the live stream from the Professional Hobbyist last week, that was the tipping point for this 18-year-old to decide that he needed to come on down and try this exciting sport. After trying Monday night Swordcraft, he came along to Friday to experience the main event. When asked what he loved about Swordcraft so far, Jacob’s response is one we love to hear, and hope that we will continue to hear in every new group of new players: “The players are pretty cool and are a very cool bunch of people. It isn’t uncomfortable to be here and everyone has been extremely friendly. I love the game and the fact I get to hit people with a sword!”

 Jacob would love to one day make a character that is a ‘big, meaty Paladin who uses both sword and shield but carries a tome to heal’. He found that the warbands that stood out most to him were The Imperials and The 13th Free Company, “They are menacing in shield walls and Free Co. were really good with us first timers and gave us a chance”. Jacob’s message to those who may want to come try Swordcraft is: “At least come down and give it a go and I can guarantee you’ll have a great time and make heaps of new friends!”

Shaun on the other hand first heard about Swordcraft from a friend, Brett Kagan, a member of The Circle of the Lion. At 29 years old, this was his first LARP experience and he was quite nervous first getting into battle. After being dubbed red militias ‘tank’ due to being lent armour, he fought valiantly against all those who faced both him and his team mates. When Shaun was asked what he loved so far, “I love the sword fighting and it’s a lot of fun being in a shield wall”. Shaun’s ideal character would be ‘a marauder with a sword or an axe or maybe he would be an archer’. The warband that stood out the most to him were The Venators because they ‘look so cool!’ Shaun’s message to people interested in trying Swordcraft is to “give it a go as it is quite energetic.”

Written by Val Kenny, Swordcraft New Player Trainer
Edited by Kayleigh Helm, Social Media Director