B.C (Before Carn)
Before Carn established itself as a house and into its early years there were several other groups many of our members participated These comon thread of interests and friendship that came out of those shared pastimes was an integral part of how Carn came to be this household it is today.
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The Fantasy Alternative and BladeBall
Many of us got our start traipsing around the parks of Seattle LARPing in a group called the TFA (The Fantasy Alternative). Think live D&D without the copyright infringement. Its there most of us got our first taste of armored combat, all be it with shinais and converted motorcycle helms while pretending to be orcs, elfs or kazin. Getting a face full of a flour as part of the magic system (a cup of flour wrapped in paper towel) didn’t hold the appeal of a good stand up fight so we created a field game called Bladeball. The game used rubber garbage cans as goals. When a player died they stood back up after a quick 20 second count and started fighting again. Think of it as the bastard offspring of LARP combat and rugby.
Dark Ages Live Steel
Being young and broke can lead to many wonderful discoveries in life. When a few of us decided that the best way to get into see movies for free was to do stage fighting with real swords Dark Ages Live Steel was born. One of the major problems with teaching yourself how to stage fight when you all come from a martial arts background is that you tend to actually try and hit each other, whicnh makes for an interesting learning curve. Beyond a broken tooth and some nicks and abrasions we made it through with all our fingers and toes. Dark Ages played at the local sci-fi conventions and movie openings. Its run culminated with performances at Syndicated TV conventions on both coasts.
Dark Ages at Syndicon West
Northwest Sci-Fi Conventions
Before many of us donned armor and swung swords we battled monsters and each other with 20 sided dice role play gaming. The Sci-Fi culture in the Pacific Northwest in the late 80s and early 90s was full of conventions where you could game, costume, attend panels about your favorite moves and even better yet meet others with the same interests. Many members of Carn are still active in attending and even help run conventions in the Seattle area. The house itself has heavily supported the SCA demo at Norwescon over the years.
In the fall of 1991 five friends were sitting around their camp fire nestled in among the light woods at the first Autumn War. Brinfijord, then know as Bear and Tadhg Fairbairn had taken to the war field that day in ill fitting armor and done their best to help stop the forces of Lionsgate from taking the field but to no avail. A valiant charge uphill against a superior force ended as expected and BAO, the branch the two fought for, lost the day. Also seated there were Eldric Wolfensen with his bushy beard, Adriana Ludwassi and Keith McNeil with his red shock of hair. All had been in the SCA for a few years but none had been drawn to another house or group so the idea of starting their own sounded like a good one. Little did anyone sitting there that night know what would become of their endeavor. The name and identity of what would evolve to be known as Clan Carn would begin to form over the next few years.
Alpine Pass War 1991
Elders and Getting off the Ground
Within a few years the group had solidified a little more. The name Carn was choosen because it meant “Outlawed” or in border terminology they were “Put to the Horn”. Its also in this timeframe that they dog knot was adopted. Growth of membership came in the form of Eriker, Rose, Alan Foutain and Greg Sprydis. A need for some sort of leadership arrangement became apparent and and out of that the Elders system was adopted. Those that were part of the house before the system started were considered elders with each one getting a vote in making decesions. Those that came after had a voice in discussions but had no vote. Tadhg and Brinfijord acted as co-chiefs sharing responsibility for leadership on the war field. Growth continued with the addition of Valdimer Jules, Maeg, Azmuz, Melissa, Catrina and Mike. Joining in this time frame was an elders vote (the manrent and clannet systems did not exisit yet.) The custom of giving a gift to the new member of the house became common and horse hair manes started to be worn by the fight company.
Clinton War 1992
Other Paths and Growth Boom
There were substational shifts in members lives in the late 90s leading some to drop out of the SCA and the Clan. Brinfijord and Rose left so that Bear could persue being a Squire. A goal not compatable with the “screw the Chiv and pointy hats” environment of the Clan in that era. Others left because of relationships going bad or life taking them in other directions. The adoption of Clan Law which was simplified from the rules under the elder system was adopted and the starting of the Clan Council consisting of the Chief and elected positons was also started at this time. From 99-2003 the house went through a growth boom requiring changes to slow the membership process. The manrent step in the process was added around 99 Making it take at least three months to become a member. During this time frame Rhyse, Arthur, Padric O’Shea, Keristen Bruce, Drew MacEwan, joined Folowed quickly in 2000 by a wave of growth: Ifanwy, Chirstopher, Ryan, Alan Fletcher, Colluny MacCollin.
Autumn War 1994
The attitude of the house and fight company was in direct conflict with the chivalry and royalty of the kingdom. So much so that mottos like “bend no knee” were considered as battle cries and the fight company. The house considered itself the alternative to the “use new fighters as a pell” attitude it consider most knights to have and welcomed anyone willing to don armor and fight onto the field with them. Its also at this time that Carn started to get recognition for its growing battlefield prowess.
While Carn had it bad for taking on the local Chiv on the battle field relationships formed with some of the knights started to bear fruit toward getting the house involved with the local society culture and not against it. The somewhat insular house ended up meeting a number of knights and peers that started to change our minds about things. At honey war in 2002 Sir Stephen of Hungtington took four members of Carn as squires follwed a few years later by Sir Fiach taking Rodreker Sigmundson. The fight company was recognized in 2003 by the Crown and awarded the honor of being the white lions of antir for the following war season. Members of the house also start branching out into other areas. Carns Rapier contingent started picking up steam.
Sir Stephen Takes Carn Squires at Honey War 2002
A wave of marriages was followed by the natural progression in the form of babies. Between births and adoptions Carn families had more than a dozen kids between 2005-2008. As always changes in real life impact play time, that combined high gas prices and a falling economy made for different priorities than SCA. Members of he house continued to expand into new territory during this time and gained many titles as branch champions for Heavy, Rapier, A&S and Archery. Its also during this time that the main section of the encampment becomes more period.