Driving through Spring Lake Park this weekend, I saw what seemed to be a large group of people preparing to do battle, so I stopped, and joined in!

I happened across a group of young people who call themselves "Dryad's Den," a local group of friends that participate in L.A.R.P., Live Action Role Playing. They're sort of a life-like Dungeons & Dragons and it is a great way to spend a pretty day outside in the park.

Photo by Jeff

Dryad's Den Facebook Page gives some info about the group,

Dryad's Den is a Amtgard group for Larping in a Medieval/Fantasy layout. Non-Profit and Family friendly, anyone may join. Though only people above the age of 14 may "fight" (With Wavier!) , its a great activity for high-schoolers and adults alike. (Don't worry older age means nothing.) There is a no tolerance for bullying. So don't be afraid!
All of our activities are safe, our weapons are safe and padded for protection and rules are placed and constantly enforced. Anymore information can be asked, or take a look at the main site. www.Amtgardinc.com

So, when asked if I wanted to give it a shot, being one that has a hard time turning down a battle, I said "yes." I did a round or two with the "Sheriff" of the group for a few pointers and rules then it was on to an "Honor Battle" with a menacing looking opponent dressed in battle garb. Remember now, it's an honor battle so you have to use the honor system. None of that "I got you... nuh-huh" stuff. If you get hit, admit it.

Just a quick bit. A player can take two wounds to equal death, or one torso shot. A strike anywhere on the arm, from shoulder to wrist, and you lose the arm. A strike to the leg, the same. Once you receive a second wound you are out. If you are struck in the torso, you are out. Accidents happen, groin strikes are frowned upon, and head shots are illegal.

Photo by Jeff

Dryad's Den is part of the Kingdom of Emerald Hills and is affiliated with AMTGARD.

Amtguard is for people of all ages and their families. Amtgard includes competitive combat, building safe weapons, shields and armor for play, medieval clothing construction, wood crafts, metal crafts, leather works, singing, poetry and writing, theatrical performance, role-play, and many other cultural aspects of the medieval lifestyle.

There are weekly gatherings for games, fighting and fun. They have periodic gatherings of the members of the Kingdom for weekend long events, including tournaments, quests, cultural competitions and courts.

Photo by Jeff

Yes, when I first saw the group I had some doubts, but to think they saw some old gray- headed dude who wanted to play along, I am sure they were a bit thrown off, too. I had a good time, and the group was extremely hospitable and I had a great time getting to learn a little about their group and playing in the park. For more information hit up Dryad's Den on Facebook.