HOW TO GET AN TIRIAN ROYALTY
with the least amount of hassle and expense, and the
most amount of comfort
This list is from my experiences
from travelling from An Tir to Pennsic four times, always by plane. The
second time I was in the Royal encampment, as head lady-in-waiting to Queen
Groa (third time I was temporary retinue to Queen Asa). I've written this
as though I was talking with Their Majesties or Their retinue.
- Dame Mira Silverlock, Baroness of An Tir
BEFORE YOU GO
There is a royalty liason on the Pennsic staff, who is there
to assist you as you need. They can be very helpful answering questions,
and reserving a good site for the Royal Encampment.
Get your registration in! If you are past the deadline,
they do make special exceptions for the royal party, retinue included.
GETTING YOUR STUFF THERE and
BACK (if you are flying)
You can almost always get cheaper airfare
flying into Cleveland than you can if you fly into Pittsburgh. I saved
over $100 this way, and found that the drive was just barely longer, and
almost all freeway.
Check with your airline to see how much you can put on the
plane. The usual amount is two piece of checked baggage, and one
carry-on. Doublecheck their restrictions on size and weight. The usual
fee for more pieces of luggage, or ones that are overweight is $50 per
Don't check the royal crowns--consider those carry on! :)
My checked baggage was a cooler, with my clothes inside and
my folding chair duct taped to the top (and duct taped shut), and a large
plastic water cooler (also duct taped shut) which had my personal effects.
For my carryon, I took a gym bag with a spare change of clothes, my tickets,
my Pennsic registration, my duct tape, my wallet, a cloak, and warm shoes.
This is just in case your luggage doesn't arrive when you do (the first
time I went, it didn't!). I also talked the airline into letting me take
my little foldup luggage carrier on as a carry on. TIP:
Don't put your sewing scissors or metal tent stakes in your carryon luggage--makes
those nice people at the metal detector kind of jumpy....
GROUND TRANSPORT WHEN THERE
Anything more than that will either have to be paid for,
or go with someone else. If you are shipping things, consider the following:
Air freight can be shipped a couple days ahead, and be ready
for you when you arrive at the airport. I shipped an entire yurt this way--one
coffin-sized wooden box (which we used for storage and as a bench) held
the wooden pieces and my sleeping bag, and an oversized plastic tub (duct
taped shut) held all the canvas, yurt roof ring, cooler coverings, floor
mats, etc--and doubled as a bathtub in the little shower tent I took.
You may want to research UPS and other carriers. Some other
people used UPS and had their gear delivered directly to the site, after
confirming it with the royalty coordinator. I called about 15 different
companies/carriers, and found that air freight met my needs best, as they
were the only ones who could guarantee my stuff would be where I wanted
when I wanted it. Also, when you ship stuff home, UPS has limited hours
and locations for oversized items. This means you may have to pack your
stuff ahead of your departure time, as they do not pick up from Pennsic.
If you ship air freight, know their hours of operation.
They are NOT open 24 hours a day, so your arrival and departure times will
have to be when the freight offices are open if you want to pick up/drop
off stuff while you are at the airport. I've used United and Continental,
and just barely made my connection because of this problem. Otherwise they
were great. I don't think United does air freight anymore--they don't
have the federal inspectors on site to meet regulations.
If you are doing some serious shopping at Pennsic, you may
want to mail or UPS your purchases home. There is a postal trailer on site
that can help you with this, and some merchants may be able to do it for
Rent a truck. Budget rents small pickups for just BARELY
more than a car, and it will get used all the time--picking up gear at
the airport, grocery runs, ferrying fighters back from a distant battle,
toting your gear, shuttling people to the parking lot (hey, that's a LONG
way to walk when it's hot and muggy!).
If you rent a car or truck, remember that in Pennsylvania
it is illegal to have anything hanging from your rearview mirror, including
the site pass the Gate insist you keep in the car. Cops will happily remind
you of this if they spot you :)
The Kingdom of An Tir will have a permanent site for land,
starting 2001. This will include the Royal Encampment and any other
An Tirians who wish to camp with people from their home kingdom.
(UPDATE: 2002--this is being checked)
They say you can tell the An Tirians at Pennsic, because
they are sacked out under the trees, panting :) . This is partly
true--the heat can be very muggy and oppressive. Be ready for anything--from
almost freezing to high heat with lots of humidity.
Bring layers to wear, because as soon as the sun sets the
temperature drops. Linen is wonderful in hot weather!
Expect sunburn--bring hats or veiling and sunscreen. If you
can, bring a kitchen canopy or day shade so you'll have a place out of
the sun, outside your tent.
There are showers on site, but they are often cold. They
feel wonderful when it's hot and muggy out!
Make sure your tent is waterproof, or that you have adequate
covering for it. Thunderstorms can be very violent, and dump a lot of rain
MAKE SURE TO TAKE....
The food vendors at Pennsic are varied and plentiful.
I've never packed kitchen gear, except feast gear, because we always ate
meals at the merchants.
Keep lots of Gatorade on hand!
I always kept bagels, peanut butter, veggies and snacks in
camp (hence the cooler). Don't forget to try the chocolate milk (aka Pennsic
Crack...) sold at the on-site store.
The water on-site tastes bad. Buy gallon jugs of water,
and dump them and a bag of ice into the water cooler. I used a simple canvas
bag to cover the water cooler, with a hole for the spout. Cut up lemons
don't hurt the taste, either.
From Aoife: "I would also mention the perils of buying and
using the styrofoam coolers (food poisoning!) Heat stroke, and that there
are really great food merchants on site, so if you have the money, eating
at merchants works...."
GRAND COURT (info for TRMs)
A decent cot or bed, if you can. Whether hot or wet weather,
a decent bed can make a huge difference in how comfortable you are when
The comfiest walking shoes you can get away with. You will
probably be doing a lot of walking.
A good flashlight. Pennsic has strict rules about fires,
and it really helps to have a good light when trekking from party to party.
Basic medication--Pepto, Tylenol, Neosporin. Also, there
are yellow jackets on site, so bring a bee sting kit if you are allergic.
A large, strong fabric shoulder bag to carry your purchases
in. Rolls up small, and can be used to carry ice from the store, firewood,
A firepit of some type. You may be able to dig a pit
on site. This make a huge difference in how welcoming the campsite is at
Kingdom banners, including a war banner. The banners will
help identify your camp, and your fighting unit. Many households use some
sort of camp walls, or half camp walls, to delineate their area
Your ID and registration. Don't forget your phone card--there
are pay phones on site.
A chair with a back. Ship it, bribe someone to pack it with
the stuff they're driving across country--a decent chair will make a big
difference in how comfortable you are.
A sunshade. Don't count on having trees in your camp,
and a sun/rain shade will make your camp much more liveable.
posted my packing list here. I have not included things I ship
ahead, like the yurt, my pillow and sleeping bag, fabric bags for the walls
of the yurt, a wooden folding chair, a plastic drop cloth.
Have your retinue bring something to drink for you (the bureaucrats
may say no alcohol, but the King's drinking horn is his own business!).
Snacks may also be a good idea. Bring enough to share with the Monarch
sitting next to you. We found pizza to be a good icebreaker... :)
It will almost certainly be hot under the lights. Plan on
cool court garb if possible, and have an attendant bring a fan.
Attendants allowed to stand behind the Thrones are limited
to one herald and two attendants. There will be a meeting earlier in the
week to discuss the details with one of your retinue.
If you want pictures, don't forget to send someone ahead
with your camera, so they can get a good spot to take photos.
You will be expected to make a statement at Court. The norm
usually includes some nice things about the other monarchs, and how much
fun you are having at Pennsic.
You will be allowed at least one, maybe two, pieces of business
Have a great time! :)
You will be invited to various events hosted by other Monarchs.
Bring some good stationery and a calligraphy pen (and someone who knows
how to use it ) to send back RSVPs.
Bring an alarm clock, or have someone in retinue be in charge
of making sure you get up in time to be where you want to be. Some of those
events start early. Retinue is also good for getting that first cup of
coffee for you...
There will be gifts exchanged with other Monarchs, delivered
with a personal visit or by a runner. Make sure to have something prepared
as your gifts to the other Sovereigns.
It isn't necessary for you to be "on" all the time, if you
don't want to. Many people enjoy wearing their crown or coronet constantly,
but if you need some time to just shop or wander without all the brouhaha
that happens when Sovereigns walk through crowds, feel free to dress down,
take an attendant (or not), and go incognito.
Plan on your retinue having some sort of baldric or identifying
device so they can look be an easily recognizable unit in a crowd. If you
can bring spears or pikes, they are very impressive-looking for your guards
Double check the times for meetings and ceremonies (opening
ceremonies, etc). There's nothing more exciting than waking up to
the sound of hundreds of people queuing up behind your tent, for a procession
you're supposed to be in...
There will be a meeting for representatives of each kingdom
to hammer out details for Grand Court. Be sure to send someone to this--the
information is invaluable, even if you have been Sovereign at Pennsic before.
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