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On Hate Symbols and Changes to Rune Magic

For the past several months, Witchwood leadership has been wrestling with the problem that use of Elder Futhark runes at Witchwood may conflict with RFR’s value of Fellowship, given the increase in fascist and white supremacist groups using these symbols.

We have decided that our previous response to the issue was insufficient. As much as we strive to be an inclusive community, many of us, myself particularly included, have work to do facing our white privilege. RFR will always work to improve itself as a community, and in that spirit, there will be changes to rune magic this spring. Also, I personally pledge to give $1 to Life After Hate for every point of runepool spent.

At the same time, we acknowledge that runes have centuries of history of cultural and spiritual importance that are not connected to hate. RFR is itself not a pagan organization, and our use of runes at Witchwood is not in a spiritual manner. Were we creating the game today, I would not use a real-world culture’s iconography for a game mechanic. Still, we do not wish to tell anyone their personal spiritual practices are hateful.

The in-world changes to the runes system will occur during spring 1, but I will outline them here. The particular runes which are known logos of hate groups (othila, teiwaz/tyr, algiz, jera, sowela) will no longer be used in their existing forms. Alternate forms will replace them. The rest of the Elder Futhark alphabet will continue to exist in Evren as a widely-known system for using runic power.

However, alternate character sets will become available. At least one of these will be presented at Spring 1. Furthermore, any runecrafter of a level to invent their own recipes can also invent alternate shapes for all the runes. Once they unlock a new shape, they can teach it to novices as an alternate to the base shape. (Each person can only use one shape at a time for any given meaning. Details about unlocking new shapes will be sent to all True rune mages before Spring 1.)

Feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions, comments, or concerns. Looking forward to seeing you at Spring 1!

-Beth
Witchwood Game Director

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Well, we only had one event this year, with 120 rune pool spent.
But although the year was light on larping, it was full of evidence of the hate and division within our country.

In light of that, I’m pretending we had 120 rune pool spent at 4 events and donating $480 to Life After Hate.

Happy solstice, and may we all enjoy brighter days ahead.

-Beth B.

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