• Lisa Natcharian

What's In Store For Our Heroes in Sidleterra This Summer?


Wizards & Warriors camp takes place in the fantasy world of Sidleterra each summer, and campers face a wide range of different villains, conflicts and obstacles every year. How will our intrepid Story Team connect last summer's "Pandemic Portals" tale to this summer's adventures in Sidleterra's new Sturbridge manifestation?


Sidleterra itself is a magical alternate reality, "slightly out of phase" with our own world, according to Curriculum Coordinator Paul Spanagel. Created by thirteen Greater Spirits who have primordial wisdom, expertise and power, Sidleterra is also known as The Hero's Training Ground. “Whenever [Sidleterra] senses people with the capacity [for heroism], it creates challenges, conflicts, obstacles and danger, then it draws on [those] potential heroes to resolve those challenges,” Paul reveals.


Our story team had their work cut out for them last summer, as camp was completely virtual due to the pandemic. Heroes "visited" Sidleterra through magical "portals" (their computer screens) that resulted in each camper experiencing the 2020 storyline a bit differently. After a summer discovering and conspiring with a variety of Spirits of Mischief, campers were able to save the town of Crossroads from a band of villains with the help of Raccoon, the highest ranking spirit.


This summer, the Wizards & Warriors storyline will focus on Sidleterra itself -- its past, present, and future. Camp Director Haley Mosher has revealed that the 2021 adventures will not only explore the history of Sidleterra, but will incorporate the history of the Publick House as well, and campers will uncover clues that appear to be "normal" parts of the Inn's buildings.


While most characters that the heroes encounter do not reappear from one year to the next, there are a few prominent figures who return by popular demand, and this summer campers can expect to reunite with a number of Spirits of Mischief, who have a debt to repay. To thank the heroes for helping them last summer, these Spirits will provide their assistance this summer with whatever challenges the campers encounter.


The possibilities are endless for the nature of these particular challenges, and heroes who enter the Gates of Destiny must be ready for anything. Past adventures have included defeating Tiamat, a Babylonian sea goddess, Baba Yaga, a supernatural being from Slavic folklore, and Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian King. And while heroes certainly know their way around their swords and historic weapons, "defeating" villains doesn't always entail a physical battle. For example, during the summer that heroes met Gilgamesh, they probed him to understand the source of his pains, then, as Haley recalls, “taught him courage, honor, and compassion, so he could be a good king. Then he fought alongside the heroes.”


While the Story & Logistics Team creates a strong outline for each summer's adventure, it is in fact the heroes who drive the plot. Each day, the decisions the campers make (during their encounters with characters, monsters and villains) directly affect the direction of the story. Each evening, logistics staff take these decisions into account and modify the storyline for the next day.


For example, one year the Woodland Realm group was slated to fight a hungry spider, but their compassionate natures drove them to "make a heroic sacrifice" and feed the spider instead. "The logistics team didn't predict this," remembers Paul, "but later, the spider [ended up] giving them an answer to a problem." Haley adds, "We reward [campers] for heroic actions, and the best way is to [let them] tell the story they want.”


“We do that every day,” Paul adds. “With Gilgamesh, instructors had an idea how he’d be used -- he was a tyrant, with his own personal goals. That made him a terrible king, and he was not good to his people. He was powerful, but unkind -- everything we needed for a villain. But the campers thought, ‘No, he’s suffered and lost his way, we can help him.’ So we let the campers do the most heroic thing they [could] think of [and they saved him].”


This summer, heroes can expect their challenges to revolve around "prophesy," as they delve deeper into the past history and future direction of Sidleterra itself. Characters old and new are slated to appear, and the new Sturbridge venue will play a central role in the discovery of evidence defining the world of Sidleterra itself.


Get ready for an enchanted, captivating, intricate, enigmatic, and spellbinding summer at the NEW Wizards & Warriors camp! Register now to secure your place in the 2021 season and lock in the lowest pricing. Pre-Registration pricing is only available during the month of March and registration is limited. You can register online at https://thestoryschool.org/2021-summer-camps/ and you can always reach us by phone (781-214-1174) or email guardian@thestoryschool.org with any questions.



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