Enchanted Okotoks is returning to Okotoks this year.
The event was held for three consecutive years from 2017-2019, before taking a hiatus during the pandemic.
In its original form, the event was a day-long fantasy-themed festival held throughout downtown Okotoks with attendees sporting intricate costumes, local vendors peddling their wares at an artisan market, and businesses decked out in magical decor.
This year, the event is designed as more of an interactive game experience inspired by tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons as well as fantasy videogames.
Several groups are behind the event’s revival: Fantasy by Numbers, Earth MMO, K-T Events, and Legends of Logomancy, all forming together into the Okotoks Adventuring Guild.
Brendan Rose, one of the three brothers who founded Fantasy by Numbers, said a chance encounter led to a dormant idea suddenly becoming a real possibility.
“I’d been working on the adventurer's guild idea for several years. Then Katie [Fournell] and I were at the Game Com Canada convention in Calgary and ran into the fellas from Earth MMO. They’ve been building basically an augmented reality Dungeons & Dragons video game. We kind of realized they had the half I was missing, I had the half they were missing, so we’ve partnered up to try to create this fantasy game for the town.
The game side of the event is effectively an alternate reality game (ARG). ARGs are set and played in the real world, with virtual elements mixed in.
Katie Fournell with K-T Events says progression and much of the interaction in the game will be done through a mobile app.
“All players will need their phones. That’s their relic into the fantasy world. They can see fantasy through their phone, so when they’re walking around town, they’ll see QR codes, goblins, places where quests can be picked up. We’ll also have a big quest board with quests all over town and storylines, and as you scan QR codes in the app that Earth MMO has designed, little bits of story will come up for you, you’ll meet characters. But some of those characters, you will meet in real life, we’ll have some actors located in businesses playing along with you, they’ll roleplay with you. If you don’t want to roleplay, they’ll just explain what’s going on. They’ll be in character, but you don’t have to put a character on. Our hope is that it’s just so easy to respond to these actors that you just start playing the game and being a fantasy character.”
Rose says there won’t be a huge suspension of disbelief for players because rather than taking place in a fictional fantasy setting, the game has the actual Town of Okotoks as a backdrop.
“The nice thing is that because Earth MMO is meant to be a worldwide ongoing game similar to other reality games, it is the real world, it’s our modern day, but fantasy has started to leak into the real world, so we don’t have to pretend not to know what cars are, we can still dress in our regular clothes and still be part of the game. It’s our everyday life with this fantasy starting to mix in.”
Legends of Logomancy is designing the main story, with Fantasy by Numbers developing side quests.
This year’s Enchanted Okotoks will be a two-day event, from 12-4 p.m. on September 16 and 17.
Fournell says the idea is to have a play window of a good few hours where actors and participating businesses are all fully immersed in the game world.
Some elements of the game will be accessible outside of those hours, though its recommended players stay within those hours to get the full intended experience.
While players will have the freedom to explore different side quests and take things at their own pace, all players will be given the same starting point, the Old Towne Plaza.
A few vendors will be at the plaza, and they plan to have a charging station for those who need a boost halfway through their adventure.
Over 20 participating businesses are listed on the event website.
The Okotoks Adventuring Guild is looking for volunteers both for helping to coordinate the event and to play the role of NPCs (non-player characters).
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