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Bardfest is a long-running annual festival of the performing arts, hosted by the House of the Argent Aspis in Wehnimer's Landing. It is traditionally held in celebration of Cholen's Eve, an Elanthian holiday in the month of July. Semi-finals typically fall in the third week of the month, with performances starting on Tuesday and continuing through Thursday, and the Finals performance is scheduled for the following Monday night.

Bardfest is judged by a panel of seven volunteer judges on a variety of criteria, outlined below.

Semi-finals performances are original works on any topic the performer chooses. Performers who progress to Finals night are assigned a theme, usually two words, which must be integrated into their Final performance to avoid losing points.

Characters sign up in the weeks before the event and present their performances on their chosen semi-finals night, in random order. Members of House Aspis are on hand to facilitate performances. Performances can be any type of performing art including singing, poetry recitals, story-telling, and dance. The top six scoring performers go on to the Finals presentation.

The House of the Argent Aspis presented the 25th Annual Bardfest in 2020. This was announced as the final Bardfest.

Bardfest Prizes

Bardfest prizes are typically a generous purse of silvers for the top four winners, a scripted memento pin, and a congratulatory instrument for the highest-scoring first-time performer (Best New Voice prize). In addition to this, the top four winners' names are added to the Bardfest Trophy in the Wehnimer's Landing museum (see below). All other performers are given a smaller participation purse and pin.

Bardfest pins bear different gemstones denoting the Finals placement of the bearer:

  • Diamond - First place
  • Emerald - Second place
  • Ruby - Third place
  • Sapphire - Fourth place
  • Pearl - Participant
  • Blazestar - Judge

Bardfest Rules


1. The rulings of the judges will be final and without dispute. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the contest, we cannot consider an appeal process. While all judges shall attempt to remain objective in their deliberations, artistic works must, in the end, be judged upon subjective criteria. We have attempted to give as much objectivity to the judging criteria as possible, yet the judges are "human" and it is sincerely doubted that any artistic piece could be judged by automation. That's as it should be. Please keep this in mind if you are disappointed in the outcome of the contest.

Time Limits

2. No piece is to be longer than 10 minutes in duration. If Elanthian weather is lagging, judges will determine any additional time allowed. If you are experiencing lag within your portal, it’s up to you to let the Head Judge know. Should your performance go over time (barring weather allowances) an automatic deduction will be made to your Total Score. The timekeeper will inform you once you’ve reached your time limit.

Overtime & Score Deductions

a. For the first minute a performance runs over, one quarter point will be deducted from your Total Score at 30 second intervals. After the first minute, you will lose an additional point at 1 minute intervals. For example, if your performance lasts 11 minutes exactly, you will lose half a point from your Total Score. At 11 minutes and 5 seconds, you will lose 1 ½ points.

b. At 15 minutes total time, you will be asked to stop your performance and 4 ½ points will be deducted from your Total Score.

c. So there is no confusion as to when a performance begins or ends, these will be the criteria for beginning and ending the official time for a performance:

i. Your time will start immediately following your first action (speech or movement) once you stand up. If you choose to remain sitting and perform from the audience, the time will begin once it is clear your performance has started, and your showmanship will be judged accordingly.

ii. Your time will stop when you either bow/curtsy or leave the stage. It is essential you make one of these actions clear so the timekeeper can stop your time accordingly. If you plan to employ a unique method of ending your performance (like dropping dead on stage), it would be in your best interest to inform the Head Judge in advance.

Order of Performances

3. Order of performance will be random. The contestant must be ready at the start of performances on their scheduled night. Should there be a scheduling difficulty (such as work conflicts which do not allow you to attend until a half hour after performances begin - or days you can not be in attendance) such difficulty needs to be brought to the attention of the head judge PRIOR to the day of the performance. A contestant called on to perform who asks for more time will be put to the end and assigned an automatic 2 point deduction to his/her Total Score. Should there be two or more such requests in one evening the order in which they shall perform will be random.

Walk-On Performances

4. Walk-on performances will be allowed on a first come basis and only if there are openings for that particular night. Those wishing to perform as a walk-on will make their request to the MC the night of the performance and will be called on as time permits after all of the scheduled performances have concluded.

Disruptive Audience Behavior

5. Although the Bardfest staff will do everything in their power to insure the civil behavior of the audience, unforeseen incidents can occur where an audience member performs actions disruptive to the performance. The performer has the option to request that the MC silence the room for his or her performance. This request can be made at any time before their performance begins. If the performer sees any potential issues that may cause a disruption of their performance, it should be brought to the attention of the head judge in private (i.e. whisper) before the performance begins. If an interruption still occurs and is in the Head Judge’s opinion severe enough, the performer will be given the option to begin their piece over. It is the performer’s option whether or not they elect to continue with their piece or start over. If the performer is not given the option to start over by the Head Judge, he/she should continue the performance and express his/her concerns to the Head Judge only after the performance is completed.

Performance Types

6. Poems, songs and stories, dances, and all other art forms are all acceptable but all are limited to the same time and rule constraints.

Plagiarism and Original Works

7. Each presentation must be original. Plagiarism is grounds for immediate disqualification and dismissal from the contest.

Previous Performances

8. The presentation must never have been performed in a previous Bardfest or any other competition or performance troupe. Any such performance will be disqualified.

In-Character and Genre Requirement

9. All compositions will adhere to the genre of Gemstone IV, and will be presented IN CHARACTER. Any out-of-genre references will cause a down scoring in the appropriate category, depending upon the infractions and according to the individual judge's discretion.

Finalist Announcements

10. Finalists will be announced in random order. All scores are confidential, though performers may ask for their own scores.

Finals Performance Requirement

11. Contestants accepted for the Aspis Bardfest must accept that, should they be chosen as finalists, they will prepare and perform a piece meeting all the original requirements and guidelines at the final competition. All finalists will be given the same subjects and they will be assigned on the last night of the preliminaries.

Judging Criteria

These also are not negotiable and have been set down and accepted by the judges of this contest.


Is the composition on topic? Is the composition in genre? Does the composition scan well? Is there meter and rhyme? If an accent is used in the piece, does it continue throughout the piece? Does the composition adhere to accepted grammatically correct norms? How difficult is the piece? Difficulty does not necessarily mean better, but a difficult piece, well done, will score higher than an easy piece well done. Is there a beginning, middle and end to the piece?


How well is the composition presented? Do your actions follow the words, or are they merely placed there for something to do? Are there actions at all, or is the piece presented with only verse? Do you use props? If so, do you manipulate them properly and are they always present, or do they disappear without reason? Do you sing, or do, or relate an impossible feat that your character could not possibly accomplish? (ie. performer does something impossible given the profession of the character or common powers and magics within the lands. This is considered out of genre. Example: smiles as he flies around the room tickling everyone's ears.)


How well does the piece flow? Is there imagery and if so, is it appropriate for the time and place. Is it appropriate for the piece? Do you set the mood? Is it the mood that you intended? Do you elicit an emotional response in the audience? Does the piece tell the audience how they should feel or what they are doing? (Considered poor RP.) Your songs, stories, or actions should entice feelings and actions from the audience not determine them).

Judge's Preference

This area gives the judge the opportunity to decide whether they liked the piece or not, without regard to the other criteria. This is a subjective scoring and is the judge's prerogative. It will not be a score reflective of friendship or family ties, but solely based upon the work.


This category applies only to finals night. It is weighted equally with the remaining four categories and assesses how well the subject(s) is(are) used in the performance. Although there is no penalty for using only one of the two subjects, the added difficulty of using both will be taken into account when scoring this category.


A maximum of 10 points will be assigned to each category. Once the judges have assigned their points, they will be passed to the Head Judge. The Head Judge will not score the performances, and the scores will not be shared. The Head Judge will then total the scores from each judge and compute the average. This average will be the contestant’s Total Score. Any automatic deductions will be subtracted from the Total Score at this time. In the event of a tie, the judges will resolve the tie with a vote. If there is still a tie, the Head Judge will cast the deciding vote.

A side note. Any judge may disqualify themselves for any given performance if they feel they can not remain objective in their scoring of that person's performance. In this eventuality, the absent judge’s scores will be tallied as the average of the remaining judges’ scores. This is done so that any point deductions from the total score have the same weight for all contestants. The judges shall attempt to present themselves with honor and score without regard to personal feelings.

Remember! Please remember that winning the competition is not the most important thing here but that participation and enjoyment of the event are. It is our opinion that every performer is a winner. We wish you all the best of luck and look forward to your creations!

Bardfest Winners

Bardfest winner names are inscribed on a trophy which can be found in the Wehnimer's Landing Museum, Alcove (upstairs and through the black marble arch).

>l trophy
Silver-veined, green marble forms the tall, rectangular base of this trophy.  A gilded harp rests atop the marble base, with a silver dragon twisting along the column and across the crown to arch over the neck, as if protecting the bejeweled strings.  Inset into the base is a burnished gold plaque.  Musical instruments, carved into the marble, wreath the plaque and are filled with silver and gold filigree.  Elegant script has been etched into the plaque, punctuated by the occasional onyx-inlaid music note.

>read plaque
Inset into the base of the marble trophy, the burnished gold plaque reads:

              In Loving Memory of Carilynn Allisandra
    Winners of the House of the Argent Aspis Bardic Festival

                 Year 5096 of the Modern Era
                    1st place - Sincerity
                    2nd place - Akhorahiil
                    3rd place - Cynera

                 Year 5097 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Terrenth
                    2nd Place - Ylena
                    3rd Place - Gladdstone

                  Year 5098 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Katiesa
                    2nd Place - Kyrrene
                    3rd Place - Rastavan

                  Year 5099 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Jhernish
                    2nd Place - Chutnee
                    3rd Place - Quivalin
                    4th Place - Rastavan

                  Year 5100 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Ylena
                    2nd Place - Rhyi
                    3rd Place - Harun
                    4th Place - Ahmeuseng

                  Year 5101 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Tanager
                    2nd Place - Quivalin
                    3rd Place - Juspera
                    4th Place - Ahmeuseng

                  Year 5102 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Ylena
                    2nd Place - Tanager
                    3rd Place - Ahmeuseng
                    4th Place - Chastity

                  Year 5103 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Juspera
                    2nd Place - Bevan
                    3rd Place - Tierus
                    4th Place - Antinymous

                  Year 5104 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Tierus
                    2nd Place - Bevan
                    3rd Place - Chastity
                    4th Place - Thaumatous

                  Year 5105 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Bevan
                    2nd Place - Godyva & Shakrean
                    3rd Place - Tolwynn
                    4th Place - Charna

                  Year 5106 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Ahmeuseng
                    2nd Place - Godyva & Shakrean
                    3rd Place - Arpelli
                    4th Place - Armaya

                  Year 5107 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Gaje
                    2nd Place - Missoni
                    3rd Place - Ahmeuseng
                    4th Place - Landrai

                  Year 5108 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Tolwynn
                    2nd Place - Jersea
                    3rd Place - Rastavan
                    4th Place - Talinvor

                  Year 5109 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Asenora and Viiolet
                    2nd Place - Landrai
                    3rd Place - Jeight
                    4th Place - Phaedre

                  Year 5110 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Landrai
                    2nd Place - Zarston
                    3rd Place - Jersea
                    4th Place - Capell

                  Year 5111 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Leifa
                    2nd Place - Traiva
                    3rd Place - Cappell
                    4th Place - Zarston

                  Year 5112 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Traiva
                    2nd Place - Bevan
                    3rd Place - Jersea
                    4th Place - Glyhne

                  Year 5113 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Durakar
                    2nd Place - Laelithonel
                    3rd Place - Queti
                    4th Place - Thourogood

                  Year 5114 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Oriehn
                    2nd Place - Meril
                    3rd Place - Jersea
                    4th Place - Dendum

                  Year 5115 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Kayse
                    2nd Place - Traiva
                    3rd Place - Meril
                    4th Place - Katiesa

                  Year 5116 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Jersea
                    2nd Place - Queti
                    3rd Place - Tuilinneth
                    4th Place - Kayse

                  Year 5117 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Kayse
                    2nd Place - Nehor and Solevar
                    3rd Place - Meril
                    4th Place - Ordim

                  Year 5118 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Jersea
                    2nd Place - Nehor, Illona, and Anryk
                    3rd Place - Nazarr
                    4th Place - Corpip

                  Year 5119 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Leifa
                    2nd Place - Lazaryth
                    3rd Place - Jersea
                    4th Place - Meril

                  Year 5120 of the Modern Era
                    1st Place - Meril
                    2nd Place - Juspera
                    3rd Place - Regwen
                    4th Place - Alosaka

The Den of the Dragon Theatre

[Den of the Dragon, Backstage]
Dark curtains separate this backstage area from the main stage and allow actors to watch for entrance cues.  Pulleys and ropes overhead attach to flats and other equipment, and one long, coiling rope attaches to a pulley controlling the heavy dark green velvet curtains that front the stage, serving to block the entire stage from audience view when closed.  A sign hangs nearby that can be read even in this darkened area.  The occasional flash of light and sound emanates from beyond the flats.  You also see an engraved silver noticeboard.
Obvious exits: southwest, northwest, down

Looking at the curtains will reveal a small gap, through which you can PEER to observe a real time view of the goings-on in the main audience chamber. Once you are backstage, you can watch for your entrance cue.

>l curt
You see a narrow gap in the curtains.
>peer gap
Gazing into the gap, you see...

[Den of the Dragon - ]
Some open curtains of heavy, dark green velvet drape the vast stage, and argent tenting protects it and the closest  from the elements without ruining the view of the rest of the audience.  Globes of ethereal, magical lights hang overhead, beaming their glows in strategic directions controlled by a series of overhead ropes and pulleys that disappear behind the dark, backstage curtains.  A shiny silver plaque adorns the front of a podium to the right of the stage and a walkway leads up and out.
Obvious exits: none

Pulling the rope in this room operates the front-stage curtains. If the front-stage curtains are closed, no messaging will announce your arrival on/departure from the stage. If the front-stage curtains are open, special messaging announces your arrival and departure.

You may also choose to enter/exit from stage right or stage left. There is a sign backstage to help performers with this.

The backstage curtains part slightly, and Performer steps out onto the stage. A glimpse of the shadowy backstage is briefly visible before the curtains close behind her.

Performer exits stage left.
>read notice
In the Common language, it reads:

 ~*~*~*~ Attention Performers ~*~*~*~

You may choose to enter and exit the stage silently with the curtains closed or flashily with the curtains open.  Just let the stage manager know which you prefer ahead of time.  When you are ready, GO through the CURTAINS to take your place on stage.

Once your performance is finished, you may GO BACKSTAGE, or GO off to stage LEFT or RIGHT.  Audience members will not be permitted backstage unless they enter through the green room at your request.  Good luck!

 ~*~ The House of the Argent Aspis ~*~

See Also