Category Archives: Vala

Vala

Participants need to get set for a time travelling experience they’ll never forget as the quirky Professor Martin and Associates and their techno-magical machine take them to eras and places as far apart as the golden age of Greek heroes and the early days of bushranging in Australia. Education has never been so much fun!

Features creative modalities spanning:

  • Dramatic Make Believe
  • Live-Action challenges and play (Including ‘Boffer’ weapon play)
  • Improvisational Character-play,
  • Storytelling

In Vala we take those creative modalities and use them to explore stories sourced from:

History,

Myth & Legend,

Fantasy,

(Speculative) Science Fiction,

Literature, and more.

First of the Bushrangers

Near Sydney, New South Wales / Bidjigal, Cammeraygal, Wangal, & Cadigal Countries

1788 – 1802

Before there were any wild colonial boys or daring rogues of the bush preying on the traffic between country towns and goldfield settlements, there were the very first of the bushrangers- runaway convicts as foreign at first to the bush as were the soldiers and gaol-keepers whose irons and lash they fled. What opportunities does their new found liberty present? 

Joseph Lycett, View upon the Napean

Discover for yourself where difficult decisions will lead. Maybe a handful of such people even found a way to live a life in the bush while Sydney Town itself hardly looked beyond its garrison walls?

Chapters:

  1. Escape into the Bush
  2. From Bolters to Bushrangers
  3. Bushrangers & Blackfellas
  4. The Battle for Vinegar Hill

Escape into the Bush

Moved from the struggling Sydney settlement beyond the outskirts of the colony to construct a road that will connect Sydney to the farms at Parramatta, a group of convicts take advantage of the situation to slip their shackles and vanish into the depths of the wilderness.

Escape into the Bush

 

But as wounds fester and food supplies rapidly dwindle and then run out the convicts are forced into desperate and dangerous action to escape starvation in the wilderness. Before their attempts at raiding and resupply are done they may come to rue their reckless decision to Escape into the Bush.


From Bolters to Bushrangers

The band of convicts who escaped the Parramatta roadworks have made their escape from British justice, vanishing into the deep bush. But they are learning that escaping was one thing, but surviving in this hostile landscape will be quite another. Driven by their inability to live off the land they have been forced over the months into ever-riskier action to maintain their supplies. 

From Bolters to Bushrangers

But after their latest raid ends in tragedy their situation becomes clear: if they are to find a way to thrive outside British society they must transform themselves From Bolters to Bushrangers.


Bushrangers & Blackfellas

The bolters have cut their ties with society entirely, turning their backs on their longings for British civilization and throwing in their lot with the local Aboriginal people. Through their connection with these ‘Eora’ and with Pemulwuy, a leader of the growing resistance to British expansion, the bolters are drawn into increasing outright conflict with the world from which they have fled. 

Bushrangers & Blackfellas

As Pemulwuy plans a major raid on the settlement of Parramatta, he takes the bolters ever-deeper into his confidence and begins to form an allied warband of Bushrangers & Blackfellas.


The Battle of Vinegar Hill

Three years have passed since the disastrous Battle of Parramatta, where British guns laid waste to the bushrangers and their Aboriginal allies’ resistance to the Sydney colony. Down in the town the convict population is swollen with large numbers of Irish men and women, political prisoners sent to Australia after the failed United Irishmen Rebellion.

But failure has not dampened the spirit of these newcomers, and from their fastness in the outback the bushrangers see in the Irish another chance to stop British expansion into their bushland home at The Battle of Vinegar Hill.

Legendary China

Legendary China

After the Heavenly Emperors’

The time of the Three Sovereigns, demigods whose abilities helped create mankind and impart essential skills and knowledge, and the Five Emperors, sages possessed of great moral character, is now slipping from living memory and into the mists of legend. Shun, last of the Five Emperors, gave his throne to the legendary Yu the Great, who established the Xia Dynasty, the first in China to be described in the ancient historical chronicles, the Bamboo Annals.

Delve into a dark time in China’s semi-legendary past- devastating earthquakes heralded the era of the last Xia ruler, the tyrant Jie of Xia. Years into his oppressive reign he floats about on an imperial party barge in the midst of a slave-made lake of rice wine while the Nine Provinces go to rack and ruin. Anyone speaking out against him is immediately executed.

Legendary China

The Mandate of Heaven has been withdrawn from his rule, the great Long Dragons no longer bless the land with reliable rains, and if the Nine Tripod Cauldrons are still in Jie’s possession then he has not brought them forth to make the proper sacrifices for many a year.

Chapters:

  1. The Sage of Snow-Treasure Peak
  2. The Dragon Within
  3. The Dragon’s Return
  4. Nine Tripod Cauldrons

This is a Legendary China in dire need of new heroes- do you have what it takes to face the dragon within, reclaim treasures symbolising Heaven on Earth in the name of the People, and to empower the beginnings of a new Dynasty?


The Sage of Snow-Treasure Peak

Ancient Legendary China suffers under the tyrannical rule of King Jie of Xia, who sits in his Tilt Palace drinking and partying while his people suffer and starve. Most stand by and do nothing, but there are some with the courage and will to resist his evil. A group of fledgling heroes, strangers to one another, are called by a recurring dream to seek training and guidance from a legendary sage.

Sage of Snow Treasure Peak

He is their only hope, the teacher and mentor who will help them to end King Jie’s evil and undo the damage he has done. He is The Sage of Snow Treasure Peak.


The Dragon Within

It is a time of great suffering for Ancient and Legendary China. The age of harmony and plenty when the Heavenly Emperors ruled and the great Lung Dragons brought rain and good harvests is long passed. A group of fledgling heroes, students of the legendary Sage of Snow Treasure Peak, have left him to go questing after he revealed their destiny to protect the hopes and future of all China.

The Dragon WIthinNow their first task lies before them: a great cave-mouth yawning like a passage to the underworld, the depths of which they must travel to encounter and face …The Dragon Within.


The Dragon’s Return

The group of heroes have completed their first task, returning the dragons to the Nine Provinces. This should be a time of celebration as the rain-giving elemental creatures return life to the parched farms of China. But the rain comes in a raging torrent, and flooding threaten to destroy the fertile low-lands.

The Dragons Return

Only the long-dead Yu the Great, legendary Tamer of Floods, held the secret to ending the downpour, and so the heroes must venture into haunted Gin Gul Cemetery to find his tomb and ensure that good and not further suffering results from The Dragons’ Return.


Nine Tripod Cauldrons

The group of heroes have brought back the dragons and restored the harmony of the elements, and now the Sage summons them back to learn their greatest task yet. Prince Shang of Tang and his worthiness offer the hope that the gods will bless a new Emperor to replace the tyrant Jie, but preparations are needed if this is to be fulfilled.

 

The heroes’ is the most dangerous of these tasks: to infiltrate Jie’s terrible Tilt Palace, find the lost treasures of China hidden there, and make the proper sacrifices in Shang’s name into the sacred Nine Tripod Cauldrons.

Merrie Men of the Green Wood

Merrie Men of the Green Wood

Barnsdale (then Barnsdale Forest), South Yorkshire, England

Circa 1222 – 1227 (immediately post-Fifth Crusade; Henry III is King of England)

Daniel Maclise - Robin Hood and his Merrie Men Entertaining Richard the Lionheart

Chapters:

  1. The Gallows & The Greenwoods
  2. The Merry Green Wood
  3. The Death of Guy of Gisburne
  4. The King in the Green Wood

The Gallows & The Greenwoods

On their way to the gallows at Tyburn in late summer, a wagonload of criminals and unfortunates take advantage of a broken wheel to stage an escape attempt and find themselves at large once more. Tirelessly pursued through the trackless Dales and over the fields and hills of Yorkshire by the bounty-hunter Guy of Gisburne and his murderous band of mercenaries,

The Gallows & The Green Wood

the outlaws desperately seek refuge with the legendary spirit Robin o’ the Hood in Barnsdale Forest as they flee the deadly consequences of their choice between The Gallows & The Greenwoods.


The Merry Green Wood

Having left pursuit far behind them as they vanished into Barnsdale Forest, the outlaws must quickly learn the skills of the forester – foraging, hunting, stealth, shooting, firemaking, craftsmanship – as they race against the approaching winter to make a home for themselves.

The Merrie Green Wood

But Guy of Gisburne, humiliated by their escape, has not given up on recapturing them and seeing them hanged. And as the weeks pass  the outlaws feel the weight of unseen eyes among the trees and come to suspect they are not alone here beneath the shade of the Merry Green Wood.


The Death of Guy of Gisburne

The outlaw band of Merrie Men and women has passed the winter safe within the depths of Barnsdale Forest, learning the secrets of the woodland spirits from their new mentor Robert Hode – the Robin in the Hood, the King of the Greenwood. But as the first flush of spring causes snowdrops to blossom and ice to melt, it also brings word from the smallfolk that their families have been thrown into the dungeons of York.

The Death of Guy of Gisburne

A cunning plan and plenty of courage is needed if they are to free their families and revenge themselves on those responsible by bringing about The Death of Guy of Gisburne.


The King in the Green Wood

Spring has given way to high summer in Barnsdale Forest, and the outlaw band are enjoying the warmth with their rescued families. But even as they make merry after robbing a corrupt bishop, their fate is being decided in York Castle.The King in the Green Wood

Driven on by the furious churchman, the sheriff sends a small army into the woods to put an end to their humiliating defiance. Fleeing with a badly-wounded Robert, the outlaws must decide if they can possibly rebuild after this devastating attack and choose what becomes of the legend of The King in the Greenwood.

 

Dawn of a New Horizon

Join the rag-tag crew of a ne’er-do-wells in the near future and experience life in a brave new world as overpopulation, climate change, and pollution all come to a head on Planet Earth. As over-reacting governments infringe on civil liberty, opportunities abound for enterprising smugglers, thieves, hackers, and other hangers-on. From near-earth orbit to the Moon, from Mars to Mercury, adventure all around the Solar System and see what can be done when you aim to misbehave.
Dawn of a New Horizon

Chapters:

    1. Fly Me To The Moon
    2. Heist on Space Station Sierra
    3. The Phobos Effect
    4. The Warp Experiment
    5. The Impossible City
    6. The Gates of Dawn

In Dawn of a New Horizon, Vala explores the fascinating spheres of geography, economics, and astronomical science from the perspective of a group of smugglers on the fringes of society. This set of adventures focuses in on how decisions that make history have immediate impacts on people in the moment, helping make real the abstract descriptions given in the social sciences, all while teaching knowledge of our Solar System, space travel, and skills of self-reliance, teamwork, tenacity and resilience, even when the odds of failure are sky-high.

Fly Me to the Moon

It’s the Dawn of a New Horizon: The year is 2123. The world ended, the world that was. Temporary Emergency Power has become permanent and the Security Council work together to form a totalitarian government. Cronyism is writ large as the wealthy and influential all get themselves off a crippled Earth and on board luxury offworld resorts. Today, Moon-Sphere Zulu – a job, a contract. Deliver prohibited cocoa beans and cured meats to the depths of a moon base watched over with the best security totalitarianism can buy.

Work together to keep a low profile, bargain hard for the best deal, and make it off the rock as today you’re going to Fly Me To The Moon.


Heist on Space Station Sierra

The Story Begins – On Earth, population has grown enough to choke all arable land, pollution is at an all-time high, blotting out most mornings with smog thick enough to walk on. The affluent have begun moving offworld, living in space-stations as a stepping stone to colonising the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

Follow a group of the have-nots, desperate to make a rise in the world, who look to the shining satellites above as a golden opportunity. Jump aboard the space-elevator for this high octane caper through the stars!


The Phobos Effect

Following the events of Moon Sphere Zulu, our intrepid crew are in need of another job. A call comes in through the usual channels requesting a ‘special’ delivery to the mining operations on Mars, and so begins our next adventure.Dawn of a New Horizon

The delivery is going smoothly, until a brief communication about a problem in the mines comes in, then cuts off. When the crew investigate, they slowly start to suffer – one by one – from the oncoming dread of The Phobos Effect.


The Warp Experiment

Another Day another Dollar for our intrepid crew of renegades. Today’s job is crime, good and old fashioned. Work together to problem solve the ins and outs of breaking into a research station in the Asteroid Belt; where Faster-Than-Light travel is being perfected. And don’t forget to steal their prototype device!

Daring, derring-do, and the occasional derring-don’t all come together at the Dawn of a New Horizon of space travel, as the crew leap aboard the research station for this mission. Just hope they don’t become new test subjects of The Warp Experiment.


The Impossible City

Something has gone terribly wrong with the Warp Drive as our intrepid and inexperienced crew have gotten themselves lost in a part of the universe that simply can’t be real.

Join the adventurers as they try and find their way around and through The Impossible City, while the residents start to become aware of their guests…


The Gates of Dawn

Classified

The Fall of the Aztecs

The Fall of the Aztecs

Experience the heyday of the Aztec Empire, the mightiest kingdom in their known world, and feel their pain as their ancient culture comes toppling down and is trodden beneath iron-shod feet. From the first omens of ruin and disaster to the conquest of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital that lies beneath modern-day Mexico City, take a stand against the invading Spanish and preserve as much as can be saved so at least something of the Aztec culture can survive!

Fall of the Aztecs

Chapters:

  1. Aztec Omens
  2. Aztec Dusk
  3. Montezuma and Cortes
  4. The Fall of Tenochtitlan

In the ‘Fall of the Aztecs’ set of adventures Vala explores the diverse cultures of Aztec-ruled Central America, the chain of events that led to their conquest by the Spanish, the moments on which history hinged where things could have turned out radically different, and the inevitability that at-times is the nature of history, while also teaching skills of strategy, cooperation, and good judgement.


Aztec Omens

At the height of its power as tribute, slaves, and sacrifices pour into Tenochtitlan like rivers, the Aztec Empire faces mysterious signs of doom: balls of fire streaking through the sky; lakes catching fire, and ghostly voices crying out at night. As whispers and panic begin among the people and rumours spread of strange pale-faced foreigners visiting the Gulf of Mexico and the nearby Mayan Empire,

Aztec Omens

The priests and nobles of Tenochtitlan must appease the angry gods and discover what threat could be so dire as to provoke these Aztec Omens.


Aztec Omens

Omens still bedevil the Aztec Empire as spies and scouts bring reports that the silver-skinned strangers from across the sea have made alliance with the rival state of Tlaxaca. To combat this atmosphere of uncertainty the Emperor sends a group who impressed him during recent ceremonies to solidify the Triple Alliance, the foundation on which the Empire rests.

Aztec Dusk

Venturing through the jungle and facing not only its native dangers but Tlaxacan and Spanish interference, they must be fearsome, cunning, and wise if they are to avert the looming Aztec Dusk.


Montezuma and Cortes

Emperor Montezuma has made alliance with the pale-skinned Conquistadors, hosting them at his palace and giving them gifts so they will end their friendship with the Aztecs’ enemies. But he does not trust them, so when their leader Cortes travels out of the city, the Emperor sends a group to secretly follow him and turn whatever circumstance they discover to the advantage of the Aztec Empire. But disaster strikes the city while they are away, and when they return the group are sucked into the chaos and violence caused by these two men:

But disaster strikes the city while they are away, and when they return the group are sucked into the chaos and violence caused by these two men: Montezuma and Cortes!


The Fall of Tenochtitlan

Disaster abounds in the capital of the Aztec Empire as terrible omens warn that the end of their dominion may have come. The Emperor and the citizens fall sick with a foreign disease, food and even water cease to arrive in the city, the pale-skinned Conquistadors plot with the Tlaxacans, and even their faithful ally Texcoco betrays the Triple-Alliance.

84438-aztec-gold

As the Conquistador armies march on the Aztec capital, swollen by their traitorous former subjects, all that is left for our group is to decide how they will spend their lives to stop The Fall of Tenochtitlan.

Realms of the Renaissance: Games of Power

Realms of the Renaissance: Games of Power

Embroil yourself in the wild world of the Italian Mercantile, where Assassinations, Twisted Words, Burglary, Duels, and All-Out War abound in this contest for power throughout the Renaissance-Era City-States. The introduction of new banking systems and the rising speed of communication have combined to form enormous opportunity. 

Realms of the Renaissance

Chapters:

  1. War and Peace in Old Venice
  2. The Genoan General
  3. Florence Falls
  4. Rise of Rome

Great factions move and shift – The Borgias, The Medici, The Grimaldi, The Pope, The Protestants, The Scholars, and The Soldiery all vying for dominance throughout Italy as Cheap credit and the Printing Press combine to shake Old Money influence to the very core during this rapid rediscovery of ideas new and old.


War and Peace in Old Venice

Join a small coalition from a variety of backgrounds and business interests in order to carve out a chunk of Venice from the crowd of other interests. Games of power abound as the city pushes back against your interests, so be prepared to play dirty, to defend your honour, follow the money and find your foes. Accomplish all this to rise as a successful influence in the Mercantile Venetian City-State.

War and Peace in Old Venice

The year is 1515, and the long-established traditions of Venice are being shaken to their floating foundations. Upstart merchants, devious thieves, and doughty mercenaries all come together to carve a chunk out of the greatest merchant empire ever to touch the European world. Keeping their wits and weapons honed they must slice through this cut-throat game of class-act gentlemen and rough-hewn street warriors, while a syndicate of long-established families all try to send them to the poorhouse, to the prison, or to perish forever-more.


The Genoan General

The coalition of La Novo Mercato (New Market) have found themselves in the employ of the formidable Genoan General, and to help him must topple the powers of fair Verona at a time where tension is sweeping throughout Europe; in the lead up to the Italian War of 1521.

La Novo Mercato VictoriousUsing all their wits, the New Market must find a way to discredit, deceive, and even depose the corrupt cardinal of this barracks citadel. On their side stands a disgraced preacher, an army of thieves, and a printer just trying to do the best for their family.

Rallying against them stands this corrupt Cardinal and his forces, the Old-Money of aristocracy, and the populace of Verona, all ready to stamp out any opposition to the status quo.


Florence Falls

Having continued campaigning with Andrea Doria, the Genoan General, for the entirety of the Four Years; War, la Novo Mercato have become a rich and powerful influence indeed, and have learned of a fragility in the power structure of Firenze (Florence). The people are dissatisfied with Medici rule and are already on edge. La Novo Mercato is good at using that.

 

La Novo Mercato is ready to stand forward and carve out their own significant market – their interests in Venice and Verona, along with Geona and most of the north, are not big enough to carry much clout with the serious names – Medici, Grimaldi, or Borgia – so to expand the group must look to the horizon of Firenze. Florence is ruled by the Medici at this point, and they have made many enemies. One of these enemies is political writer Machiavelli, who has been involved in Florentine politics for some time.

The Term Ahead! Vala’s Drama program in Term 3

We’ve been busy little bees for the first week, planning ahead for the term to come.

The Schedule!
The Schedule!

In Vala Dramatic Adventures we’re jumping from Britain under Roman occupation, to the arrival of Vikings in North America (It was better than expected, for everyone involved), to to the Knights of the crusades. We’re super keen to see where the story goes with each week, and how our participants get involved in shaping the story.


Roamin' Romans

This week in drama to start us off we’re getting involved in the life of a legionary in Roman Britain. Life on the frontier is hard work, full of training and discipline, and Carrawburgh’s Fort Brocolitia is just a stone’s throw away from several Pictish encampments – something the Roman Legion must be constantly vigilant of.

PoseidonNext week, we’re excited to step out of the cold wet of Northumberland and into the sunny Mediterranean with the Crew of Odysseus, following the tales of that legendary hero and his crew through all the mishaps that come of a two week journey turning into a decade long epic.

Fantasy Skyline

The story goes on into fantastical forays of the Elf Towers of Dawn, and back to the true stories of the Viking Voyages in Norse America. Before long, we’ll leap through the Prehistoric Paleolithic, the ever formal Feudal Japan, the calamitous Crusades, and then leap thousands of years into the future for Arena 9000’s return.

As we go forward, we’re welcoming new graduates from Sparks, prepped and ready from their drama interfaces last term,  are all set for the challenges ahead – and some old faces returning to the dramatic adventures of Vala.

Ever wanted to be a knight?

Journey into the heyday of coexistence and cultural contact in the sacred city of Jerusalem and discover the truth about this famous order of holy knights. Share their struggle to establish a place of respect and influence among the Crusader States of Outremer established after the First Crusade while also being forced to deal with a series of tragedies and triumphs that ended in the destruction of European authority in the Holy Land.

Knight's Templar
Huzzah!

In the Crusades: Knights Templar set of adventures Vala explores the exchange of scientific and cultural ideas between Europe and Islam that occurred between the various stages of the Crusades and the complex political situation in the Holy Land, as well as teaching skills of logical thinking, strategy, and decision-making.

Knights Templar!
Clash of swords, the ring of steel.

 

Also, y’know. It’s fun Call today on 6142 3268 to learn more!