As far as I can tell, the secret to Shadovald forest is: don't go anywhere near the place!
Had a fantastic time at allseeingeye23's event, with John P, humourcide and longpig. Also in attendance were hdimagination and shaphron, so all in all, I got to see a fair few of my old friends.
The rules of Shadovald are a lot like Aberddu, it turns out, although a lot more of the game and mechanics is obscured from players - for example, their online XP system only reveals the current progression options available to the player, and purchasing new skills will reveal further progressions. A comparatively large ref team allows for this - there were at least five people reffing or doing ref-like jobs, meaning that if at any time there was a rules query, a ref was not far away.
The gameworld is a lot more focused. I put that down in part to the system being new, but it's also due to the design of the gameworld - I gather allseeingeye23 and co wanted to be able to follow certain plotlines from the start, and so the gameworld tends to point towards the plot. It seems like a great way to show the importance of each event - whereas a long-running character in Aberddu will begin to place less importance on new threats, in Shadovald each terror is part of the main plot and just as important as the last.
Anyway, time to get ready for work. I'm sore and aching, but I had a great weekend!