Game style, or where is my fun?

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Concept, and what fun can I find?

This game is influenced by a collection of styles including classic UK Larp, Romanesque, European International, and UK Freeforms. While it’s an conflict-driven political game, we also want people to play generously and for high drama rather than shut people out of roleplay.

Henry’s court is a civilised and genteel place; nearly all conflict should be social and subtle, raised voices and outright threats are rare; weapons at court are forbidden.

The event is a historically-inspired high stakes political game using our take on the social dynamics of the period. For this to work, the game needs people to keep their briefs and secrets closed and play in an organic fashion reacting to the developing political situation at Court.
If you like a political game where you’re playing a well defined brief and reacting in the moment to IC and OC unexpected situations as you go, this might be for you.

The characters and factions each have clear objectives, loyalties, grudges and rivalries, and we want the players to pursue these as their characters. It’s not a purely goal-based or competitive larp but part of each character brief includes a set of ambitions for them to work towards. However, the majority of players will not be able to achieve all their ambitions.
If you like playing a character swept up in escalating events, this game might provide it.

As well as the politics there’s a lot of secret grudges, rivalries and affairs which are bound to get in the way of things going smoothly. Some characters have lots of romantic intrigue or artistic inclinations.
If you like interpersonal drama, there should be plenty available.

The rigid gender roles and play around religion and theology are key elements, and we really need players to buy in to these to make the event work.
If you find that character restrictions and philosophical debate make for fun interactions, this is one of the places you’ll find them.

This game probably won’t be good for you if you strongly prefer to pre-plan scenes, to have open secrets and briefs, or to pre-negotiate conflict. Those are great styles of larp, but they just don’t fit the vision we have for this or what other players will be expecting.
The majority of players will not become the next King or Queen of England, so if that would be the only outcome that would make you happy, this game won’t work for you.

Character creation and assignment

Characters are pre-written, fixed, and cast by the organisersPlayers will submit their preferences including themes they enjoy and that they want to avoid.
Each character is based on a specific historical character with pre-assigned motivations and relationships.
There’s very little flexibility to change a character brief, so it’s essential that you’re clear about your character preferences and acceptable topics when applying so we can cast you in a role you’ll enjoy.
Relationships are predefinedEach character has a set of relationships. Please do not make extra connections with other characters before the game on top of what you already have in your brief.
All characters are well-known peopleEach character will have a set of public information that anybody could know about them. Pen portraits of all characters are under the Courts page here.
It’s fine to read about everybody and make plans to find specific people at the event IC.

Secrecy, transparency and conflict

Briefs and secrets are closedYou can’t share your briefs or discuss your secrets with other players beforehand. The other ‘side’ of each relationship will have their own brief which may or may not match your character’s view. If you’re checking in with players before the game, try and avoid sharing any deep secrets. We trust your judgement on this. The organisers are happy to clear up any queries if things aren’t clear enough.
Character interactions are organicYou can’t pre-plan scenes that will happen in-game. It’s fine to check-in in advance about existing relationships or likely conflicts, especially if they’re antagonistic or close.
Characters and factions have conflicting politics and motivationsThe theme of the event is cutthroat politics in Henry VIII’s court. Each character and court has their own set of goals that could agree with or conflict with other factions and characters. The broader plot will drive these points of conflict (and agreement!).
Negative things may happen to your character that you didn’t expectOther characters might be able to disadvantage your character in various ways during the course of the event without you expecting it. But nothing can take you fully out of the court and remove your influence entirely.
Physical threat is possible but physicality or contact is not involvedThe game contains no competitive larp combat. Military-focussed characters do not need to worry about any level of physical ability or skill. There is a possibility of roleplayed physical threat but this is non-contact. Characters will not die during the course of the game.
Social conflict and roleplayed intimidation is likelyRaised voices and other intimidating actions not involving contact are possible, please check our acceptable behaviour page about what this means in our case.
In short, people should avoid being heavily OC intimidating people while being IC intimidating.

Play style

Physical contact is minimalLight contact; touching hands or forearms could happen as part of normal social interactions. Anything more should have clear consent.
Romance and intimacy are symbolicNo physical contact is needed to roleplay romance or intimacy. We’ll be using stage kisses, and It’s Not What It Looks Like to represent visually obvious intimacy.
Large amounts of reading at the event is not necessary The game will have some short important documents but large amounts of reading comprehension won’t be necessary. Some ‘flavour’ documents like contemporary poetry will appear too.
Soft skills are minimalSome ‘soft skills’ will exist which might give characters small amounts of information or influence in specific areas from NPCs. These are in the briefs of the relevant characters.