Montague+Capulet

March 10, 2015

So I have a mad idea, a LARP version of a prequel to the 1996 (you’re allowed to feel old or nostalgic) Romeo+Juliet starring DeCaprio and Danes. It seemed funny, then viable, then impossible, then I started writing a rule set. Here’s what I came up with and I aubmit it here for perusal and discussion.

The first choice was clearly about style. I wanted to embrace the heavily latin-influenced imagery of the film as well as the SoCal glam of the mid nineties. So this is also going to have to be done during the summer. I’ll ask all the players to bring as many props as they can, wear lots of high saturation colors, and just aim for the same hyper-bright chic. It’s a genre choice.

Along the same lines, combat should fit genre, too. Nerf dart blasters – spring powered only, MUST be painted. The only boffers will be knives. Anything under 18 inches.

Speech won’t be scripted but must be Elizabethan, or at least somewhat affected as such. No heavy and terrible accents, just the language. I’ll have to get an Elizabethan primer written up. 

Mechanics I wanted simple. Like, understood in ten minutes simple. So let’s start with time. Friday morning will be for orientation and OOC getting to know everyone’s character in person. You can convey the backstory in text, but Leguizamo’s Tybalt needed to be seen to be understood. 

Game begins at noon, Friday – scene one, act one. Two households in separate buildings. Depending on location, I will assign specific locations. But at minimum there will be a neutral church, a Montague house, a Capulet house, an the Prince’s house (staff lodging). Each group will begin in their assigned buildings at noon. From there we are game on. This first act, there may be no Mortal Wounds. Any Mortal Wounds inflicted will be downgraded automatically to Injuries and such actions so early on will quickly spiral thing into chaos.

Act two begins at midnight. Mortal Wounds are still automatically Injuries unless either player uses a Plot Point to make it Mortal. During the second act, I expect the violence to begin being truly exceptional.

The bell tolls noon, and act three begins. Mortal Wounds are no longer automatically down graded. Injuries cannot be healed or down graded. This is the climax as all hell breaks loose (or not – players are a surprising lot). The players will be carefully pushed towards some sort of conflict – whether they resort to violence or not is up to them.

Midnight. Denouement. The dead, if any, come forward to speak. The prince has his say, and the curtain falls. We debrief, chat about the game and how it went, aftercare as needed, and then revelry.

The mechanics are simple by design – my goal is that no one ever need to clarify what is happening, mechanically. 

The players are given a set number of Plot Points which they may spend during the game to use skills or alter chance. 

There are three types of damage – Graze, Injury, and Mortal Wound. A Hit to the Torso is considered Mortal – the character will die in five minutes unless healed. A hit to the arms or legs is an Injury – the limb is disabled until healed and cannot be used for any Skills. Injury to the torso means the character is unable to in more than twenty steps and has difficulty in all actions. After four hours or until the next twelves, which ever is longer, an injury becomes a graze.

Injuries may be bought down to Grazes with a plot point. A Graze has no mechanical effect but pains the Grazed character some. 

Foam darts and melee weapons all damage the same way. Thrown knives Injure on the first and second torso hit and cause a Mortal Wound on the third. 

Sometime during five minutes after receiving a Mortal Wound, a character dies unless healed. 

There is a short class and skill list.

CLASSES

Apothecary

  • Create poison
  • Set injury
  • Pistol – dagger
  • Cloak
  • Fair escape

Confidant

  • Encourage
  • Set injury
  • Cloak
  • Sacrifice
  • Remove confusion

Doctor

  • Set injury
  • Close Mortal Wound
  • Knife
  • Create antidote
  • Fair escape

Fool

  • Safe from harm
  • Monologue
  • Throwing knives
  • Sacrifice
  • Remove confusion
  • Curse

Hedgewitch

  • Create poison
  • Create antidote
  • Fair escape
  • Close mortal wound
  • Soothesayer

Lord

  • Diplomacy
  • Rifle – (any)
  • Monologue
  • Curse
  • Safe from harm

Merchant

  • Rumormonger
  • Gain craftable item
  • Steal
  • Diplomacy
  • Replace item

Noble

  • Diplomacy
  • Pistol – (any)
  • Monologue
  • Sacrifice
  • Stealth

Oracle

  • Soothesayer
  • Monologue
  • Curse
  • Confusion (permanent)
  • Fair escape

Priest

  • Monologue
  • Close Mortal Wound
  • Remove confusion
  • Create antidote
  • Sacrifice

Soldier

  • Pistol – (any)
  • Rifle – bastard
  • Throwing knives
  • Knife
  • Resilience

Troubadour

  • Safe from harm
  • Diplomacy
  • Throwing knives
  • Encourage
  • Curse

Villein

  • Pistol – dagger
  • Pistol – sword
  • Pistol – rapier
  • Gain craftable item
  • Steal
  • Diplomacy
  • Set injury
  • Cooking
  • Serve drink
  • Rumormonger
  • Disguise
  • Black market

I’ll write up a description of each profession and skill later, but they’re all fairly straight forward. 

Beyond this the important thing is to remember this is not many to be simulation. The goal is drama and style and story.

Two households, both alike in infamy, in fair Verona, where we play our scenes, with ancient grudge comes ancient duty, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

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