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Masquerades & Massacres

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

The Most Important Rules


We're doing this as a fun way to pass the weekend. Try to remember this!


  • Metal close-combat weapons. Swords and so on should be made of foam, for safety purposes.
  • Head-hits, groin shots, stabbing, grappling, thumping, kicking, biting or hitting hard. Remember, we're all friends. It's not actually war. Close combat should be light taps, with foam weapons or open hands.
  • Blackpowder- bring re-enactment guns or cannons, sure, but please don't bring their ammo. For insurance purposes, and because the hall asked us not to. Non-re-enactment capguns and so on are fine.
  • Kids- it's just not really an event where there'd be much for them to do. I guess you can bring babies, if you don't want to leave them, but kids old enough to run around will just be bored. And them possibly getting involved in combat opens far too many safety & insurancey type problems. And there's all that child protection law stuff.


If someone is actually hurt, everyone should shout MAN DOWN at the top of their voices. If you hear someone shout MAN DOWN, be careful. Don't rush in and stand on the injured person! Also, try to make sure a first aider knows about the injury!


Time In is the time when you are acting as your character. During this time, you may do any actions you want (within the rules!) Out of this time, you may still act as your character if you want, but please don't use any special abilities, make any combat calls, or generally do anything that might require a ref. We need to sleep!

The precise times will be released closer to the time, but we will be in character on Friday night, Saturday morning-night, and Sunday morning.


Anyone with their hand in the air, wearing a yellow armband, or in the bunk house is Out Of Character (or is invisible). This means that your character is not aware of their existence. This is used by crew, by some magic users, and by people who's characters have died...

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


Most of the event (possibly all of the event) you won't be actively in combat. You'll be talking to people, discussing politics, trying to find a suitable partner for marriage, gambling, or just relaxing.

It's very important to remember that characters do not exist in isolation; they are seen as representatives of their family. The landed families have long pedigrees that stretch back as far as the Norman Conquest, the middle class families are striving to attain the same social prestige, the poor are struggling to survive and to support their relatives. You're at the party to further your family's cause.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

Event Packs

Every guest will have their own personal Event Pack. This will include a Dance Card, Money, a Newsheet and possibly Envelopes. These give you information about the game world, things to talk about with other characters, and give you abilities.

  • Dance Cards list all the other characters, and give brief details about them- their wealth, their family seat, their political stance, their social group, and so on. Also, it tells you how you should address them in conversation and precisely how important they are in the order of precedence. You will receive more details about characters if you share Merits or pieces of Background with them, or if you have the Education: Gossip & Scandal Merit.
  • Money will be in the form of six-pences, shillings and bank notes. Two sixpences make a shilling; twenty shillings make a pound. The number of coins you receive will depend on your Merits and Flaws; people with the Poor flaw will have none, whilst people with the Fortune merit will get lots. Money is mainly used for gambling- running races and other physical contests were common in the Regency, most evenings featured endless rounds of card games (especially whist and vingt-un), and the lottery was very popular. Finally, your coins can also be used to bribe or tip the servants. Servants can be bribed to set up illict liasons for you with other guests, to pass on letters, or even to spy on people. They can be tipped to thank them for these services- which makes them more likely to be loyal, and less like to spread your gossip.
  • Newsheets will contain information on what's happened during the past week, and what the big up-coming political debates will be.
  • Envelopes are a key part of the Education game. Someone investigating an item may find it has an Envelope attached that is addressed "Only To Be Opened By A Character With Education: History" or similar. Please, if you don't have the relevant skill then don't open the Envelope! Characters with any of the Education specialities concerning Healing or with the ability to use Magic will receive Envelopes in their Event Pack. These are to be opened only when you try to Heal someone or cast a spell, and will contain details of the results of your actions...

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

Love, Sex & Marriage

Marriage is the social norm, and unmarried people are put under a lot of to hurry up and marry. Marriages are often conducted to bring increased standing to both of the families involved: a poor noble family marrying a rich industrialist family is the classic example.

Unmarried people of both sexes of any age are seen as not fully adult or respectable, often live at home, and are sometimes financially dependent on their parents. For both sexes, a marriage represents an increase in independence. For a man, they are then truely an individual being, master of their own house and financial affairs. For a women, they will never find themselves truely independent, but will hope to find a husband who will be more easily manipulated and likely to spoil her than her parents. In addition, wives often run everything that occurs inside their homes, and are also major political players through their roles as hostesses organising political events.

Courtship is generally a fairly restrained affair. Many believe love and passion should develop inside marriage, not before it- although the rise of popular romantic novels (such as those by Jane Austen) is changing this. Until recently, for a man and women to even be together unaccompanied before they married was utterly scandalous- and it's still frowned upon. Courtship, then, consists of being polite, charming, of making small gifts, of light flirting, and of passing secret letters (normally via servants, who may be bribed to guarantee discretion).

Sex before marriage is discouraged among polite gentleman, and forbidden to ladies. However after marriage, anything goes- particularly among the upper class elite. Once a male heir has been born, it is certainly not uncommon for men and women to conduct licentious affairs, even including live-in lovers. However these affairs are normally semi-secrect outside their social circles, and divorce is rare.

In rules terms, in the post-event debrief you will be asked if you have arranged a marriage to any of the other guests, or if you wish to marry a non-guest between events. Any character that manages to successfully negotiate a marriage to a fellow guest with more Fame, Fortune or Landed Family than themselves gains one free level in that Merit during Downtime B. However, characters who marry must beware that their new partner's Flaws may well have unforseen consequences for themselves at future events...

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


Regency Politics is dominated by the idea of having two forces arrayed against each other. Parliament is divided in two: the House of Lords consists exclusively of the titled families, whilst the House of Commons consists of people elected by anyone with a certain amount of money. Both Houses have two factions, the Tories (who are respectable, dislike change and normally support wars) and the Whigs (who are reckless, push for Reform and generally see wars as a waste of money). Politics is driven by money and fashion- the rich can buy seats in rotten boroughs to gain power, whilst the famous can encourage people to vote for their favoured candidates or views.

After each event, there will be a number of votes. In these, characters will have a chance to shape the political landscape. It is expected that politically-motivated characters will spend time during the event canvassing for votes... Note that the political system in this game doesn't precisely represent you yourself voting, but rather your family and allies voting. Thus women can vote (as long as they have the correct Merits).

The Commons
The Fame, Fortune and Landed Family Merits all give you power in the Commons. Anyone with the Foreign or Not In Communion flaws can only use their Fame Merit. If you do not have any of the relevant Merits, you may still say who you're voting for but you'll be much less powerful.

The Lords
Only people with the Landed Family 2 (Lords, Earls, Dukes & so on) or Education: Theology 3 (Bishops) Merits may vote in the Lords. Each character with an applicable Merit gets a single vote, unless they have the Foreign or Not In Communion flaws.

Elections are large affairs, with politicians eagerly angling for votes. There are political rallies, bribes, public debates, and lots of other exciting events. Hopefully by the end of it one side emerges the clear winner, and their leader is asked by the King to become the new Prime Minister. The Tory Lord Liverpool has been Prime Minister since 1812, a towering figure in British politics; he is opposed by the idealistic Whig Earl Grey.
After a main event, everyone who can vote for the Commons will be asked if they vote for the High Tories, Canningite (moderate) Tories, Whigs or Radicals.
Whichever party gains the most votes will win. This means that their party view will get extra votes in all Commons motions.
In the 1821-1822 elections, the moderate Tory George Canning gained a lot of power- Wellington organised a compromise so that Lord Liverpool remained the Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Lords, whilst Canning became Leader of the House of Commons.

Motions require a majority in the Commons and in the Lords in order to be enacted. Motions may give votes to new groups of people (e.g. Catholic Emancipation would mean the Not In Communion: Catholic flaw was not longer a bar to voting, or extending the francise would give more people votes in the Commons); to remove votes (tough anti-bribery laws would mean Fortune gives less votes in the Commons, or removing rotten boroughs would mean Landed Family gives less votes in the Commons); to shape society's opinions (like Dragon Rights, or Women's Rights); or to start wars...
Any character with the Fame, Fortune or Landed Family Merit may propose a single motion when they book for the event. You may only propose one motion, however many relevant Merits you have! The GMs will sort through proposed motions and decide which ones will be used at the event- the motions for discussion will be detailed in the Newsheets in Event Packs.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


There are several ways of causing damage to people. Characters can attack in close combat (either unarmed or using weapons) or they can attack at distance (using firearms, cannons or archery). In addition, there are magical abilities that can cause damage either by touch or at a distance.

Attacks can be of varying strengths. To represent this, we use a system of special calls. If someone hits you and doesn't make a call, they are not hitting you in a way that will cause serious damage. Please react to the attack cinematically (staggering backwards, crying in pain or whatever you decide is appropriate), but you do not suffer any mechanical effects.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


"Per Fight" calls
Many Merits allow you to call "Take That!", "Grr!", "Missed!" or "Freeze!" a certain number of times per fight. We expect players to use their common sense here, but basically if you have a break of five minutes or so with no physical activity in then it can be considered a new fight. If half a dozen monsters attack your compound & you kill them but then 10 minutes later more monsters attack, that's a new fight. On the other hand, non-stop running around the woods looking for a monster is just one fight, unless you deliberately take five minute breaks to get your breath back between combats.

These are the calls that people might shout:

This is the basic call. It simply removes one hit from the target.

Take That! or Grr!
This is the call for extra-powerful or well-placed attacks, real killing blows. It removes three hits from the target. Note that normal characters shout Take That!, whilst Unnatural characters and animalistic creatures (dragons, monsters, xenomorphs) will instead roar or howl.

This is a call only used by cannons. Anyone who can see the barrel of the cannon must fall or dive to the ground- their torso must touch the floor. In addition, if anyone affected doesn't have the Luck merit, they loose one hit. Note that using the Luck Merit to avoid loosing hits from a cannon does not use up a Missed! call.

This is a call used by some unarmed fighters and some magical abilities. It represents something holding you in place- either a simple wrestling position, or maybe trees come alive and ensnare you, or hands reach up out of the mud to grab you. This does not remove any hits, but the target must not move for 3 seconds after being affected.

This call does not cause any damage. However, if you have the Luck merit, you may use this a set number of times to counter the effects of a Ha!, Take That! or Grr! call that has been used against you- you just manage to get out of the way, whether through immense luck or excellent senses & reflexes.

Unholy Ha! / Unholy Take That! / Unholy Grr!
These calls are used by vampyre slayers & daemon hunters. An Unholy call works just like a normal call for most characters- hence Unholy Ha! removes one hit from a target, Unholy Take That and Unholy Grr! remove three hits.
However, these calls have additional effects on some (but not all) Unnatural Creatures, as will be explained in their private briefs.

This is another call used by vampyre slayers & daemon hunters. It has no effects on non-Unnatural characters.
It does have an effect on some (but not all) Unnatural characters. This will be explained in their private briefs.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

Types of Combat

Unarmed Combat
Unarmed combat consists of light taps from an open hand- like 'tag' or 'it'. Please, no thumping, grappling, kicking, biting, head butting...
Characters without the Boxing or Unnatural Merits may not call damage when fighting unarmed. Targets should react cinematically, but are only bruised.
Characters with the Boxing Merit may call Ha! when fighting unarmed, and sometimes also call Take That! or Freeze! as set out on the Merits list.
Some characters with the Unnatural Merit may be allowed to call Ha!, Take That!, Grr! or Freeze! when fighting unarmed. They will be notified in advance if this is the case.

Close Combat
Close combat consists of light taps from foam weapons. Please, no metal weapons! And make sure your weapons are made of foam and larp safe- if we see any unsafe looking weapons, we will ask you to remove them from the field. Also, please use your weapons carefully- no head hits, no stabbing, and no hitting too hard. If someone says you're hitting too hard, you are.
Characters without the Fencing Merit may call Ha! when fighting with any foam weapons (including improvised weapons, like foam bottles or foam chairs). Targets should react cinematically, and also take a single hit.
Characters with the Fencing Meirt may occassionally call Take That! when fighting with any bladed foam weapons, as set out on the Merits list. Note that this is just with bladed weapons, not with foam chairs or foam saucepans!

Shooting a firearm consists of pointing a prop pistol or gun at someone, and making a call. Please, do not bring blackpowder or modern-looking guns to this event.
In order to use a firearm, it must first be loaded. Characters with the Firearms Merit may load weapons, using the times set out on the Merits list.
Characters without the Firearms Merit may not load weapons.
Any character may point a loaded weapon at someone and call Ha! If it is not clear who you are firing at, you may also shout a description of the target.
Characters with the Firearms Merit may occassionally call Take That! when firing a loaded gun or pistol, as set out in the Merits list.

Archery consists of using a weak draw bow or crossbow (up to 30lbs at 28" draw) to fire larp safe arrows (which have foam heads larger than eyesockets). Please, no re-enactment tipped arrows, sharp arrows or bows that are too powerful!
Any character may use a bow or crossbow, and if their arrow or bolt hits someone they may call Ha!
Characters with the Archery Merit may occassionally call Take That! when firing a bow or crossbow, as set out in the Merits list.

Cannons may be made of metal or may be replicas made to look like metal. Please, don't bring any blackpowder!
Characters without the Cannon Merit may not use cannons.
Firing a cannon requires two characters, both with the Cannon Merit. The time it takes them to load and fire a cannon is set out in the Merits list- they should spend this time roleplaying loading and preparing their cannon. After this time has elapsed, they may call Boom! (or occassionally Take That!, as set out in the Merits list). The crew loads at the speed of the fastest member- so a crew with Cannon 1 and Cannon 3 is treated as Cannon 3.

Magic is meant to be mysterious and out-of-the-ordinary. As such, the precise details of magical abilities will only be revealed to magicians. There will be ranged attacks and touch attacks.
In order to give a random element to magic, some spells will involve the magician being given a number of envelopes with the names of the spell on. Each time they wish to use a spell, they must open one of the appropriate envelopes and follow the instructions on the card.
These instructions will often have some text the magician must read out, detailing the spell's consquences. Sometimes this will include calls like Ha!, Take That! or Freeze!, sometimes it will have more subtle effects.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

Hits & Injury

Basic humans have 3 a maximum of hits. Characters with the Weak Flaw have less hits, characters with the Stout Merit have more hits. Characters with the Unnatural Merit may also have varying numbers of hits.

All characters start the event on their maximum hits. If they are affected by a Ha!, Take That!, Grr! or Boom! call they may become Injured (if they still have some hits left) or Seriously Injured (if they have no hits left). Note that you cannot have negative hits- once you reach 0, you're just Seriously Injured.

Only take 1 hit per opponent per second. This rule is in place to encourage people not to "drum-roll" when fighting.

If you are Injured, you should act as if you are in pain- wincing, clutching your arm, limping, or so on. You may still run, shout, and fight in combat. Characters who are injured recover 1 hit per hour up to their maximum, or all of their hits up to their maximum overnight. They may be healed quicker by being treated by a healer.

Seriously Injured
If you are Seriously Injured, you should fall to the floor and act as if you are in severe crippling pain. You are loosing blood, will be unable to stand or walk without help, and are totally incapable of using any calls. Basically, you're on death's door. If you are attacked whilst you are Seriously Injured, you are automatically Dead.
Characters who are Seriously Injured will not recover any hits unless they are treated by a healer. If they are not treated by a healer within half an hour, they will automatically Die.

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


There are four relevant Education varients: Education 1: Herblore, Education 1: Basic Surgery, Education 2 (or 3): Surgery, Education 2 (or 3): Medicine. Unnatural Merits may also give some abilities that allows you to heal- there are spells that can heal, for example.
Herblore and Medicine are good at stabilising people and minimise the risk of death, but tend to act slowly. In peacetime, people will generally go to people with those Merits.
Basic Surgery and Surgery are more direct and brutal, focussed on getting people active again no matter what the cost. They're very much battlefield techniques: they do whatever it takes to get a soldier up & fighting, and if they can't fight they're useless so it doesn't matter if they die. Hence they carry much higher risks of death or disfigurement.

Curing Illnesses
Healing can be performed on people who are ill. When someone falls ill, whether through disease, food poisoning or over-exertion, they will be given a pile of envelopes addressed to people with different Education merits. Anyone who is some sort of healer can attempt to treat them. First, they must role-play treating the patient for a bit- half a minute to a minute is best, but we don't want to be prescriptive. If you want to do a long complicated surgery lasting half an hour and involving fake blood and a full surgeon kit just to cure a cold, go for it! After the healer has performed the treatment, they can open an envelope with their Merit written on it. This will say if the character recovers or changes in any way.

Curing Injuries
Healing can be also used on people who have been Injured or Seriously Injured in combat.
Whichever merit you have, healing is done in the same way. Healers at the start of the game will be given a pile of sealed envelopes. They will be marked to show if they are for the treatment of injuries or serious injuries. When you are confronted with someone who is injured or seriously injured, you role-play treating the patient for a bit- as before, half a minute to a minute is best. After you've role-played treatment, open the relevant envelope... The instructions inside will tell you if your patient is beyond your aid (no effect), cured (recovering a single hit), stablised (removing the risk of death from serious injury), wounded (gaining the patient's choice of the Weak or Disfigured Flaws), or dead...

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death


There are several ways characters can die in Masquerades & Massacres. They may die if they are attacked when Seriously Injured, if they are Seriously Injured and do not receive medical aid within an hour, or if healing goes wrong.
There are some varients of the Unnatural Merit that allow people to communicate with or bargain for the life of a dead person. Hence if your character dies, please play their corpse for a bit- let other players carry you to the main hall, or let people use their special abilities on you. Once it's obvious there's no more interesting roleplaying to be acheived by being a corpse, feel free to become Out Of Character (put a hand in the air or wear a yellow armband) and go find a member of crew. We'll have lots of spare pre-made characters for you to choose from, so you can get straight back into the game if you fancy. Alternatively, if it's late at night, you can always just come tell us and then go to bed. But please, tell us first!

The Most Important Rules
Masquerades: Event Packs - Love, Sex & Marriage - Politics
Massacres: Calls - Types of Combat - Hits & Injury - Healing - Death

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