Libertines is inspired by several other larps, both longform historical larps with serious and dark themes like St.Croix as well as larps like Baphomet with its more abstract historical inspiration and physical and decadent style. It also draws some inspiration from regency larps that focus on romance and social intrigues. Movies and tv-series that inspire it are ones like Barry Lyndon, The Libertine, Outlander, Dangerous Liaisons, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Vanity Fair along with others.
Here, we detail how the larp will be played and what content you can expect in the various acts. There will be a schedule later that the gentry can opt to use, in full or in part, with suggested activities for the days.
The larp is divided into several narrative acts. The acts can roughly be divided into Evening or Day acts. Evenings are odd acts, Day are even acts. Each act either starts when you wake up (Day acts) or when dinner starts (Evening acts). There will be an off-game calibration break early in the fourth act. The acts are:
- Act 1 – Arrival
- Act 2 – Hope
- Act 3 – Escalation
- Act 4 – Denial
- Act 5 – Downfall
Act 1 – Arrival
In the first act, the manor is still very much under the influence of the polite and polished society rules. The guests arrive and are greeted in turn, there will be dinner and drinks and socializing. Old romantic connections are refreshed, some light gambling might take place and all demeanours are upheld. The gentry might make advances or show their initial interest in some of the guests but it will all be within the norms of a social event. The key concepts for the act are:
Surface, Politeness, Eye contact, Subtle influence, Upbeat, Romance
Act 2 – Hope
Act 2 begins when the characters wake up on the second day. This act takes place during day time and is dominated by a subdued, slow paced existence. The guests are still hopeful, desiring fortune, romance or grand possibilities. These illusory promises and hopes are all built up in this act. In public, everyone will maintain a very strict facade and there will be polite exchanges of pleasantries, some light-hearted games and personal meetings. Some of the gentry will make their intentions known – secret affairs will be suggested, debts will be called in and some hidden truths from the past will show up, pushing the guests to seek favor from their hosts.
Socializing, Letters, Dancing, Affairs, Romance, Intrigue, Favors
Act 3 – Escalation
Act 3 begins after dinner on the second day. This act takes place during the evening and night and revolves around the escalation of the situation at the manor. Gambling, drinking and feasting will be taken up and the stakes are raised. There is dancing, there might be marriage proposals or far less honorable proposals, blackmail or ultimatums delivered to the less fortunate guests. The facades are slowly crumbling but the masks are not removed just yet. As night falls, there are terrible things happening behind closed doors but in public, it only seems like a party gone wrong. The carriages and horses of the guests all disappear sometime during the night.
Revelry, Gambling, Debauchery, Threats, Ultimatums, Propositions, Dishonor, Abuse
Act 4 – Denial
Act 4 begins the next morning when the characters wake up. Bruises are covered up, tears are wiped away and the revelations about the intentions and nature of the hosts are pushed aside. Everyone lives in external denial of the evident truth – that the guests are prisoners here at the manor, without any chance at leaving unless they please their hosts and are set free by their good will. During this Act, the scrambling for favors and desperate attempts at earning the approval of the gentry increases in intensity, even as everyone pretends that the situation is still under some kind of control. The facades crack and shatter at times, only to be rebuilt a moment later. Cruel punishments are carried out for imagined slights, vulgarities and games with human pieces take center stage and revelations about the past are brought into light.
Pretense, Control, Desperation, Cruelty, Revelations, Appeasement
Act 5 – Downfall
When the bell calls for dinner, Act 5 begins and all truths are laid bare. The cruel and unfathomable natures of the wealthy hosts are made apparent, even as old rivalries and enmities are played out with the guests as pawns. Violence and desperate gambling might be carried out in front of people, sexual acts are just barely hidden from plain sight, morality slips away and sanity with it. Has this mansion turned into hell, have the hosts lost all sight of reality or is this the actual truth that hides within any woman or man once our souls are laid bare? Some will escape the manor with their lives at the very end while others will end up as entrapped witnesses to the orchestrated abuse, married into destructive bonds or having sworn their lives away to the hosts. One or two might even lose their lives or wits to the cruel acts that are played out.
At the end, as night envelopes the manor one last time and the larp meets its end, the characters that are alive have been irrevocably changed.