We want to create an event that is fun to take part in, where participants can learn new skills, and apply them, and where we have a chance to explore history a little more. We are creating a world of pretend and that always works best if everyone joins in, this means that everyone needs a character to portray and to remain in character in the game area. We have lots of group activities and lots of reasons for everyone to talk to each other.
This is definitely a social event and we want people to have the opportunity to entertain themselves and those around them. Historically people usually made their own entertainments and we want to encourage singing, telling tales, dancing and tomfoolery to amuse each other, and we want to do it all ‘In-Character’.
The Story and Character-driven plot
Although this is an event with a focus on battles, we feel that great plot and in-depth character creation can not only enhance combat but also help to create a really immersive atmosphere. Whether you plan to play a coin strapped peasant, a noble lady of intrigue or a battle-hardened retainer, please download the character creation document below and go into as much detail as you like. Characters that have previous military experience will be encouraged to bring evidence of that experience in the form of in-character documents, so that they can be presented to the Pay Master as part of the recruitment and allocation of wages process.
Completed character sheets and any plot and character creation enquiries should be directed towards Pod, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So what is “Character driven plot?”
(A) We use player’s background stories as basis of the plots run at the event.
(B) Connecting people’s background stories so that they play with each other.
(C) If players express wishes for certain scenes or situations, we will try to cater for them.
(1) Character is wanted by the inquisition for printing leaflets. We let the inquisition, fellow heretics and family members show up.
(2) Character came to Lady Anne as handmaiden, as her parents lost their wealth. She gets the chance to restore the family wealth. But at a price that will affect everyone.
(3) Character ‘A’ is a notorious criminal, character ‘B’ served for heresy. We notify both players that they escaped prison together, then parted ways.
(4) I want my character to start the game as captive of Lady Anne’s.
(5) My character thinks he’s haunted. Can you convey that to other players?
There are a whole range of elements that help to create a good overall atmosphere at an event, get enough of these elements right and it could be something great. We are aiming high and therefore want to encourage all participants to make as much effort as they are able. Our talented team have put together a range of guides, on areas such as costume, swearing and religion that are designed to help everyone contribute to this overall atmosphere.
We want participants to aim for fantastic costume, whether that’s a knight in full harness or a peasant turned new recruit in a simple doublet, hose and straw hat. We would love participants to bring their historical canvas tent set-ups, which would be given a specific pitch in the in-character area, however we understand that many people do not have historic tents, so will have a substantial area set aside for out-of-character camping that is screened off from the rest of the site.
The venue itself has some really nice features such as a gated wooden palisade wall and a gorgeous timber framed and shingle roofed tavern. The aim is that this tavern will be a hub of social interaction where characters can buy drinks, play gambling games, sing songs, dance and listen to musicians playing medieval music. People are welcome to bring their own food and drink, but we will strongly encourage historically appropriate food, drink and utensils for the in-character area. We plan to have a number of traders selling food at the event.
A fundamental part of the event that we want to provide is the opportunity to learn some new skills. It is hoped that by the end of the event everyone would have had the chance to learn some effective battle tactics, to increase their individual fighting skills, to gain insight into effective leadership and to be able to sing a medieval song or dance a medieval jig.
Its the feel and sound of coins that seems to really add to the roleplay experience, whether you have just received money as a bodyguard or been paid for mending someones armour. Because of this the Cry Havoc team have hand cast four different denominations of pewter coin from medieval originals. Check out the document below for pictures of all of these coins and common prices of items and services.
We are using a ‘What you see is what you get’ style system, where participants react how they think they should, within the context of the event. We encourage dramatic combat and intuitive roleplay that is not constrained by a strict rule system. We do have rules but these tend to be integrated into the actual in-character game itself and will be driven by the NPC’s. We insist that you are nice to each other when fighting as we want people to pretend to get hurt rather than actually getting an injury. If someone manages to hit you with a weapon then react to it in some way. This reaction could range from instantly falling over dead, to limping away, to complaining loudly about how hard you have been hit, or gradually slowing down and starting to stagger from blood-loss. The most important thing is to do everything you can to avoid being hit in the first place as medieval weapons can inflict horrific wounds. Super natural effects are possible, for example a character might really believe that a priest’s oration will give them more courage in a battle, that prayers will speed the healing of a wound or that a curse will cause an itchy groin. If you are not sure how to portray a powerful priest or a mighty sorcerer then these too are skills that can be learned.
The only thing we are happy to cheat on is healing. Its very dull to spend the whole event being wounded – unless that’s what you want to play with – so we have decided that one of the side effects of the plagues has been to give people accelerated healing powers. Surgeons and leeches still have their place. Without surgery, or healing potions and poultices, you will still die, but if treated with some competence, then wounds will heal in a very short time. Minutes to an hour or two. Prayer is especially helpful as well, either by the patient themselves or by others on their behalf.
The joy of failing: when roleplaying it usually turns out to be a great deal more fun if your character has some flaws. The stories that get told afterwards are usually based around something going wrong, before eventual salvation, or indeed it going even more wrong. We hope you will ‘chew the scenery’.
At each event there will be a need to establish an army structure. Quite how this works will be down to the participants on the day but here are some recommendations that you are free to adopt, adapt or ignore as you see fit. We will be looking to place some characters into positions before the event to ensure that the army of Lady Anne is able to survive any immediate threats.
At the start of the event we suggest organising combatants into groups of 5-10 called a lance or a troop with a leader (sergeant) and an assistant leader (corporal) within that group, each lance being made up of combatants who are wielding one distinct weapon type. So lances will comprise of either archers or Billmen or shields users and other mixed weapon types.
Two lances will form a watch with one of the sergeants being promoted to vintener and acting as leader of the watch. We encourage actual groups of players to come along already in this sort of structure, although there may be some changes that will be made to make up the numbers and allow individual players to join a bigger group.
There will be a general in command of the army and Various Captains in charge of sections or Petty captains that will be appointed as needed and based on their ability to command, these could include:
In overall command, the Captain will coordinate all battlefield training.
A position currently held by Walter Savage.
In charge of the battle readiness of the troops of the company, will coordinate individual martial training.
A position currently held by Edward Steel.
In charge of discipline.
The Provost and his soldiers will also have the responsibility for closing the tavern, promoting proper hydration and encouraging people to get to training on time.
The standard bearer for the company.
In charge of the health of the company.
The head surgeon will also have a responsibility to assess whether people are actually fit to take the battlefield.
In charge of insuring that the company have weapons sharp and armour fit for battle.
The head Armourer also has the responsibility to check that weapons and armour are safe to use.
In charge of communicating with people both within and outside the company.
In charge of paying the troops and maintaining the accounts.
Historically, discipline was a crucial element in any well trained medieval army. At the event we will need to maintain a reasonable degree of organisation to get everyone to where they need to be at the right time without it being onerous or disruptive. We will be available for training sessions and to provide advice. As we intend to do this in-character there will be a need to speak with instructors you want to use and arrange with them quite what you want to achieve.
In the absence of an organised prison service most punishment in the military was either death or a fine. We can add to that: a loss of rank and/or privileges, possibly flogging, spiritual cleansing by pilgrimages and/or priests, probably being shouted at a lot, and perhaps worst of all (for some) being banned from the tavern. We hope that people are prepared to join in with the spirit of the process and allow us to run the organised sections of the event; other than that we fully expect people to break the rules knowing the consequences. There will be a provost (an army police officer) with the right to make arrests, inquire after people’s activities and intentions, break up illegal meetings and close the tavern when it gets too late.