Community and Culture
For your convenience, this page has be provided from the first chapter of our rulebook and can be referenced there at any time.
Welcome to Invictus! The following chapters contain the rules for creating characters and playing them at events. This chapter, however, is the most important one as it outlines the kind of participant culture and community we wish to have and the kind of game we plan to run. Invictus is dedicated to a fun, interesting, safe, and inclusive environment where we collaborate to tell amazing stories. We expect all of our participants to share our commitment to these ideals and uphold them together. See you soon!
The Invictus staff would like all of our players to have the fun experience they are seeking and to enter our game world with knowing consent. To that end, please note the following themes and topics that may arise while playing: discrimination, personhood, slavery, violence, governmental oppression, religious extremism, and the nature of the soul. All of these are in the context of the game world itself based only on in game factors. LARP being inherently interactive and somewhat fluid, we apologize that we are likely to have missed something that you would have preferred to know ahead of time. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Mickey (the gamerunner) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discrimination and Harassment
We will not tolerate discrimination or other hostility on the basis of real life out of game factors such as race, sex, gender, real life religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or consensual lifestyle. This is not an exhaustive list and we expect all of our community members to actively create a safe, warm, and welcoming place for others to play. This includes, among many other things, to make the effort to respect the preferred gender pronouns and identities of all participants. We will also not tolerate out of game threats, intimidation, harassment, or violence between our participants and will take action to remove offenders if the need arises. For those who may fall victim to these actions we are committed to supporting you however we can and you need us to. If a situation arises where you believe these values are being violated please contact a member of staff immediately so we may take action.
As part of our dedication towards inclusive participation we will make our best efforts to accommodate players with disabilities and challenges. There are countless possibilities that might arise so we ask that players who may need some help playing the game reach out to us so we can collaborate on a mutually agreeable solution. For example, if you need to not be hit with weapons for some reason and thus need to be a non-combatant or if your sleep schedule requires more certainty than most weekend LARP events, we will find a way to include your participation as a welcome part of our community.
Be Nice and Don't Worry
Two guiding principles to keep in mind for Invictus are to Be Nice and Don’t Worry. The Be Nice rule is simple; be nice to one another out of game. Not every participant need be close friends, but we are all cooperating to create a wonderful experience and we need to be nice to each other. There will be mistakes and misunderstandings and instead of escalating tensions and conflicts we expect everyone to remember to be kind and decent. You are always free to walk away from a situation that has become aggressive and hostile out of game. The Don’t Worry “rule” is a statement of our philosophy regarding game mistakes and cheating. An event will often entail a lot of effort, energy, too little sleep, emotional highs and lows, and other factors that can easily lead to taking too much damage or casting more spells than you should or misunderstanding the instructions surrounding an encounter. These happen to everyone, including the staff, and we genuinely urge you to not worry about it. If you discover a mistake then correct it going forward but do not stress about the past. We are unconcerned about these issues and would hate for them to cause players to feel anxious over something that does not faze us. If you feel like a mistake has caused some kind of issue for someone else then by all means let us know, but that is about it. You will notice, as you read through the later chapters, a number of times where the parameters of skills or spells are defined in very general terms. This is intentional, we trust our players to take the opportunity to make the experience cool for themselves and each other.
The setting of a LARP relies most heavily on the efforts of players to maintain it. We ask that you actively buy in and invest in our universe and in each other and build a better overall experience that way. Similarly, players will have a lot of different ideas and concepts they want to convey and nothing feels quite as good as having the people around you play into your character concept. This doesn’t mean you always agree with what everyone is saying, but if someone is playing a famous Orator then react to them that way. If they are a stalwart soldier, then give them the space to have heroic moments on the battlefield or treat them seriously when you disagree with their invasion strategy. And so on. Build each other up in the shared reality of an event.
Invictus is a heroic high fantasy, swords and sorcery, LARP set in an expansive galaxy that has been settled by multiple species who discovered how to magically gate between worlds.
We believe that the core of investing players into a game world is giving them meaningful choices. We want to present players with the opportunity to affect the game world with choices that actually matter. Whether they are provided options, or merely asked what they want to do about a given situation, the decisions that they make are core to the game experience. They’re not fake choices—they are real and are there to shape the story. What’s more, they are often difficult choices. If they’re easy, they’re not as compelling and meaningful. There will be some grand scale choices, where the town or a group has to make a big decision, but characters will also shape their personal narratives through their choices—whom they ally with, support, betray, or forge connections with. There are many areas in the game where these choices are written directly into the stories that our staff have developed. “And then we see what they choose” is a critical part of our creative process. That said, we don’t want PCs to be afraid of making choices. Some situations don’t have a wrong choice, there are just positives and negatives to each options. But even in cases where there is a wrong choice and you can screw up and consequences happen, we will never want those consequences to be un-fun for the player, out of game. Even if you do something that has a negative consequence, it’s our goal to make that negative consequence fun or engaging for you, and a part of a cool story. If a town gets sacked and destroyed because the PCs have somehow brought that about, it’s not done to punish them out of game and say “ha, ha, you screwed up!” It’s done to create the opportunity for more engaging story, to bring you in to the game world, to invest you and get you thinking “Ok, so what do we do next?” Sometimes in talking about LARP, we’ve heard people use the phrase “stupid should hurt.” We don’t really like that phrase. It’s a little too glib. Players aren’t stupid. They’re operating at 2am after a long day of fighting with insufficient information, and we recognize that. We have a mix of experienced and novice staff, but we all know what it’s like to PC and have to make choices with limited information. We’re excited to see what your decisions are, and even what your mistakes might be, because we just see them as opportunities to take the story in interesting directions that we may not have planned on. We just ask you to extend to us the trust that it won’t make the game un-fun. We want you to make decisions. We want you to take risks. We want you to boldly dive into our game world, try things out, put things together, really have fun with it, and be daring adventurers.
Good and Evil
Invictus is a heroic, “goodly” slanted game. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a paragon of virtue. If you’re playing a character of less than upstanding morality, or if you’re just playing a human with varied and complex motivations, that’s totally fine. What we’re not going to do is spend a lot of time supporting efforts to murder your way to the top of the serial killer food chain. That’s not where our resources are best spent. There will be opportunities to do a lot of interesting things in the game world in a sleazy or lessthan-lawful-good fashion. But if your goal is to become a sociopathic archvillain, this might not be the game for you. As characters progress through the game, they will come across moral dilemmas. There will be times when it’s hard to figure out what the right thing to do is. We want to create opportunities for PCs to debate what they ought to do, and in the process become more involved in the game world. There will be so much going on that it will be entirely possible to have differing, defensible opinions. Morally gray, in this case, doesn’t mean that there are no morals, but just that even moral people can have different outlooks and priorities.
People LARP for a lot of reasons. But one of the things that they tell stories about a lot is that time when they felt real, visceral emotion, when a series of events got to them in a way that had a serious impact. They talk about the tears that they shed and how hard they laughed, how difficult it was to watch someone die, the feeling of triumph when a longstanding foe was defeated, the fear or joy they had in a moment. What they’re talking about is that sense of really being in the world of the game to the extent that they feel that emotional connection. Obviously no one is going to feel that way all the time (it would be exhausting!), but we want to help evoke that feeling in our players. We want to give you the opportunity to invest in our world so much that when things happen, you get drawn in to the point where you’re feeling it. That comes in all ends of the spectrum. Our goal is not to make your character’s life miserable. We want to invest you in our game world, bring you into an epic saga, and make you a part of it. That includes the lows, but also those moments of triumph against all odds, camaraderie when you’ve faced the impossible with your friends. That’s a valuable part of the experience, and where the powerful stories that last forever come from. It is our sincerest hope that we can provide you with opportunities for those kind of fantastic, memorable moments.
Communication is a critical part of collaborative storytelling. One important tool for players to communicate with staff is the Post-Event Letter, or PEL. It is through PELs that players communicate with staff not only what they most enjoyed and any difficulties they had, but also what their characters’ activities, goals and intentions are. That lets the staff plan accordingly and give players the maximum amount of impact on the story going forward. We strongly encourage all of our players to submit PELs within 2 weeks after an event. Players who do so will refresh their Anima, as well as increasing the quality of their game! In addition to the PEL we encourage players to reach out to us if they ever have a question or concern. We would always prefer to know of an issue so we can address it, then have a member of the community quietly fade away. Or if a player has an idea for their character then we would love to know what it is and how we can make it work in our setting.
Our staff is a mix of folks with a wide variety of talents. We have folks who have never staffed before, some who have staffed for years, and some who are returning to staffing after a long break. We’re thrilled to have such a rich, diverse staff and NPC base, and to have so many folks who have lent their creative talents to building the game world and rules set. We’re excited to see how our staff and NPCs contribute their ideas and creativity to the unfolding world of Invictus. When it comes to NPCs, the amazing volunteers who come to our games and work tirelessly under staff direction to entertain our players, we have a simple philosophy; treat them like the valuable professionals they are. We include their ideas, make sure they’re well-briefed, make sure they’re enjoying themselves, and expect their best. To help with pre-casting roles, we will have a mailing list or Facebook group for NPC communication as well as a survey for volunteers to tell us their talents and preferences. The more we can plan ahead, the better job we can do at making sure everyone will have a great time, regardless of which side of the field they’re on.
Meta mechanics are designed to allow players to gracefully steer an interaction in a way that alleviates real world discomfort or anxiety but without interrupting the flow of the encounter for everyone in the area. They are metasignals between players that communicate information without disrupting the game’s atmosphere.
If a character states they are “Plagued” they are indicating that for out of game reasons they cannot participate in a particular encounter. They may be exhausted, sick, overwhelmed, anxious, or something else. The point of the Plague is that even if your character is heroic and self-sacrificing enough to fight on when sick and injured we want to allow the player a way to bow out gracefully without sacrificing their character concept. No one is allowed to argue with someone about their Plagued status. Being Plagued has no set duration or other timing rules. You may be Plagued and then feel better later on and wish to resume participation and we welcome you to do so! In game there is a magical plague that is known to strike suddenly and debilitate people and anyone might suffer it and recover from it at any time. If, during an encounter, you become overwhelmed in real life by what is happening and need to bow out for your own mental or physical well being, you may say that you are suddenly Plagued and walk away quietly in Spirit form to recover. If, for some reason, someone attempts to engaged with you during this time in any way you can simply respond “Plagued” and continue to make your exit unobstructed by any game mechanics.
If a character states they are “Fractured” it is a way for the player to indicate that they have forgotten the details of something, even if it is something that their character is deeply invested in. Invictus events occur four times a year and in between we all have busy lives with work, family, friends, other larps, and so on. So even the most impactful 1 am conversation with a key backstory character can have the details forgotten by the time another event rolls around in a couple months. The Fracture is an in game event that occurred in the setting’s past and so forgetting details is a commonly known issue in game. The use of “Fractured” is simply meant to indicate to another character that real life has overwhelmed your ability to remember key details from before and you want them to take that into account. There is no specific required reaction to the signal, but we will generally find ways to repeat information or gently steer around the forgetfulness. The Fracture is also an event in the history of Invictus and more information will be available about it on the website.
Hand Signals In addition to Plagued and Fractured, there are some hand-signals that will help players in moments of uncertainty or distress. First and foremost, if a player makes a discreet thumbs down hand signal that means they are uncomfortable, scared, or otherwise need the current situation to de-escalate or end. If you see someone you are interacting with make this signal you are required to reduce the intensity or disengage from the encounter with them. The second signal is the “ok” hand signal; forefinger and thumb making a circle with the other fingers extended. This is a way to proactively check to see how someone else is doing. It means, “Are you ok out of game?” There is no specific time you are required to use it, but we recommend it in moments of high stress or tension. Particularly when you do not know the other person well. If someone makes this gesture to you, they are concerned for your wellbeing. In response, there are a few signals. The thumbs down, as described above, means the person is not doing well and you should act accordingly. A thumbs up, or the “ok” signal, means everything is fine and you may proceed without change. An example of how it might work in play: Two characters (played by Steve and Mary) get into an argument that escalates to threats and yelling and Steve finds himself pushed beyond the in game atmosphere into genuine real life panic. He makes the thumbs down hand signal and, seeing this, Mary takes a couple of steps back and lowers her voice. The argument continues in a more controlled fashion and a little bit later Mary makes the “ok” signal. Steve gives her a thumbs up in reply and they proceed with the interaction.