MECHANICS: While the tabletop game is based on the fudge system, the live game is based on drawing cards from a short stack, with the highest card winning (after bonuses are applied). The deck should consist of eleven cards representing the ladder scale: Legendary, Epic, Fantastic, Superb, Great, Good, Fair, Average, Mediocre, Poor, and Terrible. For smaller LARP events, consider using a 6-card deck or 6-sided dice.
FATE: At the start of the game, each player is given three fate points (FP). They represent resources, influence, and overall currency for use in the Dresden Files game. As with any currency, there are many uses. Players may trade them with other players for information or favors. They may spend them at the bank to buy new items or skills. In game play, fate points may be used to activate a power or stunt. They may be also used to give a +2 bonus to a drawing or a redraw altogether. New fate points are generally earned by completing an aspect of the greater story.
ASPECTS: Aspects are character motivations and plotlines in the greater story of the Dresdenverse. They are much like the quests and objectives found in typical multi-player games, with rewards for completing them, and in some cases, penalties for failure. As in the tabletop game, players are encouraged to fulfill as many aspects of the greater story as they can. However, unlike the tabletop game, aspects belong to the greater story, not to the characters. Hence, players may not take charge of the story by “compelling an aspect.” (There may be considerably more players in a live-action game, and too many storytellers present too many problems. In the Dresdenverse LARP, storytelling power is restored to the few writers and referees). Story arcs and resolutions are once again writer-driven. There is no limit to the number of aspects to which a player is linked, though it is suggested that each player start with three. As the greater story progresses, they may acquire new aspects. Unless designated as nontransferable (NT), aspects may be shared with other players. Also, certain aspects may be fulfilled multiple times, unless designated as nonrepeatable (NR). Here are some sample aspects:
Jus Talionis (Eye for an Eye): The murdered victim was your friend (and more); find out who killed her, and bring the killer(s) to justice.
You Have My Sword! (Gun For Hire): Swear to protect any ally with your life; that ally chooses one of their aspects to share with you; receive one fate for each hour they survive; surrender all your fate points if you should fail.
Consummate Teacher (No Player Left Behind): Convince another player to buy scholarship or lore if they do not already have it; under your tutelage, they may now train for it at level 2 for the cost of 1 fate.
TAGS – At times, your character may be tagged with an undesirable aspect, or you may force an aspect upon other players. These are generally negative consequences of being wounded, poisoned, immobilized, etc. and are usually temporary.
CONCEPTS: Your character’s concept is his or her role in the greater story. It can be a mortal guise or an occupation. As with occupations, character concepts can evolve and readily change along with the story.
TEMPLATES: More difficult to change is your character template. Typical templates include wizard, vampire, knight, shapeshifter, and pure mortal. Players should be advised that supernaturals in the greater story may not be as powerful as they are in the Dresdenverse (Harry Dresden is one of the most powerful wizards in the White Council), but never underestimate your playersgest each character start with 3 aspects, 2 powers/stunts, 5 skills, 1 item, and 3 fate.
MULLIGANS: Anyone can die, even in the first hour. New character creation can be time-consuming, and the prefabricated stock may be limited. Nonetheless, if a player character dies early in the game, reassure them that all is not lost; the player can continue as a Mulligan. The Mulligan family is a very large, very mortal family (Matt Mulligan, Max Mulligan, Mike Mulligan, Mary Mulligan, etc.). They may not have as many aspects as the original characters do, but that doesn’t mean they are less formidable. Indeed, many a Mulligan is stronger in combat than an original character. If your player died early, he may be interested in returning . At any rate, here are our suggestions for on-the-fly mulligan making: 1 aspect; 2 powers/stunts, 5 skills, 3 fates, 1 item.
ALLIES: As stated earlier, LARP games are designed for multiple players. As more characters enter the story, knowing who your friends are and your relationships can be confusing for both players and referees. As an optional rule, declaring your allies on your character sheet can help clarify intentions when say, a character performs stunts or powers affecting groups. Also, some aspects may rely on the use of declared allies.
CLUES: When a player enters the greater story, the writer should give them a clue, a short description as to how their character enters the story and any new knowledge that the character brings. Along with aspects, they help guide the character’s role in the greater story. Ready-made clues could save the writer precious time instead of trying to weave player’s ideas into the greater story.
Example: Three days ago, you got drunk at a bar downtown, and woke up with bite marks on you. You don’t remember what happened, but it looks like you were infected with some kind of venom, because the veins near the wounds are bulging red. You feel feverish around blood, but sunlight seems to help. You went to your doctor, who doesn’t seem to have a clue what’s wrong. Maybe someone else can help you. You are desperate to find help. You would do anything for the cure.
RUMORMILL: Clues may also be distributed when players use certain stunts (Ear to the Ground) or powers (Guide my Hand). Storytellers and referees should possess several generic and key clues in the rumormill to distribute throughout the game.
Example: You hear that there is a large shipment of weapons going down by the docks. Word is they should be delivered tonight around 9:30 pm.
POWERS: Supernatural creatures and some mortals may have special powers not commonly known to the mundane world. While they are akin to mortal stunts (see below), we suggest players start with no more than two powers or stunts. Click here for a list of sample powers, as adapted from the tabletop game.
CATCHES – Catches are limitations on supernatural powers; they are mundane items or situations which render a supernatural power useless. Examples include silver, sunlight, cold iron, or requirements that a player feed on human beings. The use of a catch enables starting characters to start with three powers instead of two. As an example, spellcasting automatically hexes technology for your allies in a 10’ radius (Mana Static)
STUNTS: Mortal feats performed extraordinarily well are called stunts. Once you have a supernatural power, stunts cost one extra fate to learn. The number of stunts one can learn in a skill set is limited to the players rating in that particular skill. For example, a player with +3 burglary could train in a maximum of three burglary stunts; a player without burglary cannot learn any burglary stunts until the skill is learned. Click here for a list of stunts.
SKILLS: Skills are the same as listed in the tabletop game. Players may learn new skills from other players or from facilities, though they must still pay fate points to the bank.
BANK: Players may purchase equipment and items at the bank, though some pieces may require special resources to unlock their availability. Bank access should be neutral, though a savvy player may seek to camp out new prey near the bank entrances/exits.
FACILITIES: Players may also seek to invest their resources as the proprietors of a facility, a unique location which may require upkeep, generate fate, or provide bonuses to the player and his or her allies. Click here for details.
COMBAT: There are basically three combat actions: attack / maneuver / sprint.
INITIATIVE: Players draw from the deck and add any bonuses from alertness or speed. The person with the lowest score on initiative declares their action first; the person with the highest initiative gets to declare their action last. After declarations are made, the last declared actions occur first. This gives quicker characters a chance to react to slower characters intentions.
DAMAGE: While mental and social conflicts exist (see empathy or intimidation), all damage in the live-action version of the Dresden Files LARP is physical. Players carry with them a life card representing five levels of physical health. Each wound folds a corner of the card, with the fifth and final blow indicated by tearing the card in half. Each physical wound also tags the player with a -1 wounded penalty per level of injury, though characters with endurance may ignore this penalty. Powers and skills such as endurance, toughness, recovery, or armor are noted on the player’s character sheet.
ATTACK -As for attacks, there are essentially four types of damage: Burns, Bullets, Blades, and Bruises. Burns are generally from spell attacks, though some weapons may also burn. Bullets comprise all damage from guns, including those using Way of the Bow. Blades encompass most melee weapons (swords, knives, axes, anything with a sharp edge); damage from bruises comes from Fists, and clubbing weapons. While grappling with Might generally does not cause damage, it can be used to immobilize someone. The attacker wins all ties (unless certain supernatural powers are in play).
DEFEND: A player is allowed to defend each attack as they occur. The most common way to enhance defense is with Athletics. Athletics may be used to dodge burns, bullets, blades, and bruises. Weapons may be used to defend against blades or bruises, but only if the defender is armed with a melee weapon. While some players may argue that knowledge of guns entitles them to use their weapons skill to defend against bullets, the appropriate skill to take cover from guns is athletics. Even if the attack succeeds, certain powers (toughness), skills (endurance), and items (body armor) can prevent damage.
MANUEVER: Some abilities allow special effects such as disarming or immobilizing opponents, rendering them unconscious, or moving them. (Whoever has initiative near the disarmed opponent may recover the dropped item next round).
SPRINT:Generally, a player can maneuver two steps. The exceptions occur when a player has a fleet foot, vehicle, inhuman speed, supernatural speed, or mythic speed. When giving chase, a player must be two steps away to engage in melee, and line of sight to engage in ranged combat. (Invisibility renders ranged combat ineffective, but not melee).