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Larp: A Winter's Ball


by Ray Lardie

The winter of 1761, and Elizaveta Petrovna, Empress and Autocrat of all Russias, presides over the most splendid and fanciful court in Europe. While far to the west, the Seven Years' War against Prussia approaches a stunning Russian victory, the Metamorphosis masquerades hosted in the Peterhof Palace carry only a whisper of this conflict within earshot of Her Majesty. Of far greater importance are the eternal political machinations that embroil the court: flattery, bribery, the affairs and political appointments they lead to (or don't).

And of course, the fact that Her Majesty is dying.

Childless, she has had a designated heir for decades, her Prussian-born nephew Pyotr, married to Yekaterina. But now that Her Majesty is dying--evident to everyone but her own stubborn refusal--court alliances are shifting, as everyone scrambles to work out how best to secure their futures, and the future of Russia.

A Winter's Ball is a court intrigue game for 20 players wherein manners matter. Not everyone has a romance plot but many do, and everyone has social/political plots regardless of whether that character would describe themselves as a politician. I am endeavoring to make the game more queer than historians would have us believe the court was.

No previous knowledge of 1760s Russia is required, though there will be lots of pre-game reading for the setting and somewhat lengthy character sheets. This game is recommended to folks 16 years of age or older because some character sheets will contain non-explicit sexual references.

20-player maximum