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dadeennbsv

The Dance and the Dawn IV: Other People

RPG system: LARP
Participants: 13 players, Sign up as a Lady, whose soul takes the form of a rose.: 6, Sign up as a Lord, whose soul takes the form of a sword.: 7

By

✏️Warren Tusk

Description

There is a legend told on the Isle of Ice. It goes like this:

*Once, this place was ruled by a great queen, who was cold and fair and wise and strong. She raised her son, the prince, to be the most excellent of men. Together, in their compassion and their generosity, they made their home a refuge for those noble lords who had been broken by life – if you suffered so badly that your heart froze over, and you had nowhere else to go, there would be a place waiting for you upon the Isle. There you would spend your days in feasting, and in dueling, and in the pursuit of the gentle arts. There you would be remade into a glorious warrior of Ice.*

*And, eventually, there would be a midnight ball. The Queen would invite the master of Ash, that strange and sinister Duke, to be her guest; and with him would come his wards, the Ladies, as mysterious as they were beautiful; and the night would be filled with music and dancing; and at the end of it all each Lady would claim a Lord, to have and to hold and to love, for the rest of forever. In that sanctified union, destiny was given the chance to rework itself, and the wounds of the world were sometimes healed.*

It is an ancient story. If there ever truly was a Queen of Ice, her power was broken long ago. It is whispered by some that her beloved son abandoned her, running off with a Lady of Ash after one of the midnight balls, and that in despair she threw herself into the sea.

The Lords of Ice dearly love that tale, however. It is a dream of glory, and they have only dreams to sustain them. They are wretched souls, damaged beyond repair, trapped within an enchanted prison of frost; they have made what society they can for themselves, but they have no leadership or guidance, and their frozen hearts make it impossible for them not to hurt one another.

They cling hard to their dream. They cling so hard that, every so often, they climb into their white ships and sail off towards the forbidding Isle of Ash. It is their forlorn hope that, in this way, they might find the Ladies who are destined to heal their hearts and renew their souls. They never succeed; the ships are led astray by mischievous shadow creatures, or destroyed outright by the demons that patrol the black isle. The Lords know this. And yet they keep venturing forth. It is very difficult not to hope, even when hope is madness.

So it was perhaps predictable that, when a ragged and half-starved castaway girl washed up on their shores, the Lords' reaction should have been so utterly mad. They dressed her in a white gown, and placed a silver crown on her head, and said to her: *you are our Queen, command us, make us great again, help us find our destinies.*

Yet even in madness there may be insight, of a sort...

The day after they conducted their “coronation ceremony,” crows descended from the sky and delivered vellum notes into their hands. Each note read: *His Grace, the Duke of Ash, invites you to a midnight ball at his home. The Ladies of Ash will be awaiting you. If you come, they will choose you and claim you, as is their ancient prerogative.*

And to the poor “Queen,” a note that said only: *You wear the crown, and so the first dance is yours by right. Please attend.*

This is not like the legends, not truly. But who could refuse such an invitation?

**********

**The Dance and the Dawn: Other People** is a LARP for 13 PCs, two NPCs, and assorted support staff. It tells the tale of seven noble Lords who came to the court of the Duke of Ash for a midnight ball, and there danced with six beautiful Ladies, all in pursuit of the True Love that could heal their hearts. The conclusion of that tale, of course, is up to you.

This is a dark fairy-tale game. (Darker, in some ways, than previous *The Dance and the Dawn* LARPs.) It features backstory themes concerning violence, severely dysfunctional relationships, psychological devastation, and religious trauma. The characters are mostly very unhappy people, and even the happiest endings that they can achieve may not be easy to swallow.

The structure of this game is very similar to the structure of previous *The Dance and the Dawn* games. Lords and Ladies pair off for a sequence of dances, have private conversations, learn more about each other, and seek to find their (pre-determined) True Loves before a final choice of partner is made at the end. You don't need to have played previous games in the series to enjoy this one, but there will be some additional resonances.

The game setting has metaphysically-empowered gender roles and takes them seriously. In *Other People,* all the Lords present are male, and all the Ladies present are female. If you're looking for something that engages with gender in a fluid or contemporary way, you will not find it here.

This is a LARP that takes place at a ball, and PCs will spend much of their time actually dancing. You don't have to dance *well,* but you should expect to be on your feet for much of the game, in close contact with other players.

If you've played previous iterations of *The Dance and the Dawn,* the game setting and structure will be extremely familiar.

Played at

Intercon U (2022)


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