The Darkest Hour
The Darkest Hour is an intense, collaborative storytelling larp that employs a rules-light system with minimal calls or mechanics. Over the course of several successive events, staff and players alike work to tell a tale of dramatic horror that is largely unscripted and focuses on the struggle of surviving in the strange, untamed forests of the Colonies, and sometimes this means fighting for your life.
Combat has three rules.
Be safe – If you are about to do something that has a high chance of hurting another player, do not do it, this includes hitting someone in the groin, throat, or head.
Be an Actor – Respond to hits and spells, even if you’re shrugging them off. Wield your foam sword like it has real weight and heft; if you don’t, the recipient can just ignore it. Attacks are considered solid blows if they are roleplayed appropriately, and with gravitas. This adds to the safety of a dynamic combat system. You do not need to swing your weapon with heavier force if your roleplay conveys the power of your blow.
Be Human – Humans have limitations and weaknesses. Roleplay your wounds and flaws with the intention of telling a story. Just because your character is not mechanically incapacitated and dying at five wounds doesn't mean they can't fall down and go unconscious after getting hit with a hunk of metal.
The Short List of Calls
The Darkest Hour has very few traditional calls, but knowing the ones that do exist is critical to performing proper role play in combat.
You're Mine: A command that forces you to lock in place and physically throw yourself about according to the users verbal or physical guidance.
You will: A command that forces you to do the bidding of the user.
Take That: A command that knocks your target down.
Right in the 'X': You receive a designated wound via ranged attack or mimed physical blows that bypasses armor and must act out an extreme reaction, like dropping a sword when being shot in the hand, or having pretend dirt thrown in your eyes.
*Witchery: This is not verbal, but occurs when an actor points or gestures at you with with 'the sign of witchery'. Pay attention, their next words will likely be a spell effect for you to follow.
Call effects: You must role play effects for at least ten seconds, at which point you may shrug it off.
<meta />A human is made of meat, so any solid blow to an unarmored portion of the body results in a wound that must be roleplayed until it is healed. A human can only take five wounds total before they are rendered incapacitated, during which time they are generally helpless and can only offer the barest opposition for ten minutes, after which they are subject to death and dying rules.
Wearing light armor lets you soak two wounds. Heavy armor allows you to soak four. You only get protection where you are covered by armor. 2-handed weapons, firearms, and arrows will ignore light armor. Check in with logistics to see what kind of armor your kit offers.
Remember, shrugging off a wound doesn't mean you shouldn't respond to a good hit. The weight of a good attack might push you back, or elicit pain for a short time, even if it's not going to need surgery to recover.
If you want a more intense experience, you may apply to wear a white armband. This signals to the cast members around you that you are eligible for various forms of heightened (nonsexual) physical roleplay, such as being genuinely grappled, slapped, dragged, or bound. This applies both in and out of combat situations. All persons who want to wear a white armband must first be vetted by approved staff members.