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.
Your character suffers a wound whenever they are struck on a limb or torso by a fellow performer; wounds must be roleplayed appropriately until they are removed by a surgeon. As a general rule, do your best to tell a story; If someone smashes your arm with a mace, the limb might go dead, or if you feel like the unseen attacker that just hit you in the back would have knocked you out; just fall unconscious. Get creative, and really reward a fellow performer for landing a solid blow.
To the best of your ability, try to track where and what kind of wounds you have sustained during combat so a healer can apply the correct treatment.
If you take a third torso wound, you are rendered incapacitated. While in this state, you must role play being unconscious if you are left alone, If others are present, you may role play being helpless; able to whimper, plead, and crawl or drag yourself at excruciatingly slow speeds as the scene demands it. At this time you are at the mercy of your fellow cast members. If they deal a lethal strike or wound you again, your character will die. After ten minutes of being incapacitated, you bleed out and die.
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 will: A command that forces you to do the bidding of the user.
Take That: You recieve one torso wound, the type of which is determined contextually from the call's source.
Right in the 'X': You receive a limb based wound wherever the user designates.
Sieze Now: A command that forces you to lock in place, and then physically throw yourself about according to the users outstretched hand.
*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.
The Darkest Hour is a rules-light system, but safety is a primary concern. When in combat, never strike someone else’s face, neck, or groin.
In combat, attacks are felt-blow, not lightest-touch. This means that if your target did not feel the blow or it was not a clear strike; such as a glancing blow powered by the wrist alone- they may simply shrug it off. An audible 'slap' from a latex weapon will often make it clear when the strike would be effective. On the other hand, this is where combat roleplay really shines. Reward your fellow actors for a powerful and well-acted strike; start gasping for breath, howl in pain, or begin limping. The purpose of this is to create a dramatic and interesting scene for every party to enjoy.
Generally speaking, any character may be physically grabbed, but only lightly, on the shoulders, arms, or wrists.
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 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.
Weapons & Armor
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You can ignore wounds to regions of your body that are covered with armor*. Different types of armor include:
- Light coverage—padded, leather, chain, and scale armor. This allows you to ignore wounds delivered by one handed tool (includes daggers) and blunt weapon strikes.
- Heavy coverage—plate and some scale. This allows you to ignore all wounds delivered by one handed strikes.
An individual piece of armor breaks and is considered useless once it fails to soak a wound, however this only takes effect once the scene ends. It must be repaired in order to be useful again.
* an exception to the rule: If a fellow cast member strikes a weak spot in your armor, reward them! Have your arm go dead or take the wound. Be realistic and logical, with each wound you receive contributing to the story.
Edges allow a character to perform feats that might not be otherwise feasible to perform safely, including things like sharpshooting or spell-casting.
There are 3 types of edges: