System Vote 2016

From Cambridge Larp Society

CLS 2016 System Vote

Welcome members of CLS, this page will tell you the details of this years systems vote and the four systems that have been proposed.

The system vote will be taking place at the OGM on the 11th of March before the interactive. Prior to that there will be a short Q&A with system designers before the interactive on the 4th of March.

Proxy or postal voting will be allowed for paid members of the society who cannot make the OGM, declarations of proxy or postal votes must be submitted by midday on the 11th of March to be counted. Details of the voting format will follow shortly.



What just happened? How can we use it? Also, SCIENCE!!!


Head ref: Tom M (Bryn)

Lizzie J

Brief overview of setting

This is a fantasy system aimed at discovery, magical science, politics and stabbing mutated things in the face.

There are four mage Clans, all with enough people to count as a country in their own right. The game takes place in the capital city Armistice built by the four Mage Clans at the end of a decades long war.

Two weeks ago an experimental ritual being conducted by team from all four clans tried to draw more magical energy into the city. It went catastrophically wrong and resulted in a huge explosion that tore a rift between the physical world and the Ether beyond.

A storm of magical lightning blasted through the city changing and mutating everything it touched then blasting smaller rifts as it grounded itself back through the fabric. Since the explosion accusations of fault have been flying in all directions and distrust between the Clans is rising. The Armistice Council ordered the city evacuated after the event with instructions to anyone who chose to stay to find out what happened, contain the disaster and seal the rifts. Not everyone has good intentions for staying, but plenty stayed.

Summary of rules/rules philosophy with examples


  • Everything should do something.
  • Players are welcome to screw themselves over (Everyone has overcast). Calls and magic similar to NFNC with a few exceptions.
  • Skill buying to be similar to Empire - an initial cost to unlock a category and then buying skills within that category.
  • Players will have personal mana that can be used for combat spells and resisting compels.
  • Rituals need to be done with condensed mana, which is also the currency. High denomination ducatto are more refined mana and less likely to explode.

Rituals are done through bead draws, each mana (ducatto coin, gold are worth two mana) you contribute allows you to make a draw or remove a black bead already drawn, higher tier mana allows redraws. A certain number of black beads will make the ritual explode, but this is independent of if the ritual succeeded. Failed rituals will always give something, even if just a hint as to where else they can look for info.

Summary of "format"

Same as NFNC. Interactive Friday, Linear Saturday, simple downtimes.

Other information

Main document:

Skills document (Very much a WIP):

Breaking Worlds

Adventure, rivalry, and intrigue as magical cataclysm shakes the multiverse.


Rosemary Warner, Nye Redman-White, plus two or three to be recruited. We are particularly looking for linear refs.

Players may have the opportunity to ref linears.

Dave Sheridan and Jim Blackshaw are also contributing material.

Brief overview of setting

"For many years, the island kingdom of Arginet has enjoyed peace and prosperity, ruled over by its wise and just nobility and guided by the spirits of the elements and the ancestors.

But in the last year, quite without warning, cracks have started appearing in the fabric of reality in a metaphysical outburst known simply as the Breaking. Unstable rifts have opened to other planes of existence, disgorging strange creatures both human and monstrous, and the boundaries of the spirit world itself have grown weak."

As the dead rest uneasy in their graves, monsters stalk the land, and the old order struggles to adapt, a loose group of adventurers - both Arginese and interplanar refugees - has come together to explore, exploit, and defend against the tumultuous spirit world and the mysterious threat from beyond.

The world of Arginet is one of high fantasy and mysticism. The magic of the spirit world touches the people of all nations - sometimes in the form of communion with elemental and ancestral spirits, sometimes as the subtle transformation of humans into fay, and sometimes in the raw power wielded by channellers. Priests offer homage and sacrifice to the spirits of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, while the much-maligned Seekers of the Utmost search for an unknown higher power.

Arginet itself is a proud island kingdom ruled by its nobility on behalf of the distant crown. For centuries it has enjoyed prosperity and a measure of peace, but political and religious dissent have long been simmering beneath the surface: in the last generation an increasingly driven reform movement has called for a change to the status quo, helped by new discoveries about the nature of fay and supported by many Seekers.

This precarious state of affairs was turned upside down less than a year ago, when the world was struck by a mysterious cataclysm dubbed ‘the Breaking’. There was no warning, only shock, as fluxing magical portals began to appear across the land and sea: unstable bridges to other worlds. Their behaviour is beyond comprehension, as they open and close without warning, spewing arcane energies and alien creatures. And among the strange and terrifying beasts are humans from the worlds beyond - refugees cast adrift in the multiverse, they must fight to survive and understand their new home. No less frighteningly, the bodies of the dead have been seen to rise as wights… holding onto the memories and grudges that they had in life.

Arginese society is in turmoil as the kingdom faces the continuing chaos of the Breaking. Deadly monsters stalk the land and sea, ravaging the countryside and all but cutting off the island from the other nations of the world. The nobility cling to their land and power with all their guile and might, while the previously neglected Royal Armies have seized their chance for glory, and the reformists seek to exploit the upheaval and pave the way for a revolution.

In the town of Fiveways a local monastic order has opened its doors to representatives of the three factions, to the freelance adventurers looking for a big break, and to the offworlders stranded in an unfamiliar plane. It is here that lives and fortunes will be made and lost… and perhaps it is here that is the last, best hope for the future of the world.

Summary of rules/rules philosophy with examples

The basic design goals of the system are as follows:

  • An accessible but deep world, with the option of joining three key PC groups.

A wide variety of character types - Arginese humans, fay, and wights, and a variety of offworld humans.

  • An easy way into the setting, as your character can start ignorant of the wider world and learn in play.
  • Rapid, player-driven plot development. If you don't want that plot, slam the rift shut. If the benefits of it outweigh the risks, keep it open.
  • Death is not the end. PCs potentially get a second chance as wights, so can afford to take bigger risks.
  • A religion brief full of mystery to poke and heresy to denounce.
  • A simple set of mechanics that don't get in the way of roleplay.

The game is principally PvM/E and most of the combat will come from this side of the game, but there will be plenty of opportunities for PvP. In particular the three factions are all competing for the future of the nation and will be able to push the balance in their favour.

The plot will have a broad main arc, but PCs will be able to change its course in a variety of ways. Inter-faction competition, the demands of NPCs, and personal gain will give the adventurers challenging and conflicting goals; there will rarely be a ‘right’ course of action.

The spirits, elemental and ancestral, are a key part of the setting. Mechanically they also serve to provide a constant source of plot and encounters, both combat and non-combat, and to add flexibility to PCs’ builds. Spirits can be summoned with skills from the Evocation tree. These are rituals ranging from fairly minor to enormous depending on the power of the spirit sought - it is intentional that more powerful spirits will be summoned more rarely as they will have a greater impact on plot and mechanics. While the weakest spirits are essentially mindless and can be used by characters to gain power, the strongest are major NPCs; the PCs will have a variety of ways of negotiating with these, including non-combat trials and contests.

The refs in Breaking Worlds are present in-character as Guides - inscrutable figures who embody part of the natural order of the universe and serve as bridges to the spirit world. The Guides can be spoken to by PCs, but they are under no obligation to answer and are well-known to remain aloof from most mortal concerns.

Negative consequences of PC action or inaction should be meaningful and should drive the game in themselves. Death should be a real threat, even if it isn’t frequent; at the same time it isn’t always the end, as some PCs may choose to come back as wights for a grim second chance.

The mechanics are based around global Hits, a Stamina pool which powers abilities, and ongoing Wounds. The number of special calls will be relatively limited, with about ten combat calls (including SINGLE, DOUBLE, TRIPLE, and CLEAVE) and about five non-combat calls, all of which are intended to be easy to remember. Everyone should be able to do something useful in any situation - lacking a particular skill shouldn’t totally lock any character out of any area of game - but the best results will be achieved by PCs working together and combining their strengths. Of course, they should also be able to do this in competition with other groups of PCs…

Characters start with a low number of hits (which can easily be increased by buying skills) and a higher pool of stamina (which is harder to increase). They can use a dagger and perform first aid. Additional skills bought with XP will be grouped into the following trees:

  • Melee: using melee weapons and better melee damage.
  • Skirmishing: using ranged weapons and fancy fighting.
  • Armour: using armour for more hits and resistances.
  • Toughness: gaining more hits and abilities that regenerate them.
  • Channelling: casting spells and rituals based on the five elements (with a sub-tree for each).
  • Evocation: summoning and binding spirits.
  • Healing: healing and messing with people’s bodies.
  • Crafting: creating magic items including anchors for spirits.
  • Trade: business and non-combat subterfuge.

The skills system is still being balanced (and will need playtesting) but the basic plan is to encourage characters to buy two to four of these rather than splashing everything; this is to maintain a stronger sense of identity and a distinction between the mundane and the supernatural. We also believe that it should be viable and fun for a PC to specialise in any area they choose.

Summary of "format"

Two-year limited run system.

Weekly interactives. Linears most but not all weeks (perhaps 5 per term).

Interactives Friday evenings. Linears probably Saturday afternoons.


  • Yes - characters will have downtimes that can be used to influence the plot and how it affects interactives.
  • The key part of each downtime will be a Local Action (a freeform action like the classic CUTT/NFNC action, taking place in the locality where interactives take place) or Map *Action (more formulaic, but able to affect the setting in a more targetted way). Players will be able to supplement this with a few Minor Actions (again, based on the CUTT/NFNC model)
  • Players will be able to gain Followers and Favours through a variety of means, which will allow them to take actions in more distant areas or grant a bonus Follower Action (a limited form of Map Action).

Other information is the link for further information on Breaking Worlds. More will be added here in the weeks before the AGM.

Cambridge University Treasure Trap

Fantasy smorgasbord set in something approximating medieval Cambridge. Contains goblins.


Megan Williams

Initial Comments

This would be a full reset. No returning PCs from last time it ran

The few changes I would make would be:

  • Double buying to be removed, as are XP level boundaries
  • Kormak and Laeknir to be replaced with Azrael and As-yet-unnamed healing god to provide more conflict between healing gods/death gods
  • There may be some tinkering with god strictures, bearserk mechanics and the introduction of something rather sinister to lurk in the shadows
  • There will be a brief review of rules and statting by the ref team to iron out a few kinks

Brief overview of setting

Cambridge Treasure Trap is (and shall if this proposal succeeds remain) a LARP (Live Roleplay) System based in the fantasy/medieval city of Grantabrugge, on the river Granta. This is essentially a fantasy version of medieval Cambridge. The city of Grantabrugge exists in a world very loosely based on feudal England, but in a plane where magic is a tangible power in everyday life and the gods can imbue their mortal followers with Miracles. Humans are not the only sentient race, sharing that position with elves, orcs, kender and several other species, all of whom have concerns and ambitions of their own. Grantabrugge is situated in Albion approximately where Cambridge lies in England, a neutral city state surrounded by the territories of factions in the ongoing civil war between the King of Wessex and his mother Queen Sheorl.

Grantabrugge is a large walled city with a river running through it, a centre of trade and a massive food importer for the surrounding area. It contains the Brotherhood of Magic: a national centre of magical teaching, as well as at least three powerful ritual sites, places where the very lines of power that hold the world together cross, within the bounds of the city. It contains temples to every god and a large and frequently changing set of guilds. It is a nexus of interests both mundane and otherworldly.

All of these interests come to a head in the Wessex Arms, a centrally-located pub notably primarily because it contains one of the aforementioned ritual circles, and because it is said to be built on land sacred to all the gods. Certainly, it is a nest of strange occurrences. The city allows it to exist because so many of the patrons of the Arms go on to do great things: terrible, perhaps, but often great. The stories of the greatest heroes and villains in the history of the city began under the four walls of the arms, and it is under this notorious roof that the interactives of CUTT take place. All roads lead to the Arms, eventually.

On Saturdays, adventuring parties set out on undertakings arranged the previous evening at the Arms: these range from attending a fancy funfair about which rumours of kidnapping swirl, to setting the world to rights and holding back the enemy at the gates of the city: and the enemy within...

Summary of rules/rules philosophy with examples

TT, thanks to its long pedigree (it is based loosely off the DUTT rules, or was: the system can be democratically modified every year and frequently is) is hard to pin down in terms of rules philosophy. Possibly the best way of explaining it is that it seeks to strike a balance between allowing cool and varied stuff and trying to rein in anything particularly off the rails. It is a low-”accidental fatality” system as it currently stands, but this is something that is inherently changeable: one of the key merits that CUTT has is its flexibility. Essentially, CUTT has reached its current, relatively stable state via a process of democratic iteration and organic evolution. There may be parts which are metaphorical appendices, but generally at the current time, it functions. CUTT is not a system with high rules-setting integrations, but it is one which has provably reached a state where the rules work and that supports the setting in which people are invested.

Summary of "format"

It will run on a Friday evening for interactives and Saturday afternoons for linears as per the current arrangements unless circumstances demand otherwise.

World Reclamation Project (WoRP)

Rebuild a fantasy world that was shattered into pieces.


Josephine Anrep - head ref, other refs: David Birch, other people TBD

Brief overview of setting

A month ago an evil cult with unknown goals shattered the world into pieces. The three civilized nations have put aside their differences for the moment to form the World Reclamation project, aiming to re-build this broken world. The PCs will play members of this project, taking on dangerous missions to reconnect bits of the world, investigating the mysterious cult responsible for the shattering, politicking for the necessary funds and preventing sabotage of the projects aims. They may also have more personal goals...

The three nations:

The Hyperborean dominion
The remains of a vast empire, priding themselves on their culture and wealth.
The Viridian covenant
A scattered collection of individualist groups, keeping their independence by use of magic, stealth and a network of arrangements with the spirit courts.
The Atelier parliament
A nation dedicated to invention and the relentless march of progress.

The playable races of the world include Humans, Gnomes, Elementals, Beastkin, Golems

Brief overview of system

Global hits, limited calls, powers following an at-will/encounter/daily pattern (rather than a mana pool). Character building is class based, with a pool of universal skills available to all classes. There is no xp, character progression will be through in character actions.

Non-combat skills and downtime/resource skills available, intended to provide plot in uptime.

Character creation to provide links to existing NPCs by default. (all the flexibility of creating your own backstory is available, but some options that will provide links to plot are visible and easy to access)


Approximately as current: weekly interactives (Friday evening) & linears (Saturday afternoon) with some off weeks. (~6 linears per term)

Summer term to not have interactives & linears but instead to have more society social things, weapons practice, pub, picnics, kit making and space for one-off events if members wish to try out reffing.

Intended to run for 2 years.


Reduced and limited (picking from a list of options, one of which will be freetext)