Endgame

At Feb 07 and Feb 28 Angela DeLong Andersson and myself ran the game Endgame by Hans Olai Martinsen and Anne Marie Stamnestrø. I also ran this game in Brazil at June 05, 2014. Endgame is a murder mystery in 1920 for 10 characters plus one or two facilitators, and it last for about 4 hours. The larp also includes some Lovecraftian theme. Mr. Arthur Harringdon is an engineer who works for the defence department, and very often offer illegal parties with booze and gambling during the prohibition. The available characters are:

  • Arthur Harringdon – Host of the party
  • Anna Harringdon – Arthur’s wife
  • Sophia Wilcott – a recently orphan who comes from a rich family
  • Marcus/Maria Smyth-Montague – member of a traditional family
  • Bella/Benny Bloom – famous writer
  • Conrad Cox – Owner of a car factory
  • Andrew/Alice Grey – Mr. Arthur’s personal assistant
  • Charlotte Fairfax – Heiress and investor.
  • Doctor Jean Edwards – a doctor with good reputation
  • Theodore/Theodora Cox – Mr. Cox’s nephew/niece
  • Jamie and Pat – Facilitator’s characters

All characters have relationships with one or more characters; this relationships involve secrets, which keep the game alive.

ATTENTION – SPOIL AHEAD

First of all, we (Angela and myself) did some changes to the game based on my first experience in Brazil. I will explain how the original game works, and what changes we made.

As I said before the larp is a murder mystery, so there is a character trying to kill everyone.  Andrew/Alice Grey is the main killer, yes there is more than one, and the second one is Doctor Jean Edwards. They are not working together, in fact they have completely different reasons.  The doctor wants to kill Mr. Cox. As his personal doctor he knows that Cox has a brain tumour, and he is going to suffer before die. Edwards’ father died from a similar reason, which leaded him/her to become a doctor. S/he doesn’t want that his patient and friend Mr. Cox face suffering as his/her father did. The doctor sent a letter for the servants (Jamie/Pat) to turn off all lights during the party to play a joke on the guests, with the letter there were some money. When we ran the game we assumed the letter was sent, but no author was mentioned and we didn’t accept the money. During the blackout Edwards will blow up a poison dart, and plant the blowpipe somewhere else, and this is a neat mechanic of the game. Mr. Cox’s player knows he is going to die, so during the blackout he intentionality dies and put the poison dart close to him. He doesn’t know who kill him and this is really important because this player will be back as Detective Stirling to investigate the crime, so he really have a job to do. The player stayed outside the game for about 15 minutes, and completely changed his outfit.

The reason Grey wants kill everyone is related to the lovecrafitian theme of the game. All characters including detective Stirling except Grey were part of a ritual few years ago. Grey’s older brother died during the ritual, and since then s/he is planning a vengeance. S/he got the job as Mr. Harringdon personal assistance,  and become responsible for organizing the parties including the invitations. Although everyone on the ritual were using masks, Grey was smart and follow the leader, Mr. Cox, who visited every single member. The opportunity finally arrived, most of the participants are present except Detective Stirling, but fortunately he shows up after one hour later to solve Mr. Cox’s murder.

In the original game Grey knows about the blackout, and s/he is instructed to plant a poem called 10 Little Indians from one of Agatha Christie’s books to scary the characters. We decided to not tell Grey about the blackout, so s/he has something to worry about once s/he realizes there is another killer in the room. Grey wants to kill everyone slowly and see them suffering, so poison was the killing weapon. The manual only says Grey should poison Mr. Cox in the first hour of the game and tell the facilitator about it, but it doesn’t explain how it should be done. Also, it doesn’t specify that s/he should poison everybody else. We decided that the poison will be food colour, and Grey has to actually drip one or two drops on people’s drink in order to poison them. Also, Grey cannot poison large amounts of drink or food, it has to be very personal. Talking about deaths, we made people feel sick as they got poisoned, and the symptoms got worse over time. We decided to introduce symptoms slowly and not kill characters right away they got poison because we wanted players to play as long as possible.  Therefore we killed the first character poisoned in the last 30 minutes of the game, and then every five minutes another character died. Once players were dead they had to wait outside the game area until it ended. The symptoms follow the order:

  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness / shaking legs
  • The vision goes black and come back
  • Seizure and death

Throughout the game people started to realize that the food or drinks could be poisoned, so they stopped to drink, which made Grey’s life very difficult. We decided to introduce another element that was not part of the original game, a gun. In the last 30 minutes of the game we gave a gun (obviously fake) to Grey, so s/he could use it to kill characters who were not poisoned.

In the first game after most people were dead due the poison Grey used the gun to kill almost everyone; s/he left Mr. Stirling and Jamie alive, who decided to leave the building before the police shows up. On the other hand, in the second game Grey pulled out the gun and started to have a little chat with the remaining characters explaining why s/he was killing everyone. Also, s/he killed everyone one by one; it was very nice to watch the scene.

The game is really fun, and quite simple to run. I would like to congratulate everyone who participate because they put lots of effort in the costumes, which made game really awesome! Also, thank you Angela for facilitating the game with me.

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