LXHS is a theatrical rather than a boffer LARP, which means that conflict is resolved with rock-paper-scissors and index cards, not sticks. Specific mechanics and other details are outlined below.
Note: We are currently in the process of editing this game for its second run. Some of the mechanics listed below may change without notice.
The abilities used in this game are based heavily on both the magic system of the HP books as well as the many sources of Victorian literature. Every attempt was made to give characters the abilities they would reasonably have given their role in the original work. Sherlock Holmes, for example, has a deductive ability; while Van Helsing has a fantastic knowledge of dark creatures.
If you are not familiar with these works, we recommend the following resources:
Harry Potter Lexicon: Everything you could ever want to know about the world of Harry Potter.
Project Gutenburg: Many of the authors who inspired this work - including A. Conan Doyle, Maurice LeBlanc, Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe - are now in the public domain, and can be read for free here.
Each magic-using character has a number of magical spells they can use for combat or non-combat purposes. Most magical spells are taken from the Harry Potter books (either directly, or by way of inspiration). Any of these spells require a wand to use. If you lose your wand, you cannot use these spells. (Certain characters also start the game with other spells that are not part of this system and do not require a wand). The number and type of spells a character has access to is determined by the character's relative strengths and weaknesses.
Each character will receive a card that describes their spell. Most spells have a magic point cost. When the spell is used, the cost of the spell is subtracted from the magic pool. The magic pool does not regenerate over the course of the game.
Certain spells may have a limited number of uses. These ability cards should be torn up when all uses are consumed.
A group of abilities falls into the category of "Lore." These abilities--which include such things as Deduction, Dark Arts, Potions, Artifacts, etc--allow a player special knowledge in regard to particular people and places in the game. This is used to simulate knowledge that a character might have above and beyond their player or the other characters.
The way this most frequently manifests is via recognition envelopes. A player who has Lore (Potions) is considered to be especially good with Potions, and would recognize certain plants as potions ingredients if they saw them. Such a player might have a contingency envelope which states "open if you examine item #12," where item #12 is a container with some type of herb in it.
Many Lore abilities have other uses in game - for example, see "Deduction" below.
If players engage each other in magical or physical combat outside of an officially-declared duel, we use the basic rules, as summarized below.
Before we begin, a few rules to remember about non-duel combat:
In a non-duel combat, one character needs to declare "combat" for a round of combat to begin. Any characters within hearing range of this call are now involved in the combat. These characters can then decide to engage or flee.
Those who engage state who they are attacking and how they are attacking. For magical attacks, the attacker must produce the appropriate ability card (and be able to afford to cast the spell). There are physical ability cards that can be used, as well, but players can also make a basic physical attack without one. (Two damage if it succeeds, one for a tie). For the most part, magical attacks are resisted with magical aptitude and physical attacks are resisted with a physical score—but refer to the ability cards for any exceptions.
Once declarations are made, each individual attack is resolved independently. Attacker and defender play rock-paper-scissors. Whatever side wins RPS adds 2 points to their magic or physical aptitude. The attacker’s magical or physical aptitude is then compared to the defender’s magical or physical aptitude. The higher number wins. If the attacker wins, they do damage to the defender according to the attack that was used (see ability cards). Ties go to the attacker, but the damage taken is mitigated by one point.
All attacks are considered to be happening roughly simultaneously, therefore, knocking someone out in one round does not prevent whatever action they might be taking that round.
After a round of combat, if anyone wishes to continue the fight, everyone declares actions again, and repeat. The combat continues until all combatants on one side are knocked unconscious (taking their Stamina in damage), one side successfully flees, or both sides agree to disengage.
An example of combat:
Bob (MA: 3; MP: 8; PA: 4; STA: 8) declares magical combat with Sally (MA: 5; MP: 12; PA: 2; STA: 6). Bob announces he is attacking Sally with “Relashio,” a spell that throws fiery sparks and does three points of damage if it succeeds (two in the case of a tie). They play RPS; Sally loses. Her aptitude is 5, compared to Bob's score of 3+ RPS bonus of 2 = 5, so they tie—but since ties go to the winner, Sally takes two points of damage against her Stamina.
Sally decides to fight back by punching Bob in the gut. Bob loses RPS. His defense is a 4 compared to Sally's PA of 2 + RPS bonus of 2 = 4. The tie goes to Sally, and Bob takes one point of damage, reducing his HP to 3.
At the time combat is announced, or at the beginning of any further combat round, a character may announce their intent to flee the combat. They then walk briskly away from the combat, counting out loud to five. If no one intercepts them before that time, then they escape the combat. If anyone intercepts them, they are included as a defender in the next combat round.
Certain players may have a magical or physical resistance score that differs from their aptitude score. In a situation where they are the defender, they should use this resistance score instead of their aptitude. This is denoted on character sheets and cards with a slash between the numbers. A Magical Aptitude of “2 / 3” would mean they use a Magical Aptitude of two for any spells they cast, but use three as their Aptitude when resisting spells cast against them.
It may happen that certain characters wish to resolve their differences through the time-honored tradition of a wizard's duel. One player will announce that they are declaring a wizard’s duel. The other player must accept for the duel to proceed.
Unlike in typical LARP combat, in a duel, no outside parties are involved--it is simply between the declarer and declaree of the duel. Only magic can be used in this type of duel.
Each party can use whatever magical abilities they have at their disposal (represented by ability cards). At the beginning of a combat phase, the players simultaneously select an ability they wish to use. Those cards are then revealed.
The results of each attack in the conflict are determined by a combination of factors:
|(B) Wingardium Leviosa||N||B||B||B|
Spell A is the throwing arrows spell (Arcturo). Spell B is levitation (Wingardium Leviosa). Spell C is a wall of force(Reducto). Spell D is a tongue tying spell (Langlock).
Look down the first column (A,B,C,D) for the attacker (first player); across the top row (A',B',C',D') for the defender's (second player's) choice.
A numerical result means the attackers spell takes effect, but modified by that amount.
An "N" means nullification. The spells interact in some manner nullifying the attackers spell.
A "B" means bypass. There is no interaction and the spell takes place as if in normal combat.
In a duel, spells have no magic cost when used against the opponent. Duelists also take no lasting damage. Damage taken during the duel is tracked separately from normal damage. When this value reaches the character’s stamina, they lose the duel.
The duel will also end if:
An example duel:
Bob (MA: 3; MP: 8; PA: 4; STA: 8) is angry because Sally (MA: 5; MP: 12; PA: 2; STA: 6) has stolen his lunch, so he declares a duel on her. She accepts.
In the first round of combat, Sally chooses Arcturo. Bob chooses Wingardium Leviosa.
In this particular circumstance, the two spells nullify each other. The players are encouraged to play this out--for example, Bob's spell causes the arrows to fly up into the air and off target, missing him. No one takes any damage.
In a second round, Sally attacks Bob with Arcturo, while Bob counters with Reducto. As shown in the chart above, Bob has a hefty advantage, and he wins Rock Paper Scissors. His magical aptitude(3) + RPS modifier(2) + spell modifier(+1) = 6. Against Sally's unmodified magical aptitude of 5, he wins. While he does no lasting physical damage to Sally (because this is a duel), the standard damage of the spell is temporarily added to Sally’s current damage.
Now we resolve Sally's attack. Sally’s aptitude of 5 + spell modifier(-2) results in 3. This merely ties Bob’s score and would cause him lessened damage(two points instead of three, for instance).
The duel continues as outlined above—until one or more players’ temporary health pool is reduced to zero, or until one player surrenders. A duel can also end if conditions expressed at the beginning of the duel are met. Fleeing in a duel situation is considered to be surrender.
Most interaction in the game takes place in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. This is where players are assumed to be, unless they ask a GM to go to one of the following locations.
There are a number of characters in game known for their significant deductive capabilities. If you are one of them, you will have the Deduction ability listed in your character sheet with a color beside it. This ability is used for solving certain puzzles in game.
"Deductive points"—places in game where you can use your deductive abilities—are marked with circular colored stickers with a number between one and five written on them. Each sticker color corresponds to a deductive player; players can attempt to solve any points marked with their appropriate color. They must answer a number of puzzles on a sheet correct equal to the number on the appropriately colored dot. (Each puzzle sheet has five puzzles). It is assumed that the deductive player is using their powers of observation, using a magnifying glass, lifting fingerprints, or other activities that may give them information about that location.
There may be situations where a deductive player is “following a trail” of clues. In this case, not all deductive points will be open at the beginning of a puzzle; as a deductive player solves puzzles, more deductive spots open to only that deductive player.
Deductive players may share information they have learned from solving a puzzle with other characters that share the Deductive ability. In this case, inform a GM that you have shared knowledge. Any additional deductive points that may have been unlocked by solving that puzzle are now unlocked for the person with whom the information was shared.
You may work with other players to answer the puzzles on the sheets, even if they lack the deductive ability themselves. In fact, we encourage working together on puzzles. However, since this represents the other character making a significant contribution to the deductive process; you are required to share the findings with those that helped you.
Throughout the game the Pickman character receives "inspiration" envelopes. On the outside of these envelopes will be the name of a character (and their number).
In order to actually create the drawing, the first thing you, as the Pickman player, need is your sketch pad. With sketch pad in hand, you must watch the subject for one full minute (pantomiming drawing is encouraged). If the subject moves significantly (wanders to the other side of the room, leaves the room entirely) then the effort must begin again.
When that is accomplished, open the envelope. Inside will be stickers that provide both an Item tag with number as well as a description of what you’ve drawn. Place these on an unused sheet in your sketch pad. (Your sketch pad should start the game with two drawings that can serve as examples).