A page header image shows two theater masks, one cranky and one nervous. The title reads: Paranoid & Crotchety. We write larps.

A Crown of Hearts, by Tory Root

It is a balmy summer evening, full of magic and mystery, and the gates to the Palace of Storms have been thrown open. The lord of this towering castle, perched high amongst howling winds and rocky hills, looming over the fertile southern fields of the Kingdom of Alshen, has decreed a ball to be held upon this night. Here shall gather kings and queens, princes and princesses. Here shall lurk secrets and disguises, love and sorcery. And here they shall revel, waited upon by invisible servants, until the stroke of midnight. And upon the stroke of midnight, who knows what strange wishes shall come true?

A Crown of Hearts is a fairy-tale evening for sixteen players, full of passion, drama, adventure, and metamorphosis. This game deals with some disturbing themes and dark subject matter, and is recommended for mature players.

"My name is Bluebeard
I'm a pretty-prince-princess
My name is Bluebeard
Show me tits or GTFO!"
- Sarah, making props

This game was a solo project of Tory's (who swore afterwards that she would never do a solo project again, and lied), inspired by some particularly densely-plotted games she had played in (in particular, it's kind of a tribute to School for Young Women Specializing in the Arts of Grace and Maidenly Submission), and deliberately trying to create a free-ranging sandbox world rather than a locked-room story. The PCs, who Tory tried to saddle with dense and twisted backstory whenever possible, can potentially travel anywhere in the known human lands, and the game is full of secret locations, sidequests, NPCs, etcetera. Tory also went for maximum immersion and swag through elaborate propping. Tory has a tendency to try to do insane things as solo projects, y'see.

Previous Runs

April 8, 2011, at Brandeis Festival of the LARPs in Waltham, MA. There are photos of this game!
November 9, 2012, at SLAW at WPI in Worcester, MA.
February 28, 2014, at Intercon N in Chelmsford, MA.
November 13, 2015, at SLAW at WPI in Worcester, MA.
July 13, 2019, at Summer Larpin' at WPI in Worcester, MA.

Game Stats

A Crown of Hearts is a game for sixteen players (characters have assorted predefined genders) which runs for four hours, in three or four rooms, under the direction of many GMs. Like five seems about right. Average character sheet length is about five thousand words.

The game is runnable as it is, although it could probably benefit from an extensive round of enriching and mechanizing of the adventure sidequests. The fact that it's runnable as is, of course, means that we may never get around to doing this. The game has a runtime GM bible and a casting writeup, but no gamestuffing instructions. It's also very heavily propped, so a hypothetical boxed version would be a somewhat different experience.