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

The Exponents of Love, by Tory Root

You and your comrades have been through a lot together by now. Seven of you, bearers of mysterious ancient artifacts, with an evil empire breathing down your necks, having one misadventure after another. Hard-won victories and bloody losses, hook ups and break ups, defending innocent villages and robbing banks, learning who can't get along with who and who shouldn't be allowed to cook if your lives depend on it. Also one of you totally got kidnapped and replaced with a mind-controlled clone, and then one of the founding members betrayed the party to do something terrible and you wound up having to kill them yourselves, and that’s not even getting into what all that drama did to the love lives involved.

You've slunk off to the borderlands to lick your emotional wounds. But in that wilderness, you found a cave, thick with the same kind of magic as the artifacts you're bonded to. And in that cave, there's a maze of doors. Enter one, face a challenge so that you may continue, rinse and repeat. You sense that if you reach the center, you'll find something you all need. But what is it, and what is truly going on in this place? And can you handle the challenges issued to your hearts?

The Exponents of Love is a game of relationships and intimacy set against a backdrop of melodramatic high-fantasy adventure. It's the kind of game where everybody has at least potential subtext with everybody and there's a lot of romantic drama, sexual tension, and unvoiced feelings. There's a structure that's fairly on the rails: a series of scenes and activities, including some mindscrew about what's actually going on as you progress. There will be a few pre-game workshops to build the group dynamic and teach the Ars Amandi method for simulating intimacy. All characters are written ungendered so that players may establish their characters' genders during workshop.

Content: stupid party games, adventuring party conflict, having to talk about your feelings, and a lot of sexuality (though some characters are more engaged in that than others). Some character sheets will deal with torture, mind control or alteration, PTSD, grief, and profound guilt.

"Well, at the point that I knew everything that was going on, either enough dick had been sucked or enough dick had not been sucked."
- Lily

This was absolutely one of those ideas that Tory'd had kicking around for a while before playing the "wait, can I even DO that in a larp" game, and it turned out that the answer was yes, it just takes a while. The first run went for at least six hours, even when we were rushing the end a little because people had to jet, and the game needs a few more scenes added. Not to mention debrief for all the damn feels. The second run had all that, a pizza break, and a lot of long and leisurely feelings jams, and clocked in at about eight hours before the floon. So really, this works best as an open-ended and chill private game that can go as long as needed. Jamming it into a con schedule might be painful, except maybe as a two-slot game, and playing it with a random con group might be more awkward than most people want anyway.

But regardless of game length, there were all the feels. Feeeeeeeels. Also, at least if the first run is anything to go by, we've discovered that if you play spin the bottle in a larp, the bottle knows. The bottle knows and will spin the most dramatic combinations of people.

If you're curious, you can check out more info about the characters here.

Previous Runs

December 14, 2019, at a private residence in Watertown, MA.
July 3, 2021, at a private residence in Canton, MA.
September 20, 2021, at a private residence in Watertown, MA.
December 11, 2022, at a private residence in Canton, MA.

Game Stats

The Exponents of Love is currently a game for seven players (characters have player-determined genders) which runs for eight hours or some shit in a few rooms (an apartment or house, probably), under the direction of one or two GMs. Average pre-game reading, including rules, setting, and character sheet, is about eight thousand words, and there is some in-game reading.

The game is runnable as is. It has semi-coherent runtime GM information, but not a complete background writeup.