Original post: http://www.electro-gn.com/56-lepacte
Translation: David Brosselin
Part One: About the scenario
Article 1: We solemnly refuse to use some script writing methods for the only reason that “it’s always cool, it works every time.” If it works every time, it has already been too often, then it’s time for a renewal.
Article 2: We will have respect for the difficult job of midwives and other hospital staff, and will avoid exchanges of babies at birth. Especially when they have to meet subsequently.
Article 3: As far as possible, we will limit impersonation, at least 70% of the players really are who they say to be, and only 2% of them have 5 covert identities and as much secret lives. (Exceptions are “Epidemic schizophrenia” or “Arsene Lupin strikes back” LARPs)
Article 4: To preserve the mental and emotional balance of my characters (or, maybe to restrict scriptwriting tricks and improve my creative capacities), I will thoroughly avoid to recover 20 years lost relatives, just by suddenly facing them, taking tea with my neighbors.
Article 5: By respect for the visual system of my characters, I will avoid doppelgangers, twins, or impersonators when they do NOT look alike. In the extreme case where such archetypes are vital to the course of my game, I’ll find a subterfuge for players to really have a minimum similarity. If not, I will justify in a credible way, how a mother does not differentiate his elder son and his trollish half-brother. (you know, the one wearing a laaaaarge hat. Pew ! it’s really dark and foggy in this forest, uh ?)
Article 6: I shall not foolishly apply popular sayings like “abundance of goods does not harm” and would not consider multiplying bad guys means designing a resourceful game. So a game in which players successively face with vampires (because of the mansion), zombies (because of previous visitors), Goblin (just movin’ around), Indian spirits (the ruins of the graveyard, you know), a demon (because of the dark occultist), prehistoric men (obviously due to time travel), poisonous plants (because of the wicked herbalist), severe illnesses (because of the mad scientist), crazy psychopaths (because of the evil psychiatrist)… All this on the sole Friday night, is not an creative LARP.
Article 7: I will not make up a flagrant lack of plot, consistency and inspiration with so many gross and shameful coincidences.
Article 8: Even (or especially) if I worship Lovecraft and his followers, I shall try to respect their creations and will not use the supernatural as infallible answer to all my script inconsistencies.
Article 9: I would have some compassion for my players and will avoid an end going down in the drain, like: “All this was just a dream, you know, that’s why the story looks like anything, but for roughly staying two days in the shoes of a character that has no real existence, you were great, guys!”
Part Two: About the characters
Article 10: My characters will have a true personality and will not be described with just a simple list of facts or worse, only skills.
Article 11: My characters will have understandable reasons for their past actions. (not to just assume all that sh*t falling from the sky without any coherence with their personalities, just “to see how they get away” and because “they enjoy the challenge”)
Article 12: If my scenario plans spectacular twists or a change of focus, people will not be forced to further get excited about what made the character’s initial interest. Thus, if a serial killer (or Cthulhu, never say never) begins to methodically terminate people, we will not reproach the player, searching for his shawl, the lying around one that grandma knit with love, to stop looking.
Article 13: Commonly known as “Girls and Guns Theory”: I shall not give a complete arsenal of sophisticated weapons to a female player for her to forget her character is nonexistent.
Part Three: About character sheets
Article 14: I swear on my next seductive character’s charisma points to write my character sheets BEFORE casting players. For the first session, I can completely imagine Bob in the role of the stuttering perverse neighbor. Since Bob has no chance to play on the second session, it could be wise to propose a real character to the next player. By the way, if Bob is sick of always playing the stuttering perverse neighbor, maybe he would appreciate a real role, wouldn’t he ?
Article 15: Under penalty of forgetting my costume in a 18th century LARP, I promise to write my character sheets without copying over each other. (or at least, I’ll be super clever and will not forget to switch some pronouns)
Article 16: I also swear to send character sheets to players BEFORE the eve of the LARP. (I will NEVER content myself with one oral summary in a bar because I had no time to finish it, although I remember it well… Nor after the game, nor just because I’ve finished it two hours after the game starts, “Because of your costume, I could not recognized you, you know. Too bad.”)
Article 17: Even though I always dreamed of a great writer career, I shall not use completely absurd tenses for stylistic effect or promoting forgotten modes of the French language (French DO NOT need anyone to save themselves*, thank you anyway). Example: We avoid the second person plural preterite, because sentences like “[**]” does not create an immersive feeling. If you have to, at least combine them correctly !
*Translator’s Note: Hi guys, it’s me again ! Well, this is a kind of Politically Incorrect, and is absolutely irrelevant to the meaning of this manifesto. But it was also a unique opportunity to give an international humorous dimension to this Pact, regardless of its true intentions. Thank you for your attention.
**Translator’s Note: Back so soon just to tell you the chance you have not to endure french tenses. Really. Sometimes beautiful, but mostly useless, and in this particular context, untranslatable. Have a good day.
Part Four: About the course of the game
Article 18: We vow oath, promise, spit, under penalty of sleeping in a tent during the rainy season, to abstain ourselves from launching inscriptions (and especially to set the date of the LARP) before writing the game is complete. And yes, who cares if there’s three months of waiting for the place of the game, it will leave me time to refine the addenda, and to reconnect with my family life, going to the movies, socializing again, or think about a next project.
Article 19: We swear, under penalty of walking barefoot in the mud, not to reset the game in an abusive manner, especially when players have to replace in a particular location they do not have time to reach before the game resets.
Article 20: As far as reasonable, I will try to avoid the use of game mechanics causing characters deep losses of memory or I will give the player a way to handle the situation other than “Well there ! Actually, you do NOT remember anything of what happened since the beginning of the game. OK ? Great. Now go back to play.”
Article 21: I forbid, under penalty of paralyzed-deaf-silent-blind-locked in the cellar character, to create substitutes characters in 30 seconds in case of death. (“More hit points ? How about playing a … uh … old peasant who was passing by ? Indeed, she’s your disappeared twin sister, thirty years older, with NO memories. But you’ll see, once involved, it’s coherent. Want a M-16 Rifle ? I can do that for you)
Article 22: I will never give a player a character on the pretext that “That’s funny … and it changes”. I will think to the player who will play a deaf mute paralytic for 48 hours, and will give him serious ways of compensation if I decide to maintain it. I would create a character not only because of a name that makes me laugh, or because of an psychological oxymoron, like : “and if a player was a psychopath … phobic of the dead ? hahaha can you imagine the complexity of the character ?”
Nota bene 1: In case of a brilliant and creative approach, we reserve the right to break this pact at any time without prior notice.
Nota bene 2: No manifest is done in 22 … the next 3 articles are yours.