Story

The war is about to end. The dust settles on the battlefield as King Victor Redmoor is caught inside Moon Keep on the losing side of the war. The- negotiations, the tears and the drama are bound to follow while everybody struggles – some for justice, some for revenge, and all for their future.

The Ladies and Lords of The Starlands meet each other at last, after a year of war has ravaged the lands and left the principalities’ economies, fertile lands and relationships in tatters. Family bonds, old friendships and plans of strategic weddings are shredded, while long held rivalries, beastly war crimes and mutual hate has ended up splitting the realms in two factions. But maybe there is also love, hope and future out there for those who seek it…

What will you play?

You will play as either a noble or a commoner in a low-fantasy nordic larp. There is a central conflict with two sides of players – one part has lost the war, and the other has won. But the essential elements are the personal stories across the houses and factions of the war. The custom designed setting is merely a framework and contains both matriarchal, patriarchal and egalitarian Houses. So despite the midieval feel, your experience won’t be limited by the gender of your character. 

On what terms can each side get their prisoners out? How will members of the losing side be punished? Who will marry whom? How does everyone move forward from here?

Within this framework, there are numerous themes of love, horrors of war, loss, fear, anger, abuse and friendship, and we will provide relations that can help you get  the experience you want.

Types of characters:

  • Servants with their own gossip-circles and play.
  • Children of Houses
  • Ladies and Lords of Houses
  • Officers and soldiers
  • /Prisoners of war

Read more about the individual houses at the bottom of this page. 

In this larp, EVERY character is important. There will not be any authority figures outside of play that you have to ask for permission. Here are gathered all the most important people in the world. The servants are all either personal maids, matrons, stewards, butlers or something similarly close to the nobles, so you’ll have direct access to most of them, and essential relationships across classes. As a servant, you have no offgame duties besides the ones you want yourself for your family, and you participate in dinners etc. with the nobles. There will be helpers who play lowly servants, and they will do the general chores. 

In The Starlands, the characters have been living close to each other, either within the castle or outside in the siege camps, for several months, so it’s inevitable that they will have had conversations with each other somewhere along the line across families and class. 

Setting

This is all introductory. There will be a lot more information for the participants. If you have trouble reading this much text, we recommend the podcast “Spoils of War Larp” where the setting is explained.

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The Starlands

The entire world is The Starlands. There’s no other realm than The Starlands and the surrounding seas. The Starlands consists of two half-islands. You can get from the southern part of Sevantier to the northernmost part of House Lynx’ principality Darkfields in approximately six weeks by horse.

The Starlands is divided into nine principalities with each own Lady or Lord. The four western principalities are called “The Independents”, and the four principalities in the East are together known as “The Queenland”. The one principality in the center is called “The Cape”. It used to be an independent principality, but when Lord Victor Redmoor usurped the throne of The Queenland 17 years ago, he reintegrated The Cape into The Queenland, so he would rule over it all. It differs in each principality whether the nobility is matriarchal, patriarchal or egalitarian in succession.

How The Queenland works

The Queenland has been ruled by a Queen from House Moon of Evendale for millenia. The Queen has a mystical status, and everyone in The Queenland agrees that there should always be a monarch. 

More than 1.500 years ago, all the principalities of The Starlands were under the rule of House Moon, before ‘The Independents’ became just that – independent. 

The Queen is a unifying figure who demands respect, and who will interfere in case of strife between principalities and attacks from woodlanders. However, it is important to note that the Queen doesn’t interfere in all small details in the principalities. They all have rulers who are Lords and Ladies in their own right, and the Queen’s status is mostly ceremonial. It is, however, taken deadly seriously by the citizens in The Queenland. 

Only daughters can succeed their mothers as Queen in House Moon, unless there is no female heir. A regent King is not unheard-of in the past, but only in case of no female heirs. That is, until King Victor Redmoor appeared and cast House Moon from the throne of The Queenland and instated himself as King.

How The Independents work

During the reign of Queen Francisca Moon 1.500 years ago, House Bedrock, House Servantier, House Weaver (predecessors as regents of The Winding Vale before House Mantis), House Zemilla and House Redmoor decided to become independent. They fought a terrible war with the rest of the houses and the Queen.

House Styx, House Oakleaf, House Lynx and House Hala (the stewards of Evendale) still fiercely wanted their Queen to rule, and the eventual truce stated that The Queenland only consisted of the easternmost principalities from the end of that war.

The term ‘The Independents’ was invented as a provocation to Queen Francisca and her supporters, but today even some citizens in The Queenland use this exact term as a spite to the westerners. The cultures have grown so different that there is a definite difference between coming from The Independent principalities and The Queenland; until King Redmoor became regent of The Queenland

All The Independents are principalities without any higher authorities to answer to.

Life in The Starlands

People in The Starlands live very different lives, from the highest nobility to the lowliest tramp.

The human body has the potential to reach 200 years of age, but an especially healthy and privileged lifestyle can add several decades to this. In spite of this, it’s only very few who experience this kind of vitality, since many live hard lives and wear themselves out long before that.

A hard-working farmer will feel the effects of their hard work and will be considered (and appear) old at 60, while a well-tended noble will be able to keep their thick hair and smooth skin until they are about 100 years old.

In many commoner communities, rumour has it that it is the noble blood itself that provides the nobility with its youth, and some suspect that they might consume special herbs or mixtures to prolong their lives.

That doesn’t mean that you are not a grown-up until 40 years of age. Most girls can still get pregnant from about 13 years of age, and marriages for children are normally arranged while they are 15-30 years old. It is, in any given case, unusual for a woman to have a child after the age of 80. In effect, the number of adult years before the body starts showing signs of old age are stretched out, especially for the nobles. You can have a physique of a 20-year-old well into your 40ies. The amount of ageing that a body sustains during these decades are reduced roughly by half, compared to the real world. Therefore, the Ladies and Lords of the different houses are of very different age. 

Fertility

Fertility in this setting is very limited, and varies a lot from person to person. A married couple will on average have two to three children during a lifetime, while many – both men and women – experience not being able to reproduce at all. Some select few are, meanwhile, apparently able to have as many children as they want. These people are seen as blessed by Life itself.

As a result of the low fertility, the world is very sparsely populated. The population of all the Starlands consists of about a million people. It’s unlikely to have armies of more than 8.000 capable soldiers. The low number of citizens and soldiers is another reason that Life itself is perceived as holy. Every life matters, as you can read in the description of religion below.

Woodlanders

The Great Sin happened 150 years ago. During this time, woodlanders and city folk lived mostly in peace. But some woodlanders had grown more extreme and full of righteous hatred over the developments for city folk, who had taken more and more of the forests for themselves. Leaders of different groves gathered and agreed to strike at the different principalities. A huge number of cities and villages were wrecked, and only the largest cities and stone castles and houses survived. Survivors were taken as working slaves for the groves.

But the woodlanders were not alone. They had joined forces with Lord Ranos Redmoor (King Victor’s grandfather). In the cape, there was almost complete assimilation between woodlanders and city folk. The understanding between them was great, and there was next to no racism. Even Lord Ranos himself had woodlander-blood a few generations back. Ranos saw an opportunity to make his neighbours weaker and thereby strengthening his own position. Some say that Lord Ranos Redmoor and his kin helped ignite the strife further in many other principalities to be able to invade and expand his power at a later date. However, none of this was ever proven.

Religion

The religion of all principalities (apart from The Mistlands, where House Styx rules), is a religion of life – it is known as the Faith of Life. The expecting mother and father and Life itself is holy, and the murderer is cursed in the eyes of the faithful. The greatest thing you can make of your life is providing room for life and give new life. Fertility – concerning children, but also crops and animal breeding – is subject to great admiration. “The absolute holiness of Life” is respected over everything else.

Quasitors

A priest of the Faith of Life is called a Quasitor. Their main seat is at The Temple of Life, which is led by The Life Council. Quasitors are representatives of life, so to become one, it is required that you have given a life (that is; had a child) either within the boundaries of marriage, or without a marriage to partake in this responsibility. It is always the Lady or Lord of a principality who determines guilt in a criminal case, but the Quasitors pass sentences. They will be crucial in what possible punishments will be necessary in the aftermath of the war.

Mortans

The counterparts to the Quasitors come in the form of Mortans – Priests of Death. Mortans handle funerals and inspect dead bodies as the first people after death has come. Mortans often show up a short time before or after a person dies – no matter the cause. This premonition of death has given them a dire reputation. They can also partake in passing sentences. Only when a Mortan is a part of a council can the sentence be death.

Mistress of the Mist

People in The Mistlands, with House Styx as Ladies, have their own religion, in which they worship The Mistress of the Mist. Most people will only have heard rumours of strange heresy, but in learned circles, some details have been revealed over the years.

The religion is dualistic and resolves around the difference between The Clean Water and The Abominable Water.

Technology

The frame for the setting is low fantasy. There are no guns, and horses are the preferred means of transportation, if you can afford it. Besides from that, you travel by foot. There are no doctors, but there are “healers”. They know of the use of herbs, amputations, leeches and mercury, but nothing more advanced than that.  

Magic

There is no explicit magic in this setting. There is, however, plenty of superstition, and many people feel convinced that especially the forests contain mythical creatures and places. 

Everybody knows for a fact that there are “Woodlanders” in the forests – strange people of another culture, who denounce the way of the people of the cities. Remember: People are afraid of what they don’t understand.

Some people live very long, and they are believed to have extraordinary knowledge of herbs and their use.

The Mortans – priests of death – are thought to draw on dark powers. 

The view on superstition and magic is different from house to house. Magic is mystical and unexplainable – and maybe it doesn’t exist at all.

House descriptions

The side of King Redmoor

The side of Princess Moon

House Redmoor

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Name of principality: The Cape (the last 20 years rulers of The Queenland)

Succession: Oldest child

Alliance in the war: King Redmoor

Name of castle: Castle Redmoor (and Moon Keep after Victor became King)

Because of its advantageous position as the only passage from The Independent Principalities to The Queenland, The Cape has always been an immensely powerful area to hold. House Redmoor is known to be a war mongering House, and very protective of their own traditions, people and interests. They are the most lenient Noble House regarding Woodlanders. The two cultures live side by side in The Cape, and their different ways are honoured. King Redmoor even openly has a woodlander as his closest councillor.

Being led by the King having lost the war causes great insecurity about what the future entails for everybody in House Redmoor.

House Moon

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Name of principality: Evendale (ousted by Victor Redmoor)

Succession: Oldest daughter

Alliance in the war: Princess Moon

Name of castle: Moon Keep (until it was usurped by Victor Redmoor)

House Moon is the ancient House that has ruled The Queenland for 1.500 years. They have an almost mystical status with special connections to the Moon and Life itself. Before the War of Independence, the house even ruled all the Starlands.

But 20 years ago, Queen Mathilda was ousted from power by a hasty war with Victor Redmoor, who became king.
The great house got all but extinguished, but the baby daughter Natascha had been sent to House Sevantier together with a baby from House Hala and is now being pushed back towards the throne by conspiring Houses, primarily Independents. But who can Princess Natascha actually trust?

House Styx

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Name of principality: The Mistlands

Succession: Oldest daughter, a Lady is in charge and is married to several men

Alliance in the war: King Redmoor

Name of castle: Lady’s Hall

House Styx has always had a mystique to it. Most of the inhabitants  follow the ancient religion of The Mistress of the Mist and it is said that they hear whispers from their dark Goddess.

The Mistlands are always shrouded in fog, especially in the swamp areas. The House earns a lot of its money from renting out ‘Lantern Bearers’; elite soldiers and experts on navigating the dangerous and impassable swamps. Without a doubt, the bloodiest skirmishes of the war have been fought in the Mistlands. Thousands of soldiers have died in the swamps while trying to pass through the fog, and even more have been traumatized by the constant fear and paranoia of marching for days without being able to see more than a few feet ahead.

House Styx is fiercely matriarchal and is said to be direct descendants in the female line from the younger daughter of the first Queen Moon. Lady Styx often has two or more husbands, who are also married to each other in a polyamorous marriage.

House Sevantier

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Name of principality: Sevantier

Succession: Oldest child

Alliance in the war: Princess Moon

Name of castle: Rose Hall

House Sevantier are the southerners of The Starlands. They are inventors, scholars and strategists. Whether the art is jousting, wine production or painting doesn’t matter – They will create. This makes them attractive conversation partners and lovers. Not to mention that inventions from the great minds of House Sevantier have greatly improved weapons, hugely impacting the war. They have secretly been the foster House of Princess Nathascha Moon for 20 years, since her family was killed when Victor Redmoor became King of The Queenland. Lady Sevantier is a sister to the late Queen Mathilda Moon and is thereby the aunt to Princess Natasha. The Sevantiers have presented her as an alternative to King Redmoor.

The current Lord and Lady are flamboyant and good company, but the real schemers of the house work behind their colourful presences trying to put Princess Moon on the throne – not only because it’s morally right, but because it’s valuable to have fostered the future regent of The Queenland. Also, they don’t have a child of their own. 

House Hala

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Name of principality: Evendale (vassals to the regent house in Evendale)

Succession: Oldest child

Alliance in the war: King Victor Redmoor

Name of castle: Moon Keep (Stewards for the royal family)

Lord Redmoor made a deal with Lord Hala, who was the steward of House Moon’s lands, Evendale. Lord Hala was sick of Queen Moon’s racism towards woodlanders and thought that Lord Redmoor would do better as a King. 

But Lord Hala is also a deal maker. He arranged that if Lord Victor Redmoor would marry his daughter Vicana Hala, she would be Queen, when he took over regency of The Queenland. Until then, Vicana had been engaged to the (now deceased) young Prince James of House Moon; an alliance that Lord Hala willingly broke. He succeeded in his endevour; Victor Redmoor shunned his wife Lady Sira Zemilla Redmoor and had the childless marriage annulled, so he could marry Lady Vicana Hala. 

House Hala are but stewards of Evendale, but they are essential to any reigning Queen or King.

House Zemilla

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Name of principality: Zemilla

Succession: A son. The heir is chosen among the boys in the family. The heir lies with five chosen women, and those who become pregnant and have a child are now part of his court. When the children officially become grown-ups, one of them is chosen to be the new heir, while their father is the new Lord, and the former Lord abdicates. The mother of the new heir becomes the new Lady of the House, and the other mothers to the heir’s half-siblings become her Second Ladies and married to the Lord as well. The women are NOT married to each other.  

Alliance in the war: Princess Moon

Name of castle: Pantry

House Zemilla is – first and foremost – fertile. They live in the pantry of The Starlands producing grain and greens. But they are also blessed with many children, which often creates squabbles and competition. They have an advanced tradition for succession that most other Houses scoff at. But marrying your child into this house will give the child a lifetime of wealth and plenty. So often, Ladies and Lords will risk a younger daughter’s future for a possibility to become the future Lady Zemilla.

Lady Sira Zemilla used to be married to Victor Redmoor. But after four years of no children, Lord Redmoor had the marriage annulled by a Quasitor council from The Cape, orchestrated by his close advisor, the Mortan Xia. Lady Sira was sent back to House Zemilla, which was a great spite on both her and her family. Merely a week later, Victor Redmoor married Vicana Hala instead.

House Baan

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Name of principality: Starsmoor

Succession: Oldest son

Alliance in the war: King Victor Redmoor

Name of castle: Torment

House Baan rose to power in Starsmoor 20 years ago, when they supported Victor Redmoor, whom they are still fiercely loyal to. The vassal house chose to make sure that the former regents of Starsmoor, House Oakleaf, was thrown from power, so they could take over. They have been essential supporters to the King during the war. Also, they have, quite scandalously, a Mortan that has lived with them for ages. That is incomprehensible for most others – and terrifying. Furthermore, this Mortan is one of King Redmoor’s closest advisors. 

As a house, the Baans have always paced their children relentlessly making sure to push all innocence out of them from an early age. They need to know how the world works: The strongest survive. Baan is a battle-ready house that holds fighting and ambition in high regard. Their soldiers and officers – male and female – are second to none.

House Mantis

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Name of principality: The Winding Vale

Succession: Oldest daughter

Alliance in the war: Princess Moon

Name of castle: Hive Castle

House Mantis are the spiders of the Independents. They are always scheming – and also providing silk and cotton to all parts of The Starlands. 

They have risen to power in The Winding Vale by making themselves more and more useful. House Mantis have only been regents in that principality for two generations, after House Weaver for some reason died out as a house in the female line. Nobody knows if they had anything to do with the demise of Houses in The Winding Vale, but many have suspicions. 

Mantis understands how to weave the family tightly together, but they are challenged by the strange illness their Lady is facing and more or less unruly children. House Mantis has pushed harder than most for putting Princess Nathasha Moon on the throne.

House Bedrock

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Name of principality: Iron Mountains

Succession: Oldest son

Alliance in the war: Princess Moon

Name of castle: Iron Keep

House Bedrock is acknowledged for their fierce fighters, and their enemies rarely stand long against them. The secluded mountains and the cold make them a hardy and quite wild people. They are often the centre of the feast when great houses gather, being loud and demanding attention. Their strong liquors are unbearable to consume for most. They have been lured into the war since they hate Victor Redmoor. Lord Bedrock is a former Oakleaf who was chased out of his lands, Starsmoor, in the Queenland, when Victor Redmoor came to power.

Rural areas of the Iron Mountains are inhabited by clans folk increasingly untouched by civilization. They value ‘The Steel Blood’ above all, believing the people of the mountains to be more fit and able than others. They don’t like their Queenland Lord.

Others

House Lynx

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Name of principality: Darkfield

Succession: Oldest son

Alliance in the war: Divided (Lord with King Redmoor and rest of the house with Princess Moon)

Name of castle: Shadow Hall

House Lynx is an isolationistic house and has been minding its own business for centuries on end. It is in the mountains of Darkfield that Turris Mors – the tower of the Mortans – reaches up as a shadow over the land.

House Lynx rarely gathers with other great houses, and they kept out of the war between Queen Mathilda Moon and Lord Victor Redmoor 20 years ago. Even in the current war, they were very late to react. Lord Lynx had finally given his full support to his King Victor Redmoor, but the younger brother Lord General Vitus gathered all the troops behind him and turned on his brother’s orders. So now Lord Lynx sits in Moon Keep supporting King Redmoor, while his family and people are on the other side, having officially sworn allegiance to House Moon. Many whisper the word “traitor” in either direction, but there is no doubt that Lord General Vitus turning on King Victor Redmoor was adamant to him losing the war.

House Oakleaf (extinguished)

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Name of principality: Used to be lords of Starsmoor

Succession: Oldest child

Alliance in the war: Not relevant, since they are no longer Ladies and Lords of Starsmoor

Name of castle: Torment (now owned by House Baan)

House Oakleaf was before the first war 20 years ago a proud house very close to the house of Moon. They served as stewards and counsellors to House Moon, while always standing by the Queen. Therefore, the House Oakleaf also suffered greatly, when House Moon was overthrown by Victor Redmoor. Few members survived, when the rebellious vassal House Baan chose to stab House Oakleaf in the back to become the new lords of Starsmoor under the rule of King Victor Redmoor.

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