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LARP / The Darkon Wargaming Club

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Darkon Wargaming Club is a LARP Sword & Sorcery Fantasy game based around Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. Founded in 1985 and built upon the rules of the now-defunct Emarthnguarth Outdoor Wargaming System, Darkon grew from a handful of LARP enthusiasts to almost 2,000 members in 2005, with a small number of chapters dotting the country.

Much of Darkon’s rules were originally based around Advanced D&D rules. Now, however, they have taken off in another direction, attempting to find a happy compromise between styles of fantasy play.


Darkon is divided into countries that take on historical or fantasy cultures as their premise.

The official website for Darkon is located here.

Provides examples of:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Several High Kings have stepped down from the position. Either due to real health reasons, challenges to the throne, or just plain stepping down.
  • Action Girl: The women of the club will fight just as hard as the men.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: The Realm of Darkon is this, to the entertainment of its members.
  • Almost Dead Guy: A player who is "Mortally wounded" is this. The actions they can take is speak, cry out in pain, crawl slowly, and bleed out in 5 minutes or less. They can however be brought back to full health with either a potion or spell version of "Cure Mortal Wounds", or even crawl (or be carried) to the "Hades" revive area, returning to game faster than if they were "dead"
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. Arrows do red damage, which deal two points of damage on armor, and will wound those lacking, or wearing the lower protective value armors, likely taking them out of the fight. Also definitely averted with the Arrow of Piercing relic, which pierces through all armor and shields it may strike, and inflicts a Mortal Wound on the target
    • Zigzagged and Justified though for players with with AR 3 or higher armor, Shields, Stone/Steel/Iron skin spells and abilities, and skilled and aware Monks. AR 3 and higher allows one free hit from red weapons and still have some armor remaining. Shields can be hit all day long by normal arrows and never break. The 'skin abilities and spells outright ignore a number of hits before the protection fades. And Monks have Missile Deflection, which lets them use their hands, feet, or weapons to block most projectile weapon attacks if they are aware of the incoming arrow.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Physical armor, and the "skin" spells and abilities are they only way to take more hits without becoming Injured, Mortally wounded, or dead.
    • Played straight however, with several spells and siege weapons. Ice storm and Entangle will prevent a player from moving, regardless of armor. Fireball and siege weapons, will not only destroy your armor, but in most cases, kill you as well.
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  • Back Stab: Thieves and Assassins have it. It allows them to inflict double red damage with daggers against unsuspecting foes they strike from behind.
  • Badass Army: Every country is basically this, with a flavor of lore to suit just about anyone's taste. The complete list can be found here.
  • Barefisted Monk: Subverted. Monks can wield two minimum length "bar" style weapons to represent unarmed strikes. They're weaker than pretty much any other weapons a monk can use, but provide the advantage that they count as being part of the monk's own body, and means they can remain armed even in areas where weapons are declared prohibited, and can not be grabbed from and stolen to be temporarily used by another combatant.
  • BFS: The maximum size for a sword is 6½ feet long.
  • Blade on a Stick: Featuring glaives, halberds, and spears. Spears and glaives reach makes them great for formation fighting as well as siege and ship battles for defenders, much as in real life. Halberds however, are used by fighters and cavaliers for their ability to break shields after three hits with them.
  • Blue Blood: The Noble Council. In game, they are members who have earned a noble title for either skilled role playing, fighting, or some other way of advancing the game. Out of game, they are one of the three sections of power in decision making for the overall club, such as rule changes.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Played with a bit. Armor in general functions as extra hits a player can take, with excess damage transferring over as wound damage. This is played straight in regard to Slashing(White) and Cleaving (Black) attacks, dealing 1 and 2 points of damage to armor, and the most efficient at dealing damage to an opponent's actual health, regardless of where they hit. Piercing (Red) weapons however are great at reducing armor (dealing 2 damage to armor), but the first wound inflicted to limbs (either from damage being carried over, or from hitting a limb with no armor remaining) is always a light wound.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Justified and enforced. Players are high encouraged/required to call out the color of their weapon type when swinging/shooting with it. Spell casters must finish casting their spells by speaking an invocation line that mentions or implies the spell's name or effects. All this is used to easily identify what's flying at you and take hits accordingly.
  • Chaotic Neutral:invoked The former country of Moot. Some considered them to be Jesters, others Non Ironic Clowns.
  • Character Alignment:invoked Optional, but can significantly change roleplay.
  • Character Level: Gaining levels usually unlocks new abilities until about level 20-25.
  • Charm Person: the mage spell Feeble Mind.
    • And for druids, this comes in the "Nature Love" flavor. Getting hit with this doesn't put you under the druid's command, but does force you to frolic about the field and start hugging trees.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Many of the “evil” countries wear primarily black. Most of the “good” countries wear bold primary colors.
    • Weapons are also color coded to identify what type and how much damage they do. Yellow is bludgeoning, white is slashing, red is piercing. Black weapons are cleaving and always require two hands to use them as such.
  • Combat Medic: Clerics
  • Crazy-Prepared: If you’re a spellcaster, you need to have enough spell balls to be effective.
    • And that's if you're just planning on blasting away with spells! Want to do other tricks? Start stocking up on pouches, headbands of various colors and symbols on them, colored capes, gloves, and special color shield and weapon covers, among other things.
    • Are you planning to go to war and have a siege or ship battle? Hope your country has some mages and siege weaponry.
  • Death Is Cheap: Characters come back to life after a maximum of 12 minutes unless assassinated. Even then, they come back after 24 hours.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Sicarii's back story, they left their former countries due to what they felt were the nobles making power grabs and pushing aside those they respected as the leader. Now wandering travelers, they've even adopted the official nomad brown color normally used for shield covers, as their primary country color
  • Drop the Hammer: While uncommon on the field (See the YMMV page for info on why), warhammers are indeed a weapon option.
  • Easy Amnesia: A player who dies and returns to life in game, can not remember in character what happened during the 12 minutes leading up to their death.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: mostly averted, as in many cases race does not matter.
  • Empty Levels: Most classes stop getting abilities at either Level 10, 15, or 25 in one case. Spellcasters, however, gain more spell points, and gain spell cast time reductions in the form of having to speak fewer words from their spellbooks to cast them.
    • Rangers, monks, and fighters have empty levels in the traditional sense of having large gaps between learning abilities as they become higher leveled.
  • Evil Army: Take your pick.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Players can play any kind of fantasy creature imaginable.
  • For the Evulz: Mordom’s motto: “Hate Without Reason”
  • Genius Bruiser: It’s scary to think how many people in Darkon are doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists…
  • Grappling with Grappling Rules: Grappling rules had to be changed after characters in full-plate insisted on grappling unarmored players.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Spell casters holding a spell ball ready to be thrown, if struck, lose concentration and have the spell's effects fire off, centered directly on them. Many a Mage have had a fireball readied, only to be struck by an arrow from an aware archer. Result: one likely dead mage, and anyone unfortunate enough to be right next to them when this happens.
    • Siege weapons. Did your weapon just misfire in someway that the projectile (a green spell ball/javelin/ballista bolt) failed to launch properly and instead landed near, or in the weapon? Then you, and your two fellow crew members are dead, and the siege weapon is counted as destroyed until mended/repaired.
  • Horny Vikings: The Forgotten Ones
  • Human Sacrifice: Has been known to happen on more than one occasion.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: Fireballs basically do this on normal battle days. Ballistas and Catapult's also have this, sometimes to their own crews in the case of a misfire.
  • I See Dead People: The spell “Speak With Dead” allows the caster to ask a dead body three yes-or-no questions.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Cavaliers are required to wear metal-based armor like Plate and Chain, or no armor at all. While not wearing armor, they are expected to wear garb befitting their rank
  • Ladyof War: There are noble ladies who command forces in the game.
  • La Résistance: The Republic of Harn.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance:
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Downplayed and Averted. Spell casters have a number of rather useful support abilities. Since it takes time to cast magic spells, and leaves the caster fairly vulnerable, in combat magic casting becomes more support blasting, or defensive support oriented. Typically, weapon combat is overall more effective and easier.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: A shield is perhaps the single greatest way to improve your chances of staying alive in Darkon. They range from bucklers all the way to tower shields.
  • Made of Indestructium: The Shield of Deflection.
  • Magic Pants: The spell “Giant Growth” affects everything worn by the caster.
  • Malevolent Architecture: some adventures include a dungeon that may be full of traps, falling bridges, and more.
  • Manly Gay: Arguably, Laconia. They of course were playing off of 300, so…
  • Mighty Glacier: Anyone who is wearing full metal armor. As anyone who can wear such armors can also carry a shield, this can make defeating such a person a team effort.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Where does magic come from?
  • One-Man Army: Some Darkonians could be considered this: Pain, Inox, and Slindar come to mind.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: And yet they all fall back into the idiosyncrasies of Warhammer 40,000 orks.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Pretty much how the fighter's Repair abilities work. The fighter takes the damaged or destroyed gear in question, and mimics hitting with a hammer/foot/fist for a certain amount of time to treat the piece of gear as repaired and ready for use again. Grumbling while doing so, is highly encouraged.
  • Private Military Contractors: Bloody Axe mercenary Company, who adhere to a strict honor code.
  • Puny Humans: Averted, because race makes no difference to your character’s stats or abilities.
  • Put on a Bus: A country that fails to officially field or meet fielding requirements for a number of events is written off as having vanished, with their lands abandoned on the world map.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Teradox Imperium.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Keldar handed over a lot of responsibility in ruling the Kingdom after his player, Kenyan Wells, injured his ankle very badly and could not attend fights for almost a year.
  • Religion of Evil: Some of the religions in Darkon could be considered this. Lolth, anyone?
    • A number of countries in game worship the Demons of Chaos from Warhammer. No prizes for guessing what alignment their characters are.
  • Shields Are Useless: Averted. Shields can take infinite hits from most attacks. Several spells, and certain weapons that the Fighter and Cavalier can use however, can break shields.
  • Siege Engines: Included, and arguably the most powerful tools in the game under correct circumstances.
  • Spell Book: Necessary for spellcasters. To cast a spell in game, a player has to read a certain number of words from their spell book first.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted: Mages receive magic armor that under correct circumstances can be better than some armored characters…without the drawback of actually wearing armor.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Played straight on purpose, to allow more flexibility with player-run adventures.
  • Sub System Damage: Both armor and wounds tracked depending on whether their on a limb (Arms, legs), Torso, or Head. Additionally, the first hit in most cases to an unarmored limb, will only "Injure" (Prevent full use) of that limb.
  • The Alliance: The Northern Kingdoms is in their lore and history, this. Before forming, they were the separate countries of Albion, Chendrolyn, and Sarum.
  • The Fair Folk: Elidor, arguably.
  • The High King: The official title of the High King of Darkon To claim the title, one must be a noble who either defeat whoever is the current High King in one or one combat or a Crown War. Alternatively, they can be handed the crown by a stepping down High King. If the throne is ever left vacant for any reason, a Crown War is declared on the spot.
  • The Horde: Ched Nasad. They even have a position for members specifically called Hordeling. WAAAGH!, being based on Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer40000 Orks, is also this.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Aquilonia hasn’t had a war in years.
  • The Plague: Used as an adventure arc in a recent year.
  • Turn Undead: Clerics can do this.
  • The Usual Adversaries
  • Weapon of Choice: Some players are known for certain weapon preferences.
  • Weird Trade Union: Guild of Fighters, Guild of Mages, Guild of Thieves, Guild of Druids…and lots of others…
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Another adventure arc used in recent years.


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