Hi, and welcome to Misrule, the Michaelmas 2015 / Hilary 2016 freeform game for the Oxford University Roleplaying Games Society. If you've never played any sort of roleplaying game before, hopefully this quick introduction will answer a few questions. If you're a seasoned player, a lot of this should be familiar to you.

One important thing to be aware of first: you don't need to read this entire website!

There's a lot of material here, and while we'd like you to have read as much of it as possible, you don't need to know all of it to start playing. Read what interests you and what's relevant to a character you might like to play. Good places to start are:

  • The History — How and where has history diverged from the real world?
  • The Character Creation page — a guide to creating a character and bringing them to life within the game.
  • A page relevant to whichever part of the country you are from, and a page relevant to your faith.

How Do I Play?

Misrule is a freeform live roleplaying game — a style of game that sits somewhere between amateur dramatics and collaborative storytelling. You turn up, create a character to play, and then take on their role as you play the game. There are no scripts or lines, no set outcomes to what will happen — just a setting, a bunch of other characters to interact with, and some GMs to make sure it all runs smoothly. Instead of narrating your character's actions during game sessions, or controlling your character through a controller, you actually perform them; you turn up each week, walk around and talk to other characters, make deals, trade news, gossip, diplome, eavesdrop and orate. This doesn't mean you need to be a great public speaker — just be able to speak as your character would.

For various reasons, combat and other harmful activities aren't generally possible during the meetings — if anything unusual has to happen which can't be acted out, the GMs will freeze the scene and describe what occurs.

Most importantly, roleplaying is about having fun and creating stories with other players. Absolutely no experience is required to play the Society Game and there will be plenty of supportive people on-hand to help if you have any questions. Just turn up and enjoy yourself!

What's Misrule?

Every Tuesday during Michaelmas and Hilary terms, players usually meet in one of the colleges - we will let you know which one ASAP. These sessions represent meetings organized by the King's mistress for her agents across the country. At these meetings, players decide the fate of the country through their words and actions — exchanging news and gossip, making plans, and discussing how to manipulate affairs of state. The game is run by a team of GMs who will be on hand, usually playing NPCs, to offer help, advice, information and to keep the game running smoothly.

Each week between sessions represents six months in the game — and that's the period during which your character has the most freedom to act; you can travel throughout the world, take action against NPCs and other PCs, fight, trade and politic! Each week, we ask that players send in a summary of what they want their character to be doing in that month; the GMs will then judge the results of your actions and report back to you on how everything went.

There is a system for these downtime actions, detailed here — but don't feel you need to memorise it all. We won't be accepting downtime actions for the first week (which will be devoted to character creation), and we're more than happy to help you out if you're having trouble working out what you want to do in the early weeks!

The Misrule setting is an alternative history fantasy fiction, exploring what would happen if the Fae and Gods were more tangible than in our world, and what a group of misfits from the lower classes would do given levers of power. You will be called upon to solve critical tasks, face unknown dangers, and achieve your ambitions whilst ensuring there is still a country left for someone to rule. To make your task easier, you can look forward to “assistance” from the aristocracy — and of course, your fellow conspirators. Players will have the opportunity to influence the future of the country, perhaps even the world whilst wrestling with powers greater than any mere mortal could wield.

Style Guide

  • Misrule is primarily a semi-realistic fantasy setting with an early medieval technology level.
  • The game is primarily about the rise to power of individuals recruited from the lower classes of society — we encourage players to work together to beat the system and seize power themselves.
  • Character death is a possibility. This game will feature significant competition between players, and seeking to eliminate your opponents is a valid tactic, though non-trivial and can invite retribution. Far better to publicly humiliate them.
  • To ensure fun for all, we encourage players to avoid choosing overtly destructive character goals such as “Kill 10 other PCs”.
  • We encourage players to achieve their goals by coming up with interesting and creative plans using the resources they have to hand.

What Does It All Mean?

There are a few acronyms used throughout the website which might be a little confusing if you've never played before. Never fear — help is at hand! And if you're confused by anything, feel free to email us on to ask questions!

OOC or OC — Out of Character. Events and circumstances in the real world. For example, Misrule sessions take place OOC at location not yet determined every Tuesday in term.
IC — In Character. Events and people in the world of Misrule. For example, Misrule sessions take place wherever the Queen Regent calls them.
GM — Game Master or Game Moderator. Us! The team of people who write, run and maintain the game for your playing pleasure. The first place to turn if you have a question.
PC — Player Character. You! The characters that Misrule players create and represent in the fictional world. You will usually play the same PC every week through the course of the game, though you may switch or retire a character if you get bored.
NPC — Non-Player Character. Us again! Important characters (such as other members of the Order of the Queen Regent, ambassadors and the like) who are present at the meeting but played by a GM. NPCs will usually vary week-to-week, and GMs will often play several NPCs during a game session.


There are a few OC calls worth memorising. These are likely to be used infrequently, if at all, during sessions. You may roleplay the effect of being hit with a call in any way you choose, as long as you have regard to the physical wellbeing of yourself and others and the need to respect those around us, i.e. don't scream loudly if we've been asked to keep the sessions quiet owing to being near student accommodation. If you are physically unable to comply with the effect of a call, please speak with the GMs and we will find an alternative effect you can enjoy playing.

  • Rend causes the recipient 10 seconds of agony.
  • Strikedown causes the recipient to fall with their back or torso on the floor.
  • Repel causes the recipient to move in the opposite direction for 5 seconds. If someone is Repelled against a wall, just stand next to the wall for 5 seconds.
  • Curse causes the recipient to stagger backwards. Curses are likely to be specific and for both players to find a named GM who will explain the effects. Or possibly just cackle with glee.
  • Paralyse causes the recipient to become frozen on the spot. This continues for 30 seconds - unless otherwise specified.
  • Mute causes the recipient to become unable to verbalise sound, including speaking and screaming. This continues for 30 seconds - unless otherwise specified.
  • Resist means that you have a means of preventing one or more of the effects above from affecting your character. You are unable to call Resist unless told otherwise by the GMs.
  • Mass means the call applies to everyone in the room.

The below calls will only be called by the GM team but are included here for completeness.

  • Time In This is called to represent that you should commence - or restart - acting IC and treating the words and actions of you and others as IC unless specifically noted. This is usually called at the beginning of session, or after a Time Freeze.
  • Time Freeze This is called when something is happening that cannot be adequately represented by the GMs and others in real time. You should stop roleplaying and pay attention to the GM team: usually they will provide a quick description of what is happening before calling Time In again so that your characters may respond to what just happened.
  • Time Out This is called to signify the end of session. At this point you should stop roleplaying as we will probably need to quickly vacate the room we are using.

What Should I Play?

Having a good concept for your character — including some character goals — is the most important part of creating a character for Misrule.

How Do I Come Up With A Character?

There is a system of skills and quirks to help get an idea of what your character is good at and where they stand — but this is merely a way of representing your ideas. Almost any character can attempt almost any plan — if your character has the appropriate skill, they are more likely to succeed. If you do not have the appropropriate skill, you are not likely to succeed. Pick skills and quirks that support the sorts of things that think your character might do during the game.

For inspiration, try checking out the Factions listed in the menu. You can even build a character around a series of Quirks — for example, who is your Incompetent Ally, and do they have anything to do with why you're being Pursued? The answer could be the inspiration you need to bring your character to life.

Alternatively, turning to fiction is often a good idea. If you’re trying to think of ideas you might like to play with, it often helps to check out books, movies and games with similar themes. While we ask you not to play a character taken directly from elsewhere, there's plenty of inspiration to be found.

If you’re still having trouble, please feel free to ask the GM team or other players for help or inspiration. We can help you develop a character concept you already have, suggest groups which need extra players, or find a concept you can get stuck in to. In addition there’s almost always a veteran gamer or two looking for an in-game cousin, student, spouse or deadly nemesis to play alongside!

What Sorts Of Goals Can My Character Have?

This is a tricky question to answer. We don't want to restrict people's creativity, and we want to work with you to develop an appropriate character concept, but there are a few goals that aren't very compatible with the game. If your character has one of these things as a goal, we'd like to have a chat with you because the odds of you completing these goals are very slim (if not impossible), and you will probably fail. These goals include:

  • Anything pointlessly destructive - e.g. massacring other characters.
  • Inventing anything anachronistic - e.g. nuclear weapons, guns, etc..

So what sorts of goals can you have? Plenty! Most things you can think of that fit in the setting are probably okay. It's also worth thinking about your character's goals in terms of their aims, rather than their specific plans. Some example goals might be:

  • Pushing the boundaries of fae magic.
  • Rising to become Pope, King or Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Restoring the Old Gods to their rightful place of Worship.
  • Becoming the most famous Knight in the land.
  • Gaining a significant estate through services to the crown.
  • Build the largest Cathedral in England.

As always, please contact the GM team if you have any questions. We're happy to talk through character concepts, what is and isn't possible, and answer any other questions you might have.


Costume is by no means mandatory, but some people like the excuse to dress up as their character. Even if you don't want to wear a full costume, it can be fun to use 'phys-reps' (or 'physical representations') for things like physical curses.


The GM team recommend the following sources if you want some ideas of what to play:

  • The Lion in Winter
  • Cadfael
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White, for the Arthurian myths
  • Macbeth
  • Henry IV Parts One and Two: while set long after our time, we would certainly encourage players to consider Falstaff and Hal as interesting starting points for character creation
  • The Lais of Marie de France by Marie de France
  • Euripides' Bacchae or Robin Jarvis's The Oaken Throne both give a fairly good impression of what you might expect for the nastier side of the Old Gods
  • The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo gives an idea of the Fae, as does Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies, or Pratchett's Lords and Ladies

Contacting Us

The GM team can be contacted by emailing

Alternatively, come grab us before the start of a session, and we'll be happy to chat.

new_to_roleplaying.txt · Last modified: 2015/11/16 23:42 by gm_jasper
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