All the game mechanisms outlined in this document will be explained in more detail before the game. We will use illustrative examples to show how the mechanisms should be used in game. There will be no detailed rules described on the website. All meta-game features are presented in this document or will be explained before the game. The basic safety rule is the so called “red stop”. Saying or shouting “red stop” means that you (or another player) wish to interrupt the game. It is an indication that you have a serious personal reason for doing so. If this happens, the game is interrupted for a period necessary to deal with the problem. The mechanism is mainly used if the player feels physically or mentally threatened.
Chapters and metagame instructions
The game will be divided into 4 chapters (Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon). Every chapter will take about 5 hours. The change of chapters will be marked by ringing of a bell. Before the game, each player will get their personal printed document. At the beginning of every chapter (or immediately after you find out that a new chapter has started) you will read your meta-game instruction for the present chapter. The instruction tells you what your character should do in the chapter. Please, follow the instructions if possible. Precision of the instructions varies according to how thoroughly scripted your character is (from a very concrete instruction such as “go and shoot Bob” to a general piece of information such as “black people annoy you more and more”).
NPCs and organizers
You can meet non-player characters (NPCs) during the game. They can appear in the town or outside. Many of the NPCs are Indians. They belong to the world of the game and every player will know what the attitude of their character towards them is. However, you can never be sure how they will react to you. The Indian camp represents a village containing dozens of Indian fighters. Durantown itself also has more inhabitants (over 100), but only your characters represent the important ones or those able to fight. The organizers will also wear costumes, but they will be clearly marked. Some of them will have important NPC functions: Telegraph – The telegraph will be located in one of the houses. It will be operated by one of the organizers representing the operator. You can send a message to somebody via telegraph (your character’s instructions will usually say whether it makes any sense or not) or receive messages from your family, unknown people, your superiors etc. Barber – One of the organizers will be present in the barber’s shop at all times. Feel free to contact them if you face a problem, need to discuss something out of character, inform them that something failed, you’re bored, etc.
Wounds and injuries should be simulated realistically. If you are shot by a gun, you are the one to determine which bodily part you were hit to and how severely. If you are stabbed by a knife or wounded in a fight with the Indians, it depends on where the weapon has touched you. It is strictly forbidden to aim at the head. In relation to the above mentioned division into chapters, these rules apply: 1st – 3rd chapter: If your character is meant to stay for the whole game, your wounds are never fatal and they cannot eliminate you from the game (you do not have to lie in the hospital for the rest of the game, for instance) unless stated otherwise by your individual instructions. The treatment is fast (several minutes) and the wounds heal even faster (2 hours maximum. However, you can be wounded till the end of the game, if you wish so.) 4th chapter: Anybody can be fatally wounded and die.
A “gunfight” is any shooting except for duels. Since the guns only make loud noise and smoke and do not use projectiles, the gunfights will be resolved in a dramatic manner – there is no system of wound evaluation. Every player is to decide if, when, how and how badly their character was hit. If you decide that you were hit, you must of course act accordingly. You must take into account the actual situation and common sense: if you have been shot at from 3 meters without being covered, you have almost surely been hit and you should act as if you were wounded. If you are covered, the shot has probably missed you, if you are covered only partially or stopped covering, you may or may not be hit (it is up to you). If you shoot at somebody’s back, the person may not realize it (they will hear the gunshot but may not know they have been hit) and may not act as wounded. That is why you should avoid shooting in the back or (if you intend to shoot at an escaping character), call to the person loudly before shooting (e.g.: “Stop running, Bohannon, I’ll bring you down anyway!” and then you shoot). If the player does not react anyway, you have missed them. The same goes for all other situations. If you think the person has clearly been hit, but the player is not acting accordingly, do not argue with them or interrupt the game. The one who was (or may have been) hit is always right. You must always mind safety. It is forbidden to aim at the upper part of the body from less than 3 meters. Avoid shooting from less than 2 meters or, if it is unavoidable, aim to the ground in front of the player.
A gun duel is a special occasion with special rules. Every player will be given a number (0 – 3) showing how skilled (fast, experienced…) their character is. (The higher number, the better.) You can take this number into account during the gunfights (if your number is 3, you will only be hit in exceptional situations). Besides that, the number states how good you are at duels. The duel starts by the arrival of the rivals and finishes when the shooting ends. Every number will be assigned a gesture. Each duellist indicates their number by making the gesture at the beginning of the duel and makes sure to see the rival’s gesture. Both will know how skilled the rival is and who should be hit (if the rival’s number is higher, you will be hit and lose. If both of you show the same gesture, you will both be slightly wounded and nobody will win). At any moment you can show the gesture of instant defeat. You will thus let the rival know that you wish to lose, so they are not supposed to be hit. The duels and gestures will be explained in detail before the game.
Brawls and fight with the Indians
The rules for the short-distance combats partially draw from the stage combat (slightly overacted slow-motion hits close to the opponent’s body or face) and real fight – body contact, fighting on the ground etc. is allowed. You can occasionally use a knife (knifes will be provided by the organizers) but bear in mind that by pulling out a knife, the fight becomes a matter of life and death. It happens in exceptional situations, not in ordinary bar brawls. If somebody pulls out a gun, things are getting serious – an unarmed fighter will not go for such a fight; they will rather run or give up. Fights with the Indians – The difference is that Indians can and will use “boffer style weapons” – bows, clubs etc. The wounds caused depend on the decision of the hit player, but they should use common sense and make it look realistic.
How intimacy is played depends largely on the players. Individual players can agree amongst themselves on to what extent they will use the symbolism presented below. Sex between two characters is represented by a hug and a pressing of one or both cheeks to each other (or just putting cheeks close to each other). The cheeks pressed against each other on just one side do not represent sexual intercourse as such, but hugging, kisses etc. – these are activities that can be done in public in some measure. You can simulate sex as such by taking a part of your costume or a costume accessory off or slightly opening your shirt (e.g. demonstratively undoing two buttons, etc.) – depending on your decision – followed by a hug and by pressing both cheeks against each other or bringing them closer to each other (as if you were greeting each other, only without the kiss). Such behaviour is completely inappropriate in public. With previous consent of the player involved you can also use force in playing intimacy (using force in order to hug another character or to touch their face by yours represents an aggressive kiss, or, with both cheeks, rape). Important note: This only serves to symbolize sexual intercourse as such, it is not a method of simulation. It depends on your decision whether you will stick strictly to the metatechniques described, or you will make your acting of intimate scenes more elaborate or dramatic (touching, massage, simulating sex with clothes on). The players of prostitutes are in charge of the level of intimacy when dealing with a customer and they also decide when the scene ends (faking an orgasm or complimenting the customer, etc.). We highly encourage them to get this straight before the game and there will be also time and space during the workshops to do it.