Blood Aria uses the Blood & Tears rules for Houses of the Blooded as its core rules. For all other rules not covered by Blood & Tears, it uses the rules in Houses of the Blooded. The following are additions, changes, and clarifications from these two books.
Each event characters may choose a number of Advantages appropriate to their phase from their main character. Characters may also choose to bring along up to three resources (plus extras if other advantages allow for it). The only restriction is that characters must actually possess the Advantage taken along. For instance, a character who has no resources in their stockpile cannot take any resources to an event. Characters may choose to lie about their character’s ability on their character sheet, but only in a downward direction. For instance, someone with a Beauty of 3 may choose to take Beauty 2 to a party, but not Beauty 4. Once this choice is made, however, it is in place for the entire event. Someone who has chosen to take along Beauty 2 may not suddenly use their full Beauty of 3. While different advantages can be chosen for each event, including scenes played out between primary games, characters are encouraged to keep a “default” character sheet on file for ease of printing.
Bloodswords are Level 5 Artifacts. While there may be lesser magical weapons that provide some bonuses to combat, a Bloodsword is a special thing, crafted uniquely for the wielder. The creator of a Bloodsword must know The Sword ritual, and have a resource of Orichalchum to expend on crafting the sword. Full details on the Bloodsword rules can be found at the Houses of the Blooded Design Blog.
Bonus Style can be earned in a number of ways. Those who come in costume to a primary game will always earn Bonus Style, as will those who help set up or clean up before and after, those who help facilitate events, and those who bring food for events. Donating props, costumes, and other materials will also earn bonus style. Those who recruit new players and facilitate bringing players to the game earn bonus style. Those who add to the atmosphere of the game by posting character backgrounds, running scenes and events outside the primary game, and encouraging roleplay on the forums earn bonus style. Staff may also grant further bonus style at their discretion.
When making Art or Opera a resource must be expended that is appropriate for that form. Thus, making a stone sculpture requires stone, while making an elegant sword requires metal. Luxuries can only be used for Art or Opera if no other resource applies (i.e., for crafting poetry, or a song). Since Opera has many requirements for a production, it always requires a non-luxury resource be spent. Opera still requires an additional luxury resource be spent as well.
Only Staff may call down Doom on a character. Each artifact carries with it a Doom which may be used once per season. Doom is called after all style bids are made, and the Doomed character loses all style bid and still loses the challenge.
Blood Aria uses a hybrid of the Friendly/Cutthroat game rules. The games themselves are friendly. The campaign, however, is not. Main character sheets may be kept secret, known only to Staff, however the advantages picked for the game will be present on the LARP character sheet which must be clearly visible at all times. The disposition of a character’s province is kept secret, though it is revealed to those with successful Spy Networks as per the Espionage rules. Characters signing a contract can choose whether the Contract goes on display in the Hall of Records (which should be the case for most contracts), or whether the Contract is kept hidden. It is impossible for Staff to properly police metagaming in a LARP setting, thus a level of secrecy is provided for that purpose. However, players are reminded that the best stories come when the players of enemies work together to craft an operatic tale, and so players are encouraged to divulge their character’s motivations, backgrounds, and secrets OOC so other players can play off of them.
Each real-world month there will be at least one “primary game”. That is, a game that takes place at a party or other Ven social gathering, containing events and opportunities. However the Blood Aria campaign is ongoing. Do you want to host a small gathering for Ven? Do so! Do you want to strike up a conversation in-character with Ven on the street? Do so! The only restrictions on these events are that no challenges (i.e., “I Insist”) may be made unless there is a player-judge or a member of staff present. In addition, staff must be aware of all duels and murder. Though this does not necessarily preclude these from happening outside of the “primary game”. If you have encounters with other Ven outside of the primary game, report them to staff, or post them publicly. In addition, report any style transfers so that character sheets can be adjusted. If staff feels your scene added to the game, they will grant the participants in that scene style.
Leaving the Game
Sometimes a player cannot stay until the end of a game. That is fine. But before leaving a primary game players should ALWAYS check in with staff, report their current style and resources, and turn in their character sheets. This is vital so that staff can keep track of the character’s current style, as well as anything that happened during the event. Players who do not do so force staff to “estimate” what happened at the game, which may be wildly inaccurate.
Negative Aspects are indicated with stickers. A red circle with a number inside is an injury of that number’s rank. A white sticker with a number and description on the front of a player is an insult of that rank. A white sticker with a number and description on the back of a player is a rumor of that rank.
Player Judges are players who have shown themselves to be adept at the rules, as well as being helpful to other players. They have proven themselves to staff, and staff allows them to preside over certain challenges. Player Judges may preside over any non-combat challenges without further permission from staff, either in or out of the primary game. Players should keep in mind, however, that Player Judges have characters of their own, and are not full-time staff. Player Judges may not preside over challenges involving their own character. Player Judges are expected to report any truths established by challenges they preside over.
Poison resources are unrefined, and thus not lethal to Ven. Because of this a Poison resource can be destroyed to poison or cure a Ven, with no further challenges made. However, an apothecary can refine Poison into one of the Greater Poisons. These poisons cannot be administered so simply. Administering the Poison requires a challenge against the target. The target may use their virtues, but the poisoner cannot. In addition, under the rules of a friendly game the poisoner will be known OOC to those present at the event, and thus may have to fend off many inquiries such as “Isn’t it true that I saw you poison your victim?” Like all other kinds of violence, poisoning can only be done in the presence of staff.
Blood Aria uses the rules for Romance from the Blood & Tears rules. Romances begin at Rank 1, and as long as both lovers present each other with a test that is successfully completed each season, granting alta and 1 style point each, the Romance grows by 1 rank per season until it reaches its potential, at which point it begins to fade. Bonuses to Romance from Spring or the rank of a Party are added after the style points to start the Romance is halved.
Every real-world month is a Season in the Blood Aria campaign. Regardless of how many games and events are played, each character gets their full array of Season Actions each Season. The Planning phase of each season must be submitted by 2 weeks after the primary game of the previous season. The action phase of each season must be submitted by 2 weeks after the primary game of the current season. So each month a character will submit their actions for that season, and their planning for the next season. The number of dice rolled and the wagers used should be submitted along with any actions that require it (i.e., crafting and espionage). Staff will handle all rolls, including trouble rolls. Season actions should be submitted via the Season Action Form.
The primary mechanic of Houses of the Blooded is all about establishing truths. In a tabletop game this is all done under the auspices of the Narrator, who sees every truth established. In a LARP, however, truths can be established between two characters with little more than a handing-off of style. Thus, staff requires the help of players to keep track of truths. If you establish a truth, report it so it can be plugged into the database. This is optional, but staff has no way of policing whether or not truths have been established unless this is done. As a general rule, truths that are temporary (such as, “Isn’t it true that you trust what I am saying”) do not need to be reported. Truths with long-term effects (such as, “Isn’t it true that you once broke the heart of my sister”), should be. Truths can only be established about the involved characters, the lands they directly administer, and the vassals they directly administer. If a truth would establish something about another character, or a vassal baron’s lands, then this requires a separate challenge made with that character.
Spouses/Children are not included in the Blood & Tears Vassals rules. This is intentional. Spouses/Children do not give advantages in the game itself until they become NPCs, although they continue to have Season Actions as usual.
No Vassal may craft anything higher than their rank.
The three types of Vassals, Single Vassals, Band Vassals, and NPCs, have their season actions handled in different ways. Single Vassals have a single Season Action each Season. Band Vassals have a number of Season Actions equal to their rank each Season. NPCs have one Season Action for their title that their liege lord can dictate. They also gain a number of additional Season Actions based on their cunning, but staff determines what is done with these actions. The liege lord can give suggestions, but the vassal is not obligated to follow them.
All Vassals gain 1 Aspect per Rank. When a Vassal becomes an NPC these Aspects carry over, granting the NPC 3 starting Aspects, but they gain no further bonus points. If they are older than Spring Ven they may gain additional Aspects up to the starting Aspects for their phase. A Master Vassal is created as an NPC, and thus begins with Aspects appropriate to their phase.
Only NPCs may be made Vassal Barons, Counts, or Marquis. As soon as they are assigned their own province they become NPCs fully under staff control, owing fealty to their liege lord.