GM: Paul Beakley
Players: Alex Roberts, Krin Irvine, Jeremy Tidwell, Tomer Gurantz, Andy Munich, Sean Nittner, Jahmal Brown, Erik Bell, and Cate Hirschbiel
I was super sleepy Friday morning and planned on sitting the slot out, but Inheritance needed two more players, Krin and I were talking, and we decided, huzzah, let’s play! So glad I did.
As usual, it’s hard to capture all of what happened in a larp. In part because I wasn’t in every scene and in part because I couldn’t take notes (I was too busy being terrified). So rather than try and retell the story, here are the highlights I remember, sorted by character.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Note, by this point Inheritance has been out long enough that I feel okay revealing some of the secrets within it. If you haven’t played Inheritance before, you can still read this, but just remember, you know what your character book says you do, the rest is there for you discover in play!
Daxo (played by Jay)
Jay was a wonderful Daxo. Compassionate and strong at the same time. He wanted Rán and the Inheritance, but more than either of those he wanted to bring his divided family back together. Those were the words he used and (by the end of the larp) I would challenge anyone who calls my brother a liar!
Daxo arrived on the beach only to be instantly confronted by his father Thorvald. Daxo looked for aid from his mother Fulla but even she asked him to wait inside the house until after the funeral. Emboldened by his parents admonitions, Ring (me!) stepped forward to chastise him as well, but was regrettably without his sword.
When he turned to Gefjon and Tyr, sure that his aunt and uncle would support him, they also cast him away. With only his boon companion Arvundil to support him, he eventually retreated to the longhouse. He tried to come out once more but was again scored!
Inside the at the feasting hall, though Ansgar offered his chair to Daxo, and Fulla told all that he would be welcome at the table, it was clear that nobody wanted him here! Try as he might, each time he opened his mouth, someone was there to shut him down.
That night however, fortune changed for Daxo!
He visited Rán in her sleeping quarters (at the foot of the bed, while his brother Ring was secretly whispering to her parents in another scene, so good!) and told her of his affections. Though she said she only loved Baldr, she considered his words carefully when he said he sought to bring the two families back together. She offered Daxo a text of the gods to see if he was worth. He was to meet her in the morning and submit to her test!
He then made his way to Ansgar, who told him that his highest calling was the mission. Even if some (read: Thorvald) had to die, God would forgive. Spreading his word was all!
He spoke with his mother, who urged him to leave in the morning before the will would be read. Fulla told him that Thorvald would come to God one day, but not this day. Daxo needed to give her more time! He would hear none of that. She told him that his actions would kill her…
Finally he was met by his brother Ring (that’s me!) and offered a peace, at least of sorts (we’ll talk more about that in the Ring section), but he would not leave.
On the Beach
In the morning however, with his boon companion at his side, he met Rán on the beach to submit himself to her test. When he realized the drink she handed him was poisoned (she would not call it such, said only that it was a test of the gods). After much discussion with Arvundil he finally decided that he would put his faith in his own god and drank the poisoned mead…
Fulla (Played by Jeremy)
Jerry has got to me one of my favorite players for just one reason. When he turns the emotion on, it’s all the way. He blew me away as Arvundil when he courted Rán in a Lovelorn Inheritance and he did it again today!
Sending Daxo Away
A major theme for Fulla this game was trying to save her family by preventing them from drawing swords on each other. And so, at funeral (and many times later as well), when she saw that Thorvald was wondering if he should have just killed Daxo instead of exiling him all those years ago, she sided with her husband and bid him wait for them in the longhouse, abstaining from sending grandfather his prayers.
This is my table!
During the feast Fulla struggled to keep peace in her home, and eventually sent Ring and Rán to walk on the beach (followed by Arvundil) to remove some of the “youthful” energy from the table. She struggled the most however with Gefjon, who refused to acknowledge her words (this took incredible self discipline form Tomer mind you, when someone calls your name to just pretend that you didn’t hear them at all, is incredible). When she finally did gain the Seiðkona’s attention and asked why she was acting so disgracefully and was only told that while the Exile still lived Odin’s will was not complete! Oh wow.
My life for a husband that would listen
That night Fulla spoke with Thorvald in bed and tried, all that she could to hint at the idea of conversion “Do you know, they have this practice where they pour water on you?” Thorvald however was like a mountain that would not move “Wife, do you have a fever? You sound like you have a fever.”
She also met with Ansgar that night, the scene described below!
Sacrifice for her son
When Fulla arrived on the beach and found Daxo breathing only faintly, she demanded that Rán tell her what herbs she included in the tincture so that she could fashion a cure. However before she could administer it, Thorvald took the healing herbs from her hand and cast them into the sea!
Gefjon tried to assuage her that this was a message from the gods. She embraced the grieving mother and held her close but her words only enraged Fulla further. She took Gefyon’s ritual dagger and tried to plunge it into the Seiðkona’s heart. She was too slow however, and Tyr came to his wife’s aid, turning the dagger back on Fulla and slaying her!
As she lay dying, believing that Daxo was to die as well, she beckoned for Ring (that’s me!) and whispered her final words…
Ansgar (played by Alex)
Quiet and Patient, Ansgar was always their for his flock…to remind them of their duty.
When Gefyon first began the prayers she asked Thorvald what he was doing here and Ansgar quickly responded “Do not worry. Your ways do not offend me.” So good! And yet, Daxo’s appearance was so unwelcome that when Gefyon had only seven prayer sticks to give, she gave one of them to Ansgar, who silently crossed himself before throwing it into the fire.
Ring (that’s me!) thanked Ansgar for keeping his words to himself (Ring isn’t all that smart).
Dinner in the Great Hall
At the table, when so many objected to Daxo’s presence, Angar quietly gave up his seat for Daxo, which presented enough pressure that Fulla was able to seat all of them. He did not raise his voice but offered quiet reassurance to Daxo as the meal continued.
Council in the wee hours
Asngar hardly had a chance to sleep he was visited by so many members of the family. Many of which wanted to see the will!
When Daxo arrived Ansgar counseled that Daxo was here for a reason, to save the family and show them the light of Christ, regardless of the cost. Can I just point out here how devious Alex was here. Never did Ansgar say a word in anger or directly encourage violence, but when Daxo said he could see no other way but through more kinslaying, Ansgar consoled him that God would forgive all sins. So good.
Later he found Fulla in her prayers. And this, mind you is the BEST SCENE I’VE EVER SEEN IN INHERITANCE. Fulla also asked for guidance but instead of being comforted by Ansgar’s prudence she was enraged by his dispassion. “Don’t you see, my son will die, or my husband in his stead!” Ansgar was level and calm while Fullu was brought to tears and finally threatened the priest “If my son dies a martyr, so will you!”
Arvundil (played by Cate)
Cate’s Arvundil was a true boon companion to Daxo, but at the sight of Rán his heart was conflicted!
A brother in arms
At the funeral and in the feasting hall, Arvundil stood by Daxo and pledged to defend him against all threats…
A contender for Rán’s affection
…However, when Ring (that’s me!) asked Rán if she would walk with him on the beach rather than hear more of their family bickering, Arvundil followed soon after. He found Ring on the beach promising Rán the world but able to deliver her nothing. Arvundil just took his time practicing with his sword on the beach, showing of his prowess until he finally distracted Ring enough to challenge him, where he scared Ring away, afraid for his life.
Alone with Rán he courted her as well, but she told him that he was a stranger to her and like Ring, if he wanted her affections he’d have to prove his worth.
Council for his Friend
On the beach, when Daxo presented the test to him Arvudil tried to offer the best counsel he could. “You could take what you want by force, you don’t have to submit to this poison”. But when he saw that Daxo could not bring himself to further kinslaying he suggested that this was perhaps the best choice after all, to let the gods decide.
Rán (played by Erik)
The people in Rán’s life spent most of the funeral trying to tell her what to do and Rán was having none of it! She respected her mother and came to her for guidance but she was making her own decisions. This came up over and over again and it was great.
When Ring (that’s me!) tried to sequester her so he could profess his love to her alone, Rán responded that her place was with her family, and that he should talk less (and presumably listen more!). Eventually when Fulla bid them to walk on the beach together she consented out of respect for Fulla but had no time for the foolish Ring. “You say you’ll bring me wealth and honor but these are just empty words, promises and nothing else. Prove to me your worth and then I will consider you!”
We have a very fun cut scene that started with Daxo approaching Rán in the night and asking her to marry him to mend the wound he caused when he killed Baldr. She considered him and told him if he proved himself in the eyes of the gods she would accept him.
We then cut to a scene earlier with Rán talking to Gefjon in the middle of the night and asking her for herbs that would poison a man. The discussed what this would mean and Gefjon, after much consideration, gave her the herbs.
We cut back to Daxo asking if he should bring his sword to face the challenge in the morning and Rán telling him it would be unnecessary!
The Gods test unanswered
The next morning when Daxo drank the poison and collapsed on the beach, it was clear that he was near death but was still holding on. When asked how the gods (and Rán) judged him, she said that it was yet to be seen. The test was not over!
Thorvald (played by Krin)
Thorvald was often quiet, but incredibly stern. He seemed to regret exiling Daxo ten years ago and wondered if he should have just killed him instead. At Fulla’s behest he stayed his temper, but only for a time.
Was clearly no place for Daxo and Arvundil to come, but as long as they kept their distance he tolerated them. Barely.
At the Dinner Table
Thing were not much better. He scolded Ring (that’s me!) for talking out of turn and generally made it clear that Daxo had made everything worse with his presence!
On the Beach
In the final moments, it was Thorvald that determined the outcome for all of us. Daxo poisoned and unconscious and Fulla slain, he turned to Gefjon and Tyr and told them they must go. They were family, but Tyr had slain his wife and if there was to be no more bloodshed they must go…but Rán would stay. She would be protected and marry if she chose to.
This dismissal, however was interrupted when Ring (that’s me!) was called over to hear Fulla’s dying words “The priest… he cast a spell on me and made Daxo kill his brother. Only as I die is his Christian magic broken!” No sooner had she said her dying words than Ring called for his father to slay the priest for ensorcelling his mother and brother!
Thorvald for once had perfect clarity and fell his sword upon Ansgar, fulfilling Fulla’s prophesy that the priest would be martyr!
Thorvald took the will, which now only Rán could read, and tore it to pieces. Anything touched by Ansgar was full of lies and deceit. He would grant the inheritance as he saw fit!
In Need of of a Wife
After Ring (that’s me!) was granted Grandfather’s longship and sent to go viking with Daxo (should he recover) and Arvundil. And after Fulla and Tyr had been dismissed, Thorvald turned to Rán and said “I’m in need of a wife”. What in the Hel, dad? Oh, it was so good!
Tyr (played by Andy)
Andy’s Tyr wanted to die a berserk but knew that time had passed.
No room for Daxo in his heart
Though he favored Daxo in the past, Tyr heeded his wife’s wisdom and believed it was Odin’s will that he should have died. While he wanted to give him a second chance, he would not betray his brother Thorvald to do so!
No much love for Ring either
The demanding but cowardly Ring (that’s me!) was no better in his eyes. Ring was not worth of Rán but at least he was no kinslayer. When Ring woke Tyr in his sleep to ask for aid in defeating his brother, Tyr told him he must prove himself, he must do the “deed”, but clearly Ring was not sure what the deed was exactly (Ring wasn’t all that smart), though he suspected it was fight his brother, which he really didn’t want to do. “I want to go to Valhalla with Grandfather…just not yet.”
Tyr had no time for the impetuous young child and so he stalked off… and when he returned the boy was trying to creep into bed with his wife! Only his love for Thorvald stayed his hand as he sent the young man scurrying out of his bed chamber!
I know who you are. You’re me!
Tyr found Arvundil on the beach just before dawn (nobody sleeps in this house!) and confronted him. “I know who you are. Because I was you!” Arvundil protested that he would not be wounded like Tyr, that he would die in battle and Tyr only scoffed that he also had many plans when he was young, plans that turned to ash. It was such and incredible dressing down. “I still have two good eyes and I can see you for who you are. You’re me!”
Gefjon (played by Tomer)
Gefjon has so much power in the game. She speaks for Odin, she has the ear of Tyr, she commands the respect of her daughter, and she is positioned to shame Thorvald for his mercy on Daxo. She is one of the characters that can easily run roughshod over the rest of the group if the player chooses. Instead Tomer opted to give everyone a bit more breathing room and let their own conscience torment them.
Though Gefjon initially protested Asngar’s presence at the funeral, she made a point of giving him one of the prayer sticks in lieu of allowing Daxo to say farewell.
Offending her host to illustrate their offence to the gods
When the families broke bread Gefjon made a point of ignoring Fulla until Thorvald finally stepped in and demanded that she explain why herself. “Why should I pay heed to you, when you do not pay heed to the gods?!?” Oh, it was such a good setup! Because of course Thorvald should have slain Daxo for murdering Baldr and that he hadn’t and worse that he let him into his lands and that Fulla let him sit at her table, furthered the disgrace.
Counsel for Ring and Rán
Though she thought little of Ring, if he could slay Daxo, that would set things right. However the coward (that’s me!) didn’t want to face his brother, and instead asked that she weaken him with poison so he would have a better chance. The Seiðkona would not reward him with an answer, even though she was preparing the herbs that very night for her daughter Rán! (Partially this was due to the fact that we were doing cut scenes back and forth, but it just made Gefjon seem all the more cryptic and wise!).
The strongest of us all
In our epilogue scenes Tyr and Gefjon revealed that their exile from Thorvald’s lands drew them apart. When Tyr did not die a Berserk she was disappointed but it made her stronger for it. When he was banished by Thorvald, Tyr withered away further until there was little left of him, which forced Gefjon to become stronger still. She became known far and wide as a great Seiðkona!
Ring (played by Sean, that’s me!)
What is there to say about his impetuous 23 year old with his head in the clouds? I’ve played Ring before, the first time I played Inheritance, and I know what brave and bold Ring looks like (that’s me lying on the ground that picture!). I hadn’t orginally planned to play him but Alex and I swapped character and it was the BEST THING EVER. First off, she played a much better Ansgar than I ever would have, and second, it gave me a chance to play a very different Ring than I had in the past. My Ring wanted to be brave and honorable, but at his heart he was fearful and knew that his brother would best him if it came to blows. A combination of this cowardly nature and my frequent adjustment of my attire (my scarf was a great prop for this, but I also kept not having my sword, or having it and then putting it down and then saying “if I only had my sword”) made Ring into some delightful comic relief (both for me as a player and for the rest).
Talking to Rán at the table and seeing her disdain for me, then having it come to a head when I pledged myself to her and she told me my words were empty promises, then only moments later showing how right she was when I was chased off by Arvundil!
That night I crept into the bed chamber of Tyr and Gefjon to seek their aid in fighting Daxo, even going so far as to try and seduce Gefjon to gain her aid (bad choice Ring!). Both Tyr and Gefjon kept saying “you need to the deed” and I just delighted in not being 100% sure what the “deed” was but expecting it was fighting Daxo which I was terrified to do!
Looking for another way, I then made by way to speak with Ansgar in hopes that he could give me insight into speaking with Daxo. I didn’t know that Daxo had converted but I had seem him defer to Ansgar earlier and though maybe I could capture some of his authority. I didn’t, but at least gained the wisdom to speak with Daxo.
Speaking to Daxo was probably my favorite scene. Ring found him on the beach just before dawn, as he was preparing for Rán’s test and tried once more to get him to leave. Daxo claimed that he wasn’t here for grandfather’s inheritance, so Ring asked why he was even there (again, Ring isn’t that smart). Daxo said he wanted to re-unite the family which just couldn’t stand, but Ring was unwilling to take up arms against his brother. This such a great scene for me because there was so much going on (at least in my head). On the surface Daxo was an immutable force that would not be deterred by Ring and Ring was a helpless wind battering against his bulwark and constantly being deflected by him. Literally I’d charge up to him and then turn away just as quickly, adjusting my scarf all along.
What was happening underneath the surface though was that Ring was starting to believe in Daxo. He would not tell Ring why he killed Baldr but did say that he did it to protect their mother…and though it went against everything Ring had been told, it rang true. This was probably in part because of how amazing Jay was at portraying Daxo.
Though I never had a chance to speak with Fulla before the final scene (that turned out to be a good thing!), when she told me that she was under the priest’s spell, it all clicked for Ring. Though he was wrong, it gave him the clarity to stand against Ansgar and with his brother. It was so great when Thorvald, perhaps because Fulla had just died and he had slaked his bloodthird on Ansgar, was willing to stay his hand against Daxo because Ring stood by his side. Yay, the brothers united!
Pictures from the Game
What could have improved
I’m concerned that I was back-seat GMing too much. I love this game a lot and when I love games I get excited and when I get excited I blurt things out. Paul was fine with it, but it’s an instinct I’m working on tempering so it doesn’t keep earning me fate at my friends expense.*
This game was so great, but some scenes stood out in particular
- Thorvald and Fulla in bed speaking of the possibility of Christianity “Wife, do you have a fever?” “Yes, I think I must.” “It sounds like you do!”
- Daxo and Ring on the beach at pre-dawn, Rings boats being deflated and Daxo’s words finally being heard.
- Fulla turning on Ansgar and re-uniting her family with her own death (and his).
- In our epilogue, Asngar being made a saint for his martyrdom, and his relics being held up with the greatest honor.
- The Shakespearean creeping through the house at night. At the head of the bed (one scene) Ring spoke with Gefjon and Tyr, at the foot of the bed Daxo tried to make peace with Rán!
- Finally, the scene that broke my heart, and where Fulla was begging Ansgar for some relief from the torment of killing her own son. In her mind Daxo’s hand that night was her own and it was she that killed Baldr. Now she thought another one of her sons, or worse yet, her Thorvald would die without accepting the baptism, and that she would never see them in heaven. Ansgar’s response was so cold that it shook her out of her sorrow and into a fury. She composed herself through her tears and told Ansgar that if her son died a martyr, so would he! Wow, that scene was so amazing!
Paul had a great knack for highlighting important scenes. Even during the acts where concurrent discussions where happening, when he sensed one was important he’d let us know and we’d all stop to watch it. That was a great.
Everyone’s delivery of their characters, so spot on. I love this group and Paul brought out the best in us with his subtle prodding!
Getting a chance to play Ring again with a very different approach, it was like playing New Choice, albeit across a five year span.
* Sorry, a Burning Wheel joke.