Curious Pastimes and the Renewal campaign has been running since 1996 and the rules have developed alongside this campaign with valued input from staff and players alike. This has yielded a polished and effective rule system. The central aim of the rules is, and always has been, to provide an exciting, challenging and constantly developing game, which gives the same high quality experience to old and new players alike. So whether you are a brand new player or a seasoned veteran it is possible to get into the heart of the action and have an effect on the game world at every event. The Curious Pastimes rules system has always striven to be simple enough to be understood by all players, a feature deemed necessary for large scale events, and complex enough to allow a diverse number of activities at an event. The ultimate aim of Curious Pastimes is to present an exciting Live Action Role Playing game that can accommodate any type of gaming activity surrounded by a constantly developing plot-line, for every one of its players. In this introduction we would just like to highlight some of the features of the game that are enabled by this set of rules.
At the heart of the Curious Pastimes system is a balanced combat system that offers plenty of choice for fighting styles and a comprehensive health, damage and healing system. The threat of death is real for the unwary and the unlucky. Within the system there is the potential for player versus player combat, with the inevitable repercussions and plot outcomes. Within the system the ongoing plot provides constant players versus monster combat opportunities with skirmishes, adventures, NPC’s, random encounters and mass battles. There are opportunities for everyone to participate in monstering activities and play minor and major monsters within the system so you can experience the wider campaign beyond your character!
Curious Pastimes has developed its system of delivering mass battles since the beginning of the company. There is a comprehensive and broad experience of delivering mass battles both out of character as well as in character considerations. Battles are well organised and are supported by an experienced event crew and professional medical staff. Generally mass battles are player versus monster battles, and this has two major benefits to the player experience. Firstly by playing against a monster army it stops half of the characters in the system being wiped out by the necessity of there being a losing side, and therefore unbalancing the game. Secondly providing a massive opportunity for monstering a battle gives players the opportunity to get into combat even if they play a non combat character. All of the battles are embedded within the ongoing plots within the system. Player actions prior to the battles can affect the general nature and disposition of a battle. Likewise player actions will affect the outcome of a battle, whether players have achieved their objectives or not will have a major effect on the subsequent plot.
The Curious Pastimes game system has three distinctly different spheres of magic that reflect a diverse range of spell casting and player character opportunities. Players can select elements of the magic system to play or immerse themselves in all aspects of magic and its use. Lesser known within the game system there are three subsets of the magical spheres that are being discovered through player role play and in character knowledge. All of the magic effects are finely balanced within the game system so as not to unbalance game play in any way.
Not only is there a personal level of magic within the system but players can also partake in larger magical rituals in order to enable more significant magical effects. The rule system underpinning this is consistent and fair so as not to unbalance the main game. Players who are ritualists are supported by a dedicated referee team that supports the players as well as evaluates their work effectively and fairly. The affects and power of magic items are clearly linked to the magic and ritual system. Items can be powerful but not excessively so. There is a good balance of the amount of items in the game (not too many nor too little). The ritual system allows new items to be created to player specifications.
Players are not constrained to combative or magical careers. There is an extensive set of skills that a player can choose to explore and interact with the world. If you want to play a character that is not combative but skilled in the arts of knowledge of the world then there is a complete suite of skills with which to create that character.
Sitting between magic and reality the art of creating potions and poisons from rare and exotic ingredients is the role of the alchemist. This role demands commitment from the player and allows you to create a diverse array of existing potions as well as developing your own. The rules for alchemy and the research of new elixirs are closely interwoven with the forces that drive the world.
If you choose not to follow the route of creating magic and esoteric items then you might choose to become a crafter of goods and items for use and sale within the campaign. Players choosing to become a crafter can make a wide range of items and develop their own too. This integrated aspect of the rule system is woven into the game world economy through player driven actions.
Players who survive our Renewal event at the end of a year are rewarded with Veteran Skill picks. These picks are skills not available to a starting character, and are dependent on the race of your character. These skills are carefully balanced so as not to unbalance the game and though a character may grow in skill they still need to be wary of the challenges they face. There are several races to choose from within the rules. Each of the character races has their own distinct nature for you to build on and develop as you see fit. It is possible to play variants of the set races and develop your own flavour of character within the game too.
The main thrust of the Renewal campaign is a large scale fantasy world that is generally ruled by player factions. These have distinct and strong identities and provide many different opportunities for players to try different types of character. The factions are supported by Curious Pastimes and are well organised and help to provide specific plot lines to support the game. Factions and groups often have extended internal plot lines that they run at their own events. These faction events are sanctioned and supported by Curious Pastimes. It is possible for anybody who wishes to host a sanctioned event within the Renewal campaign world.
The Renewal campaign has a player driven economy. The finance provided by the factions and the resources available in differing parts of the world mix to provide a rich player driven economy. The game offers players the opportunity to make and create a wide range of goods to barter and sell amongst themselves, thus creating their own supply and demand amongst the player characters.
The underlying cosmology of the Curious Pastimes campaign in which the rules are set is thorough and consistent. Many aspects of the fundamental principles of the world can be experience by players in the game mechanics. The cosmology is ultimately knowable by players through their character actions. Having the principles of the campaign world mapped out players can be sure that all non player characters, monsters and in game occurrences are consistent within this framework. This means that players can research and understand aspects of the plots and beings they will encounter through their characters actions. Not all of this knowledge is known, and it is not likely to be so for some time. Players within the Renewal campaign can be sure that there are plenty of consistent phenomena and conundrums to be resolved for many years yet.
College of Celestial Studies
With such a richly detailed game world there is a band of players dedicated to the study and understanding of the world. Though the College of Celestial Studies is supported by NPC’s its directions and research is completely driven by player actions. The College as it is commonly known provides a valuable source of information within the game as well as an engaging non combat and role-play focus outside of factions.
As you might imagine a game of this size has a myriad of major and minor plot lines running throughout the game. Players can involve themselves in plots large and small, and be sure that their actions will have a part to play in shaping the outcome. Storylines within the game world are driven by a central plot team as well as being encouraged from individuals, groups and factions. Some of these plots might only last for one event, or might last for several years linking and overlapping with other player actions. All of the plot outcomes are carefully monitored for their outcomes and the success or failure of the players is fed back into the world so every plot has a meaningful outcome.
To support all of this activity there is a large and highly experienced plot team that develop and manage all of the plots large and small. In turn they are supported by the faction plot teams that develop specific and directed plotlines for the game. There is opportunity for all players to suggest plot lines for the game, either through their in play actions or outside of the game through their faction teams. As all of the game stories run the plot team carefully monitors the development of the player actions and makes sure the levels of challenge and reward is consistent. The plot teams regularly meet several times throughout the year outside of the events and oversee the continual generation of new and exciting challenges for the players.
Curious Pastimes maintains a large prop and costume resource that it is continually maintaining and adding too. There is a large array of costumes, armour and make up for general use, as well as specialised costumes and large scale props for specific events and storylines. A significant amount of the company’s annual budget is spent on developing and adding to the prop resource.
This is the part of staging LRP events that players rarely see in action but nevertheless make a massive contribution to your experience. Over the years Curious Pastimes has invested significantly in equipment, props and storage. We have a dedicated Event team that has a great deal of experience in delivering LRP events, particularly the health and safety aspects of an event. We have a 24 hour call out first aid crew at every event that has a central base as well as roving teams around the event. The Event team and the Game team maintain communication throughout an event to make sure that the game and the running of the event happen smoothly.
A critical part of any LRP event is the Game Administration prior and during events. The administration team has a good knowledge of the rules and their deployment for effective play. Curious Pastimes strive to keep the rules administration processes as simple and ‘as straightforward as possible for your enjoyment.
The Game and Events
Curious Pastimes events run from 10.00am until 2.00 am every full day of an event. During this entire time plot, monsters and game activities are supplied without pause. The whole of the play area is in character (with the obvious exceptions) and players will find themselves constantly in the action. New players are not disadvantaged and can get straight into the game at their first event and experience just as much action as a regular player. The nature of the campaign cosmology is that every monster or non player character can be affected in some way by regular characters no matter how powerful the opponent is. There are no invincible monsters within the system, just ones that will challenge your role playing abilities to defeat! Over the many years of running the campaign regular Curious Pastimes players have developed a commendable knowledge of the rules and the nature of their role playing is very high. Likewise player costume, props and camps are the result of many hours conscientious preparation by players. Hopefully this introduction will give you a better insight into the opportunities for diverse, deep and rewarding role playing within the Renewal Campaign. All of this is supported by a complex and consistent game world in which your adventures are based. Curious Pastimes has always sought to run a high quality fantasy LRP game that challenges and rewards players in their endeavours, and continue to provide an exciting experience for all concerned. So it is time to turn the page and begin to decide just who you will play within the Renewal Campaign and how you will write your name in our world’s history.
It is possible to run a sanctioned event for your own group with support from the CP office.