All For One is about making each other look great. Roleplay your every action, respond to everyone else’s action, but expect no response yourself, and you’ll be fine.
However, we’ve got some rules to put a bit of structure onto that. This is Cinedrama, not simulation, and these techniques are simply intended to help people define some of their spotlight time. They go like this.
- Moments of Heroism
- Dramatic Hits
- Formal Duels
- Tags as Mechanics
- Servants and Chores
- And Finally…
You can find a printable summary of the rules here.
Moments of Heroism
A Heroic Move allows a character to have the advantage in any given situation.
If in the middle of a fight, the character can declare “I have the advantage, …” and then explain the advantage they have.
For example “I have the advantage madame, for what you don’t know is that I can fight with my left hand!”
That declaration means that the character will automatically defeat a single opponent unless their opponent spends one of their own Heroic Moves to counter it.
To continue the first example, “Ah, no. I have the advantage, for I know something you don’t know. I am not left-handed!”
Heroic Moves can equally apply in non-combat situations, where they can be used to defeat a single opponent, or to overcome a single obstacle.
For example, if a Cardinal’s Guard realises that a musketeer is in disguise, they can accuse them: “A musketeer!” “I have the advantage,” says the cadet, “for am I not the spitting image of your second cousin Sidney?”
That declaration would mean that the disguise holds, and the Cardinal’s Guard would see nothing amiss.
Likewise, if a musketeer is struggling to open a locked strongbox, a declaration that “I have the advantage, for my Aunt Alicia used a padlock of this very model to secure her biscuit barrel, and I was a greedy child!” would get that lock open.
A Superheroic Move works in the same way as a Heroic Move, but can also apply to a larger number of people or a bigger obstacle.
If a Musketeer wishes to intimidate a group of rebels who are against good King Louis XIII, they might use a Superheroic Move. “I have you all at an advantage,” they might say, “for do I not strike you as an enemy you would never wish to face in battle?”
That declaration would mean the wicked rebels would roleplay appropriately for the rest of the scene, and would decide they didn’t want to fight this character.
A Superheroic Move cannot be countered by a Heroic Move.
Sometimes a character must suffer from a Dreadful Failure. It is up to the player exactly when to suffer this failure, as circumstances permit. At some appropriate time, where they might otherwise have done something truly Heroic, it all goes wrong for them.
“Watch this,” says the cadet to their companions. “I am going to ask the noble to dance! They have refused everyone for the whole evening, but I have a good feeling about this!”
The cadet marches up to the noble and bows deeply. “I was going to ask you to dance,” says the cadet, “but alas, you have me at a disadvantage; I seem to have stabbed myself in the leg with my own sword while bowing. Please call for a doctor, as I currently can’t straighten up without doing further damage. Aaagh. Help me.”
How To Gain And Spend Heroism
All for One is divided into Acts. At the start of each Act, the Servant of a cadre will be given a bag of tokens. Each member of the cadre – including servants – must immediately, without looking, draw one token. That is one moment of heroism – or failure – for them to spend at an appropriate time in this act.
The tokens are coloured as follows:
- White – Heroic Move
- Red – Superheroic Move
- Black – Dreadful Failure
The trainee must not tell anyone else what colour the token they have drawn is – although they can look at it themselves. They keep the token, and when they come to a suitable moment, they have their Moment of Heroism (or Dreadful Failure), as appropriate.
There are more tokens in the bag than there are members of the cadre. It is up to the servant what to do with the rest of the tokens in the bag. If they want to inspire one of their cadets (or even themselves) to further heroism, they can do so with appropriate roleplaying, such as a brisk pep talk; and in so doing they can let the individual draw another token. This could be at any point during the Act, and can be repeated until the bag is empty.
Just to be clear – cadre members can have as many tokens as the servants are willing to dish out. They must take one as soon as the bag is available; they may take more if the servant is willing to inspire them.
Supporting cast characters will also be able to have moments of heroism; however, that’s unlikely to apply to the standard rank-and-file.
Only dramatic hits count. A dramatic hit is one which would look good on camera, and which ‘feels good’. The adjudicator of this is the person taking the hit – no-one else’s opinion counts.
Other hits have no mechanical effect. Feel free to react, roleplay along, even take minor wounds, but they don’t really affect your character. In addition, the head is not a valid hit location; do not count hits to the head.
Each character can take a number of dramatic hits before they are out of the combat for this scene. Being out of the combat doesn’t necessarily mean unconscious, it simply means being unable to continue fighting. Stagger to one side, have a seat and call for a glass of wine, it’s up to you.
Yes, this is subjective. What we’re hoping for here are fights which have a lot of swashing and buckling, repositioning, and the odd flesh wound or two, until a dramatic hit lands.
How many dramatic hits can I take?
A cadet will start with several dramatic hits before being out of the fight for that scene. You will be briefed as to the number before play starts, as it may vary for some characters.
A servant can take one dramatic hit before being out of the fight. However, anyone who targets a servant is hardly honourable, even if that servant is attacking them.
Supporting cast characters will have different numbers of hits depending on their role.
If a cadet is down to one dramatic hit left, then they should remember to act hurt or exhausted. This is a movie; make sure you sell how battered you are getting!
Anyone can, of course, decide any dramatic hit has taken their character out of the fight immediately if they want to.
You may wear any armour you wish. It has no effect on the number of dramatic hits you can take.
Recovering dramatic hits
If a character is out of the fight, they can be revived, which gives them back one dramatic hit.
Every cadet in a cadre can revive any of the other characters in their cadre. This costs that cadet one dramatic hit. i.e. this is essentially giving the other character one of your hits. This revival should be roleplayed appropriately; bucking them up, helping them up off the floor, giving them a drink, ordering them to their feet etc. The roleplaying to revive someone should take at least fifteen seconds.
Every servant in a cadre can revive any of the cadets in their cadre or any other servant, and they can do it as often as they like. Again, this revival should be properly roleplayed; shaking your cadet awake, pouring them wine, giving them bread, asking them for a pay rise. Again, this should take at least fifteen seconds.
If you have run out of hits, you are out of the fight for this scene. Once the scene is over, your character will be restored to full hits – unless, for roleplaying reasons, you want to play out a more long-term wound. A scene break is a shift in place, time, or a relatively long break between combats; encountering several groups of guards when storming a palace would all be counted as part of the same scene.
If you wish to die, you may. But Death is Opt-In. You choose. All For One is not a simulation, it’s Cinedrama.
Heroic Move: All for One!
If any character wishes, they can spend a Heroic Move or Superheroic Move token and rally their comrades using their Cadre Motto.
To do so, put your sword in the air, shout that you have the advantage, and then your motto. The other members of the cadre must clash their weapons together with yours, and respond.
This means that the entire cadre is completely healed.
- A cadet thrusts their sword into the air: “We have the advantage! All for one!”
- The rest of the cadre leap to their feet and clash swords with the first: “And one for all!”
We’d like duels to look good, and to be a big part of the game. We’d also like everyone, no matter their ability to fight in larp, to feel like a Musketeer. And we see formal duels as much about looking cool as about fighting well.
Therefore the results of formal duels are predetermined; it is then up to the players involved to make it look good, before that predetermined result happens.
The sequence of duelling
- The Challenge: One character must, of course, challenge another publically to a duel.
- The Acceptance: The other character must accept! If they don’t, then the duel will not happen; even if the two of them fight, it’s just swordplay, and there’s no prestige to be earned by the duel. They should nominate seconds, and arrange a time. Formally, the challenged character gets to choose weapons.
- Determining the Result: The two seconds should have a quick conversation. If one of the duelists wants to take a dive for any reason (or suffer a Dreadful Failure), or there’s some other simple way of agreeing on the outcome, then great! Additionally, each player may instruct their second to use one or more of the duelling character’s heroic moves. If both use heroic moves, the higher number wins. If your seconds can’t agree, and neither of you spends a heroic move or spends an equal number of heroic moves, the result should be randomly determined by the seconds using a coin, dice, or any other appropriate means.
- Playing out the duel: The seconds inform the duellists of the outcome, privately. Then the duel can commence! It can be as wide-ranging and dramatic as you like, with plenty of reversals; but must end, at last, in the predetermined result. Make it a good show!
If the duel is interrupted or joined by others, it becomes a normal combat.
Brawling in All For One is entirely consensual. We are trusting you to be adults. Blows should not land, physical grappling should be limited. This is cinematic fighting. To emphasise again, this must be consensual.
The sequence of brawling
- The Challenge: One player challenges another by using these exact words: “For you, I have no need of a sword.”
- The Acceptance: If the other player is happy to brawl with that player then they must reply with these exact words: “Then come and take your beating!” Any other response should be treated as a refusal, and the challenger must back down.
- The Brawl: If and only if the challenge has been accepted, the brawl can commence.
You can use a heroic move in a brawl just as you can in any situation.
For example: “I have the advantage, and I’m going to knock you on your well-padded derriere!” would mean the opponent is knocked on their arse and must struggle to get back up.
Languages in All For One are essentially a cheap excuse for entertaining situations to arise. Everyone is speaking French unless they indicate otherwise. To indicate otherwise, start your line with a keyword. If you hear a line that starts with one of these words and your character doesn’t speak that language: they do not understand what has been said.
Feel free to speak any other language badly, by using its keyword then talking gibberish in English.
The same applies to written documents: a document written in a foreign language will start with their keyword, and will be written in a language-specific colour.
For example, a musketeer comes across a Spanish vendor of holy relics. “How much are these?” they ask. The vendor shrugs and says “Ay caramba, I don’t speak your idiot language, you foul-smelling mollusc-eater.” The musketeer does not realise they’ve been insulted, but their colleague who has the tag “Language: Spanish” does, and demands satisfaction for their insult.
The keywords of language
- English: What ho! (+ blue text for written words.)
- Spanish: ¡Ay caramba! (+ red text for written words.)
- Scots: Och aye! (+ green text for written words.)
- Italian: Ciao, bella! (+ purple text for written words.)
- Latin: Ave! (+ gold text for written words.)
- French: Zut alors! (+ black text for written words.) – you might need this to switch back to French from speaking another language.
Tags as Mechanics…
For example: If you’ve the tag “International relations”, and you want to know something about a situation elsewhere in the world, ask us – if we can, we’ll tell you.
If your character is tagged “Connected (Criminal Elements)”, and you want, say, to get a counterfeit item made, or pick a lock – just ask.
The same effect may well be justifiable by different tags.
For example: if you want, say, to know if an item is forged, and you are “Connected (Criminal Elements)”, or “Well read” – just ask. A criminal might recognise the signs of forgery, a well-read Musketeer might recognise errors made by the forger because of their education…
If you want to use some poison, you might be able to do so if you’re tagged “Connected (Criminal Elements)”, or “Apothecary”.
In most cases, if you don’t have an appropriate tag, you could use a Heroic Move to temporarily be competent in that area.
Servants and Chores
We’re here to (over-)act and (over-)role-play; to suspend disbelief; to willingly pretend we don’t know things so that others around us have the chance to shine, to have a fantastical adventure rather than win a game.