Mop Fair

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Game Mop Fair
Storyguide Andrew Oakley
Length 2 hours
Players 18-30 (can be run with 12 with some loss of plot strands)
Suitability Any
Prerequisities This game ideally requires 3 storyguides. Note that this game uses custom cut-down rules based on ArM5, adapted for live play without dice.
Pre-rolled characters available? Yes


Sign up

There is no need to sign up for this game; you will be presumed to be playing unless you indicate otherwise. Please fill in the freeform survey and you will be allocated a character in advance by email, otherwise you can turn up on the day and be allocated a character.

The only thing you need to read is your character sheet. For players with busy lives, short attention spans or who are just new to freeform games, the bare minimum you need to know has been condensed down to 3 bulletpoints at the top of your character sheet.


England, 1360. It has been nearly ten years since the worst of the Black Death wiped out over a third of England's population. The balance of power between nobles, landowners and the peasantry has been upset by the resulting labour shortage.

It is November and the riverside market town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, is holding their annual Mop Fair. Labourers and employers are gathering in the town for negotiation and hiring.

Those looking for work can be seen around town carrying the tools of their trade, so they can easily be recognised by potential employers. Domestic servants might carry a mop (hence the name "Mop Fair"), agricultural labourers might carry a hoe, spade, crook or scythe, stonemasons might carry a hammer or chisel, carpenters might carry a saw.

New employment is usually sealed with the payment of a shilling. It has been decreed that all negotiations must cease when the taverns open at 6pm.

The employers - nobles, knights, clergy from the local abbeys and magi from the local covenants - are going to face some hard bargaining. And maybe settle some scores between each other.

As the fair progresses, it seems like the labour shortage is the least of the players' worries.


Costume is optional but props are strongly recommended.

  • Knights should carry a sword or shield
  • Nobles should wear large jewelry, chains, large brooches or a small crown
  • Clergy should wear a large cross
  • Magi should carry a wand
  • Peasants should carry a tool of the trade (fork, spade, basket, mop, dustpan, hammer etc.)

Rules and play

A freeform is a variant of Live Action Role-playing (LARP) with no physical contact.

Mop Fair is a very short game, only 2 hours long. A more typical freeform or LARP would last a minimum of 4 hours, more typically 6-10. The main goal for this game is as an icebreaker for the convention.

An overview of the game, with a map of the game area and physical room layout, are detailed in the Grand Tribunal UK 2014 Programme. This game uses a cut-down set of Ars Magica 5 rules, specifically adapted for live play without dice. You can download the rules here but you do not need to read or learn these rules unless you are a storyguide (or love roleplaying game details).

Note that powerful magic costs viz in the cut-down rule for this freeform

List of Player Characters

Faction Character Player
Storyguides Town Crier Andrew Oakley
Storyguides (none) Kevin Sides
Storyguides (none) Luke Price
Clergy Abbot of Hailes CJ
Clergy Abbot of Tewkesbury Andrew Sceats
Clergy Bishop of Gloucester David Chart
Knights Lady Beatrice the Untamed Anna Jones
Knights Sir Boris the Black Knight Nathan Hook
Knights Sir Rowland the Red Knight Lloyd Graney
Magi Greybeard of the Forest Jonathan Elcock
Magi Longteeth of the Forest Philip Jenkins
Magi Wild Erica of the Forest Laura Knighton
Magi Antonia of Winchcombe Kirstie Sceats
Magi Claudius of Winchcombe Mark Threlfall
Magi Lucia of Winchcombe Felicity Boyce
Nobles Earl of Worcester Leif Olav Jøsang
Nobles Earl of Gloucester Håkon Gaut
Peasants Alfred the Ferryman Neil Taylor
Peasants Ellis the Peasant Mark Steedman
Peasants Owen the Peasant Andreas Jellinghaus
Peasants Wulfrina the Washerwoman Sheila Thomas
Peasants Peasant for Hire Jean-Francois Leveque
Peasants Peasant for Hire Karl Trygve Kalleberg
Peasants Peasant for Hire All other players
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