The Art of War (or, Renaissance and Sensibility)

A freeform LARP for Continuum 2012

Flirt with Lucrezia Borgia, while trying to make sure no poison ends up in your wine. Hear Christopher Columbus tell you about the new world he has discovered and think how to turn this to your advantage. Scheme with Cesare Borgia to rig the election of the new Pope. Help William Shakespeare complete his current play. Persuade Michelangelo to immortalise you in his next mural.

This is Renaissance Italy: a time of artistic ferment, political turmoil, scientific revolution, exploration, burning faith, good food and subtle poisons. This loosely-historical freeform mashes together a range of real dramas and events from the 14th to the 16th centuries and adds a clockpunk spin: Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions are bringing about a technological revolution changing the world. The Catholic Church fears the new scientific creed driven by alchemists, free thinkers and the new-fangled ‘cogent engines’ running on water clocks. Meanwhile the Republic of Florence is rising, alarming the great powers of the age: mighty France, proud Spain, cunning Venice, the Ottoman Empire and Elizabethan England.

A 46 player, 4ish hour game of high politics and low comedy, art and politics, love and war, drama and pizza, in three acts set in Milan, Venice during its masked carnival and Rome for the election of a new Pope. There may be a French invasion, there will be dancing and knives in the night, there should be the unveiling of great art, romance and passion, theological debate and an inflatable phallus. The Borgias meets Assassin’s Creed II, with a touch of the Carry On vibe…

Cast List as of June

32 male roles, 14 female


  1. Lorenzo de’Medici, prince, poet and patron, torn between worlds old and new. Peter Bensley
  2. Catherine de’Medici, husband to Prince Lorenzo, mother of the Gran’ Mechanismo, the mighty cogent engine at the heart of the new Florence; which is more important to her these days? Philippa Dall
  3. Niccolo Machiavelli, the magistrate upon whom everything rests — and who wouldn’t want it any other way. Duncan Rowlands
  4. Dante Alighieri, the wild-eyed poet, back from Hell with a tale to tell. Malk Williams
  5. Savonarola, the zealous foe of everything that is new and unholy, with a blazing fire in his heart. Mike Snowden
  6. Leonardo da Vinci, the father of the new clockpunk age: artist, engineer, scientist and dreamer. If only he could actually finish something he’s started. Dan Taylor
  7. Maria Binelli, the quiet and efficient Clerk of the Medici bank, a woman of simple tastes and complex imaginings. Alison Rider-Hill


  1. Rodrigo Borgia, the eldest of the Borgias, a cardinal of the Church and, he will tell you, a gentle man of no ambition and even less guile. Jeff Richards
  2. Cesare Borgia, the hot-blooded cardinal who likes his meat red, his women easy and his enemies fearful. Richard Perry
  3. Lucrezia Borgia, a woman no doubt slandered by jealous critics. Elina Goulou
  4. Giulia Farnese, some say a legendary beauty, in her day, but she says her day is yet to come. Sue Lee
  5. Giuliano della Rovere, the choleric cardinal, who would bring apocalypse to Italy and the Church to save them. Nathan Richards
  6. Johann Burchard, the bookish Vatican Master of Ceremonies, in whose hands the law is whatever he wants it to be. Alex Helm
  7. Michelangelo, the uncouth artistic genius of ambiguous sexuality but unambiguous talent. Graham Arnold


  1. Ludovico Sforza, ‘il Moro,’ the coarse, charismatic and cunning architect of the Milanese state. Tony Mitton
  2. Beatrice d’Este, il Moro’s devoted and decorative wife, whose taste is exquisite and whose past is an open book. Nickey Barnard
  3. Paolo Marotti, Ludovico’s devoted manservant, a worried man who thinks his neck doesn’t need to be stretched. Stuart (Dr Moose) Mousir-Harrison
  4. Lucia Gaurica, the astrologer and speculative financier with a great deal to offer you. Maddy Eid


  1. Agostino Barbarigo, Doge of Venice, wearily contemplating loss, war, the succession and more bloody carnivals. Ryan Myint
  2. Cassandra Fedele, Venetian scholar and convert to the clockpunk revolution: the future’s bright, the future’s otological. Rachael (Rei) Hampden-Turner
  3. Marco Polo, the lying scoundrel who claims he traveled to China. John Wilson
  4. Veronica Franco, renowned actress, poet and courtesan of elevated tastes and even more elevated fee structures. Kris (Kiki) Alice Hohls
  5. Arcangela Tarabotti, the literate and liberated nun who somehow hasn’t been burnt as a witch yet. Gwen Mott
  6. Serafina Orsini, the knife-packing thug, proof that women can be as rough and violent as men. Julia Rawcliffe


  1. Isabella d’Este, ruler of Mantua and penpal to the European “in crowd”: beloved by all, to her considerable satisfaction. Fiona Lloyd


  1. Andrea Doria, Genoese admiral and mercenary, a man of the people with a nose for a mystery. Chris Jones
  2. Cristoforo Colombo, the Genoese explore who found the New World for the Spanish, but wishes he hadn’t. Martin Jones


  1. Alfonso II of Naples, who knows that it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a throne, must be in want of a wife. Stephen Ellis
  2. Judah Messer Leon, the Kabbalist rabbi with clockwork on his mind. Malcolm Taylor
  3. Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro, the Neapolitan Jew, whose dancing shoes glitter and skip as lightly as his sword. Andrew Smith


  1. Étienne de Vesc, emissary and favorite of Charles VIII, whose gentle quips and exquisite manners echo with the thunder of the French army’s cannon. Nick Brooke


  1. Ignatius of Loyola, the chilly zealot and born-again scholar, a missionary manqué, a wannabe Inquisitor. Darren Staples
  2. Hernan Cortez, the blustering, brutal and boastful adventurer with deep, deep pockets. Alexander Jones
  3. Ixcaxochitzin, ‘Isabel Moctezuma,’ eldest daughter of the dead Aztec king, now Cortez’s captive. Tressy Arts
  4. Don Juan, the smooth-talking, medallion-chested, lovesong-crooning terror of husbands everywhere. Jaran Wood


  1. Thomas More, the austere English theologian. Certainly not a spy. Oh no. Sam Winston
  2. William Shakespeare, the romantic playwright whom so many are so eager to meet. Charlotte D
  3. Skanderbeg of Albania, the wily bandit-king of Albania, a man of low tastes and lower morals. Adrian Smith
  4. Bayezid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who stalks the world like a proud and precious peacock. Jag Goraya
  5. Arslan bin Abdullah, the stolid Janissary aide and bodyguard of the Sultan. Chris Killey
  6. Princess Eudokia Ivanovna of Muscovy, youngest and prettiest daughter of Prince Ivan III, still bedazzled by these exotic European ways. Mariia Vasylieva
  7. Pierre d’Aubusson, Grand Master of the Knights of St John, pirate-master and crusader. Lewis Jardine
  8. Hieronymus Bosch, a troubled soul. Sverre Larne
  9. Nicolaus Copernicus, the mysterious Polish polymath whose eyes are fixed on the skies — and on the obscure mathematics of the banking system. Hanbury Hampden-Turner
  10. Johannes Gutenberg, the inky-fingered printer who believes that information seeks to be free. Martin Smart
  11. Martin Luther, the religious reformer, a man of no doubts who would cleanse the Church of its sins but also, some claim, its humanity. David Hall

4 Responses to The Art of War (or, Renaissance and Sensibility)

  1. Pingback: [UK] Continuum 2012 - Page 2

  2. Pingback: 1510 at Continuum 2012 | 1510: Wordplay Games in a Clockpunk Renaissance

  3. Dr Moose says:

    Love the casting on this!

  4. Pingback: Throwing Dice and Laughing a Lot: Continuum 2012 « Life, Faith and Role-Playing Games

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