The Downstairs Experience

Downstairs Groups

Characters are pre-written by the team. If you get a spot at the larp you will also find out which group and sub-group you belong to. The Downstairs characters will be split into several groups – the kitchen crew (5 people), the servants (10 people) and the music and dance instructors (2 people).

The Servants

The servants at this larp will all belong to families that have travelled to join the Hawthorne event. They will be led in-game by the butler and housekeeper. These two are crew members that are also in charge of workload and communication on-site.

Aside from these two, the group consists of four Lady’s Maids and four Valets. Since this is a comparatively small number of servants for the amount of guests, not all Upstairs players will be able to count on having assistance with clothing or hair.

The Kitchen

The brunt of the cooking and dishes will be done by the kitchen crew. They sleep off-site, but will also have characters just like everyone else. The kitchen will as a rule be an in-game space. This group consists of one Upstairs cook, one Downstairs cook and three kitchen helpers who will play lower level servants.

The Dance and Music Instructors

Two people who will spend some time Downstairs without being servants are the Dance Instructor and the Musician. These people will mainly be focused on the evening dancing, but will also have some practical tasks during the larp.

The Experience

The Downstairs experience will be quite different from the Upstairs characters’ game. The servant characters will be accompanying their employers, and will therefore be coming from different households. They have fleshed out relations written to the family they arrive with, but not necessarily with a lot more people. Instead they will get to know their colleagues and parts of the gentry as the larp progresses.

For the Downstairs characters, almost all of them come from poor backgrounds. An active part of the internal game comes from the characters’ need to keep their positions, unless a better offer comes along, because the alternative would be to be without work, savings, or prospects. While it might be interesting to observe the gentry (Upstairs) and get involved in their marriage games and plots to pass the time, for the Downstairs characters the reality is much more grim. The servants are always dependent on their employers, while the employers might instead see them as a listening ear, a comforting embrace, or someone to unburden their problems to.

Being a servant for one of these families is a way to better one’s circumstances, and being promoted can mean both more money and more opportunities. At the same time, being let go without a reference could mean total ruin. The loyalty between servant and employer exists because the servant is completely dependent, even if a lucky few might be considered almost like family.

The biggest part of the servant game will be centered around their relationship with the other servants, and be a slice of life game, with the Upstairs being almost a backdrop to that experience. However, there will also be work involved when it comes to things like dressing the gentry and fixing hair, as well as setting the table for meals and bringing out food and desserts. It’s also possible to do things like ironing, light cleaning of rooms, fetching coffee and tea, or mending clothes, if the servant player wishes to do it.

This will be a larp about exploring old and new relationships and new possibilities, and dealing with the changes that the Hawthorne event brings about – be it new engagements and the future merging of households, or the inevitable changes to the established order of things. The servants are in equal parts more free than the Upstairs characters, as they don’t have to permanently adhere to the strict rules of polite society, and simultaneously more powerless, as they don’t have much influence over their specific situation.