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The primary inspiration for the game is of course the film The Lion in Winter.  This provided the core concept – a political larp where the politics was just a vehicle for the family relationships – and the core cast.  Margaret and Constance were added in an effort to provide a more balanced cast.  Both are historical characters who were very much involved at the time. Other possibilities (e.g. Philip’s young wife Isabella of Hainault , or Henry and Eleanor’s eldest daughter Matilda of Saxony) were rejected as expanding the game beyond its tight focus on Henry and Eleanor’s family intrigues.

Information on Henry and Eleanor’s relationship and the death of the Young King is drawn from Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England by Alison Weir.  Sidney Painter’s William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England added some information on Margaret’s rumoured relationship with William Marshal.   There is not much information about Constance, but Feud, violence and practice: essays in medieval studies in honor of Stephen D. White (Belle S. Tuten, Tracey L. Billado (eds)) had some information which was enough to provide the basis for a workable character.

The combat rules are a variant on the “kick-arse” system used in many Wellington larps, with the names of the levels changed to provide a more medieval flavour.  Liberties have been taken with the medieval rules for marriage and annulment for the sake of drama.

The map is derived from a public domain map on WikiCommons by Lotroo.

This game is not an accurate history.  The characters and their motivations are real, the circumstances imagined.  It made a good film; hopefully it will also be an enjoyable larp.


"The Devil's Brood" was designed on Larpwriter, a website to simplify the creation of murder parties and larps (know more).

You can also download it in PDF.