Characters

On this page, you’ll find capsule descriptions of all the player characters in this larp. As you sign up, you’ll be asked to mark five that you would enjoy playing. This will help our casting process.

The characters belong to one of two groups:

Members of the Followers of Christ’s Faith (the Followers for short) are an esoteric underground religious sect which holds the redemption of the soul to be supremely important. The Followers don’t operate in public; you have to know somebody to get in touch with the sect. The most important figures in the sect come from mundane backgrounds: There are farmers and cobblers, carriage drivers and seasonal field workers.

The second group consists of aristocrats, artists and revolutionaries who wish to join the Followers of Christ’s Faith. They are deeply concerned with the state of their souls and believe that only the followers can guide them to redemption.

In the world outside, the social and material chasm between a peasant and an aristocrat is massive. For the characters, the sect’s ceremonies represent an exceptional space: Spiritual authority is all that matters and if that means the Empress has to kneel before a cobbler, then that’s what happens.

Characters will have different attitudes towards these contradictions. For some, the very poverty of the sect’s most senior members is a sign of their simple holiness. In other cases, a carriage driver may enjoy their newfound power over their social betters and a wealthy socialite may resent having to grovel before their lessers. In all cases however, the spiritual authority granted by the sect is a simple fact. You can’t rebel against God’s law.

Redemption Through Sin

All characters in this larp subscribe to the Russian Orthodox faith. They know that God will judge them and that the redemption of the soul is of deep concern. The Followers say that to be redeemed you must sin and this makes sense to all characters.

An individual character may find this idea to be a convenient excuse for all the sinning they wanted to do anyway. Or it may cause them significant distress because sin is repugnant to them. Nevertheless, in both cases, they know that the maxim of redemption through sin is true.

All characters are deeply motivated to be redeemed. The idea of failing in this spiritual task fills them with horror.

Gender

Some characters have a fixed gender. They’re marked with a letter F for female or a letter M for male. With other characters, the player can choose any gender for the character. When you fill the sign up form, it asks what gender you wish to play, male, female or something else.

Clothes

Your character preferences affect how you should choose your costume. Newcomers arrive in their ordinary clothes as aristocrats, artists, revolutionaries and so on of early 20th century Imperial Russia. They’re coming to a spiritual ceremony so all the flash of courtly dress would be out of place. Sombre is good.

During the larp, as newcomers are initiated into the Followers, their dress will change.

The larp provides simple robes that can be worn on top of other clothes. This way, you can make the shift by just throwing on the robe on top of your ordinary costume. However, if you wish, you can also bring in clothes in accordance with the guidelines for members of the sect.

Members of the sect should dress in simple, sombre clothes made of a natural fabric. Think in terms of peasants at church hundred years ago. If your character is extremely devout, you can go all black. If your character is still somewhat worldly, you can incorporate some clothing elements from the style of the era.

Members will also receive the ceremonial robes of the sect.

Please bear in mind that this larp is not primarily concerned with absolute historical fidelity. This means that if you have cool clothes you think would fit your Russian aristocrat but are not exactly from the specific era of the larp, that’s fine. Similarly, the costume guidelines for the members of the sect have been created to make it easy to prop for the larp while allowing for individual player expression.

Names

If a character has a fixed gender, they simply have a name. If the character’s gender expression is up to the player, Russian naming conventions mean that the name is expressed like this:

Grand Duchess/Duke O. Romanov(a)

This means that the title of the character is either Grand Duchess or Grand Duke, depending on gender. The character’s family name is either Romanov (male) or Romanova (female). The given name starts with O, so it can be Olga for a woman or Oleg for a man.

Here’s another example of how Russian family names are constructed:

M. Kschessinsk(aya/y)

In this case, the name is Kschessinky for a man or Kschessinskaya for a woman.

If you play a character who is neither a man or a woman, you can choose the naming convention to follow.

Newcomers

Empress Alexandra Romanova (F)
Originally Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, now Empress of Russia. An intellectual, well-read and religious Empress to whom family means everything. Once a shy girl, now a fierce supporter of Romanov autocratic authority. A fervent advocate of the “divine right of kings”, she believes it’s unnecessary to attempt to secure the approval of the people. A troubled soul in the search of something deeper.

Grand Duchess/Duke O. Romanov(a)
The firstborn child of the Imperial couple. Aware of their duties and expectations placed on them, knows that the future of Russia lies on their shoulders. Conservative and patriotic, feared and respected, famous for their strong will and quick temper. They believe that freeing the serfs and establishing the Duma parliament have been some of the worst decisions ever made in Russia. If they rise to power, Russia will see some proper, God fearing, iron fisted rule.

Grand Duchess/Duke T. Romanov(a)
Second child of the Imperial couple, known as an elegant socialite with a vivacious personality. Unworldly, kind-hearted, naïve, and innocent – a true rarity among the St Petersburg elite. Some describe them as a poetical creature, easy to fall in love with and impossible to hold on to.

Grand Duchess/Duke M. Romanov(a)
With all the wealth of the empire in their hands and the Romanov name to protect them, the third child of the Imperial couple knows no restraints. No amount of parties, wine or expensive gifts to their favorites is too much. They have a kind heart, quick wit and a constant thirst for new adventures and people.

Princess Olga Paley (F)
For years, every time a society scandal arose in St Petersburg, one could be certain the name Paley would come out one way or another. Whether it’s about marrying a nobleman, smoking cigars while riding astride, wearing the crown jewels to a ball or having an affair with a Romanov, everyone has an opinion on Olga Paley. After morganatically (a morganatical marriage is between a couple of unequal social rank) marrying the Czar’s uncle she was expelled to Paris, but now she has returned – curiously, with the title of Princess.

Princess Milica of Montenegro
(F)
“The Black Peril”, “The Dark Princesses”, “The Black Spiders” – the Montenegrian princesses have several nicknames among the nobility as well as the people. Arriving from Montenegro and marrying two royal brothers (which, according to law, is supposed to be forbidden), the princesses are talented diplomats as well as the heart of St Petersburg’s occult circles. As a brilliant diplomat and politician, Milica has much more influence on the Imperial family and Russian politics than some would feel comfortable with. She’s married to Grand Duke Nicholai Romanov.

Grand Duke Nicholai Romanov (M)
As is the custom for Russian Grand Dukes, the Czar’s first cousins once removed, Nicholai and Peter serve in the Russian army. A tough commander, yet one respected by his troops, Nicholai is popular among the people. Together with his wife Princess Milica of Montenegro they form a power couple who could, at some point, even make him the next Czar – not that they would ever do such a thing. A rumor tells he has a dark side the people never see. Another rumor says the brothers share everything.

Grand Duke Peter Romanov (M)
Serving as a decorated Lt.-General, Grand Duke Peter is a devoted conservative and a vocal supporter of Pan-Slavism, the Church and the Monarchy. Known for his interest in occult, love for his spouse Princess Anastasia of Montenegro, cruelty towards peasants and tenderness towards his dogs. To some, the Grand Duke and Duchess’s palace is known as “the central point of the powers of evil” – which, to their view, is an exaggeration.

Prince Felix Yusupov (M)
The heir to an immense fortune, Felix Yusupov lives a life which, if it was public knowledge, would lead to immediate revolution. The elite is of course aware of the flamboyant life, the cross-dressing and him wearing his mother’s gowns and jewelry to public events, as well as about the rumors of beautiful lovers of all genders. Richer than the Romanovs, Felix Yusupov could turn the empire around, but he has chosen the career of a spoiled, if charismatic, brat.

Alexander Kolchak, explorer, vice-admiral (M)
From a family of prominent navy officers, it was clear that Alexander Kolchak would choose a naval career. He served on a cruiser, and later commanded a destroyer, before joining the Russian Polar expedition. He was the only one to return. Took part in two more Arctic expeditions, but never speaks about them. Taken as a prisoner of war during Russo-Japanese war – another topic he avoids unless drunk. Just promoted to vice-admiral, the youngest man at that rank.

M. Kschessinsk(aya/y), dancer
The sensational ballet dancer and the most famous soloist of the Imperial Ballet, M. K. usually gets what and whom they want. Known for their extreme humility in ballet class and the notable lack of it everywhere else, the dancer sometimes clashes with other great personas of the art world – just to win them over night after night at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. Having seduced the Czar when they were only 17, M. K. know their value not just as an artist but as someone with connections to all parts of the St Petersburg elite.

Zinaida Gippius
, poet (F)
Literary critic and exceptional poet dealing with the darker side of the human soul and exploring sexual ambiguity and narcissism. Part of the Symbolist movement, she writes fierce, ferocious and political poetry. Detractors call her a “demoness” and a “decadent Madonna”. Enjoying the notoriety, she celebrates her androgynous image, uses male clothes and pseudonyms and remains the Russian symbol of sexual liberation. Together with her husband Dmitry Merezhkovsky they form the hottest and the most dangerous couple of the St Petersburg art circles.

L. Casati, patron
One of the wealthiest people in Italy and the most famous patron of the arts in Europe, the eccentric financier of Ballets Russes has arrived in St Petersburg to fall in love with the city and its art. Back home they astonish society with soirées in their palaces fully equipped for balls and séances alike, by having the best artists in Europe paint them over and over, by offering a home to gays and lesbians in exile, and by parading with a pair of leashed cheetahs. With help from several fashion designers, Casati has made themselves a piece of futuristic art.

S. Kovalevsk(aya/y), mathematician
One of the most brilliant mathematicians of their generation, a scientist to the bone. A famous member of the nihilists who believe science to be the most effective means of helping the mass of people to a better life. Published novels and plays while working as a professor at Stockholm university. Involved in progressive political circles, likes to talk straight and has a low tolerance for stupidity.

Y. Breshko, revolutionary
One of the founders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Prosecuted dozens of times, spending over two decades in prison and Siberian exile for peaceful opposition to Czarism, they’ve never denied being a revolutionary. They play the long game and treat their comrades with a frank unreserved manner. They’re warm, wise and generous, ready to guide the younger revolutionaries when needed. Well-connected, ready to give and follow efficient but inappropriate advice such as “sleep with your enemy”. Famous in the US where they’ve travelled to raise funds for the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

A. Kerenski, politician
Member of Duma parliament, excellent orator and skilled parliamentary leader of the socialist opposition to the government of the Czar, A. Kerenski is the extremely popular public face of the revolutionaries. Not that they’d ever admit revolution is what they’re after. Gained a reputation for their work as a defense lawyer in a number of political trials of revolutionaries. Believes that it’s possible to avoid spilling blood if the revolutionaries play their cards right.

R. Zemlyachka, revolutionary
A professional socialist and revolutionary leader, R. Zemlyachka is convinced that the revolution can only become reality if blood is spilled – most likely a lot of it. Idealistic, passionate and devoted, anyone who’s seen them agitating a full factory of workers knows why they’re the right person to lead the comrades. You don’t want to get on bad terms with them, for passion and charisma can be used to both build and tear apart. 

V. Figner, doctor, revolutionary
Born into a noble family, they studied medicine in Switzerland and became a radical socialist there. They returned to Russia, joined the revolution and took a position as a recruiter and the conduit for socialist newspaper Iskra. Frequently travels around Russia creating false passports, organizing escape routes, and recruiting peasantry as well as sympathizers in the Russian army. To make up for their first 18 years as a parasitic member of the gentry, they now seek to find new members for the paramilitary wing which, once the revolution starts, will make sure that the nobility will be destroyed.

Y. Azef, revolutionary, terrorist leader
Leader of the Combat Organization, the terrorist branch within the Social Revolutionary Party. As a leader of the terror sub-group it is Y. Azef who decides where and when the terrorist brigade will hit next. They’re good at their work but it is clear this wasn’t the career they had planned for themselves and that being responsible for terrorist attacks doesn’t come easy. Should they have stayed in the lead of the underground printing operations? They also bear a secret of their own.

I. Kalyayev(a), revolutionary
Revolution means action, adventures and heroic quests. I. Kalyeaev(a) knows they won’t survive the revolution, but for a brief moment, the fate of Russia will be in their hands. They will burn bright and people will remember them forever. They’ve already killed and fallen desperately in love the same day. They might die tomorrow but today they want to feel alive.

P. Rachkovsk(y/aya), head of the secret police
Recently promoted new head of the Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order, or Okhrana, has made their career in the secret service, hunting down spies and terrorist groups both in Russia and abroad. Well connected to both the court and the underworld, they know that the end justifies the means.

Members

Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Romanova (F)
Originally Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, now Grand Duchess of Russia. After rejecting proposals from more men than most women will meet in their entire life, one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe accepted the hand of a Russian Grand Duke – only to lose him in a terrorist attack. Since then, the widow has dedicated her life to religion, vegetarianism, charitable works among the orphans and devout women, as well as crushing her enemies until they are no more.

Princess Anastasia of Montenegro (F)
Princess Anastasia, like her sister, was always intrigued by the more mystical side of the Eastern Orthodox religion with a tendency to and interest in mysticism, occult, spiritism, magnétisme animal and other forms of spiritualistic philosophy. She’s known to offer spiritual guidance to the Imperial family and even have some influence over the church. Married to Grand Duke Peter Romanov.

Maria “Yashka” Bochkareva, soldier (F)
The first Russian woman to command a military unit, the unyielding peasant from poor background didn’t only enter the army but climbed in the ranks to form the Women’s Battalion of Death. After a tremendous amount of work, endless mockery and several wounds on the battlefield she has finally managed to gain the respect of her fellow soldiers. Loud, unapologetic, and fun, Yashka has an excellent record on the battlefield and a terrible one in her relationships.

S. Bluvstein, con artist
Most would see a humble, dedicated, even meek member of the Followers. Those who recognize the figure quickly understand they’re anything but. S. Bluvstein is a leader of a group of St Petersburg thieves and the most well-known con artist in eastern Europe. The master of disguise has escaped the police in all major cities of the Empire and has had several cons named after them. Lately they’ve grown somewhat sentimental and started imagining themselves as the Robin Hood of Russia.

N. A. Philippe, healer and miracle worker
Child of peasants, they gained a reputation as a healer by the age of thirteen and soon were known as a miracle worker amongst Paris occultists. After getting in trouble in France they gladly accepted the invitation to come to St Petersburg, where they’ve gained immediate success. Spiritism is very fashionable and people from different parts of the society are looking for spiritual guidance. Suave, polite, elegant, and mystical, it is easy to believe that the occultist has a foot in each world, and that they’re capable of lifting the veil between the worlds.

Georgy Gapon (M), priest
A physician turned into a revolutionary priest, Georgy Gabon is considered to be one of the most dangerous men in Russia. Defender of workers’ rights, he led thousands of demonstrators to present a petition to the Czar, but the unarmed demonstrators were fired upon by soldiers of the Imperial Guard. Over a thousand people were killed or seriously wounded on Bloody Sunday, after which a general strike burst out in St. Petersburg and led to the Revolution of 1905. Now Gabon wants to finish what he has started.

G. Rasputin(a), pilgrim
Some say they left their home village in Siberia after having a vision of the Virgin Mary, others say they wanted to escape punishment for a horse theft. When arriving in St Petersburg some weeks ago they claimed having spent years as a holy pilgrim. Holy wanderers, miracle makers and charismatic healers are very popular in the capital, and the mysterious pilgrim has started gaining popularity. It looks like they could be the next fashion! Soon they’ll probably get sent back to Siberia and forgotten, but before that happens, why not try if their eyes really have the effect everyone’s raving about and whether their hands can really do miracles that make people blush.

M. Fokin, choreographer
Ballet Master and principal choreographer of the Imperial Ballet School, and the resident choreographer of the Ballets Russes in Paris. Every time they put on a ballet, it’s a groundbreaking Event – brilliant colors, exoticism, sexual overtones, as well as street dancers, peddlers, nursemaids, a performing bear – they’ve done it all! People seem to be enchanted by the combination of artistic talent and extremely strict discipline.

Dmitry Merezhkovsky, novelist (M)
Novelist, religious thinker, literary critic, a co-founder of the Symbolist movement as well as a self-styled religious prophet with his own slant on apocalyptic Christianity. Merezhkovsky was forced into political exile with his wife Zinaida Gippius, but the couple is now back from Paris. They’ve formed a group called God-seekers, which has just been banned because of its radical ideas about the anti-Christian nature of the Russian monarchy.

V. Vereshchagin, painter
Decorated war hero in active service with the Imperial Russian Army – only not a soldier but a war artist, capturing scenes in the battlefield. Having accompanied several expeditions to Palestine, Turkestan, Tibet and the Himalayas, they now follow Russian troops to wars and paint what they see. The graphic nature of their realistic scenes has attracted a large section of the public not usually interested in art, but many of them have been banned. Russian military has threatened to fire them, but their rapidly growing international popularity makes it hard.

V. Kovalevsk(y/aya), paleontologist
A radical thinker and scientist, one of the most vocal supporters of Darwinism in Russia. Until recently they’ve been one of the few prominent atheists in St Petersburg, which has seriously affected their career. They had to leave the country, and while living abroad started to attend spiritualist séances. After returning to Russia, they organized a series of scientific examinations of the phenomenon and came to the conclusion that the phenomenon is genuine.

B. Savinkov(a), revolutionary
Expelled from the St Petersburg University because of participation in students’ riots, later arrested and sent to exile where they served with some prominent Russian intellectuals. Became disappointed with Marxism and shifted to terrorism, now serving as the Deputy Head of the Socialist Revolutionary Party’s terrorist branch. Arrested and sentenced to death for assassination of a minister but escaped from their prison cell and is now on the run. Practical and sentimental, sometimes known to abuse their power.

D. Brilliant, revolutionary
They could have happily stayed at the palace, serving the Romanovs and living a relatively comfortable, if laborious, life. Something happened – something that made them leave their work and home, running out of Tsarskoje Selo and joining the revolution. One day they’ll perhaps tell what it was. Now all they want to do is to move from dynamite manufacturer to a bomb thrower. They want revenge, but their supervisor and lover refuses to let them in the action.

M. Paléologue, diplomat
French diplomat, historian, essayist, and an explorer of both distant countries and unspoken secrets. Popular among powerful men and women alike but remains unmarried. Seems to know a terribly lot about people and is rumored to use that information wisely. Writes popular light romances and supports war.

Elder A, Panagia
Panagia and Kyrios are the leaders of the Followers of St Petersburg. They are the shepherds who will take care of the Followers, baptize the novices when they are ready, and make sure all members will reach redemption through sin. At the same time, they strive themselves to sin enough and to be worthy of redemption. In their previous life, Elder A was a goldsmith, one of the Fabergé workmasters.

Elder V, Kyrios
Panagia and Kyrios are the leaders of the Followers of St Petersburg. They are the shepherds who will take care of the Followers, baptize the novices when they are ready, and make sure all members will reach redemption through sin. At the same time, they strive themselves to sin enough, to be worthy of redemption. In their previous life, Elder V was a coachman for the St Petersburg elite.

Elder M, Prophet
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How mysterious are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! But to some, God does speak, and they speak on behalf of Him, serving as an intermediary with humanity and delivering messages. Elder M knows in which sin people should concentrate on, or with whom they should sin. In their previous life, Elder M was a peasant from a long line of serfs, first in their family to be born into freedom.

Elder K, The Holy Sinner
The Holy Spirit leads the sinner along the path of repentance, and from there, to new birth. The Holy Sinner has sinned more than any other Follower and thus is closest to Redemption, and closest to God. Admired by the Followers, in their heart Elder K sometimes feels sneaking suspicion: are they truly worthy, have they committed every sin? In their previous life, Elder K was a warden in a katorga penal colony.

Elder S, Guardian of the Beautiful Gates
Followers of Christ’s Faith are a closed, mysterious group everyone would like to join. To get even close, it is Elder S who they have to convince. Are people really, truly ready to sin? Elder S has turned away countless enthusiastic seekers who just weren’t ready. In their previous life, Elder S was an ofenya, a peddler and a member of the criminal underworld. Their primary commodity were the illegal Old Believer icons, banned by the state, secretly carried to remote Old Believer villages. 

Notes on Character Groups

The Elders – The Elders A, V, M, K and S form the spiritual core of the Followers of Christ’s Faith. They’re the leaders of the sect. The larp has been designed so that time-consuming rituals and other tasks that have to be performed in a certain way for the larp to work are performed by supporting characters played by organizers. The purpose of this is to make it possible for the players of the Elders to focus more on their own larp experience.

In-game, the supporting characters are sect specialists and assistants, lower in the hierarchy than the Elders.