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Live-RPG "Сouncil of Counts"; the plot's brief retelling

Kira & Helen, game-masters

April 2002, VorCon, Moscow


The Dorca's Plot

It was at 2875, in the 7th year of the Cetagandan war. By that time it had become clear that Barrayar will lose the war without Galactic weapon. But, at the same time, the war became too expensive for Cetaganda. Both Dorca and Pierre Vorrutier "Le Sanguinaire" made a strategic plan: to bring together all forces and stike Cetagandan main ground-based bases - to create a turning point in the war and capture modern weapon and some military technologies. This plan became realizable after the backstage talks between Prince Xav and two interested parties - Jackson's arms dealers and Beta. The deciding strike was planed to start after the future Council of Counts.

Not long before the Council the Emperor got to know that one of his trusted lieges - Colonel Vlad Vorcraft - is in fact the Barrayaran Prince and the grandson of Vlad the Emperor. Many years ago, during the Civil War after that Dorca became the Emperor, Georg Vorbarra - youngest son of the late Emperor and Vlad's father, who as considered deceased - has disappeared under the family name of his wife, Vorcraft. Now Colonel Vlad Vorcraft together with his cousin Count Vassily Vordarian have made a plot and decided to kill Dorca and raise Vlad to Barrayaran throne.

Dorca the Emperor has decided to take occasion, to feign his death and to check what would happened after it. He had several reasons: 1) he was really old and should die soon or late; his heir-at-law Yuri the Crown-prince had more flaws than virtues; Xav, his illegitimate child, wouldn't be accepted by Counts and he couldn't rule the Empire at that dreadful time; as for his grandnephew Ezar, he was too young. And Dorca wrote the letter to Pierre where he set out his "last will": in case of his death to let the Council of Counts elect the future Emperor from among princes of Vorbarra. And Dorca decided to himself that he would accept any of them who'd be able to fight his way through and collect more voices.

So at the beginning we have had:

  1. 20 Counts which - besides some conspirators - think that they have gathered to discuss some important political deals and dance at the wedding of the master of the house's daughter;
  2. 5 Counts-conspirators waiting the announcement about Dorca's death;
  3. 4 candidates to the throne, which - except for Vlad - know nothing about the coming election of the Emperor;
  4. 3 Cetagandan representatives=hostages which know that Dorca must be killed (plotters decided not to kill the Emperor by themselves but informed the Cetagandans about His whereabouts).
  5. 1 Jacksonian and 1 Betan dealers which want to sell Galactic weapon;
  6. General Pierre Vorrutier - the head of the Security Service - who knows that Dorca wanted to check the Council and his possible heirs and decided to stage his own death.
  7. Dorca the Emperor who came here in secret and watch everything that takes place. Only Count Vorfolse, the master of the home (one of the plotters who has changed his mind and let Dorca know about the plot) knows that the Emperor is alive and that he is here.

Nobody, including game-masters, knew what would be at the end of the game except than Dorca should appear and announce the result - who is His heir. So in fact the Council ought to elect the Crown-price.

After the first Council session - was announced about Dorca's murder on the way to this mansion.

General Pierre read out the last will of the Emperor, Vlad Vorcraft announced about his real family name and the mess started.

Unexpectedly to everyone, the leader of the situation turned out to be the Empress, Elena-Naile Vorbarra (sister of General Pierre). It turned out that women played a great role in Barrayar politics. For the Empress gathered Vorbarra's family and convinced all of them to accept Yuri the ONLY heir of Dorca. While the Counts were discussing and thinking, all candidates - including poor Vlad - agreed to refuse the throne in favor of Yuri. They announced about it to the dizzy Council. Counts were not ready to oppose the family of Vorbarra but they were shocked by such a surprise. At that moment Dorca appeared and said that he was not satisfied and the problem of the heir will be solved later.


Game jokes

During the game there were a lot of brilliant, funny and dramatic situations which were more interesting then the main plot (actually, the Council was the background on which everyone managed his own deals). For example:

Comarran pilot Nick Durrance made Piotr Vorkosigan to give his word that neither Piotr Vorkosigan himself, nor his offsprings should fight against Comarrans.

Young and very high-born Cetagandian Ghem-Ambassador described supernatural beauty of his wife, the Haut-lady, in such words: "She is... She is... Beautyfull. She is white and round!"

Countess Tessa Vortugarov tells the story about their District: "In our county there are nothing, except for the marshlands and the hummocks. On the hummocks lives the Greeks, in the marshlands lives Russians - one and half hundred years ago they came there following Susanidis (Ivan Susanin was Russian national hero who agreed to lead enemies to the city through the forest and brought them to the dreadful thicket where they died).

One of the Counts said: "Can your imagine, my Lords, while we are debating, Jacksonian dealer seats in the corner and eats chocolate! May be, he is not interested in our desigion at all? May be, he already has his satisfaction? (In this game all various sexual relations was modeled as eating chocolate together; and that Jacksonian ate chocolate with himself, in the Chamber of the Counsil).

The remark of the young lord Vorwin: "General Pierre Vorrutier in hurry gives laugh in the time of peace and horror in the time of war".

Countess Alys Vorrutier was weeping on the balcony. Countess Vorbretten (her friend) asked her fearfully: "What happened?" Countess Alys answered with tears in her eyes: "Dorca is dead!". "Ah-h, - said Countess Vorbretten with relief, - I thought that something terrible happened... That someone offended you."

Pierre Vorrutier looked so confident and awesome that Cetagandan spies confessed at the moment when he asked them:"Are you going to tell me something?".

There was a dramatic moment, when Count Vorfolse accused Vordarian in the plot. Vordarian gave him a slap in the face with the glove. They fought a duel (who drink a 2-litters bottel of Coka-Cola faster).


We can't describe here all of the interesting moments and wonderful jokes. But it was great, and during several hours everyone has been to Barrayar.