Fools and Heroes
|System||Proprietary (foam weapons)|
|Event style||Weekend small-scale events all over the UK, many small branch events and one annual fest event|
Fools and Heroes  (also called FnH) is a non-profit fantasy live-action role-playing game (LARP) which was started in the autumn of 1985 by John Naylor, who placed a small advertisement looking for players in TableTop Games, Daybrook Nottingham. The first events were run in 1986 and the rules system was written and published by John Naylor and Steve Bell in 1986, by which point the national branch structure had already been established. The Society is democratic in nature and has multiple branches around the country. Most branches contain 15–20 members who play at least once a month, though some have as many as thirty. Members can travel between branches allowing them to play in various areas and interact in different plotlines. There are also yearly gatherings which involve multiple branches simultaneously, the largest of which is the Summerfest.
At present there are twenty FnH branches across the UK. Each branch elects a volunteer to act as Liaison Officer (LO) who is responsible for the administration of the branch. The LO also represents the branch’s opinions on rules issues and various other topics during national meetings. Each branch also has referees who are responsible for running adventures.
Most branches run sessions at least once a month, some as frequently as once a week. Most sessions consist of two adventures over a single day, members will play one game as their character and act as "monsters" in the other game. The advantage of this play style is that, unlike systems where dedicated crew teams must be employed, Fools and Heroes sessions have relatively low operating costs. Other than an annual society membership fee to cover administration costs there is typically no charge to attend these sessions.
Every branch has its own plot, controlled by a team of referees. There is also a "national" plotline that all branches can take part in, this is controlled by volunteers elected from the society in general.
Fools and Heroes main event is Summerfest, which runs the weekend of the bank holiday in August, and was the first LARP to break the 1000-attendee mark in the early 1990s. It is a four day event with on site camping and generally allows players to finish a national plot line that has been running over the previous 12 months. Once again because of the format of missions the operating costs of these fests are lower than usual: even large Fools and Heroes events such as this one cost relatively little to attend.
FnH uses foam and latex weapons designed for use in live role play to ensure players' safety. As an additional precaution players are asked not to aim for the head and to pull their blows.
The combat system is referred to as location based; to reduce bookkeeping to a minimum during battles all weapons deal a single point of damage. To determine the effects of this the body is separated into locations, two arms, two legs, torso, and head. Each location on a standard human has one hit point and if damaged must be healed before being able to be used again. Wounds to the head or body are known as lethal wounds, which cause unconscionsness and lead to death if untreated.
A player is allowed one character, a player character or PC. A PC is usually a member of a professional guild or a church following one of several gods. Their abilities depend on their position within their guild or church, which advances automatically after the character has played missions during a specific number of months. Players are also allowed to play special characters, those that do not fit into the standard rules set, which must be vetted by the society before starting play.
FnH is a medieval fantasy game, drawing inspiration from Warhammer Fantasy, Dungeons & Dragons, The Lord of the Rings and various other fictional and historical sources. The world itself is based on our own but countries and cities have different names, for example the equivalent of England is called "Ithron", Lancashire is called "Lanshore" and Newcastle is called "Newcroft". A fictional country named "Axir" exists, it is the home of the Axirian Empire, based strongly on the Roman Empire and with a similarly strong influence over the FnH world.
Members may play characters from any of the standard fantasy races, provided they are willing and able to physically represent ("physrep") this appropriately. Nonhuman races possess varying natural abilities, and conversely suffer varying amounts of discrimination. An example of this is that certain professional guilds may disallow non-human members.
Fools and Heroes has three different concepts which are analogous to character classes in other games.
Most characters will be members of at least one of the eight guilds. Guilds are most similar to character classes in other games; advancement within the guilds allows PCs access to different skills.
Secondly, there are seven Churches of the Gods of the light which PC's may join. PC's may chose the level to which they devote themselves to their God. They may be lay worshippers, known as Kindred, join the martial arm of the church known as the Devoted, or join the Priesthood itself. Each level of worship carries its own set of responsibilities and benefits.
Thirdly, there are four Knightly Orders of Ithron, all of which serve the church of Sidhe, the god of justice, to a greater or lesser degree.