For inspiration: “A private affair”, Beppe Fenoglio; “The Path to the Spiders' Nests”, Italo Calvino; "Partisan Wedding", Renata Viganò.
“Stella Rossa” (Red Star) Brigade - character's details“From the beautiful cities we gave to the enemy
one day we fled to the dry mountains
looking for freedom between the peaks
against the slavery of a betrayed land.
We left homes, schools and factories,
we turned into barracks the old farmhouses,
we armed our hands with bombs and grapeshot,
we forged in battle our muscles and hearts.”
I Ribelli dell Montagna, Emilio Casalini, 1944
A resistance formation born of free will and not by force, men that took up arms without draft cards or injunctions. A large formation rooted in the territory that in less than a year grew to over a thousand effectives. An autonomous formation, where communists, anarchists, socialists, monarchists, ex-gendarmes, ex-soldiers, farmers, women, common people, can meet under a single idea: anti fascism. With no politics, a total lack of connection to communist and catholic political committees, it goes on its way towards its only objective: crushing the foreign oppressor. They can count on the backing of the local population, providing hideouts, food, help and support. No rewards, no privileges. Hidden within the woods, cloaked by vegetation, concealed by the mountains. In less than a year of guerrilla and sabotage, they inflicted many a defeat and considerable damage to the German army. Even with inadequate equipment and inferior weaponry, they manage to inflict steady losses to the Wehrmacht. They fight for a different Italy, a better future -if not for themselves, at least for their children. Men and women without heroics nor retoric, that lifted the spirits of the Italian people and are willing to give their lives for the cause. A formation called “Red Star”.
"Fiamme Verdi" (Green Flames) Brigade - character's details“We, the bold Italian rebels
in fire and frost forged,
we went to the mountains
to defend our homeland and honour.
Old Alpine’s green flames
still adorn our chests,
we want our country free
or for Italy we’ll all die!”
Green Flames hymn, first stanza
Loyal, honest, of noble spirit, calm and upright: these are the features of a Green Flames’ patriot, clearly written on their founding act. Father Domenico “Carlo” Orlandini founded the Green Flames Brigade after getting into irreconcilable disagreements with the Communist-aligned resistance in the region, whose political debate, indiscriminate looting and inept commanders he wanted to replace with exemplary discipline and capable, brave men.
And this is what Carlo’s Green Flames are: an avowedly Catholic, yet independent brigade that counts among its members proud and upright men, that pay as much attention to the behaviour in war of their allies as to that of their enemies. Offended by the very idea of taking personal advantage while damaging their own brothers or their country, they do not fight for the thrill of adventure, nor to obtain privileges or escape individual troubles. Having faith in God’s help, this small band of the Green Flames Brigade settled in the Lavino river valley fights the invaders honourably and treats them with dignity even when they are defeated and broken: the patriots’ cause is too important to have it blemished with anything less than noble.
Representatives of the C.L.N. (Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, National Liberation Committee) - character's details“We saw, within hand’s reach,
Behind the tree trunk, the bush, the canes,
a more humane tomorrow
fairer, freer, happier .”
‘Oltre il Ponte’ (Beyond the bridge), Italo Calvino, 1961
The National Liberation Committee, the office that coordinates virtually all italian rebel formations, has no doubts: the first step is to defeat the enemy, only then we can discuss what shape the reborn Italy will have. And the choice will belong to the Italian people.
Could you think of anything else, after an Italy invaded by German troops announced an armistice with the Allies? How could you trust your government, having seen your King flee his capital after declaring it an Open City? Italians have had enough of inept representatives, now they’ll take their future into their own hands. And, as many believe, it will be a happier future, fairer, where differences and waste will not be tolerated. A new world, a just country. But nowadays disorder reigns, and the fight against occupying forces must have absolute priority; in the meantime, any social or political division has to be set aside.
And while the fight rages on someone has to take care of running the country: the CLN will do that. Its members are not only brave fighters, but farsighted men with clean consciences; they think about how Italy will be when it’ll be free, when Italy’s destiny will be decided by the Italians themselves. On the hills of Rome or in the woods of Monte Sole, the members of the CLN will always be there to remind their fellow countrypeople that’s in the darkest hour that you need to look up again and direct your gaze to the light of tomorrow.
For inspiration: “L'ordre SS: éthique et idéologie”, Edwige Thibaut; “Kaputt”, Curzio Malaparte
Brigate Nere (Black Brigades) paramilitaries - character's details“Black Brigades, Death’s spearhead
we’re fight’s and horror’s flag,
we´re pride turned cohort
to defend Italy’s honor.
Long live Italy! Fascists, to us!
Fascio is many heroes’ badge
Black Brigades, stout-hearted
against enemies from the inside and the outside!”
Black Brigades Hymn, 1944
Something had to be done: the holy motherland was defiled by foreign enemies’ boots, and the duty of every true Italian, every true fascist, is to defend it, after the King’s infamous betrayal. Many proud members of the local Fascist Party had this in mind, when they left they villages on the Apennines on their way to Bologna, at the beginning of July 1944, to enlist with the XXIII Black Brigade “Eugenio Facchini”, the newly formed Party Militia. Led by Augusto Malagoli, handsome and manly in their hastily patched black uniforms, they were ready to depart for the Gothic Line, rifles in their hands and Italy in their hearts. Much to their surprise, they were sent back home instead, to Montelupo and other small villages. They labeled them “reserves”, gave them old pistols and one duty: fight “for the defense of the Italian Social Republic’s order, the struggle against bandits and outlaws and the annihilation of enemy paratrooper cells”. What it really meant: to kill rebel fellow villagers, and the first of the Allies to infiltrate past the Gothic Line. More than a few of the Black Brigade men harbor doubts about their future, and that of their Republic and their Duce. But their categorical imperative still holds its weight: “Believe, Obey, Fight”. And the Black Brigades will do what’s expected from them.
Gendarmes of the GNR (Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana, Republican National Guard) - character's details“Within Italian borders
Italian people have been made anew
Mussolini remade them
for tomorrow’s war
for labor’s joy
for peace and laurels
to put on the pillory
those who reneged Italy."
Giovinezza, Inno non ufficiale della RSI
After the foundation of the RSI, the Italian Social Republic, Fascism is back, fiercer than ever, flaunting its renovation and the new vigor of a political party that many had given up for dead. It doesn’t matter that probably Mussolini is just a puppet of the Führer now, true fascists will never give up. “Semper fidelis”. For the Duce. For the Motherland. For Honor.
The GNR is the RSI military police and territorial force, it was founded by the Duce on December 8, 1943 assembling veterans from the Royal Army, the Royal Gendarmerie (“Carabinieri”) and a few paramilitary corps. Brave and integer men, that would never betray the cause they’re sworn to defend. The anglo-american enemies advance, pushing against the borders of the motherland, and little can be done to stop them. The Germans have lost their faith in their old ally and nowadays perhaps they see Italy as just another occupied country. The National Guard itself is shrinking, as resources are diverted to the new party militia. Little does it matter: many enemies means much honour, and what’s left of the GNR won’t budge an inch. Every Republican can find within the camarade beside him the most precious treasure, and everyone is indispensable to defend Italy’s land and what matters most: its honor. Death to those who give up!
Women of the S.A.F. (Servizio Ausiliario Femminile, Women’s Auxiliary Service) - character's details“Lord of Heaven and Earth, welcome the humble, fervent prayer of us, Italian women, that put you, O Lord, and our homeland above even our dearest loved ones. [...] Bless Italy over the seas, over its bloodied and oppressed lands, over all the skies, the Republican flag, free, powerful, safe. Bless the dead, forever alive in our hearts, that raise towards You, high, the Italian flag that will never furl. Preserve the Duce. Bless”
The Auxiliary’s Prayer, 1943
SAF volunteers are a priceless resource for the Italian Social Republic military: air defense technicians, wireless operators, tailors, nurses, clerks, they perform their work with care, dedication and accuracy, in the barracks and on the battlefields. Living embodiment of the fascist woman ideal, they support RSI troops surrounded by an aura of charm and iron resolve. The hardships of military life do not scare the 6,000 girls led by the unyielding Brigadier General Piera Gatteschi Fondelli, and when needed the volunteers do not hesitate to take up arms side by side with Fascist Soldiers or Militiamen. Italy’s true women, amazons in wartime as they are household angels in peace, they relentlessly wave the tricolor flag, singing songs that mark Fascism’s certain victory against its vile enemies.
Waffen-SS 16. SS-Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung (16th SS Armored Reconnaissance Battalion) - character's details“May God the Almighty give his grace to our work, steer our will, bless our wisdom and fill us with people’s trust! Because we wish to fight not for ourselves, but for Germany!”
excerpt from an Adolf Hitler’s radio speech
Among the Waffen SS deployed in Italy, a specific unit is tasked with the most sensitive and risky operations on the Gothic Line during the military occupation in 1944. They are a special detachment of the 16th Reconnaissance Battalion of the 16th SS Panzergrenadier-Division “Reichsführer-SS”. They are led by Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Siegfried Von Hoffman, diehard follower of Major Walter Reder, who commands the entire Battalion from a stronghold in the north of Tuscany. Among their numbers, severely depleted by the long war against the rebels, there are men coming from every corner of Germany: decorated officers from other campaigns, volunteers eager to serve the Reich, but also members of the Hitlerjugend, almost kids, sometimes drafted and sent straight to the frontlines, far away from their homes and their land.
Men of differents trades and social backgrounds, but united by their deep faith in the Führer and their motherland. Men eager to serve and die for a higher cause, the supremacy of the German people and the defeat of the anglo-american capitalism, so the world could know the peace and prosperity that only the Third Reich could guarantee. And to make the Führer’s dreams come true, the 16th’s men are ready to eliminate any obstacle on Germany’s path, be it a traitor, a communist, a jew, one of their supporters, or one of those bandits that Italians keep calling “partisans”.
Women following the Waffen-SS - character's detailsKinder, Küche, Kirche
(children, kitchen, church)
Kaiser Wilhelm II, on German women
The German army would be powerless without the huge apparatus of support corps and second line troops that follow and provide for the combat troops. In the same way that a trained athlete cannot land a blow without the participation of their whole body, Germany cannot win this war without the help of the whole population, the working muscles of the Reich. So on the Gothic Line too, following the soldiers of the 16th Battalion, many non-combatants come along to contribute to Germany’s victory. Most are men, such as engineers, artificers, orderlies and clerks, well oiled cogs inside the war machinery. Several, though, are women: cooks, nurses, but also officers’ wives and daughters. Whoever thought of second lines as a refuge for inepts and cripples would be dead wrong: everyone has a duty to fulfill, and a task to accomplish, efficiently and without waste. Man or woman, everyone is part of the magnificent and neat organism that is the Reich: everyone is a small cell, peripheral, but still essential and necessary, connected with millions of other cells and commanded by the German people’s Führer and the National Socialist Party that he chairs.
The Citizens of Montelupo - character's details
For inspiration: “Fausto and Anna”, Carlo Cassola; “The Twenty-three Days of the City of Alba” (second part), Beppe Fenoglio
Even in some remote mountain hamlet the effects of the conflict are overpowering. Abuse, skirmishes, retaliation, shootings. It’s not easy to live near to the frontlines in the summer of ‘44. Most of the inhabitants tried to follow the flow of events and keep a low profile to avoid trouble. But war looms above them, it’s just on the other side of the hills: there’s no more time for indecisiveness. Many have joined the rebel formations, some with Sirio and his Red Star, others going farther into the mountains. Then there are those who think of the partisans as rebels, vile traitors that help the invading armies; some of these joined the RSI military and were assigned to distant posts on orders from the Duce. Some keep wondering how much loyalty do they owe to the King, the Army, the Party. Many others still haven’t made their choice, or maybe they just haven’t made up their mind about what side would be more convenient for them.
The situation is very confusing, it’s hard to tell what’s right and what’s wrong. Even the presence of the German allies, often not exactly the picture of the loyal companion that official propaganda depicts, can’t really bring order. The village is almost completely populated by women and old people: men are gone and afar, no matter what path did they choose. The children have been sent away, to safer places with relatives. The only men of arms-bearing age are the landlords, the physician and the priest: they’re too rich, too wise or too coward to dirty their own hands. Women on the contrary are strong and resolute, mountain people, that know well how to get their hands dirty, and try to help their men as much as they can. Many of them help their brothers, husbands, or relatives that went to the mountains, but many others are loyal to the Duce and the Party, they look down upon young partisan couriers and they would do anything to make the rebels leave the valley. There are also those who just pray every hour of the day for this accursed war to quickly come to an end, and for the bloodshed to stop.
The characters for this event are pre-written in their core traits and loaded on a web-based Management System that can be accessed on the page http://terrespezzate.altervista.org/calendario.php. There the players can browse the list of characters, each briefly described in what we call a ‘teaser card’, including a mention of the pre-written relationships to other characters, an evocative tagline (“motto”) and a few ‘keywords’ (or 'tags') to help the reader quickly frame the character. At a set date and time, selection is enabled and players can try to seize their preferred character by way of a so called ‘click run’: the first to click on a character’s card gets to play it. Once you have acquired a character, you can customize this public card with a picture and a theme song. Later on, “private” paragraphs (only visible to you) will be appended by the fiction staff to the character card in the Management System, providing more background, relationships and group information. You are free to flesh out whatever is not covered in such expanded info to your taste.
Characters are written with an age and gender in mind (there are no age-neutral or genderless characters in this larp): to provide a more believable gaming experience, we ask players to choose characters aligned with their age group and outward gender appearance.
Some of the characters also have extra requirements meant to serve narrative purposes, such as “English Speaking” or “Robust”: players are kindly requested to refrain from selecting a character if they lack such extra requirements.
Finally, some characters will be marked as “Corvee”, meaning that their role involves practical works in game, such as cooking or cleaning. They will be evenly distributed among the different factions and will be refunded part of the ticket cost for their work. Select one if you are a practical person and you don’t mind helping out.
A more extensive explanation of these specifications follows.
Every character has an approximate age, expressed with an indicator for an ‘age bracket’. We recommend you choose a character whose age group roughly matches yours. We won’t be strict, still we reserve the right to deny the choice of characters whose age is too far away from yours, such as Very Young players who request Mature characters. Here’s a guide to age tags.
Very Young: A kid, someone at the very end or right past their adolescence. Not a child, but someone perfectly able to understand how dire the times are and have an active role. Recommended player age for a Very Young character is 16-23.
Young: A young man or woman in their prime. Had the circumstances been different they would be living the best years of their lives. Recommended player age for a Young character is 21-27.
Adult: Men and women ready to marry and settle down, if they don’t have already. They’ve left long ago the age of games and now have serious business to take care of. Recommended player age for an Adult character is 24-36.
Mature: A mature person has lived long enough to be an example, either good or bad, for other people. They could be officers, or householders. In principle, we wouldn’t accept request for Mature characters from any player under 30.
Traits the player needs to have for consistency with the character representation. They are never too stringent and they are meant to improve everyone’s gaming experience, they should not be seen as advantages or disadvantages of a character.
English Speaker: Our Larp’s setting is a rural area during World War II. Many characters are barely literate; someone is cultured, someone is not. Having in mind the goal of facilitating the interaction of players hailing from different parts of Europe, some characters will have as a requisite to be played by english speakers. A player that chooses a character with the “English Speaker” trait must have a good grasp of the spoken english language. These characters are necessary to break the isolation of our guests, and might also fulfill the role of translator. Everyone of them will have a background reason to speak this foreign language.
Physical requirements: Facial hair, large frame, fitness. Some characters have mild physical requirements, functional to better and deeper characterizations. If present, they will be pretty self-explanatory.
Corvée: These characters will help with meals and services during the event. Food will be in game material: it could be the base of social interaction and will be a tradeable good. Those who handle food will have to cook and serve it, and then wash the dishes. There will always be a staff character to help and guide them. Those who play a Corvee character will receive a 20€ refund. We remind other players that the presence of some people specifically tasked with handling food should not be an invitation to be uncooperative and not help in food-related tasks.
To give players a rough idea of what kind of game experience they can expect, each character has a 'Personality Archetype': it highlights what kind of behavior is expected of them and will hint to what kind of events they will mostly be facing. These are possibly the most relevant of all character tags as they strictly relate to their psychology.
Intimist: Focused on self, on events that touch them personally rather than those of general interest. They will be still as interactive as anyone else, just filtering reality through their individual worries, such as a woman concerned for her child serving in the army, or a boy considering rebelling to his father’s authority.
Active: Never refraining from taking an assertive stance, the active type pursues goals straightforwardly and vigorously. Not necessarily brash or reckless, they just don’t believe in subterfuge or working behind the scenes, they fuel play, such as an idealist fighter or a merciless criminal.
Balanced: Alternating taking a clear stance with opportunistic choices, they keep a cool head and an even game between action and reflection, such as an old wise man or a soldier concerned with preserving his life while doing his duty.
Violent: Physically or through hierarchy, this type exerts power by coercion. Be it to reach their goal or just to satisfy their perversion, they get there through prevaricating others with all available means, such as a torturer, an abusive husband or a brutal work boss.
Charismatic: They know what to say and when, in order to attract attention and consensus. Native public speaker and good at debating, this type may be a leader but also just a sideways manipulator; in any case, they don’t refrain from taking a position and speak in name of their peers, such as a rebel chieftain or a priest.
General info about the larp
You can find all you need to know on the International Home Page for the larp.