Dying Kingdoms

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Dying Kingdoms

Los Angeles, CA, USA
High Fantasy, waning empires
Conflict resolution system
Light-Touch boffer combat, Hit Location System
Games per year
About 4-6 campers, 2 court or day games, and 4-6 Table Top Games
Writing and Development: Jesse Heinig, Additional Concepts and Material: Randy Beat, Morgan Buck, Steve Gunson, Charlie Hensley, Charles Kelley, Rob Telmar, John Wick, Playtesters: Trevor Casperson, Steve Gunson, Saul Keleman, Hyrum Savage, Annie Rush, Rob Telmar, John Wick.
Participation fee
About $60 for campers, less for shorter games.
Rule system
Custom rulebook
Dying Kingdoms

Dying Kingdoms is a fantasy live-combat larp campaign in California. It has run since 2004, with a combination of weekend- and day-long games as well as tabletop sessions.


Character creation is race- and skill-based, with advantages and disadvantages. Combat is handled by live-combat and a location-based wound system - any hit to a limb disables it. Armour and various skills reduce potential damage and prevent wounds. Magic is resolved using calls.

The game uses an experience cap, forcing retirement of experienced characters to prevent a permanent power differential.


The Dying Kingdoms are prehistoric lands of savage adventure. Civilizations both young and old dot the landscape, vying for supremacy, wealth, and power.

As a fantastical world, the lands of the Dying Kingdoms hold a populace of both humans and non-humans, all in different cultures with uneasy relations.

Humans have long since ascended to the fore of the world’s affairs. In the desert badlands of the west coast, huddled oasis-towns and nomadic desert tribesmen form the Ikhten lands. Once a fragmented empire under the crushing rule of despotic necromancer-kings, Ikhten has since descended into slumber and obscurity. Still, life survives in the desert. Here, the people venerate their ancestors and revere the acolytes of the sun, who shine the blessings of light on their communities. During the cold desert nights, the populace remains ensconced indoors to avoid the restless undead that still plague the lands as a reminder of the long-ago tyranny of the tainted lords.

Not far from Ikhten lands, the decadent Illumin Empire thrives. Its rulers are wealthy beyond compare and its cities magnificent, but the nobles have long since abandoned their responsibility to the populace. Now, the military of the Illumin Empire is but a shell of its former self. Once a mighty power that stretched across the continent, the Illumin Empire can barely see to its own internal affairs. Bereft of an Emperor, the Illumin hold themselves above the lesser barbarians that neighbor the Empire, but those neighbors were not long ago tributaries and provinces in rebellion. Educated, sophisticated, and wealthy, the Illumin refuse to recognize the teetering of their throne.

Around these lands are other human holdings — the barbaric highlanders of Culberon, who battle fiercely for their independence even as their clannish families feud over ancient blood oaths; the militaristic Bechans, whose city-states boast the most articulated, ornate armor known to man, but who squabble among one another in their fight for a single Iron Prince to unite them; the savvy Verrakans, whose tremendous independent city-state is a haven of culture, crime, money, vice, and inspiration; and the tribal Aswahi, whose jungle-dwelling communities refuse to bow head or to adopt civilized ways.

Strangers walk among humans as well: The majestic and immortal elves, whose reign once spanned the world, have long since fallen to ennui. Now, only a few young elves of the last generation remain among humankind, and soon they may vanish from the world forever, taking with them their intimate ties to magic and nature. The stony trolls live in lonely hermitages in mountains and hillsides, sometimes trading peacefully, sometimes cannibalistically preying upon travelers. The enigmatic sauren, reptilian and cold, live in the deep swamps, inscrutable to the warm-blooded kind.

Most dangerous of all, monsters roam the unclaimed spaces. Where kingdoms recede as their power fades, creatures of fear slink in. Goblins, nightgaunts, ogres, and worse things now dot the landscape. Travelers recount wild stories of singular hazards, lost ruins, and terrible man-eating foes.

It is a time of travail, but in this time of change, strength of arm or surety of will can perhaps move the course of the world.

External links