THE CHAMPAGNE RITE
This little "game" of role-playing is designed to generate the phenomenon of a lynch mob mentality in a group and then, by a ritual mock "execution" of a chosen scapegoat, to exorcise said same and restore unity.
Setting: The role playing takes place at a French soiree given for a few of the fawning nobility, approximately around the days of the Revolution or before. Authenticity of era is not necessary - but participants are encouraged to attend in some sort of costume or sporting some accessory to enhance the dramatic. Pretension and affectation are a must.
Champagne is to be served. For those who are disinclined towards alcohol, substituting soda water and acting tipsy is fine.
The Main Operator (M.O.)'s role is to act as host(ess) of this soiree and to set up the stage. Beforehand, the M.O. writes up various roles for the participants to play. Roles are given out at the beginning of the rite. Each role should have a name, a few lines of general description, and some "intrigue" - an indication of whom this person may have reason to hate or like. Don't get too detailed. Part of the fun is setting everyone loose on each other to make new enemies/allies.
Vicomte Du Chien
You are a cash-poor noble who comes from an old and respected family. You receive a yearly allowance from a decrepit aunt who lives in the south of France, and generally end up squandering it soon after receiving it on pleasures of the flesh, food, drink and gambling. You then live off the generosity of your friends and acquaintances until they tire of you. You can be charming, but aren't necessarily to be trusted. The Chevalier Du Deux Cheval wanted to kill you in a duel last year since you were alleged to have done something unspeakable to his fiancˇ, Mademoiselle de Chou Chou, but you never showed up at the duel, and certain people of "old school thought" think you're a beastly coward. But you redeemed yourself in the more bohemian circles by making a generous donation (gambling winnings, incidentally) to the Baroness D'Hack who was sponsoring an opera then and are reputed to be romantically linked to the Baroness still, but no one knows for sure.
There is an uneasy feeling in the group. It is known that there is a traitor to the King who is close to getting caught. People have been questioned - it is quite likely that some who are at the party have recently been pulled in for questioning. This party has been thrown by the M.O.'s character as a diversion from the ugly goings-on as of late. However, it is not quite diverting enough. Everyone's mind is on discovering the identity of the traitor and, more importantly, saving their own skin.
The M.O. will at the beginning of the rite distribute the roles and then introduce everyone to one another. From then on, it's up to the participants to sip their champagne and socialize and find the traitor. Note: there is no "right" traitor and the M.O. should take care to not slant any of the roles so anyone seems to be an obvious choice. Anyone, including the M.O. or an errant pizza delivery person (anachronisms are allowed), could be the traitor (although I advocate not attempting to execute a pizza delivery person if you wish to foster good food delivery relations for days to come, not to mention that outsiders may not take kindly to being whisked into 18th century France).
During the socializing, keep in mind that you live in volatile times, you fear for your own neck, your corset or codpiece is probably too tight, and you're likely to take offense easily. Act accordingly. Towards the beginning, you may whisper your suspicions about another member while engaging in party chatter, but later on, you may be shouting at the "traitor" yourself. There are no rules, no set way to go about ganging up on someone, but a scapegoat must be found and agreed on by at least two thirds of the group at some point in the evening. Be sure to converse with every member of the group at least once at some point in the evening.
Once a scapegoat is found, the M.O. will have paper ready with the following roles listed: Executioner, Guillotine #1, Guillotine #2, and Blade. The Guillotine people form a guillotine and the Scapegoat is put into kneeling position by the others. The Executioner says the following:
For crimes against the King and the people of France, you [name] are hereby sentenced to death. May God have mercy on your soul.
The Blade brings their hands down at the appropriate moment onto the Scapegoat's neck. The Scapegoat dies as dramatically as possible.
The Guillotine disassembles itself. The group then huddles around and/or group hugs the Scapegoat
The M.O. says:
"By the sacrifice of our chosen scapegoat, we bring unity to our group. VEXIB NAGUZ TAUG"
Everyone repeats "VEXIB NAGUZ TAUG" three times.
Note: Barbarian: VEXIB (bind) NAGUZ (one) TAUG (all)
Unity is re-established. If there is any champagne left, enjoy.
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