"All's Well That Ends"

General Background
Historical Accuracy
A Note on Characters


"All's Well That Ends" is a freeform for 24 players, written by Russell Harris, Heidi Kaye, Anthony Winter, Jane Winter and AJ Smith.  It is set in a fictionalised version of Elizabethan London, one more akin to that depicted in "Shakespeare in Love" than, say,  "Elizabeth" or "Elizabeth R".

The next run of "All's Well That Ends" will be in March 2009 at Intercon-I (Chelmsford, MA).  Note that you must be registered with the convention to be able to play.

General Background

Time:  1580s, a cold winter’s evening
PlaceThe Final Curtain, a tavern of dubious repute in Deptford, London, England.

The tavern is much frequented by theatre people, since it is just around the corner from one of London’s principal theatres, The Swan.  Many theatre patrons stop in for a drink before or after the performance, and it is also busy with workers from the nearby London docks.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is on the throne of England - unmarried, and without a direct heir.  Elizabeth rules a Protestant England that is beset by the two great Catholic powers of France and Spain.  War has been threatened many times but, until now at least, it has never been loosed.

Tonight, soldiers are on the streets.  A Curfew has been announced.  The theatre has been closed and the performance cancelled.  A case of plague has been reported in the district, and no-one is permitted to leave until this has been investigated.

The cancellation of tonight’s performance - of Kit Marlowe’s well-received "Doctor Faustus" - is the second tragedy to strike this area today.  This afternoon, the dead body of Marlowe himself was carried from this tavern.

Now see below ...

Historical Accuracy (aka "Huh? That didn't happen!")

As it said in the Introduction, the setting is fictionalised; the authors have taken certain "liberties" with Elizabethan history.  Primarily, we've condensed events in Elizabeth I's reign a little, to fit into the game.

Players are welcome to read up on period history if they wish, but it's definitely not necessary.  The game is "self-contained"; the detailed background/history here is more than you need to play.  This will be the "official" game version of history, ie it's "true" in the game universe, even if not in Real Life.

(In case you're wondering:
We've messed with history Just A Bit, But Not Very Much.  Some of the characters are fictitious, but not grotesquely so.  The authors promise that:
  • None of the characters is a Weird Space Alien in Disguise;
  • Time-Travelling Pantomime Quadrupeds do not form part of the game;
  • The characters are not really mind-wiped participants in a far-future Reality TV show;
  • There are absolutely no vampires whatsoever.
We really mean it).


Almost everything in the game can be achieved by talking to the other characters.  For the exceptions, there are Game Mechanics.  These fall into two main areas, ability cards and contingency envelopes.

An ability card will typically describe something that the character can do, but that might be more difficult for the player - "Intimidation", "Really Jolly Cunning Questioning" etc.  The card will describe the effect, and also the usage ("two uses", "tear up when used" or similar).

Contingency envelopes have a trigger condition on the outside (eg "open this envelope if you see a blue parrot").  Obviously enough, please don't open the envelope until the condition has been fulfilled.  The contents of the envelope could be some new information, a new ability ... or just something else to complicate your character's life.

In all cases, if something doesn't seem to make sense, please find a GM.

The more detailed information about mechanics here will also be summarised during the Game Brief.

Timetable (aka "What happens next?")

Sign-up for the event.

The casting questionnaire will be mailed to all registered players.

We'll cast the game, then send out costuming hints as soon as possible.  Full characters and any relevant background/mechanics sheets, aka "bluesheets", will follow shortly after.  (By default, we'll send out electronic copies of documents.  Paper versions will be included in the character packets, and available for collection on the day).

A Note on Characters

This version of "All's Well That Ends" has 24 characters: 11 "male", 11 "female" and 2 "boys".  The last category consists of two "boy actors" from the nearby Swan Theatre.  In keeping with the tradition of the time, the female roles on stage are played by adolescent males.  Both were due to be on-stage this evening, and have been caught up in the Curfew.

On the whole, we'll try to avoid cross-casting if we can.  However, we're happy to cast these roles to male or female players, as required/requested.  Similarly, these players are welcome to adopt male or female garb, as they wish.  (The justification is that they did/didn't have time to change out of their stage costumes, when the militia shut the theatre).

Yes, we confess that this is a transparently obvious way for us to juggle/balance the gender mix, without actually having to rewrite any of the characters.  (Some might call this "lazy". We call it "optimising our precious time" ...).

[Note that the casting questionnaire includes an opt-in/opt-out question regarding these roles]

Previous Runs

  • Peaky-3 (15-character version)
  • Intercon-E, Chemsford, MA (23-character version)
  • British Invasion 2008, Chicago (23-character version) - 2 runs

(This page was last updated on 17-October-2008).