The rhetorics of Nordic larp often imply that role-players play in an intuitive fashion guided by the character, rarely or never contemplating their actions during the game. In reality, however, we are often keenly aware of what we are doing as our characters and why. This paper explores the practice of making in-character decisions based on off-game reasons – also known as steering.
The Art of Steering – Bringing the Player and the Character Back Together by Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros & Eleanor Saitta.
Baader-Meinhof Experiment at Riksteatern 2010 during A Week in Stockholm. Ingame. Photo: Gabriel Widing.
Martin Nielsen held a keynote entitled The Chamberlarp Revolution at Knudepunkt 2015 from which he now has released the text. Martin talks about the history and future about formats for short larps such as chamber larp or black box larp.
What does all this mean for the future? I have four predictions and two wishes for the future:
1. We will continue to make larps even more accessible, by integrating workshop techniques in the design in a way that will help more people overcome the anxiety of participating
2. We will make even shorter formats to permit more people to play. Just like short key notes or formats like pecha kucha are gaining popularity on the expense of long talks, we will find even shorter larp formats. Tabletop roleplayers have «roleplaying poems» that can be played in 15 minutes. I don’t know how, but I’m sure we will also have an eqvivialent in larp.
3. Manuscripts will be attributed to author rights, that will provide royalities, which will make one more stepping stone in making it possible to live professionally from larps
4. And larps will start adapting other larps. In his Nordic Larp talk, Evan Torner spoke about adaption litterature or films into, but we will also see, just as in the theatre, that reruns will use LARP manuscripts but use their own adaptions, such as changing the setting but keeping the story.
I strongly recommend the read. And while waiting for the video of the talk to be released, head over to Alibier!
Larpfund is a player driven initiative and fund to support greater diversity in larping. We help organisers subsidise tickets for those who need them.
We believe that the nordic larp community should be accessible to everyone and that we, as a player community, are the ones responsible to make this a reality.
Larpfund is an amazing initative in which you can donate monthly or as a one-shot to a fund which larp organiser can apply to. The money is then to be used to subsidise the tickets to their larp. Currently only operating in the Nordic countries.
Check out larpfund.org
I was also really surprised that to find out that in fantasy worlds where people can fight dragons and spit fireballs from their hands, there was a notion that women at LARP can’t do things as well as men. I kind of assumed that because it’s a fantasy world then people would just treat others equally, but it seems like that is not the case on occasions.
LARP has a Woman Problem at Larp.guide
Also watch Ann Eriksens great Nordic Larp Talk, Girls in Armour – a Danish Feminist Movement
The great team of Frida Gamero, Sofia Stenler and Annica Strand, a part of the organizations Ursula as well as makers of the blog Arrtankar (Organizer thoughts) have just finished the second run of their larp Last Will. As a part of their great tradition of documenting their work they have now written a summary of change made between the two runs. A great read for any larp designer and also great reflection on how to run a signup process.
This is a breakdown of the changes between the first and second run of Last Will. It will include changes in the sign-up procedure, design, information to the players, workshops and also situational changes that greatly affected the outcome, for the players and for us organisers.
Head over to Arrtankar to read: Practice makes perfect
Wyrdcon is annual larp convention held in California, US. It is accompanied by the Wyrd Con Companian Book which this year was edited by Sarah Lynne Bowman.
The book both looks back on history of larp as well as current topics, primarily from an American perspective.
Among other things it was fun to read about the article Culture Shock: Building a Freeform Scene in Edmonton. It is written by Eleonora and Mikael Hellström and hold both great reads about the larp scene in the Swedish 90’s as well as the culture shock for the couple when they tried to get into Canadian larp.
What we learned during these years is that patience is a key word if you want to introduce a non-traditional larp design into an established community. With that come also optimism and stubbornness, as well as repect for other people’s preferences. We met with—and still meet with sometimes—anger and fear of change. These emotions need to be met with respect as well, but also with an open discussion about how the larp community as a whole can only benefit from diversity.
You find the pdf here
Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ingame. Photo: John Paul Bichard
I went to College in November – magic College.
In the fan-made production College of Wizardry myself and almost two hundred others travelled to Czocha Castle in Poland to attend college Harry Potter-style. I’ve interviewed Claus Raasted from the organizing team about the production the media attention it has received afterwards.
In 2012 a UK-based production company called Cosmic Joke embarked it’s journey to capture larp in the form of a documentary. They started a Kickstarter-campaign, got it funded, and now it looks like the final result soon is here.
The movie will be screening at the German larp conference Mittelpunkt 2014 in November.
There has been a few attempts of making a good documentary about larp. My hopes about Treasure Trapped are still very bright. I met the team when they where filming PanoptiCorp in Copenhagen during the spring of 2013.
At the larp conference Knutpunkt 2014 me and Rasmus Høgdall hosted the session Social Media in Larps, in a combination of presentation and panel. We provided some of examples of how people have been using social media in connections to their larps, both for off-game and in-game use.
Oliver Nøglebæk. Photo: Åke Nolemo
Oliver Nøglebæk is a great mind and fortunately for the community, also a larper. He has put together a great list of links as a primer for Nordic Larp. Check it out!
“I realized I didn’t have a good starting point for new folks to learn more. What I mean is, that the information is out there, but it’s scattered across a lot of different places.”
What is common to Nordic larp is that it is primarily directed at a first person audience: the participants are the primary audience of the performance. If I play a mother of a family in Ground Zero, I try perhaps to remain calm and composed in order to avoid frightening my children, performing a strong mother to the other players. At the same time, however, I probably try to engage emotionally with the horrible tragedy, playing an ordinary scared civilian to myself. Everyone in the shelter is engaged in these two performances for the whole 24 hours, pretending to be a refugee in a bomb shelter.
Markus Montola writes about Nordic larp in an article at for the Goethe-Institut’s project SPIELTRIEB! – Nordic Larp: Performing for the first person audience.
Photo: Radiation suit for work down in the reactor at The Monitor Celestra. Credit John-Paul Bichard (CC-NC-ND)
Knutepunkt is a Nordic conference for larp and today is your last chance to sign-up for Knutpunkt 2014. The event is will be held in Halmstad, Sweden 3-6 April. Before that there will be several activities during A Week in Gothenburg (AWiG) such as Nordic Larp Talks on Wednesday 2nd April.
I have attended the Knutepunkt-conference since 2008 and I warmly recommend a visit as you the most amazing people from all over the world.
Photo: Kristoffer Thurøe
In the workshop we also did a lot of freeform scenes within the playgroup. For the characters we did scenes from the past, the future and “what if”-scenes. This turned out to be very strong.
We had a black box, which was a simple room, where a game master would help you set up the scene you needed.
Emily Care boss interviews Anna Westerling, larp designer and organizer of Stockholm Scenario Festival. Read up on Annas thoughts about the festival as well as her views on game design and the history of Nordic freeform and black box larps.
Stockholm Scenario Festival: Interview with Anna Westerling
When do we know if the choices we make are the right ones and what should we really do with our lives? During a few hours, twelve players dive into the stories of Agnes, Markus, Olivia & Thomas to meet them during three stages of their lifetimes.
Blackbox Malmö is an organization hosting and promoting short larps in the Malmö-region in Sweden, in January they organized The Kick Inside.
Noisli is a website and text-editor in which you can choose and mix background noises. It it also continuously changes background color. My guess is that it could also be a kickass player to create ambience for your freeform or black box larp. Try it yourself.