Category Archives: Larp History

Dogma 99 – preface to the Italian edition

I’d like to use this opportunity to dispel a common misunderstanding, and reveal a well-kept secret, both regarding a certain manifesto published in Oslo on the 3rd of December, 1999.
Dogma 99
The misunderstanding first: that the Dogma 99 Vow Of Chastity should be a statement about how all larps – and especially those designed by the signatories – should be made, everywhere, in perpetuity.

It was not. How could it be? Continue reading Dogma 99 – preface to the Italian edition

The Play of Fate – preface to the Italian edition

I first started writing about “fateplay” in 1996, the stone age of role-playing theory. This was before John Kim’s “Threefold Model FAQ” (1998), when “dramatism” was identified as a possible player agenda, before the birth of the online indie-rpgs community at “the Forge” (2001), before the first Knutepunkt conference (1997) where Nordic arthaus larpers would begin formalizing their ideas.

During the 90s, both in Scandinavia and the English-speaking world, the claim was commonly put forth that role-playing was somehow about “storytelling”. White Wolf, producers of the most influential larp & tabletop games of the day, even called their game mechanics for the “Storyteller System”, while local larpers often used the phrase “experiencing a story together” as a way to explain the point of it all.

My key insight was they they were lying. Continue reading The Play of Fate – preface to the Italian edition

2011 Knutebooks on-line

The 2011 Knudepunkt Books are now dribbling onto the web. At the time of writing, two of the three books can be downloaded as PDFs:

2011 Knudebook Covers

The three books are devoted to respectively academic research (“Think Larp”), organizer write-ups (“Do Larp”) and rants & opinions (“Talk Larp”). The last volume, rumours have it, is bound to cause some controversy.

Also: if you, dear reader, have lived under a rock the last couple of months, you might have missed the monumental publication of the monumental book “Nordic Larp”, which documents 30 historically significant larps in text and pictures. It’s not on-line, and it anyway shouldn’t be read on a screen – this is a beautiful “art book”, which sits nicely on your coffee table or in the library of your neighbourhood art istitution. Buy it here or read the editors blog. I have contributed text on the larp “1942 – noen å stole på”.

Cover of "Nordic Larp"

Self-Realization! Conspiracies! The Last Man On Earth!

Do you like larp documentation? I do, and so far 2010 is making me very happy.

First up: “Mad About The Boy” (website), the Nordic arthaus larp about a world where all men are dead and a group of women are competing for the privilege of artificial insemination until * suddenly * the last man alive appears. Li Xin took some excellent photos: Mad About The Boy, First Run.

Mad About The Boy - photo by Li Xin
Mad About The Boy - photo by Li Xin

These pictures were taken in-character, and some of them ended up as plot devices on the larp. But there’s more! Here’s Anna-Karin‘s video documentation from the same event:
Continue reading Self-Realization! Conspiracies! The Last Man On Earth!

1942 & The Three Affiliations Model

So it’s been a hiatus. My main excuse is that my larp writing energy has gone into a) a larp (Marcellos Kjeller, pics, to be blogged) and b) an article about the larp “1942 – noen å stole på” (FLH, 2000) for the forthcoming Nordic Larp book project. A fiendishly difficult writing project, as the article was to be less than 2000 words. Brevity is not my strong side.

Fishermen at "1942 - Noen å stole på". Photo copyright (c) 2000-2010 Britta Bergersen
Fishermen at '1942 - Noen å stole på'. Photo copyright (c) 2000-2010 Britta Bergersen

While researching “1942”, a canonical 5-day 130-player larp held on Norway’s west coast back in 2000, I was reminded of the “Three Affiliations” model the 1942 organizers used to provide activities and relationships for their characters. The model was successful enough that it has later been reused for similar Norwegian larps – larps that focus on the living of daily life in smallish communities.
Continue reading 1942 & The Three Affiliations Model