Category Archives: Case studies

Analysis of the dramaturgy of a held larp

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"

The Other Us : a larp for a small group of close friends

1. One player is the host, who invites the others. As host, you should invite people you know really well – and preferably who know each other really well. Apart from this, no GM is needed.

2. The larp begins with a timer or alarm clock set for four hours. It ends when the timer rings.

3. Before role-playing begins, each player should carefully examine their own life, looking back to the single biggest decision that has led them to where they are today. The player should imagine what would have happened had that decision been taken differently (for good or for bad), and if so: who would the player be today? That person is the character.

4. In-game, none of the characters know each other. They meet for the first time.

5. The host decides where and why the characters meet.

6. Plan at least two hours for debrief.

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!

The pre-emptive character – Love in the Age of Debasement

Six couples. A cafè. 3 hours. No orcs, goblins, mystical orders, spies, asassins, or any kind of extraordinary characters. No magic, combat, violence, mystique, politics, or any kind of extraordinary drama. Just regular people, struggling to save or sever their relationships.

Scene from "Love in the Age of Debasement". Copyright 2009 Li Xin. Used with permission.
Scene from "Love in the Age of Debasement". Copyright 2009 Li Xin. Used with permission. Click for more.

It was, of course, a larp – more precisely: Erlend Eidsems “Love in the Age of Debasement”. And the most interesting part of the larp was the innovative way it used written characters to construct the drama.

Continue reading The pre-emptive character – Love in the Age of Debasement

Documentation: SonsbeekLive

What do you get when you add an American sculptor to a Danish larpwright to a bunch of Dutch larpers, and mix it all with an art festival audience? The answer, it seems, is SonsbeekLive, a series of six three-day larps held sequentially in the summer of 2008, mixing the fantasy-larp esthetic with modern sculpture and a tad of Nordic-style larp ritualizing. The larp was produced as a collaboration between Danish larpwright Bjarke Pedersen and the US sculptor Brody Condon, with the central scenography (a white tower, home to the characters) designed by Condon. The other artworks of the Sonsbeek exhibition were also assigned significance in the larp and treated as scenography by the larpers.

Photo quoted from
Photo quoted from

Plenty of interesting things to learn from the documentation: Condon’s tower, of course, is truly inspirational and shows a potential third path for fantasy-larp scenography, an alternative to both crappy-looking symbolism (rope = city wall) and work-intensive authenticity (100 volunteers and 5000 stones = city wall). Continue reading Documentation: SonsbeekLive