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Role-playing, larp, and what’s this blog about anyway?

Role-playing is play – improvised drama – done for the benefit of the participant/actor rather than an audience. There are many kinds of role-playing – educational, therapeutic, sexual, tabletop, online, freeform, pervasive – and many different contexts where role-playing is performed. Role-playing is “play” both in the sense that Hamlet is “a play” and in the sense that children play. Anyone who has ever played together as kids understand the basic mechanisms of role-playing. Anyone who has only role-played as a kid is also in for a couple of surprises when encountering adults role-playing.

"New Voices in Art" - a Nordic arthaus larp by Tor Kjetil Edland and Arvid Falch - photo by Britta Bergersen

Scene from "New Voices in Art", a Nordic arthaus larp about young artists opening their first exhibiton. Larpwrights: Tor Kjetil Edland and Arvid Falch. Photo by Britta Bergersen

In most places, larp, or live role-playing, started out as an offshoot of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), a kind of role-playing where the players sit down and verbally describe what their characters do, usually aided by dice, rules and a judge/storyteller called the “gamesmaster”. (more…)

Who’s this “Eirik” guy, and why is he writing this blog?

In “The Prince”, Machiavelli insisted that to govern well, the prince had to be a sneaky and manipulative bastard. While I might disagree with his politics, he certainly had a point when it came to larp.

Niccolo Machiavelli : Author of "The Prince", an early treatise on larp design

Niccolo Machiavelli : Author of "The Prince", an early treatise on larp design

There’s a certain sneakiness required to do larp design well – even if you design with open cards, your players will thank you when the way that things fit together unveils something wholly unexpected. If they think that it was entirely their own doing – that is: if the players were manipulated – they will be even more grateful. Hence, the title of this blog.

Just like Machiavelli, I’m male. Similarities end there. I am 33 years old, Norwegian, resident of Oslo. I work as a consultant on interaction design and usability issues. In my private life, I am an active “larper”, one who frequently plays larps, and a “larpwright”, a designer/author of larps. (more…)