April 2018


Nordic Larp

From the larp KoiKoi, taken by Xin Li

You’ve probably heard the buzz recently about ‘Nordic larp’, and you might be wondering what’s so special about it? – how’s it different from US or UK larp?

Different countries and part of the world have different larp cultures, that reflect the people who live there and the kinds of societies they’re based in. Nordic larps… well, they’re something rather remarkable.

Over the last 20 years or so, the Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland – have evolved a shared larp vibe which is quite distinct from the rest of the world, and which is now being increasingly sought out and imitated. These countries all have strong social and cooperative politics, and a popular tradition of reflection, questioning, and discussion. And this carries right through into their larping.

Nordic or not so Nordic?

To start with, there’s been a lot of argument over what “Nordic larp” actually means. It looks like a geographical term, but it’s more often used to refer to a particular tradition of larp. Not all larp played in the Nordic countries is necessarily considered “Nordic larp”; while larp from elsewhere that shares the same spirit might be considered “Nordic-style”. And then each of the four countries has its differences, and much of their larp is outdoor broadly-fantasy-medieval campaigns, like everywhere else. These differ from US and UK larps mostly in being more immersive and having a lot less rules, but they’d be recognizable.

No, the term “Nordic larp” is generally taken to mean a particular tradition of progressive arthouse larps that’s emerged from the Nordic countries over the last few years. These wildly creative and experimental one-shot larps have captured the imagination like nothing else.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

The larps range from a few hours to several days long: some take place in specialized venues and involve elaborate costume, others are run in nondescript convention rooms in ordinary dress. Typically they have a preparatory ‘workshop’ to help players get into their characters and into the game, but these vary considerably in length as well.

Just a few from many hundreds of examples:

  • The White Road – players as drunken hobos go on a real road trip that ends with them casting their dead friend’s ashes into the sea.
  • Soulstrip – a short larp for just three players, who spend the entirety of it naked and shut inside a wardrobe. They represent different personality aspects of a character in danger of being caught in adultery.
  • Fade to Grey – an experiment in reversing the usual larp dynamic. Characters become progressively less interested in each other, and in the plots, as the game goes on, until at the end they’re all bland and grey.
  • Delirium – a larp about love and madness, which essentially induced insanity in its players over a continuous 42 hours of play. (Preceded by five days of intensive workshops.) http://nordiclarp.org/wiki/Delirium and there’s a video documentary about it here
  • Luminescence – about cancer patients undergoing music therapy. Played out near-naked in a room full of flour; with no story of any kind, just physical interaction.
  • KoiKoi – nomadic tribes rejoin for ceremonies of rites of passage: children become adults, couples become married, the old prepare for death. With much drumming and dancing.
The Hour of the Rant.

From Knutpunkt 2014, taken by Johannes Axner

Rules and regulations

The first big difference you’d notice when moving from a US-based or UK-based larp to a Nordic equivalent – whether it’s an arthouse one-off like the above, or a traditional fantasy campaign – would be the massive de-emphasis of rules and system. In Nordic games, having even a few pages of rules is considered heavy, and many have no written rules at all. Damage from combat and other results are usually assessed and judged by players themselves. Magical effects and the like are described, and their outcomes agreed mutually according to what makes for a good story. There’s an underlying shared assumption that you don’t do anything that would detract from someone else’s game: ‘Don’t Be an Ass’ is pretty much the only rule required.

Larp for losers

This is all possible because Nordic larps don’t usually take in the notion of character progress in strength, abilities, etc. There’s no sense in which players are trying to achieve things so as to make their characters become more powerful. Instead, the shape of a character’s story is what’s important – and this can go down as well as up. ‘Playing to lose’ is a vital concept in Nordic larp. If it makes for a good story for your character to do badly, and other players will get enjoyment out of playing along with that, then that’s entirely fun and engaging: players will have their characters crash and burn without a qualm.

Get immersed

Torture workshop.

From Knutpunkt 2014, taken by Johannes Axner at a torture techniques workshop

Two further key Nordic concepts are the ideals of immersion, and 360-degree illusion. As with all Nordic larp terms, their meanings are hotly debated. But broadly speaking, immersion (which can be into setting, into story, and/or into character) means that you should be thinking and feeling as within the larp all the time; and 360-degree illusion means that the larp is designed and set up in such a way as to facilitate immersion, by making the real environment match the game-world setting as closely as possible. Most larps try for this to some extent, but Nordic larps take it very seriously indeed as a philosophy: often to the extent of not having an out-of-character area, with players eating and sleeping in-character throughout.

It comes back to story again: the better the gameworld illusion, and the deeper the immersion the players experience, the more satisfying will be the story that emerges. The larp Dragonbane , for which the organizers built an entire medieval village and a life-size electro-mechanical dragon that breathed fire, is perhaps an extreme example. Likewise the retired naval warship whose interior was converted into a Battlestar-Galactica-universe starship for the larp The Monitor Celestra.

The expedition to find the missing Dr Klüft.

From the (Cthulhu-themed) larp Terra Incognita, taken by Johannes Axner

In recent years there’s been a trend, particularly among shorter larps, to no longer require a continuously authentic setting illusion, in order to help the development of story between players: using, for example, what are called ‘metatechniques’ – player–player communication techniques that temporarily break character. This all means that there is now wide variation in types and degrees of immersion, and in levels of illusion. But they remain important parts of the basis of the tradition.

The Georgia-based larp campaign Avegost is an interesting example of applying Nordic principles in a USA context. Organizer Joe Landolfi talks here on larping.org about his mission to introduce Nordic-style immersion to the campaign, and the difficulties that some existing players had adjusting to it.

The face of Dr Klüft.

From the (Cthulhu-themed) larp Terra Incognita, taken by Johannes Axner


The Nordic larp scene is strongly associated with Knutpunkt (it means ‘the nodal point’), the annual larp conference which rotates around the four Nordic countries. In April 2014 it was held in Gothenburg, Sweden http://knutpunkt.se/ , and the mix of talks, workshops, panels and round-tables included:

  • Sing it out loud! – musical meta-techniques
  • Typology in character creation
  • Edu-larp for socialization: building a bridge to real life
  • Ethics in larp writing
  • Viewpoints – performance techniques for connecting role and player
  • Experience-focused larp design
  • Culture definition through pre-larp workshops
  • Portraying sex-work at larps
  • Creating the connect-with-coplayers toolbox
  • The selfish player
  • Blackboxification

((If that all sounds perhaps a little dry or academic, there were also a load of larps to play, performance events, parties, and a sauna and hot tub.)Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download)

Knutpunkt is also known as Knutepunkt, Knudepunkt or Solmukohta, depending on which of the Nordic countries it’s happening in that particular year. But the books of proceedings that are published to accompany each conference are always called Knutepunkt-books, to commemorate the first Knutepunkt, which was held in Norway: http://nordiclarp.org/wiki/Knutepunkt-books .

Mad about the Boy

One of the pioneers of Nordic larp in the USA is Lizzie Stark, who in 2012 organized a run in Connecticut of the Norwegian-written game Mad about the Boy. This is a weekend one-off set in a near-future society where all men have died – the characters are all women, and the larp examines gender roles, heteronormativity, parenting, democracy and lots of other interesting and potentially troublesome issues. This event really gave a good kick to US awareness of Nordic larp in general, and Lizzie’s blog also contains some fantastically valuable resources – including ‘Nordic larp for noobs’ , which she wrote as an intro for Mad about the Boy players but which is great reading for anyone who wants to learn more. And you can download a writeup of the game here: http://www.rollespilsakademiet.dk/webshop/matbus2012.pdf

Or if you prefer videos, you’ll love this ‘Introduction to Nordic Larp’ talk by the Finnish writer and broadcaster Johanna Koljonen: http://nordiclarptalks.org/post/576668918/introduction-to-nordic-larp

Nordic Larp

From the larp KoiKoi, taken by Xin Li

More, more, more

If you want to find out more about Nordic larp, there’s absolutely stacks of material available. Here are a few places to start with:

  • What does Nordic Larp mean? http://nordiclarptalks.org/post/48230787098/what-does-nordic-larp-mean-jaakko-stenros – Finnish game researcher Jaakko Stenros gave this keynote speech before Knutepunkt in 2013. It’s half an hour long, but it’s really clear and concise, defining the term, ‘brand’ and tradition of Nordic Larp. You can either view the talk itself (see previous link), or go read the transcript (which has some fun slides and illustrations) here http://jaakkostenros.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/keynote-script-what-does-nordic-larp-mean/
  • The Foundation Stone of Nordic Larp http://nordiclarp.org/wiki/The_Foundation_Stone_of_Nordic_Larp – This book, made for Knutpunkt 2014, specifically aims to serve as a primer for people new to the Nordic larp discourse and tradition. It’s available as a free PDF (as are all Knutepunkt books). The book is 300 pages long: it contains some newly-written introductory essays, a presentation of some of the Nordic Larp Talk videos you might want to check out, and a collection of essays that were particular highlights of previous Knutepunkt books. Here’s a review http://imagonem.org/2014/03/31/this-thing-of-ours/ of the book that may give you an initial impression and guide you through the essays.
  • Nordic Larp http://nordiclarp.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/nordic-larp-book-now-available-for-free-online/ – An epic tome that presents a cross-section of this vibrant culture through 30 outstanding larps, by presenting stories told by designers, players and researchers, with over 250 photographs. In addition the book contains essays explaining the history and rhetoric of Nordic larp, and contextualizing it in relation to theatre, art and games. In 2012 the book received the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. The link leads to a free PDF copy of the book, which is around 300 pages long. (If that seems a bit much, start by looking at the pretty pictures… and work from there following what looks most interesting.)
  • Nordic Larp on TLC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77ACDFVzH_0 – A 14-minute documentary shot in Denmark, focusing on a larp set under a repressive regime.

About the Author:

This article was written by Mo Holkar. Mo has been playing freeforms since some time in the early 90s, and running them almost as long, mostly as part of the Epic Experience. Check out his full list of work here. It’s seriously impressive. продвижение сайтаtopod.indeeo.ruкак взломать webmoney на деньги без программчехол для макбуккредит на малый бизнес с нуля втбfree online casino bonus slot machinesiran girls sexcasino oyun oynabeste-onlinecasinos.comарушафитнес в тц бум

Oct 20, 2014

Sarah recently attended the grand opening event for Empire, a larp run by UK-base company Profound Decisions. The event took place at Syresham Fields Farm, about 30 minutes outside of Northampton.

I’m relatively new to the world of LARP. I’ve gone about getting into the hobby kind of back-to-front; my first step into this brave new world was as an organizer. I was one of the development team members of Dark Tempus LARP, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi game heavy on immersion and player-lead plot. From there I started playing a small new system, Pioneers LARP, which focuses on exploring new worlds and finding valuable resources to further the advancement of your chosen race.

Empire is the first big game that I have experienced, with around 2,000 players. That’s a huge increase from the 20-30 that I am used to! I arrived completely unprepared; I had a very limited kit, a half-built character, and no notion whatsoever of which of the ten Nations I was going to be playing. Luckily, I had decided to turn up a day early, so I had plenty of time to explore the IC area and get a feel of the setting before committing myself to anything. A fortuitous and completely accidental meeting with a vague acquaintance in the tavern on Thursday evening provided me with a Nation and house to join, as well as all the food I could eat. My character became an information-gathering sneak, tailing people and listening to their secrets from a distance, which allowed me to be as busy as I wanted to be. There was never a dull moment, confirming that, as with the majority of LARP games, you really do get out what you put in.

Profound Decisions has a history of being big on immersion. This is evident in the amount of effort that has gone into the transportable buildings they have created for the tavern and the senate. The town of canvas surrounding these central points is impressive, as is the work players have put into dressing up their IC areas. Unfortunately, due to the ferocious winds on Friday, it seems that it was next to impossible to put up some of the IC tents. Some that had already been set up blew down and were beyond repair, meaning that the workmen loading the wreckage into their truck were visible during play. For health and safety reasons this was unavoidable, but the crew did their best to work out of the way of players so as not to affect the feel of the game too much. I did see a few people wandering in and out of tents on the IC field during play time completely out of kit, thus ruining the otherwise impeccable level of immersion Empire had worked so hard to achieve.


Something I feel worth noting is the fact that Empire allows children to play. Originally I was not too sure how much I would like this, as I really worried about them breaking character and being detrimental to the level of immersion I would be able to achieve. The addition of youngsters running around, however, has gone such a long way to making the world feel more real. There are also few things in life better than walking past the fighting pit and seeing seven small children kicking the living daylights out of a huge, strapping Orc.

Almost upon arrival, Empire provided me with one of the most important aspects of the LARP community: the fact that it is a community. I really enjoyed and recommend Empire, and will be returning.

Were you at Empire? Like the photos? Have your own first-event story to share? Give your thoughts below!

Guest article by Sarah Leahey, photos by Oliver Facey. Check out more of his photos here.

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Jun 07, 2013

You’ve heard of The Hobbit. You’ve heard of Game of Thrones. You’ve even heard of World of Warcraft. But what about the people who do this for real? Have you heard of them?

Treasure Trapped is an ambitious project to create a larp documentary, which delves into the depths of Live Action Role Play (LARP). Taking its name from some of the first forays into British LARP in the 80s, this idea, which sprang from a conversation over a pint in a dark and dingy pub, is now shedding light upon this curious pastime. Part documentary, part road movie, this film charts the journey of a group of uninitiated filmmakers, as they interact with this counter culture, delving into the murky world of LARP, gathering knowledge of this underexplored and highly stigmatised hobby.

In an era when the fantasy genre dominates the blockbuster charts, when video gaming is at its peak and television franchises are reaching millions of viewers, Cosmic Joke thought it was about time that someone investigated the hobby that actually brings these fictions to life. With camera in hand, they set sail upon this epic adventure. Eschewing the traditional portrayals of LARPers, which leave players reduced to geeky caricatures, Cosmic Joke are hoping to meet the real people behind the LARP hobby.

Brought to you by Cosmic Joke, Treasure Trapped gets under the skin of the people who
participate in these games, finding out about the origins of LARP and where the gamers fit in. From post-apocalyptic LARP to exploring how LARP is being used in schools, the film will satisfy your curiosity of this much maligned hobby. Revealing LARPing territory often left undiscovered by the great majority, Treasure Trapped exposes the secrets behind this veiled slice of society and draws you deep within a new world.

With a truly unique look at this worldwide community that is known for its eccentricities,Treasure Trapped brings this hobby to the masses. Game on!
The Treasure Trapped family of filmmakers are currently crusading to get this film funded. By emulating the LARP community across the globe, they have decided to create a community of their own, who, as contributors to the project, will have unrivalled access to the film.

By way of a Kickstarter campaign, donors can pledge from £1 to £2500 to the film, becoming part of its tapestry, with an ability to shape the finished product. A wide range of pledges from a humble hobbit pledge to a gargantuan wizard contribution, enables the campaign to cater to all.

Discover the pledging menu along with more juicy information about the film here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cosmicjoke/treasure-trapped/posts
For more information or interviews please contact Cosmic Joke at holla@cosmicjoke.co.uk. Check outour website at www.cosmicjoke.co.uk.

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Dec 21, 2012
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