Should a larp participant have to disclose if they are pregnant?

(CW: illness, suicidal ideation, miscarriage mentioned. Death discussed.)

In one of the FB-groups I was in someone asked if pregnant larpers should disclose their pregnancy to the organizers. I wrote some answers in the thread and I think maybe I should put my opinions and recommended methods here in a separate post. What I express here is my own opinion and It’s based in Nordic larps run in countries with access to affordable care. But it is very well rooted in both my ethics and my experiences. I have professionally as a Mental Health Home visitor and a assistive nurse (which is not a registered nurse in sweden). I’ve been pregnant twice that I know of.

My main stance: deciding if someone gets to go to you larp based on if they are pregnant or not, how pregnant they are or how difficult the pregnancy is, will unfairly impact only some of your participants, who are already victims of discrimination. Demanding to know is unfair pressure. If your goal is to make accomodations for pregnant people I instead suggest building a communication style built on trust and make your accommodations needs-based. Make an offer to listen to participants needs, and both ask them what they need and how grave the need is.
If a participant’s needs something your larp can’t offer, be honest and tell them so. Let them self select.

I am also bringing in serious illness because that became part of the discussion. Some expressed worries about larpers dying suddenly at larps due to pre-existing conditions.

Also in this discussion, remember that:
People who are currently pregnant are reading.
People who have hidden their pregnancies to not be discriminated against are reading.
People who have miscarried at events are reading.
People who have deadly illnesses and could “die at any time” are reading.
People with suicidal ideation are reading.
People with seizure disorders are reading.
What they in the discussion will affect whether they will choose to disclose next time they sign up for a larp. Maybe for your larp.

My stance is that I give information so people can self select. They know their bodies better than I do. They make their life choices and decide their risk levels. I do not wish to discriminate towards those with fertile uteruses. I do not wish to discriminate against those with frail health. And this stance leads to a many people actually filling out my question

“Is there anything you think I should know as an organizer?”

And that question is on the casting questionnaire, sent to people who are already given a spot at the larp. So they know their answer won’t affect their chances to get in at the larp. And that means a lot of people do tell me. Have I had bad experiences with undisclosed medical information? Yes. But that was due to that person’s whole behavior, not due to their specific affliction. And does not afflict my basic attitude. I deal with outliers when they happen.

I’ve had my medical data leak from larp organizers. I’ve been lured into false sense of safety because “the organizers knew” and had a cardiac event. At that event I should have told the people in my group instead, as it was them who noticed I had symptoms.

Stock image of a  pair of hands holding a positive pregnancy test

But what if there is an emergency?

As someone based in a country with affordable accessible care I would say any emergency should be dealt with following the emergency plan. First aid volunteer should only deal with first aid, everything serious should be taken to emergency care. If your larp is set in a remote location you need to have a set up for that as well, because even able bodied non pregnant people can suffer a traumatic injury. This goes for bleeding that won’t stop, intense sudden pain, inability to keep liquids of food down, serious seizures, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties that don’t resolve quickly, severe chest pains. Anything you would send someone in over usually, you send them in at the larp as well. After being checked out/assessed, most of the time the participant can come back an rejoin the larp.
Many would be surprised by how many instances there are of people having for example a miscarriage at an event, who might not tell anyone at the event and then get right back to larping to distract themselves.

When is it ok to deny participation?


I have denied participants with pre existing conditions participation, but that wasn’t because of the condition. It was because something they did or didn’t do (like pay). It has to do with known behavior and how it affects other participants, my volunteers or me. Accessibility goes for me as organizer and my volunteers as well. Not just the participants.
I have sat down with participants who had different needs to look at their possible participation and both arrived at the conclusion that it wasn’t a good fit. And sometime I have been able to recommend them another larp which fit them better.
I have also wrongfully denied some people participation and it had a very adverse effect on their mental health.

Short Version

  • Be careful what you ask for. Avoid making participants feel as if they have to give you sensitive data.
  • I’ve had my best outcomes by having possible participants self select based on my ingredient lists, or contacting me and asking for additional information to help their decision.
  • Most of the time the organizer can deny a person participation, but be wary to not discriminate on the grounds of protected characteristics.
  • If it’s a person miscarrying at your larp you are afraid of, it already happens all the time, often without anyone from the organizer side being notified.
  • Demanding disclosure about pregnancy affects a subgroup (people with fertile uteruses) unfairly.
  • Have high data security on any medical data the participants volunteer. Larps can have leaks due to human error.
  • Don’t create a false security where the participants think you can take care of their medical need. Serious incidents should always go to urgent care to be assessed.
  • If you larp in difficult terrain, far from any kind of help, that is a high risk setting to all your participants. Traumatic injury after a fall or blunt force trauma can happen to anyone.
  • Write down a traumatic accident/death plan available to the organizers and volunteers.

Death

A participant can suddenly die at your larp. It’s a so called low risk, high impact kind of risk based on the risk assessment plan of on the Risk Matrix. It can be due to a congenital defect or illness they know about. Or it can be something they didn’t know. I’ve been involved in projects where planned participants passed away just before the larp. The community supported each other. There were tears. It is something we do not wish to think about but it’s a part of being alive. Meeting other people and living with them. If you worry about this there are some resources available and you can read up about them and make a plan for it with your organizing team. Who calls the emergency number? Who can stay with person? How do you inform the rest of the people on site? Where can participants who knew the larper who died go to get extra support? Do we end the larp early and can we accommodate the participants who can’t go home immediately? What does our insurance say? Can it pay for any additional needs for the organizing team during the crisis and after?

Having a plan helps, even though we do not want to talk about it.

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Podcasts about larp

I’ve been poking around with pods and podcasts, even though I myself learn better by reading about phenomenons or to learn by doing something. But I want to share some Podcasts with you,

Please, if you like them, rate them on itunes for podcasts so they are spread to more people.

Wonderkarin wearing a baseball cap and bose headphones. She has brown hair and looks into the camera.
I am listening.

Larperati

“A podcast by Avalon larp studio where we talk to designers and theorists about larp.”

The hosts are Martine Svanevik and Simon Brind. I have just started listening to the first episode where they talk to Jonaya Kemper

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/larperati-podcast/id1513182713

Link to listen to the podcast on Spotify

Larping out Loud

Larping Out Loud er en rollespilspodcast på dansk af Katrine Wind og Kathrine Abel. Fokus er især på liverollespil, freeform scenarier (Fastaval-format) og til dels blackbox.
Alle afsnit gennemgår forskellige emner i kategorierne spil og design – især inden for LARP. Ofte inviteres et spændende menneske i studiet til en samtale om erfaringer, anekdoter og hvad der foregår i rollespilsmiljøet. Dette første afsnit indeholder en præsentation af podcasten og værterne.

So this is in Danish, but if you understand Danish, Norwegian or Swedish you can get through it with the two latter languages. I listened to the episode that mentions Vedergällningen.

On Itunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/larping-out-loud/id1458889714

On Spotify:

Lajvpodden

There is also the swedish larp podcast Lajpodden by Samuel Ponten and Mojje Mårtensson. I only heard bits and pieces here and there and it’s in Swedish.

https://podcasts.apple.com/se/podcast/podcast-lajvpodden/id1086082250?mt=2

It doesn’t seem to be available on Spotify.

And here is my podcast place:

Do you have any other tips for me when it comes to podcast about that larp that is in or close to the Nordic Larp sphere? Please don’t be shy to plug your own materials.

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Some advice on how to enhance accessibility for larp briefings.

Audio version
This text is written from the perspective of both larping withing the Nordic Larp community/style and having worked more than 10 years being a mental health home visitor improving the lives of my clients with autism and adhd.

I’m going to record the text as well, for accessibility reasons.

I also wish to thank Swedish larp organizer Maria Rodén who has inspired me many times with her no nonsense approach to accessibility needs as a fact of life.

My idea is that this text can help those who are organizing for participant with non-neurotypical need when it comes to processing verbal communication.

In Nordic Larp the prefered way of disseminating information to participants is making materials available to reading before the larp, and to then organize so called workshops to teach by having participants be active in their own learning.
These workshops can be very differently designed, and sometimes you need to have a longer or shorter “briefing” with the whole participant group. In my opinion a briefing is not a workshop, but a workshop can be set up with a verbal briefing.

During a briefing one or a few people read or talk about the information they need to give the whole participant group. A briefing can be mandatory for all present individuals, like a fire safety briefing or just for part of the partcipants, like going through the battle safety rules before a more physical workshop for ppl who will play fighters.

The traditional way of listening to a briefing, in “ordinary life” is to be standing still, if most other people are standing, be silent both verbally and without making sound with your body or devices. Most social contracts also regulate that your eyes are supposed to rest on the person who is speakings face, but that you are to look away now and then so you aren’t seen as being too intense or staring. Leaving the room is seen as rude as long as the presenter is still speaking, and standing too close is seen to be weird.

The advice is divided in two, one is an example of a introduction to the briefing resetting the expectations of everyone involved. The other is a practical instruction on zoning the room, or the space one is using.

Introduction

Welcome to the briefing, before we begin I would like to say that different people have different needs to be able to concentrate and therefore I want to go through how we will do this:

If you need to leave during the briefing, please do so. You don’t need to ask permission and [name] is available after to fill you in if you missed something.
You can stand, sit down, chairs are available if needed, and you can even lie down if there is a need to do so.
I do not request that you look at my face when I am talking, you can have your phone out, or your knitting, other craft or just have your eyes closed. If I need you to look at something I’m holding up or pointing out I will say so.
If you are hard of hearing or need to zone other people out, you are welcome to the front, to be by my side as I go through this information.

As you saw when you came in here the room/space is also divided into some basic zoning.

Needs based zoning

Often in accessibility what is good for one type of accessibility is good for those who are not disabled or are differently abled. This is not true for this style of briefing. I will now go through how one can use zoning to make it possible for participants to self select in what way they want to experience the briefing, to improve their information retention. These are just some suggested zones, as your participant needs might vary. I also recommend to write the zones out on paper in easy to read lettering so that the information about zones is not just given verbally. Tape the papers to the wall or maybe even a volunteer!

Close to presenter
This zone is good for those who are hard of hearing, or have auditory processing difficulty. Even with the aid of hearing aids or if presenter uses a microphone and speakers, it can be nice to be able to also read lips and body language. If you have a stage, these participants might even need to be up on stage with you. If sitting, they can sit in front of you on pillows, if standing they need to be off to the side. Please do not turn away from them completely.

Silent and concentrated.
This zone is for those who both need silence and are able to be silent. It can also advised to have a slow, calm body language in this zone, and if you look at your phone, to not start tapping it/make notes on it. A good zone also for those who might sit or lie down with eyes closed.

Calm fiddling
This zone is for those who can handle a little noise. Knitters fit perfectly here. People taking notes on their phones. Ppl with smaller stims. The kind of recent lovers who basically sit in each other knee. A participant doing another participants hair or makeup while listening.

Talkers and movers
This zone might be divided into two zones if the space is big enough. Talkers usually need to whisper questions to their mentor/friend/someone who was late. Movers can either be restless or in actual physical pain. Movers dont always walk or pace, sometimes it’s a more vigorous stim that needs to happen for them to be able to participate.

Additional zones

These are my most common zones, but your participant group might need other things. Think through what those needs might be, consult some people who are coming to your larp, maybe even ask about information processing needs in the casting questionnaire? I prefer you ask actual participants this information, and not potential participants as some are not forthcoming with their needs if they are afraid it might affect their chances at getting a spot at the larp.

You could also add a LOUD zone if there is a possibility to put up sound protections screens , and if you are filming (see below) you could stream the briefing for example to a FB group for the event so that people can even listen in an adjoining room or anywhere where the wifi or 4G is good enough for audio/video.

Note: If you are filming or even streaming the briefing, which can be a great help to anyone who needs to listen in another room/at another time be careful with where you place the camera. Tell people what areas will actually be on camera as it’s very common to not want to be filmed. This creates an additional “filming zone”.

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Villhöver – April

Ibland suktar jag efter prylar, jag letar efter rätt sak med de rätta egenskaperna, gör research och frågar vänner. Ibland gör en vän efterforskningar åt mig inom ramarna satta av mig för att kunna göra en rekommendation om vad jag borde lägga mina pengar på.
Det slutar inte alltid med ett köp. Ibland glömmer jag vad det var jag ville ha, ibland går tiden då jag hade behövt den över.
Men jag tycker det är kul att se andras önskeinköp också. Inlägget är inte sponsrat på något sätt utan jag visar bara mina prylar för att jag vill se era.

En Boya trådlös mick för streaming.

Någon sorts mobil router med ok batteritid för när jag har ett läger i skogen med sämre mobiltäckning.

En vanlig tripod för kamera och min mobilbur, då jag har en från 70-talet från Björk å Frihet och ett billigt felköp.

En ofodrad anorak i bommullscanvas som vaxas. Av någon anledning verkar bomullen ha ersats av borstad polyester? Många av de jackor jag gillar är aldeles för dyra för mig. Materialet önskar jag mig då jag eldar så mycket.

En AC-adaptor till min Canon EOS50 så att jag kan ha den löpande som streaming-kamera.

En löparryggsäck med både plats för vattenblåsa, snacks och löparjacka/extra strumpor.

En Babboe Big E lådcykel (eldriven) eller en Christiania för att kunna hämta upp nåt barn nån gång ibland eller köra mina prylar i.

Så vad längtar du efter? Något du vill köpa men tycker är för dyrt, eller som du avvaktar med att köpa i väntan på att ekonomin ska stabilisera sig eller för att se om du kommer fortsätta med din nya passion? Har du några tips på mina önskemål?

Jag i Sebastians lånade Gorka-jacka. Lik det jag vill ha.
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“I don’t want to be the bully” – self reflection and support to break negative patterns.

This text is written in the context of Nordic Larp and is about bullying between adults primarily, or older teens. It is not about children and teens bullying each other in a school setting. It is not about reasonable consequences to breaking laws or the rules of a particular organization or larp run. As I wrote it I realized it I needed it to be in personal form even though I hope the post can still help others.

I’m also not writing from the perspective of a victim of bullying, which I find is more common theme for texts like this. Instead the focus is about recognizing the parts of my psyche which makes me say that it’s important that I self reflect and avoid falling into using bullying tactics. It is important that I acknowledge this is a harmful side I have to me and I must do my best to counter these impulses and behaviors. I am hoping me writing about it makes other people self reflect and abstain from bullying behavior and support their friends away from using bullying tactics.

I’m going to start with talking about the mechanics of bullying in organisations and communities in general. I’ve been taking most of this from the Wikipedia article on bullying and edited on brevity and clarity. Then I move on to my personal experiences.

“It is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception (by the bully or by others) of an imbalance of physical or social power. This imbalance distinguishes bullying from conflict. Bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three criteria: hostile intent, imbalance of power, and repetition over a period of time. Bullying is the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Bullying ranges from one-on-one, individual bullying through to group bullying, called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who are willing to assist the primary bully in their bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as “peer abuse”. The Swedish-Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus says bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”, and that negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways”. Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.

A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other.

Behaviors used to assert such domination may include physical assault or coercion, verbal harassment, or threat, and such acts may be directed repeatedly toward particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying


In school I was severely bullied, and yes is was physical and quite violent. One long term effect of getting that kind of treatment is that you also get socialized differently, especially from a lot of other people who were assigned female at birth. It meant that my limits on what is acceptable social behavior became somewhat damaged and it will possibly take a lifetime to work on. I sometimes refer to the story of the rhinoceros kid:

“The rhinoceros kids gets shoved, whether it walks or stands still, so in the end the rhinoceros kid will do whatever it will.”

Which basically means that if a person gets punished no matter if they fulfill or fail expected behavior, they will eventually rebel. Not entirely true, as some people turn inwards and instead become invisible, trying to avoid punishment. It was easy for me to justify verbal behavior because at least I wasn’t hitting people.

For me the worst triggers of my bullying behavior is: Sudden Anger, Fear for me and/or peers or feeling hopeless.
When I get mad enough, although I’ve gotten much better there I need to stop. I can try taking deep breaths, excusing myself from the situation, taking a walk, drink some water, maybe talk to a trusted friend.
The other is when I feel afraid/threaten or that my peers (in very broad definition) is under threat. This second one is much harder and where I feel I have often, even when I’ve tried to rein myself in both been egged on by others or my behaviors have been rationalized.
Hopelessness is often when I perceive there is something wrong, and I’m trying to stop the bad thing from happening, but I feel that the people around me “don’t get me” or arguing that “there is no problem”.

The most common response when I’ve tried to ask others for guidance have been “No Karin you’re not being a bully, he/they deserve it.” I see the point to the statement, there is a certain kind of righteous anger that can be used to handle great injustice and I think this is what they are thinking of. But for me it’s often about my behavior, what am I DOING in the situation? Me saying I think I might be going to far, is because something in me is ringing the alarm bell and I am asking for support in stopping, not validation to keep going. Sometimes I need a walk, someone checking in with me or something that distracts me.

So what do I think helps me, and what support can others who might be questioning their own behavior ask for?

  • Listen to what I’m asking. Am I asking for validation that I’m right in attacking, or help to step down and breathe?
  • I find for my self it helps to not be so quick to respond, to breathe, step back and ask for some time to think over my response. I usually put a two day limit to think about things that happen suddenly in our hobby. I do listen/read many different sources and I do try to think about people context and background.
  • It often get’s much worse if I feel my peers are expecting me to be the “fighter” in the situation and that I lack support in working on positive change. Show me I am not alone and I will be calmer. This does not mean joining into what might be a mob, but maybe calmly interject your support or validating that yes it is unfair.
  • Step in if a certain person seems to have been cast in the role of a scapegoat for something that is more of a systemic problem.
  • I try to hold in my mind that I think all humans deserve to be treated humanely. Sure, some of them might need consequences to their actions but I don’t need to use bullying to enforce or support those consequences.
  • “Am I mad at this person, or actually mad or frightened about something else or someone else?”
  • Even if I do abstain from violence it can also be important to be clear in my language and body language that I will not use violence. They don’t know my stance on violence and what goes on in my head and I can look quite mean. Sitting down is a good de-escalation, backing away from the other person.
  • My trauma is no excuse to traumatize others.
  • I have to recognize I am often the more powerful and influential than the other one. Which is why it would be bullying and not an equal conflict.

I also have some other more general things I try to think about when it comes to general mood in groups and communities that is not so much about when I’m already in a foul mood.

  • Say Hi. If you can help someone feel welcome and seen at a gathering please do so. I’ve been saved from being a ball of anxiety by having someone more established just say hi and smile at me. It doesn’t mean they have to start a conversation. Many have experience of feeling excluded and invisible in a group.
  • Don’t let someone who you’ve had a fight with believe you are still mad at them if you no longer are. I work on this a lot. It’s hard. I’ve been stuck both in not wanting to say sorry if I was factually right, and that saying sorry for my behavior feels like a fake excuse, even if I truly mean it. Or thinking the other person would be harmed even from me sending them my apology.
  • Don’t enforced the gendered stereotypes that women can’t be scary, or that a man who gets scared of a woman is unmanly.

I actually found this How to stop being a bully to be full of good advice as well.

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Nordic Larp and psychiatric disability

A community approach and discussion about the more difficult part of mental illness in a community setting and an argument against seeing mental health as something that can only be handled by trained professionals.

This a quite serious post and is set in a larp culture where larp is mostly not just seen as games and entertainment but as art and social commentary. I write this out because I know there can otherwise sometimes be strong reactions if the reader is thinking of larps as “only” entertainment and a somewhat not so serious hobby.

I choose the term psychiatric disability to mark that I mean the more severe end of the spectrum. I’m also going to be mainly discussing chronic or very long term mental illnesses that have a profound effect on the one who suffers from it and might mean having to adapt much of ones life to work with or around the disability.

In my years in different larp communities I can say that I see two main ways of looking at mental illness that sometimes exist in the same community at the same time. I wish to explore the middle ground between these two.

Minimized consequences to actions – harmful inclusion
On one end of the spectrum mental illness can be used as an argument why a community member should be spared some agreed upon consequence to their actions due to having some kind of psychiatric disability. It’s not often even confirmed if the larper even suffers a psychiatric disability. It’s not as much used as an explanation, but as an excuse of not having to subject a person to consequences. It’s not as much about sparing the individual, as it is often difficult having to administer the consequences.
It can be seen as a kind way of treating people who (might) suffer for mental health difficulties when in truth it more often just is the less labor intensive way of handling a situation. However I don’t think anything constructive comes from it and it only puts a problem of until a later date, it can also lead to much worse problems down the line.
This approach leads both to a rumor mills about what larper might have what diagnosis and it leads to cover ups of rather serious incidents in which mental health might have been a factor. This helps no one.

Consequences before there even was an action – exclusion
The other main way at looking at mental illness in a larp community is instead looking at it as a huge problem, which no one who is not a trained professional should ever even touch or talk about. It is seen as unfathomable, extremely dangerous and disruptive. It forces people who have psychiatric disabilities to either be very quiet about their problems, or risk being excluded before there even has been a problem or to be very vocal about them, outing their medical data to most of the community and also having to educate everyone who wonders about that psychiatric diagnosis. They are seen as role models and are forced to be “strong” advocates. The larpers who are in need of extra support are also pressured to design what that support should look like.

In recent years I have seen an increasing acceptance of both Neuro psychiatric diagnosis (Autism, ADHD, ADD) and of less serious mental health issues (minor depression, trauma reactions, burn out, phobias, anxiety). But somehow this hasn’t helped or continued to also encompass more serious issues such as major depression with suicidal ideation, schizophrenia with psychotic episodes, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder.
Also there is little understanding for mutism, sensory processing disorders, addiction and eating disorders.

Writing this text I hope I can help my community to better mental health and to lessen the stigma while also giving designers and game runners tools that they can use for better outcomes. I bet there are other tools out there and I am not the one and only guru on the subject. Never believe someone who tries to sell you on the one true way when it comes to the social sciences.

Advice for larp designers and game runners dealing with a specific participant.

Realize you already have players and organizers in the community living with severe psychiatric disability. You, the reader, might already know this if they see you as a safe enough person to tell.

I find most of the work is done when going over a larp design for a specific run, when I know more about the practicalities of my venue, my schedule and who I might have on my staff. Be truthful with yourself about what needs this design, venue, schedule and staff can and cannot meet. We always work with limitations.

Set your intent and communicate it on your web page and social media. You can write things like “We strive to make this run accessible to participants with disabilities be they physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory. Please contact us to discuss your situation and we can see if we have anything to offer”. Here you can also mention limitations you already know you are working with, such as stairs at the venue, or sleep deprivation as an integral part of the design.

Don’t focus on being told the diagnosis, as that is medical data, but for participants who contact you to describe what they need and how great that need is. Sometimes it can help to also rank the needs with the participant. Is undisturbed sleep more important than regular meals? Is it more important to be stimulated and feel included throughout the game, or to have alone time?

Make a plan together, but with your as the authority. Describe what you don’t want to happen. Severe panic attack? Persistent disassociation? Verbal outbursts? Participant doesn’t eat/throws up? Write down early warning signs of a worsening mental state, both ones that are noticeable by others, and those only the participant can know about. Make an agreement they will keep a staff member updated about them. At some game it might even be possible to have them bring an assistant person who you can either give a free ticket to, or in some countries the state might cover their participation fee. Write down in the plan what you will do if certain things happen. It can be anything from “you will leave the in game area and go to bed”. “If you can’t do these things we will have to drive you to urgent psychiatric care.” (These plans are also great with diabetics and people with seizures). Knowing what will happen makes everyone more prepared and calm.

Don’t be afraid to use the plan, and do so when needed. Preventing a bad situation will actually build trust in the community. Don’t make enacting the plan a big thing and try to be very matter of fact about it. Strict but warm if you can, otherwise just use a low affective response. “As you have not eaten all day we are calling your wife, as we agreed.” The person might not appreciate it in the moment, but will often speak very well of the intervention some time after.

Participating with restrictions is also a tool. If a participant comes forward to you as an alcoholic, and there is alcohol at your game, the restrictions can be that they can’t drink at the game, and will be removed if found drinking. You can make a deal that a person will stay away from their triggers at you larp, and not use your larp to confront them. Some will have to be restricted from playing character who many others depend on.

General design advice

I myself try to design in a way where I avoid bottle necks and key persons in my relationship networks and the functions different characters have. This not only makes the games less vulnerable to a player having a mental health crisis, but also less vulnerable to over sleepers, people choosing the wrong character, someone twisting an ankle and just general late drop outs. The lessened pressure I find has a positive effect on my players mental state as well. If there is a hierarchy with just one person at the top, I design so others can fill their shoes quickly and use group based leadership where members of a groups can decide a call to action without waiting for the higher ups. I do the same with my staff, since I enjoy working with people who are open about their health issues. All jobs have two people who can do them, even if each job has a primary person who is supposed to do it, someone else is also their under study. Logistics can also be a safety host, chef can also do first aid, first aid can also do workshops etc.

List your risk factors

There are som risky design choices you are welcome to make but know they have inherent risks to bring around mental health crisis in players. Designing with:

Real alcohol.
Sleep deprivation
Without bed being a safe haven.
Physically exerting your players completely
Food deprivation, unfamiliar food
Exposure to element for longer periods of time (cold, wet)
In game isolation and being expelled from the in game “home” group.
Too much stimulation for an extended time. Loud noice, bright lights, touch, temperature.
Too little stimulation, designing with boredom.
Built in stress and reliance on out of game skills.
Aggressive play, violent play that is hard to opt out of especially if it is “close to home”
Confusing materials on safety and calibration that are hard ro remember and implement.
Providing costumes without being size inclusive.
Very strict gender binary tied to out of game gender.
Pressure to play the character and their relationships as written.

are the ones I’m coming up with right now, but I think readers can come up with more. All of these must be communicated on the web page and other materials about the larp so that people can make informed decisions about if this is a game it’s a good idea for them to attend. Most self aware people are very good at self selecting out, and this is why I’ve had such good experience organizing for participants with severe (diagnosed) mental disability where we had a plan from the beginning.

I recommend it!

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Sleeping outside in march and taking a long walk

I’ve been sleeping outside a lot since this pandemic summer. It’s always been one of my favorite parts of going to fantasy larps and yet it took me several months to realize I could do it outside of larp. I don’t need a larp to grab my gear and find a spot in the woods to sleep.
I have some different set ups, one is a cheap domed tent for two people, so that I can have all my gear inside. One is a Hennessy Hammock that I got for my 40:th birthday, which I just got a DD under blanket for. The under blanket is to prevent wind from removing warm air from underside your body, because the hammock compresses the sleeping bag materials beneath you. I also have inflatable sleeping mats, one for summer and one for winter and a sleeping bag cover I can just put over my sleeping bag if I just want to be on the ground or extra protection when I sleep under a tarp.

When I sleep outside I need to take precautions so I don’t get cold, since I usually have a very low body temperature unless I’m in a period where I work out a lot. If I work out a lot my metabolism rises and I become warmer and staying warm is less of a problem.

My setup this night was the hammock, my sleeping bag and the under blanket. I also use a reflective window shield, the kind you get for your car, inside the hammock to reflect my body heat back to me. I slept in an older merino wool set, from wool power, which was also a birthday gift many years ago. I also wore fresh wool socks (always change when going to bed) and my Swedish army woolen cardigan. I slept very well, waking up to our rooster crowing and stretching realized I did not have a tense muscle in my whole body. Lovely.

I have taken to daydreamingly browse online stores who sell outdoorsy stuff. I look at the DD gear sling that you have under the hammock, longer tree straps, other kinds of tarps that can work with the hammock. I also quite often look at the wind shield that would complete my Swedish soldier kitchen, despite already owning several different kitchen systems! You can see it here.

In the afternoon I followed a local marked trail to see where it would take me, and found to my delight it does not end where the official so called “Green Map” says it does but took the past several small lakes, joined up with an official trekking trail and then I could head back via an alternative way home. It started raining as I walked, and my home knit hat didn’t quite keep the wind and rain out but it was a good walk none the less.

A hennessy hammock is pitchen between two trees. It has a rainfly covering it. Under rests a DD banket made from a material that reminds of a sleeping bag. Everything is green.
Hennessy Hammock with DD under blanket.
Lake in the rain. Surface of the lake mirrors the sky above. The lake has yellow islands made of reeds in it. Firs and birch are visible.
Local lake. Thinking of maybe sleeping here.
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Vedergällningen – queer viking horror larp moved to 2022

Yours truly

Because the pandemic is still a fact, and vaccinations are not moving along at the speed I wish, I made the decision recently to postpone Vedergällningen, not just until September which was my plan A, but to a new June date in 2022.

I’ve told the participants who were signed up, and also informed I wish to refund all paid tickets, so we can reset the budget to 0 income. Anyone who already has gotten casted will keep their character, unless they tell us they are dropping out of the larp. I have temporarily closed both the Swedish sign up and the international one.

The plan is to restart ticket sales January 2022 so that all ticket sales are within the fiscal year of 2022. This is also when players who are already cast has decide if they want to pay to keep their casting or let their character go back into available characters.

I’ve also decided that I will use Ensemble, the character learning tool, and pay them for their work. You can check ensemble out here if you want to learn what it looks like and how it can be used. https://ensemble.nu/index.html

The migration of the characters and available characters -page over to Ensemble will probable be made in October och November so that you can read about the characters there before tickets are re-released. To both use Ensemble as a part of our web page while at the same time protecting our players integrity we will work with copies. One Ensemble-page will only be editable by me, and will be linked from the webpage, while the version where players substitute the character illustration with their own image will only be available to other players and staff at the larp.

I’m making this blog post because of a discussion in the Nordic Larp community that we are not that good at documenting the process of actually making a larp, the upsides and downsides and I want to at least help out by showing my process. I also think it helps possible participants to be kept updated about what is going on.

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Nordic Larp in the year of Covid -19 part 3

Atropos announced Another Androids larp yesterday.

The end of all things.

website: https://end.atropos.se

Runs will be played on the 7th, 9th, 11th and 12th of July. Each date is its own run.

The End of all things
In the corner between Market Street and 4th, there had always been a noodle bar. It had survived a dozen different owners and had gone through three different nations, only to experience the dissolution of the nation states altogether. 

There, people meet who are at the end of things.

Sign up isn’t open yet because they are observing the situation with the virus.

Mia Welander relased the online larp “Are you there”

“Are you there?” is an improvised, collaborative, online, multi-media-platform larp/roleplay aimed to provide distraction and entertainment during the current pandemic happening in the real world. Anyone is free to join in, and there is no sign up needed. You can participate in English, or in a language of your choice so long as there are other players able to communicate in that specific language. All the information will be in English though.

This is a story about the psychological and social effects of being isolated, as a sort of meta-story to our current reality. Both to keep us busy and less lonely, to get frustrations out, and to get some perspective on how not-apocalyptic our real life (thank heavens) still is.

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212799176630524/

Link to the document with all the information about the larp:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/are-you-there/are-you-there/212815119962263/

Link to the character gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.212814149962360&type=3

Eva Meunier released the notes from the 2019 Knutpunkt program item about “Older larpers”. You can read the notes here: Older larpers

What is an older larper? Are you an older larper? Or have you ever met one at a larp?
At Knudepunkt 2019, Mo Holkar, Susanne Gräslund and I facilitated a discussion on the topic “older larpers”.
Do older larpers have specific challenges, advantages, wishes, needs or experiences? We put together the notes from the discussions and would like to share the result with you, and of course, invite you to share your thoughts on this topic.

I myself saw a recommendation of the survivalist series Naked and Afraid and found it on Youtube. It’s about two strangers in every episode trying to survive the wilderness for 21 days, but starting naked and only one survivalist item each.
I find it helps, especially for me who am interested in physically challenging larps and nakedness. And like in a larp they can tap out at any time, even thought it might take a while to be evacuated. As the person who recommended it said “we have food, and shelter”.

Season 1 episode 3 – island from hell

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Nordic Larp in the year of Covid-19 part 2

The link to the Nordiclarpwiki-post: https://nordiclarp.org/wiki/Year_of_Covid-19

Today Sweden’s prime minister declared that Children above 16 and adults who are going to high school, college or universities will switch over to home studies and digital distance learning.

A vaccine was tested in the us for the first time yesterday, according to new outlets.

Solmukohta is looking into how to run parts of the programme online.

Convention of Thorns, which is planner for November in Polen is still on.

I’m still working like Vedergällning will run as planned in June so we sent out the call for volunteers.
We have however looked at alternative dates when the venue is available if we have to postpone the larp.

We are living history, and I wish I could do something for all of You out there who are suffering from the anxiety of the unknown.

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