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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Nordic larp in the year of Corona

I’m Writing this to keep a record on the open web, outside of social media where it will most probably be drowned out over time.

We will se if I will write more during this time and make more updates.

I have been working at home since wednesday, and started with an excellent distance meeting facilitated by Microsoft Teams. I have also started getting requests from game related Groups if there is anything I can do for them when it comes to practical help. Monday I’m going into the office.
The Swedish larp Convention Prolog ran as planned since when it ran 28 feb-march 1:st there were no restrictions.
Sweden has now put a ban on public gathering with more than 500 participants. And they really are illegal, organizers could even go to jail. We do not yet know how long this ban will last.

So far my plan is to still run my Queer Viking Horror larp Vedergällningen. It’s not running until june and it’s run mostly outside and we can space out participants sleeping quarters. I will keep updated on Health recommendations.

Caroline Sjövall is running her Swedish larp Bellissimo because it is a small game and still is some time off.

The spring run for Baphomet has been cancelled, read the announcement here. I hope there will be more runs in the future.

What hit the Community hardest is that this year there will be no Solmukohta. After Consulting with Health authorithies the organizers had to make the decision to cancel the international Conference even if it had fewer than 500 tickets. Their statement is here. As I have an article named Your Body is Your Body in the book this year I hope at least the book can be distributed in some way.

Charles Nielsen did as emtional support live stream and I participated via voice link. You can Watch that stream afterwards here on his Youtube

College of Wizard
College of Wizardy: Werewar One is cancelled, and was so when almost all participants and staff were on site. Everyone is out of the castle as far as I know by now, and most are home. Read about it here.
College of Wizardry in March has even more difficult news, a participant has been tested positive for the virus Covid -19. This means everyone who Went to the event has to follow the instructions that apply in the country they are in now. Read here.

The traveling larp Convention Portal 8 did run in Zagreb and had a live stream.

Not directly related to Nordic larp, but for anyone who wishes to learn more about making and participating in Digital Larps Tara M Clapper are doing additional online work. Please support Tara as she lives in the US and struggles with the extra challenges of a country where Health care is seen as a luxury. You can Watch one of the streams here at Larp Mentor

My heart goes out to all the organizers having to make the difficult decicion to postpone or cancle their events. It’s both a financial and emotional toll, and I hope the crisis will leave our communities stronger and not weaker. Take care of each other out there.
Please tell me if you know of more larps being cancelled, or if larps are still running in the future.
Tell me if you need resources or have resources that I can link.

Live long and prosper.

 

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“Social bid”-method of playing oppression in larp

Several years ago I read this article on what factors seems to influence a happy marriage or partnership:

Masters of Love by Emily Esfahani Smith

The article introduced me to the koncept of social bids as a part of human interaction.

“Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.”

This the researcher that Emily is writing about called a “bid” or a “social bid”. The partner could now choose to turn away from the partner, rejecting the bid or to turn towards them and connecting over the bid.

So I started using the method of social bids both when I was playing oppressors or when I was playing the oppressed. I saw the dynamic role play of power-differences as a kind of relationship-based play. But at most larps there was more than one partner at larps to make these social bids to, or pick up on social bids with. I’m going to move in to examples further down.

The method has flaws, if your co-player or you yourself find it difficult to pick up on subtle clues it can be very difficult to pick up on social bids. It can be made easier if you workshop it before the game and do many repeats in the workshop, or if the game agrees on some standard “social bids” that either all the oppressed characters can make or social bids all the oppressors can make.

The social bids are originally meant to be made to one specific player, I am sure you can make a social bid at a whole group but it makes it even more difficult to notice as a group that an individual is making a social bid and it can be hard to react all at the same time. Social bids are in most larps made in person but at some games they can happen by phone or by internet.

Examples of social bids:

A thrall at a viking larp has been away doing personal play with their thrall allies. Now the player want to have some oppression play from their owner. In the fiction they often serve at the owners table and a feast is going on in the main hall. The thrall player simply gets a drink for the owner and make their way all the way to them, presenting the drink.
The offering of the drink, as if it had been sent for or as if it was a part of a daily routine is a social bid. It can be a clearer social bid if it comes with words spoken:

“Mistress, your horn, I brought your favorite.”

Also touch can make the social bid stronger. Slightly touching the owner on the arm.

The oppressor/owner could now either decline/miss the social bid by ignoring/not reacting or minimizing the interaction and just taking the horn, letting the thrall go away again. This will lead to the thrall player often feeling lost and very small out of game. Not a very good feeling.

Accepting the social bid could both be by a in game positive reaction:

“Ah! My thrall! *grabs both horn and thrall, pulls thrall into lap, chugs drink* They then proceed to showing their most precious object to all at the table and talking about all their talents.

It could also be an in game negative reaction:

The mistress looks at the thrall with a mean gleam in their eye, keeping eye contact they taste the content of the horn, then spits it out.
“what is this HORSEPISS!?” and throws the rest of the content on the thrall, and then grabs them by the hair.
“Exscuse me” to the table “I have to go take care of this”

Now the intensity of the social bids will depend a lot on what you as players have talked about before, and the general tone and safety rules at the larp.

Have you used some kind of similar method? What would your social bids be at an upcoming larp?

Modern larp:

A toxic relationship sending more and more explicit and abusive text messages to each other. Each time the other actually answers and engages with the story it will be an social bid/acceptance. No answer or minimized answer is the absence of a social bid.

Making a social bid workshop

Divide the players in small groups, 2,4 or 6. Each group should have members who will be oppressors and members that will play oppressed at some point of the larp. Ideally it will be the same pairs or groups who will play together at the larp.

Choose an everyday interaction in the fiction of the larp, that will also happen at the larp. Give them written suggestions and the props they might need. For example:

  • Servants filling up drinks
  • Prisoners getting their beds searched
  • Immigrants being interwieved
  • Prisoners of war being stripped of weapons
  • romantic partner being verbally abused

Now play through the scenes, and have the oppressed being the initiator to the beginning of the scene. Bringing the drink, standing up next to you bed with hands on head, coming to the desk of the administrator, organizing a line with hands on their heads, finding their partner and asking if they like their haircut.

Do the scene shortly. Cut. Now ask the players to do it again with a change. Maybe the oppressor is in a good mood? How do you play on that and still make it into active, engaging opression where they feel the social bids get reacted upon?
Another change can be if the oppressed is feeling filled with anger and just, have, had, enough but we still decide the scene will end with the oppressor winning?

Take the last 10 minutes to discuss if the method worked, and if anything can be tweaked for the larp.

VG-14

 

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Larp Safety Adaption

A discussion on what safety is, how it can be used and how it can counteract the original intentions. This article is not finished but might get follow ups.

Three intentions:

  • The intention for what larp safety was supposed to do from the people who initiated modern larp safety – one could argue that this is now mostly interesting from a historical background.
  • The intention for what larp safety is perceived to be by a larp culture at large (there is more than one larp culture). A culture is a set of interconnected larp organizers, players, influencers and project groups.
  • The intention for what larp safety is supposed to be, what role it is supposed to play at a specific larp.

 

I also made this pyramid with at what levels larp safety interacts with the larp communities. The lines I draw here is what I see in my head right now and these can be drawn differently by other people. I see how every level rests on the one below. But I also think the top level of the specific larp also influences how the larp culture the larp came from handles larp safety in the future. How different larp cultures interact with and interpret larp safety also influences the way the academics, influencers and international designer think and write about larp safety. Maybe I should add arrow that point up and down?
larp safety

My original intent for larp safety was mainly getting rid of the largest dangers to health, life and safety. There were actual rapists larping in Sweden, committing rapes at the larps. Putting a foot down, catching them and then supporting organizers in blocking these players from coming to the games was the first priority. There was a lot of information trading and I do hope that the biggest offenders were actually caught and evicted.

Then there were the offenders who weren’t rapists, but used their out of game strength to hurt other players on purpose.

 

Now mostly this wasn’t people who had hurt others on accident, they might occasionally be contacted and told “don’t do that” and it helped. This was about people (mostly men) who methodically, on purpose and repeatedly victimized other larpers. And until then had gotten away with it because no one had the whole picture. These people when confronted would often blame others, or completely deny actions that had eye-witnesses. They might even blame addiction or mental illness, but not as something they worked on but as a fact that could not be helped.

 

I’m thinking that even though we are adverse to pitting different kind of suffering against each other I’m thinking it is possible to measure the severity of a threat against the players and organizers of a larp on a scale. Basic risk assessment. How high is the risk of this happening again? How bad are the consequences, and to how many.

 

I also think if many feel either stifled or overworked by an approach to larp safety where the intent is to cover and prevent as much pain or danger as possible before, during and after the larp event the paradigm will shift again. Larp safety will fall out of style if it does not become a useful area to assign work to. You need a return of investment.

Hopefully we can take what we learned about how to prevent some of the more severe dangers while also freeing up players and designers to take manageable risks and both play and design boldy while avoiding the most harmful pitfalls?

 

I have written about the largest risk factors that I have identified before but there is no reason to not add them here as well:

 

  • The presence of unrepentant, unsupervised repeat offenders. There is a special class of offenders who individually are responsible for several instances of out of game violence against other players/volunteers/organizers. These have often normalized their behavior to themselves and others. “That’s just the way they are” is often said about them.
  • The presence of alcohol. The repeat offenders use alcohol but alcohol also increases risks across the board. It increases sexual misconduct and the risks of out of game conflict escalation. It also makes driving from the event the next day more risque (and so does too little sleep).
  • Food safety compromised. This can be anything from a food poisoning happening to allergic cross contamination. This can be really serious because it can affect so many of the players. While some allergic reactions are noticed by the organizers, a lot of the time players don’t really want to tell anyone about their diarrhea.
  • Unsafe venues and structures. This mostly leads to physical injury like concussions, eye lesions, sprained ankles or broken bones. Players can also get lost and become dehydrated or get very cold. Very rarely they lead to death. To Unsafe Venues I also count when the toilet situation leads to fecal matter being handled in an improper way.
  • A macho culture that celebrates volunteers and organizers working themself ragged and players going far beyond their physical, social and mental limits without the proper after care. This doesn’t only increase the risk for injury but also tempers run high and friendships can break for years to come.
  • “Rock star behaviour” and  “being dependant” When one or a few larpers have several that look up to them so much that they get away with behaviour that would get others booted long ago. Or the other side of the coin when some larpers are entirely dependant on being in one established larpers good grace. The second kind is often much less exhibitonist and instead of charming the group they will work on giving newcomers everything they need to participate. Watch out if the newcomers don’t seem to really form relationships with anyone else! A good mentor makes sure their newcomer meets a lot of good people, they don’t isolate them.

 

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The sign up for Vedergällningen is open

The story: In a pre-christian Sweden a set of women and other non-men with spiritual connections to the Völvic magical traditions are visited by a crew of traumatized returning vikings and before the evening is over, the Völvas fall victims to a heinous crime.

To avenge themselves they commune with Aesir and Vaenir, the gigants and dwarves, the elvenkind of the underworld and the spinners of fate themselves. And so the vengeance comes to heed their call as they dance naked through the blackened forest.

They cannot undo what they have done and as vengeance lays waste to all, these humans who hate each other must join forces or perish against monsters and gods that but toy with their minds and bodies.

Head on over to the events own site:

https://vedergallningen.wordpress.com/

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Links to musicians, larps and creators!

Musicians

David Bergkvist
Swedish troubador who also is part of the band Gråfötterna. Long time larper who has made music for a lot of Swedish larps.
http://davidbergkvist.se/

Mary Read
Mary Read hails from Sweden, and is made up of Lars Nerback (accordion, mountain dulcimer), Teresa Axner (vocals) and Magnus Nygard (sequencers and soundscapes). Their lyrics take inspiration from historical events and oral storytelling, while their music echoes of Nordic traditional music, Americana, neofolk, industrial and dark ambient. Mary Read’s songs have been described as cinematic, moving and catchy.

https://maryreadband.com/

Creators in larp

Sweden

Anna-Karin Linder
Works with both analogue and digital narrative design, and writing – both pop cultural nonfiction and fiction. She makes and create pedagogic content for all kind of games, roleplaying games for educational purposes as well as larp scripts and interactive art. Digitally she mainly does narrative design in computer games, but also project management and audio design. She is currently working for Toca Boca

annakarinlinder.se

Anneli Friedner

Personal blog about larp and feminism.: https://jeu-de-roles.blogspot.com/

Croatia

Miroslav Wranka / Terrible Creation 

A Croatian based LARP collective, mostly focused on chamber games
website – www.terriblecreations.com

Netherlands

Susan Mutsaer 

Real life games: From larp to escape room. Real life games are the ultimate tool to tell your story. Creative work: From costume to photography. Production leader: Your festival, conference or workshop taken care of from start to finish.

http://www.susanmutsaers.com/

Current larp project: http://www.cirquenoir.nl

United Kingdom

Mo Holkar

Larp writer/designer and event runner.

Current larp: On location https://onlocationlarp.wordpress.com/

Larp Conference: The Smoke https://the-smoke.org/

Personal projects: https://www.holkar.net/

Charlie Gray

Blog Larp Guide – Resources for live action role play: http://larp.guide/
photography site with images from Empire, The World went dark, Badlands, Curious pasttimes and more: https://www.larpimages.com/

 

USA

Rebecca Roycroft / CozyLarp:

A group of larpers based in Los Angeles, USA, interested in creating original works and running excellent short larps from around the world at our yearly mini convention.
Wordpress: https://cozylarp.wordpress.com/

Tara M Clapper

Digital larp designer and runner. Also does live streams and manages social media and editing.

Main page that also has most blog posts and link to larps she’s doing. http://geekinitiative.com/

Live: https://larpchat.live/

 

 

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