Kategoriarkiv: Rollespil

Sigridsdotter – Refleksioner

Sigridsdotter er det vigtigste og mest lærerige rollespil jeg nogensinde har spillet. Og det er helt klart i top ti over mine bedste rollespilsoplevelser.

“Sigridsdotter er en fortælling om helt almindelige mennesker og deres liv i en matriarkalsk dansk nutid. Normer som findes i vores egen verden, findes i høj grad også i Sigridsdotters verden. Kvinder er stadigvæk mere samarbejdsorienterede, empatiske og klæder sig i nederdele og kjoler, mens mænd er højlydte, fysisk stærkere og går med bukser. Værdisætningen i forhold til normerne er dog ændret radikalt. Nederdele, kjoler og håndtasker ses som magtsymboler, mens at være højtråbende og stærk ses ned på. I visse tilfælde, såsom håndtering af hjem, familie og seksualitet, har vi valgt at vende helt om på kønsnormerne.”
www.sigridsdotter2018.wordpress.com

Kaya Toft Thejls og Anna Emilie Groth stod for opsætningen af Sigridsdotter i Danmark, og det er designet af Lukas Renklint

En vigtig detalje er at, selvom scenariet foregik i nutiden, var kønsnormerne endnu mere rigide end i vores verden, for lettere at kunne sætte tingene på spidsen. Tænk 40’erne til 50’erne.

Scenariet har skabt en del debat og er blevet kritiseret. Jeg selv var ret nervøs for at deltage i det, pga. nogle af de ting, jeg havde hørt. I sidste ende tog jeg afsted, fordi jeg havde tillid til dem, som arrangerede det. De bekymringer jeg havde hørt forinden blev gjort totalt til skamme.

At give en oplevelse
Jeg frygtede, at det ville være en slags hævn rollespil, hvor kvinderne bare lod alt deres frustration og vrede gå ud over mændene. Hvad der overraskede mig, var hvordan kvinderne gik til det med sådan en respekt og omsorg for os mænd. Det var ikke noget, de gjorde for dem selv imod os. Tværtimod, det var en oplevelse, de ønskede at give til os. De gav os muligheden for at opleve en bid af deres liv i patriarkatet. Men det var ikke for at straffe os. Det var for at give os indsigt og forståelse.

Kvinderne var ligefrem villige til at reducerer deres press betydeligt, da det deprimerende hurtigt blev for meget for os, som ikke er opvokset med det. Også selvom det betød, at de kun udsatte os for en promille af, hvad de selv har prøvet. Fordi det var vigtigere for dem, at vi kunne holde ud og få oplevelsen, end at give os den sande fulde mængde af pis, de har stået igennem.

Dybde i rollerne
Et andet kritikpunkt, jeg havde hørt, var at de kvindelige roller, som jo alle bygger på mandlige stereotyper, ikke var dybe nok. At der kun stod, hvordan de skulle opføre sig nederen. At der manglede de bagvedliggende grunde for, hvorfor det er, at mange mænd i et patriarkat, gør usympatiske ting mod kvinder (og hinanden). Det var heller ikke tilfældet. At høre kvindernes refleksion efter scenariet, gav faktisk mig en bedre forståelse for mit eget køn. De satte ord på nogle ting, som jeg har følt og gjort, men ikke selv kunne beskrive.

De små undertrykkelser
Scenariet viste også med grufuld effektivitet, hvorfor patriarkat er så svært at gøre op med. Her var ingen vold eller voldtægt. Nej undertrykkelsen kom til udtryk gennem utallige små ting. En kommentar her, en afbrydelse der. En upassende berøring. Et rygte som truede med at ødelægge ens eget liv og fremtid, men som, da et lignende opstod om en kvindelig karakter, nærmest ingen konsekvens havde. Følelsen af social kontrol og overvågning, ikke kun fra kvinderne, men også fra mændene var intens og dybt frustrerende.

Men lige så vigtig var kvindernes beskrivelse af, hvor fanget de også følte sig, til at gentage og opretholde matriarkiet, selv når deres roller kunne se, at det skadede dem selv og dem, de holder af. Men den sociale konsekvens ved at bryde med normerne var for stor. Man vil ikke være den i gruppen, der ødelægger den gode stemning ved at påpege, at det der sker, ikke er i orden. Kun en kvindelig rolle kunne sige fra, og det var kun fordi hun alligevel lå i bunden af hierarkiet.

Frihed til at vise omsorg
Scenariet viste også begge køn, hvordan patriarkatet i den grad også skader mænd. I matriarkiet oplevede kvinderne den ensomhed og følelsesmæssige begrænsning mange mænd oplever i vores samfund. De kunne kun vise følelser gennem vrede eller erotisk lyst. De kunne ikke snakke med hinanden om deres følelser, kun på enkvindshånd med en mandlig rolle kunne de prøve at udtrykke, hvad de gik og kæmpede med, og gud forbyde, hvis nogen skulle opdage det.

Modsat oplevede vi mænd den omsorg og åbenhjertighed kvinder har lov til at give til hinanden og mænd. Da min rolle oplevede sit livs største krise, gik han ikke afsides og prøvede at håndtere det alene, som jeg ville gøre i mit eget liv. Nej han opsøgte straks sine venner og fortalte dem alt og mødte intet andet end forståelse og omsorg.

Men ikke kun i kriser kom dette til udtryk. Bare oplevelsen af, at måtte røre andre mennesker uden at blive beskyldt, eller beskylde sig selv, for bagvedliggende tanker eller frygten for at blive set som svag, var så inderligt befriende.

Overvågning og social straf
Men den stærkeste oplevelse, jeg tager med fra scenariet, kræver lidt baggrund. Når jeg spiller rollespil, prøver jeg altid at finde på handlinger, som både giver mening for min rolle, og skaber spil for andre. Det handler om, at nævne ting, som man (men ikke ens rolle) ved, rammer ømme punkter på andre. Det handler om at skabe handlinger, som andre kan reagere på, optrappe konflikter og meget mere.

Den spillestil betød, at min rolle Cornelius lidt utilsigtet blev ret rapkæftet og lidt en frontperson blandt de unge drenge. Han var ihvertfald ret synlig (men intet i forhold til mine andre roller i lignende larps). Derfor opstod der rygter om rollen. Han var set alene med to piger, der var noget med noget whisky, og var han også ikke lidt en sladrehank? Alt sammen blot fordi, jeg spillede, som jeg altid har gjort.

For at kunne overleve og bevare sit ry som en god dreng og et godt giftemål måtte Cornelius ændrer sin opførsel markant. Det blev aldrig sagt direkte, at han skulle ændrer sig, men der var nok små blikke, løse rygter og velmenende hints til at han fattede, hvad der var ved at ske. Det var uhyggeligt effektivt til at få ham til at rette ind og blive en mere stille og ordentlig dreng.

Men samtidig gjorde det ham også vred. Han kunne pludselig se, hvordan hans handlemuligheder blev dybt begrænset og hvor bundet han var af hele systemet og hvordan han intet kunne gøre for at befrie sig selv af det. Alt man kunne gøre var at forsøge at udskære et lille hjørne af lykke inden for de rammer, der blev en givet.

Hvilket han også forsøgte og nok lykkedes med i sidste ende. Mig og spilleren til Moa, den pige han endte sammen med, sammenlignede det med kvinderne fra Jane Austen og Matador. Stærke, kloge og ofte rapkæftede kvinder, som bare var så bundet af samfundets normer og krav.

Det var meget rammende, meget skræmmende og utroligt lærerigt. Det er ikke så galt i dag. Men der er stadig mindre handlefrihed for kvinder og bryder de med normerne, er konsekvenserne stadig større. Min kone er bevidst om, at hun bliver set som mindre kvindelig, fordi hun ikke går med makeup eller i specielt feminint tøj. Hun har valgt at tage konsekvensen, men hun er tydeligt bevidst om, at den er der.

Et stjålen øjeblik
Jeg havde en scene som indeholdte alt dette. En tidlig morgen, før ret mange var stået op gik Cornelius og gjorde rent for sig selv. Han satte noget musik på, smøgede ærmerne op, smed det sjal, samfundet krævede, at han altid gik med, og dansede vildt og frit. Det var første gang i hele scenariet, at han bevægede sig, som han ville. Men selv i dette ene stjålne øjeblik var han hele tiden bevidst om, hvem der gik forbi, og hvis nogen var i nærheden kom sjalet hurtigt på igen, uanset om det var mænd eller kvinder. Det var smukt og frygteligt, frihed og fangenskab på en og samme tid.

Der var mange flere nuancer i scenariet, som jeg meget gerne ville fortælle om, blandt andet ville jeg meget gerne snakke meget mere om den tryghed og tillid der blev skabt, så vi turde udforske alt dette sammen. Men jeg vil gerne holde dette i en længde, som er til at holde ud at læse. Jeg håber, at scenariet bliver sat op igen, og jeg håber inderligt, at flere mænd vil kaste sig ud i oplevelsen. Det har mine varmeste anbefalinger. Har du spørgsmål eller vil vide mere om min oplevelse, tager jeg gerne en snak med dig.

Eventyrridderne at Copenhagen Medieval Market 2018

Every year thousands of people attend the large medieval market. I was there to photodocument Eventyriddernes huge stand at the market. I took the opportunity to also film a bit from it. This made it a very different film from my first few films, as there are suddenly humans present.

Eventyrridderne is a danish nonprofit event and roleplay company that sell roleplay events. Anything from birthday parties to company events. It was cool to see just how popular they were at the market. They had a slew of things children could do. From building their own foam sword to fighting monsters.

It was my first time visiting Copenhagen Medieval Market, it is a big market, with all kinds of stands. It seems like the rules regarding authenticity are a bit more relaxed than the only other market I have been to, The European Medieval Festival in Horsens. At Horsens they are a bit more restrictive whereas it seems that at Copenhagen everyone could bring and be what they wanted. I’m not saying which is better, but they give different experiences for both participants and guests.

Whereas my other films where more slow and meditative, this is a bit more action filled, that was a fun difference to work with. But I’m in doubt on whether or not to include it in the Portrait of Places series. What do you think?

Writing games down the black box way

I designed my first black box larp, “Waiting for GO901” back in 2014 but it was only in 2016 that i finally made the larp script available. A stark contrast from the Fastaval tradition, where you write the game and only run it afterwards, (This is because at Fastaval, the game must be able to be run by other GMs. Also the must not have been run anywhere else before Fastaval except as a playtest).

That is the way I have done it for many years. But where my Fastaval games always felt incomplete after the ultimate taste that Fastaval is, the script i finished for “Waiting for GO901” still holds and is to this day the best larp script I have produced. The reason was, I think, that I didn’t write it down until after i had run it several times in very different conditions.

By then I had the structure, design, workshop, instructions and mechanics down to a point. I knew exactly how the game was to be run and the biggest challenge was putting that to words. It is a clear and concise script and much less rambling than any of my previous scripts.

This has change my way of making games. Where before I got as much done as possible and then maybe, if there was time for it, I would make a playtest to see if it worked. Now I playtest as early as possible and as often as possible. And I don’t really see them as playtests, perhaps except the first one, which really is a proof of concept. Here I test if the mad idea even works. The rest is to run the game again and again to really get af feel for it. What works, what doesn’t, which way is the best way to explain or practice a mechanic. What phrase really gets the point across to the players?

The end result is that my lastest game, “…And that’s it”, got praised for its communication. That has always been my weak point and suddenly it was the strong point.

So how does it work?

Well for the first playtest, the proof of concept, I only write down what I need to run it. A bullet point list of things I need to say and do. A rough descriptions of scenes and whatever text the players need, (characters, handouts, and so on). I do no layout it, I keep it as simple as possible.

They I run the game. Often parts of it don’t work, and I change them on the spot, so that they do work, and make a note of it in the text. Then during the game I add notes of things I did different than what I had written down. I also note where the game isn’t working as I want it to.

Then after the game I talk with the players about the elements I was in doubt about, and how they would feel about changing it this and that way. This is very helpful, as often, something I felt went bad, worked perfect for the players, so it’s good to know, if the worry is only in my head or a real thing.

I also talk to the players about the experience they had. And then in my head match that up to the experience I’m aiming for. Players can have a great experience at a game, but still not have the experience you wanted. Did they manage to find tragedy in your feelgood story, or create an action adventure out of your grimdark superhero story? Do you want to move your idea in that direction or how do you bring it back to the experience you wanted to design?

After this first proof of concept I have a rough short draft of the story and input on what I need to change. From there I run the game again and again each time getting to know the game better and better, changing it, tweaking it.

The actual writing often only happens shortly before the next run, as I hastily add the change and improvements, I have come up with from the previous runs before I have to run it again.

Then after several runs, I don’t see them as playtest more as practice runs, I have enough a feel for the game that I start to write down all the stuff I know how to do, but haven’t written down, because I just do it. This is often prep of the room, a more detailed workshop run through and instructions for the scenes rather than just descriptions of them.

I think this is where the biggest difference lies. This is where I have changed my style the most. Before I had to guess what a GM needed to know before running my game. But now having done it five or four times I know what needs to be said and done to run this game.

Another result of this format is that my games become much more fluid. I can change them a lot more than before. “…And that’s it” went though a lot of changes much, more than I’m use to, and I think this approach is one of the reasons. Because if the playtest come late in the process the game is set in stone in my head, and only small tweaks can be made. But as long as the game is in the fluid state of only a rough draft it costs nothing to make great changes.

None of the changes was to make it a different game, but change that made the game come closer to the experience I was looking for. They made the game more stable more sure to yield the result I wanted.

So this has become my new approach.
What do you think?

Waiting before the beginning

Players for Uledsaget waiting for the game to begin.

The experience of a larp starts before the larp it self, it even starts before any workshop. It starts when you arrive. How you are greated, what you do while you wait, and the people around you all are part of creating the mindset you have, as you go into the workshop or introduction and from there to the game. So we should be aware of that part of the experience and try and design them, so that they support the experience you want to create or at the least make sure it doesn’t work against you.

My background is Fastaval, and in more recent years the black box scene in Denmark. And for both, but especially Fastaval, I really don’t like the time leading up to a game. For me it really works against the hopefully great experience you are about to have. So for my last three games I’ve been working on how to make that time before a game starts to work for the experience not against it.

So at Fastaval you turn up at a room and wait until everybody is there. Then someone will divide people into groups and go play. That waiting time can be a bit awkward or just spent smaltalking or resting for a bit. But last year for my larp “…And that’s it” I made that time part of the experience.

Some of the main themes of the game was drawing and waiting in a relaxed almost meditative state. It was designed to be an almost calming experience. But Fastaval is a stressful place, so I decided to try and use this waiting time to start getting the players into the mindset I wanted them to be in.

As people arrived they were given a piece of paper instructing them to be silent while they waited, it told a bit about the larp and finally invited them to draw a bit and just enjoy the quiet while they waited.

It was really interesting to see how people reacted as they arrived and saw a whole room of people in quiet contemplation just drawing. It really set the game apart and set the mood for the rest of the experience.

This year I’m making a game about refugee children, and I’m gonna try and do the same again. For this I still want them to be quite, but I also want to start them in the childlike mindset that this larp aims for. So I well get a punch of toys, legos, teddies and yes also something to draw on and with.

So as the players arrive they will be told to be quiet and go and play silently with the toys like they were children in a waiting room, a bit nervous with a lot of around them but still young and playful. So still contemplative but more in the way a child is.

It will be interesting to see how this works compared to …And That’s It. And as I design more games I will try to do this more. And you can as well. Think about the arrival experience of your larp or scenario and how it can help get you players into the mindset you want them to be as the game starts.

Munzee – perhaps the explorations game I have been looking for

So I’ve recently discovered another out in the real world walking game. It’s called a modern scavenger hunt and apparently it’s like geocaching, which I’ve never tried. But I have tried Ingress and Pokemon Go and while I have enjoyed both games one thing has frustrated me with both: they don’t encourage exploration. They are in essence grinding games. The game designs have you move in tight little routes, in a very slow pace, often repeating your steps. There’s no reward for going off the beaten path or exploring new eares.

But this game, Munzee, has had me crawling and exploring until I ran out of battery and tomorrow I’m gonna go out for a long walk and see what I find. The game is very simple, but with a few mechanics it makes the players act in a way I find really rewarding and interesting.

Like Ingress and Pokemon Go the main display is a map showing a lot of locations you want to seek out around you. But unlike the two other games when you reach the location you have to look for a QR code placed in the real world. It’s only when you scan this, that you capture the location and get your points.

There is also virtual locations, and a whole host of variations on the just find the QR code, such as puzzles you have to solve before you can capture the location and so on. But the basic game is: go to the marker on the map, look for the QR code using the clues in the title of the marker. The game does a few things I find really interesting:

No repeated visits = more exploration
I’m not sure about this, but it seems that when you have captured a point that’s it you can’t return and capture it again. I don’t know if after some time, I might be able to take it again or after someone else have captured it, but I kinda hope not. Because what this means is that you are encouraged to move away from your normal route to find new points to capture. Unlike Ingress where the best gameplay is to create a five mints rute between the same points until you have gotten all the resources you can from them.

So as I play this game I will have to find new places to go to get more points I will have to move further and further away from my home, I will have to take new routes home. And I love that. It also means that if you are on your way home, and you can’t be bothered to take that one point just over there itøs fine, becuase you can do it tomorrow, where in pokemon go you get help but go over there or just wait that little longer so the cooldown on the pokestop is over so you get the chance for one more spin and more pokeballs.

Finding a well hidden QR code is very rewarding
The pictures is of my favorite find today. It’s a well hidden Diamond spot, that gave me more points and was just hard enough to find that I really felt like a proper explore looking for it, and when I at last spotted it it was, well a rewarding moment. And it feels even better, knowing that it has been placed there by a fellow player it’s a strange kind of contact between strangers.

Players build the games themselves and are rewarded for it
So how do the QR codes get to their spots? Well they are placed there by the players. And as a player you are rewarded for doing that. You get points for placing a QR code and you get points each time someone captures it. So even here in little Hobro the place is full of places for me to seek out a QR codes to find and scan. There’s so many I’ve had to filter out all of them except the most basic so I don’t get overwhelmed which is cool because that means I’ve got more to look for in furete walks in the same areas.

As a final note the way I discovered the game was very much in the spirit of it: during a normal walk I spotted a QR code on a bench and decided to scan it. It turned out to be one of the spots for the game, and that lead me to the website and from there it was just signing up getting the app and beginning. And I can’t wait to play it more and soon starting to place my own spots.

What do you think?
Do any of you play it?

Mini Fastaval and reflections over …And that’s it

So my most minimalistic Fastaval is over. Due to my neck problems I had to limit my time at Fastaval. Had I not lived in Hobro, I would have had to cancel it all together. But I managed to get some Fastaval.

I gave on the honorary otto to a very well deserving Rene Bokær, but also got to congratulate the other amazing nominees:

  • Fastaval Junior (Maya Krone og Mette Finderup)
  • Andreas Ravn Skovse
  • Designer brætspil (Troels Vastrup + Bo Thomasen)
  • Bjarke Pedersen & Johanna Koljonen

One thing I have learnt during this process is: god there is many amazing people in our community!

I had a chance to have some great talks with many of the lovely people there at the organizer reception, the author reception and at the ottoparty.

But I also ran my game “…And that’s it”, and that is what I want to talk about now. Designing this game has been a strange experience as it stayed flexible up until the very end. What I mean by that is that, normally when I design I game I reach a point where it kinda freezes up and I have a very hard time changing anything. This game didn’t hit that point, I even made a few changes after the GM run a few weeks before Fastaval.

It’s also a game that kinda snuck up on me. It started as a bit of a provocation. How strange a game could I make for Fastaval. But slowly it became more and more important to me. And now I think this is one of my favorite of my games. And that leads me to something else:

One of the things I like about “…And that’s it” is that it shows I’m not at my peak. “The Courage of Teddies” was a good story, but the design and especially writing is a bit flawed. “Waiting for flight GO901” was the best I had made and I have been worried about never being able to top it. It is such a clean and simple design and it just works. “…And that’s it” was for a long time way more clunky than Flight. But through the many edits and changes it ended up almost as clean but still more complex. And I’m proud of that and it shows I’m not done.

It ran five times and all the runs seems to have gone well. I ran the two international groups myself. I’m really pleased by the experiences that I have heard that people have had. Many have said that afterwards they felt empty but in a good way, and that is exactly what I was aiming for.

And the five runs have now been added to the online gallery, see them here.

I’ve been allowed to share share Anne Vinter Ratzers reaction to the game. And I think she sums it up very well:

In the evening I had a deeply moving experience playing Simon James Petitt’s And That’s It… A scenario without words, with only gestures, touching and drawings as communication, it struck a chord deep inside me from the first moments, and my character – created only as a handful of drawings and relations decided in a few minutes – still lingers in my mind. We really found each other in my group, and every death tore a hole in my heart. It was emotionally exhausting, but in the best of ways. It is hard to do this scenario justice with words. I can only say that I have a deep admiration for Simon’s ability to take tragedy and sorrow and make it beautiful and gentle and deep and unforgettable at the same time.

My dream and hope for the game is to run it at a gallery or some other aesthetically pleasing place with a mix of larpers and artists for a whole day and then after that showcase the artworks that come from it.

 

…And that’s it galleries – visualizing the ends

Part of my Fastaval larp “…And that’s it” is the creation of drawings ingame by the characters. As a different way of documenting a larp I’m going to be publishing galleries with the drawings from each run of the game.

As a warm up for Fastaval I’ve created the galleries for the four playtests of the larp that I have held before Fastaval.

You can see them here.

On that page the runs from Fastaval and any future runs will also be found.

Read the preview of the larp here

Read the synopsis for the larp here

… And that’s it – preview text

 

IMG_9979

One of many drawings from the first playtest

That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first signs ofthe plague has reached you. Now you know your fate. It won’t be painful, it won’t be violent, but over the next day or so you will, one by one, fall asleep and never wake up. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

How do you put the loss of your friends, the loss of relations and your own imminent death to words? It’s impossible, but through the childlike act of drawing, this larp aims to get that little step closer to expressing and reflecting on these thoughts.

“…And that’s it” is a quiet, contemplative larp about loss, but also about friendship and togetherness. The play style is slow and lingering, with focus on the quietness of creating together. This is a game about putting all your emotions in small gestures, like a simple drawing, a light touch or a lingering look.

It is a tragic but beautiful game, that leaves behind a lasting impression through the drawings the characters make ingame. It’s not about being good at drawing but about putting meaning into the drawings you make through your character. Intent matters more than quality.

  • Expected run time: 5 hours
  • Number of players: 5 to 15 players, 1 GM.
  • Type: larp
  • Keywords: beautiful tragedy, utopic downfall, creative reflection.
  • Player type: You like to immerse yourself in the character and the simple but tragic story. You like to create a strong character through a thorough workshop. You like a slow and lingering game, where silence can say much more than words. You don’t need to be good at drawing, but you like the challenge in reflecting via drawing.
  • GM type: you love and master running a good and concentrated workshop. You can support and communicate the meditative slow game style that the game requires. During the game you will play the gray spirit that one by one end the characters lives.
  • Death seems to be a theme in Simon’s games, from a dying child in “The Courage of Teddies”, to the loss of loved one on a plane in “Waiting for Flight GO901”, now he has upped the ante and everybody dies in this new larp. He promises to try and not makes his next game so much about death.
  • Language: danish and english
  • Age: no requirements

… And that’s it – a finished synopsis

In this post I talk a lot about the process of pitching a game to Fastaval, read more about what that is here.

So some time ago I published the first, very rough, rambling draft of my synopsis here. When I finished the synopsis and sent it in, I was quite pleased with myself, it’s not a perfect case study of an synopsis, but considering what it looked like before, it’s a big improvement. And it got in. Now it’s important to note, you can write the perfect synopsis and still not get in, if you just happen to pitch a game in the same genre or style as a lot of others. Simerly a rough synopsis can get in if the game being pitched is something the program needs. You never know, but you do know that a well worked out and clear synopsis helps a lot.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about a synopsis than this one. “The Courage of Teddies” meant as much to me as this game, but I was more sure I would get through as it was a very clear and traditional game. “…And that it” I know sounds strange and it was very hard to describe what the players will be doing and why that is cool, so I don’t think I have spent as much time on a synopsis as for this one.

So this is how the synopsis ended up, if for nothing else, it can be used as a case study of how much a synopsis can change from draft to finished text.

IMG_9979

One of many drawings from the playtest (text: a light in the dark)

 

…And that’s it – Synopsis take 4

Humanity has been wiped out by the grey plague, now the last group of survivors have settled down and slowly begin to hope that they have survived it and can begin again. Then the plague strikes, and they know it’s all over, that’s it. We follow the last days of this last group of humans.

How do you put the loss of your friends, the loss of relations, your own eminent end to words? It’s impossible, but through the childlike act of drawing, we can get just that little step closer to expressing and reflecting on these thoughts. That is what this larp aims to do.

The focus of the game is three things the characters will lose during the game: them as an individual, their relations and the group. From attempting to deal with these losses comes most of the play. As you try to face your own end, as you try to sort out your relations before it’s too late, and as you see your group dwindle and try to connect to the few that are left.

Visual creation as communication and reflection

The central tool in this game is visual expression, like drawing or painting. The characters express their thoughts through visual means rather than verbal. Talking is allowed but the culture and workshop will make sure it’s greatly diminished. Drawing is used for communication and as a means of reflection. By expressing your thoughts as drawings, you focus on the subject in a very quiet and intense way. This makes the game a very personal and immersive experience. It will also be a very different way of documenting the larp.

This means that during the larp the players will often be sitting around quietly and drawing, alone, in pairs or as the whole group. They will be talking, often using the drawings as a starting point for the conversation. The end result is making an already emotional game more intense as the players are focused on their emotions and thoughts and not what the right thing to say or do next is. It’s important to note: drawing happens ingame, it’s not a metatechnique, it’s the characters trying to handle their situation through drawing.

The story

  • Act 1: They dare fearfully to hope. Gradually they think of a possible future, they dream. Act 1 ends with the first sign of the plague.
  • Act 2: Now they know they are going to die, there is no escape. They try to handle their end, they try to reflect over what this means. Act 2 ends with the first death.
  • Act 3: They die one by one, they say their goodbyes until the last human on earth closes her eyes. Act 3 ends with the last death.

During the game the GM will play a grey spirit, representing the memories of what the characters have lost to the plague, being touched by this spirit will bring forth these memories. This is also how the grey plague spreads, with the GM putting gray marks on the players. When you have three, you have minutes left to live. Will this touch be the one that dooms me?

As the characters die they also become grey spirits that represents the memory of that person. They move around wordlessly, longing to be remembered, but only through concentration can they connect to the living and be remembered. They can sense the other spirits around them, and if they try hard enough they can connect with them for a fleeting moment. When the last human on earth is gone, the spirits linger for a moment more, looking at what they left behind.

Workshop

The workshop will focus on the three things mentioned before: Individuality, relations and the group. The workshop will also teach the players how to express and reflect visually. The workshop is very structured and run by the GM.

  • Individuality: A character’s starting point will be the player picking a physical item, that one thing they still have with them from before the plague, something that really defines the character. From the question: “why do you hold onto this item?” the  players brainstorm with drawing and via a range of exercises go from wild ideas to a playable character.
  • Relations: Relations are also created visually by pairing the players up, looking at each other’s visual character sheet and drawing how the other character sees your character. This will then be added to the other’s characters sheet. That way you create the others impression of you, but it’s up to them how to interpret it.
  • The group: Each player draws her impression of the group, and present it to the others. From this the GM helps the group create three routines that honors: the individual, the relations and the group. These three things forms the traditions of the group, it’s what binds them together.

Status

  • The game is roughly finished.
  • It has been playtested once at Østerskov Efterskole, where among other things the grey plague mechanic and the visual creation tool worked great.
  • During Larpwriter Summer School the elements that worked less well (for example the use of mood boards and the way the grey spirits worked) has been redesigned and the game is ready for it’s second playtest.

Information

  • Type: Larp
  • Genre: Tragic beauty (Grave of the Fireflies, Mary and Max)
  • Number of players: 10 til 20
  • Number of GMs: 1 or 2 for very big groups
  • Run time: 5 hours
  • Language: Danish and English
  • Writer: Simon James Pettitt
  • Mail: [email protected]
  • Telephone number: +45 26811833

…And that’s it – Game looking for theme song

My next game, that I hope to send to Fastaval will be “…And that’s it”. Between acts there’s a meditative pause that will last the length of a music number. The beginning of that number also signals the end of the act and is also the signal for the players to go and lie down and meditate over what has happened and what will happen now.

But I’m having a hard time finding an appropriate song or music number that fits. It needs to both the quiet and relaxing enough to be used as meditation music, but I also want it to hit the tone and feel of the game, a sort of tragic, feelgood, immersive experience.

So I’m reaching out to you for help, what music numbers would you suggest?
As a help I have included the introduction texts below here:

I might also use this as the synopsis for when I send it to Fastaval, but is that enough, or what would you add something about, and what am I using too much space on? or:
What more info is needed and what should I cut?

IMG_8945

Picture by Sergei Radiuk

…And that’s it

That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first sign of the illness has just reached you. Now you know your fate, it won’t be painful, it won’t be violent, but over the next day or so you will one by one fall asleep and never wake up. You know that this is the end, and that you are the last. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

This is a larp that has its players create a goodbye. The game has the players think about how they would close the shop on humanity and by doing that have them think about what humanity is, and what we want to be remembered for both as individuals, a group and as humankind.

The players are a group of survivors of a disease called the gray plague that has swept the globe. There’s no cure, and the only sign of it is gray spots on your skin. You know that when they show up everyone around you will already have been infected. There’s no other symptoms, no pain, no choking or throwing up. All you know is that in a day or so after you get the spots, you will fall asleep and never wake up. The group knows that they are the last humans on earth. How they know that is not important, it’s just a fact everybody knows and accepts, no buts or ifs. They are the last.

They have been traveling for many months through the empty cities and landscapes. Every day waiting for the first of them to show the dreaded gray spots. Some were strangers before this journey, some knew each other, but during their travels they have become a tight knit group, a little society in its own right with their own rituals and habits.

During the long days and nights they tell each other’s stories from their former lives and remembers together parts of that long journey. Before the gray plague they all had different jobs and functions, some were artist, some had more normal occupations. But our grand society left plenty of supplies behind for the little group, meaning life is not a struggle.

So during the long travel all in the group has become creators in their own right. Telling stories, singing songs, creating art, making poems, taking pictures. They create by themselves, they create together in pairs and as the whole group. No one in the group thinks the quality of the works are important. It’s the ideas and meanings behind each creation they care about.

Now after a long journey, they have found this place, and decided to stop here and settle down. This will be their new home. No one yet dares to talk of a possible future, the gray plague still lurks in everyone’s mind. To hope is dangerous. But now stopping and setting up a home, it is very difficult not to hope. And the first whispers of time after the gray plague has begun.

This is where the game starts. The first act is the fragile hope. Slowly reluctantly starting to hope and to think and even talk of a future. They use their creative drive to speculate about hope, about the future and maybe still also the fear of hoping to soon. Act 1 ends when someone in the group suddenly develops the first gray spot. Five minutes after this discovery act 1 ends, and after a brief meditative pause act 2 begins.

Act 2 is the main part of the game, and the longest bit. In this act more and more members of the group shows the gray spots. The groups know that within a day or so they will all be dead, and humankind will be over. Our long history will end within the next 24 hours with the last of this little group falling asleep. There’s no reason to run, they already have the plague, all of them, they have just yet to develop the gray spots.

Now they turn their creative endeavor to the end. To creating the works they will close history with. Both their own, the groups and humanities. How do you say goodbye when you know the final end is near? Act 2 ends five minutes after the first member of the group falls asleep. After yet another meditative pause act 3 begins.

In act 3 they say their final personal goodbyes as they one by one fall into their last sleep. When the last person on earth falls asleep a final short meditation will be held on the now empty earth. And then the game is over.