Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Larps of the Autumn

Yesterday evening I got two larp invitations. NCID*, the creator of Mellanrummet is arranging Fröken Ingeborg är försenad (Ms Ingeborg is late) and Fabel have two arrangements, a rerun of Efter Mörkret* (After the Darkness) and an independent second part called Monster*.

As all of them are pretty small and expected to be popular I spent a lot of time today coordinating "my crew" and the result is that I, Linnéa and Fredrik will attend Fröken Ingeborg är försenad and Efter Mörkret. The first one had only half of the positions open after less than 24 hours. Popular indeed!

We decided to skip Monster, as they were all pretty close together in time, and it's style did not appeal as much to us as the others.

I will tell you at a later time what these larps are about. Now, I need to sleep...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nordic lajv part II - The others

This is the second and final part of my article about Nordic larping (lajv).

I'm not even sure if Ben Lehman have even read the first part, but I will try to finish this article anyway. If you haven't done so already, go read part I first.

First a note about the Nordic lajv in general, as pointed out by a reader. We have a high ratio of female participants in the games, one estimate being 30-40%. From what I know this is not true for American larps.

When Vampire: The Masquerade and the Minds Eye Theatre became hugely popular in the US we had the same situation over here. Vampire was the game to play and if you were a vampire lajv player, you was coolest of the cool. Nowadays there games are not as common but there are still lots of them going on. I do not claim to know how the game is played in the US but here it differs quite much from what is written in the book (remember that I'm generalizing here):

- I have never seen or even heard about equipment cards being used. If you got a weapon you need some sort of passable replica or prop. It is not uncommon to have people bring very real knives and other melee weapons to games. They are of course just for show.

- The amount of rules used varies. Almost all games have lots of modifications. In most cases the goal is to never need a narrator for resolving character to character conflicts. The most common attitude is that the rules should only be used when a situation cannot be resolved by social interaction. Combat is more or less rare.

- No minors and no alcohol? This depends on the game in particular, but there is not general consensus that either of them is necessarily bad, but maybe not combined...

In total the Swedish vampire larps take on the characteristics of Swedish larps in general. Less placeholder props, less rules and less combat. The game part isn't as important as the acting part.

Ever since airsoft guns got license free in Sweden the hobby have been growing. Some of the player just see it as a simpler and cheaper alternative to paintball, but there is a large community that wants more.

This type of game is called MilSim, after Military Simulation. Instead of a simple eliminate all or capture the flag game, this variant tries to simulate an actual military operation by having a more complex mission, realistic gear and true to life chain of command. In its pure form there isn't very much of roleplaying a character, the focus is on the action.

This is starting to change. Influenced by the larping scene more and more game incorporates roleplaying as an important part of the game. One method of bringing out these aspects is incorporating non combatants that the soldiers have to interact with in another way than just shooting them. The focus is still on action but many of the more recent MilSim games I have heard about (I have never attended one myself) is to be considered a lajv in the usual sense of the word.

Art lajv
This is a very difficult group to describe, even thou it is the only type I regularly attend. Maybe this is why I have a hard time making generalizations, as I see each game as a unique experience instead of having them described to me in general wordings. I will try anyway.

The average Swedish art lajv:

- Is played during one day or evening.

- Have much more focus on character and theme than equipment.

- Have participants of a minimum of 18 years old. This is seldom a rule but more of the way it happens to be.

- Is played indoors and seldom in a classic fantasy world. All other genres are represented, but mostly historical (1900+) and contemporary settings.

- Is played with no other mechanical rules than signs for slowing down or breaking the game in uncomfortable situations.

- Have a theme that the organizers try to focus on. It is expected of all participants to respect and contribute to this theme.

I realize this do very little do describe how a lajv like this is actually played. To get a better understanding you can read my post on the lajv Mellanrummet.

Ok. That is it. If you have questions or do not agree with me please feel free to post a comment. This is not the definite truth about Nordic larps, but the best I can do.