The Minotaur instinct in me

minotaur[Written in the context of a G+ discussion about the role-playing game The Clay That Woke. Re-posted here for easier sharing.]

If I were an animal, I think I’d be a squirrel.

On a good day, maybe I’d feel like that mythological squirrel who lives in Yggdrasil, the world tree. Travelling up and down this cosmic axis of existence, bringing news between gods and men. And talking too much. All the time. Chattering away. Telling secrets. Whispering in ears, revealing things. Telling stories. Still; running away at the first sight of danger, covering his own ass, holing up. Foraging for winter. Stashing away contacts, friends, relatives for those dark days of winter. Which I know will inevitably return.

Most of the time, I don’t feel like a particularly mythological kind of squirrel. I feel more like that “meme”-squirrel from a few years back, the one that would always pop up in random photos looking intense.

But somewhere inside me, in some vague archetypal corner of myself, I have a Minotaur, too.

And that guy; he’s a reliable kind of guy. He doesn’t say much. You know he’s handy. He could help you carry that piece of furniture. Maybe listen to you talk. Not for too long, though, but you wouldn’t go into details and shit with that guy. Wouldn’t be soppy in front of him, but his mere presence would be comforting, in a way. You could share a cigarette. Have some coffee. He makes you a little afraid, the guy at the back of your head. He seems so tame, so domesticated. Loyal. But you know those horns, those fists, could really fuck someone up. You’ve heard some stories about his kind. Maybe not this guy in particular, I mean he’s cool, he’d never hurt you. But, y’know.

I was robbed the other day. Strange circumstances, won’t go in details here. But it was full daylight, city was full of people, and the dude just took my money. Now, as you will recall, I’m a squirrel, so I did the sensible thing and walked away.

The minotaur wasn’t too happy about that. But I’m not a minotaur. I just have him, in me. Like most of you who read this probably do.

In Itras By, the game I helped write, there’s kind of a minotaur character. He has the head of a musk ox. He’s rich, clumsy, kind. Everyone laughs at him behind his back because he looks weird and is clumsy. He sucks it up, tries to keep his cool (but he has a violent temper, if sufficiently provoked). They can see he’s a beast, he’s reminded when he looks in the mirror every day that he’s a beast, but he’s born in polite, high society. He has a function, a role. He’s an heir. There’s a hopeless love-story in there, too.

Anyway, I typed up that character kind of randomly when I was 23 or something. And I mention it here because of the superficial similarities, but also because many readers seem to connect with this character in particular. If there’s talk we might do an Itras By larp at some point, someone will eagerly volunteer to play this guy. Various illustrators want to draw him, on their own accord, without direct instruction from me. I think there’s something with that age-old mythical image that is very powerful to us.

I thought earlier today how I was fascinated, maybe a bit repulsed, certainly titillated as a 12-year old when I heard the story of the original minotaur’s conception on some radio show (this is Norway, folks), or maybe I read it in a book I had on greek mythology. With the bronze cow, the queen and that. I have some half-formed thoughts/feelings about this topic and sexuality, or some aspects of sexuality, rather. But I think I will listen to the squirrel on this: run away while you still have your bushy tail.

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7 Camping Concepts

Yet another satisfied customer at Alpha Male Camping. Photo: Budi Nusyirwan (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Yet another satisfied customer at Alpha Male Camping. Photo: Budi Nusyirwan (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Alpha Male Camping
A camping concept for alpha males, AND anyone who identifies as an alpha male.

Activities include (and are limited to):

– Eyeing
– Drinking
– Pissing contest
– Drinking
– Bromance
– Drinking
– Circle jerk (OR klittra)

An enjoyable game of Quappitsche at Wizarding Wonderland Camping. Photo: Antonio Cinotti (Flickr/Creative Commons).

An enjoyable game of Quappitsche at Wizarding Wonderland Camping. Photo: Antonio Cinotti (Flickr/Creative Commons).

The location varies, but this annual event usually takes place somewhere with rugged and unwelcoming terrain, with a lack of running water, electricity and mother. (Certain parts of Northern Norway would be ideal, if it just wasn’t so fucking expensive).

Wizarding Wonderland Camping
A family-friendly camping concept where all visitors are provided with their very own capes, “magick schticks” (not wands) and funny hats.

Activities include:
– Quappitsche – local game a bit similar to rugby but with more elements from MMA.
– Advanced Traumaturgy – a.k.a. “The Crying Game”.
– Viralicious: see how fast you’re able to spread your fun time holiday photos from Wizarding Wonderland Camping on social media. The winner receives a Farnabus Binkley Prize for Exceptional Spell-Casting.

Wizarding Wonderland Camping is located at a genuine Polish campground from the late 1980’s, near scenic Pruszków and the local raw sewage treatment plant.

An elective outdoor recreational activity

Photo: Christopher Michel (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Photo: Christopher Michel (Flickr/Creative Commons).

The concept: participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. A minimum of one night is spent outdoors, distinguishing it from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities.

An elective outdoor recreational activity may involve sheltering in the open air, a tent, caravan, motorhome, or primitive structure.

Guesstimate Camping
A variant of the “Dice Man” concept. At Guesstimate Camping, the guiding principle is to take a wild guess at anything. How long it is until dinner, the price of various items, the current amount of camping site visitors, etc. The most outlandish claim that can be backed up with some kind of vague anecdote or “research” will be honored with prizes like groupies, media attention (the local newspaper runs a column) and grants from the city council.

Site: anywhere in the Nordic region.

(Guesstimate was originally “This Big Camping & Fishing”, but the IP owners wrote a cease-and-desist).

Rock Star Camping
Did you ever wonder where all those rock star mammoths go when they need a well-deserved break from touring and rocking a million faces?

Rock Star Camping near peaceful Grindsted (DK),  that’s where!

Here you’ll encounter the likes of Keith, Sir Paul, Bob and Ozzy, basking in the transcendental nothingness of the Grindsted countryside, safe in their knowledge that they’re at the height of awesome despite being 127 years old (well; obviously you won’t encounter them, but people with similar souls, is the selling point).

Activities include:
– Reminiscing
– Snoring
– Failing to maintain an erection

Self-referential In-Jokesters Sensitivity Test Camping

An including time outdoors. Foto: News Øresund - Johan Wessman (Flickr/Creative Commons).

An including time outdoors. Foto: News Øresund – Johan Wessman (Flickr/Creative Commons).

The concept: you go camping with a group of DF supporters at Holme Å in Region Syddanmark. To get acquainted, you’ll play along with their jokes. But that’s ok, because you can tell yourself you’re ironic and post-modern. The bait-and-switch is that there are three genuine minority “sleeper agents” at the camping grounds. If they are able to tell you apart from the DF supporters at the end of your stay, you’ll win a crate of Carlsberg Elephant Beer and a hug from a homeless Inuit at Amagerbro Station. If not, you’ll be exposed as a chauvinist to all your FB contacts (in a public post including video from your trans-ironic week at the camping site).

BFF Camping
A small, friendly camping site on Djursland, East Jutland. Most of the visitors are regulars from year to year. It’s a place where you can just relax and be yourself, smile, enjoy a cool drink and play games. Somewhere you can spend time among friends who are accepting of each other’s differences and employ charitable readings of the rules of boccia. A space where you can safely leave your tent unlocked, your worries far behind and just bask in the privilege of belonging to such a considerate and thoughtful community.

Publisert i Religion

7 Campaign Concepts

Some of my kindred RPG-bloggin’ spirits from Denmark have been having sort of a challenge going where they pitch 7 different RPG campaign concepts. I thought I’d join the fun. (The original post that started all of this, in Danish)

Copenhagen by Night
Back in the late 90’s, my good friend and partner-in-nerd Magnus had a V:tM concept I liked a lot. I think it was inspired by some Danish crime novella he’d read, set in Copenhagen. The campaign never materialized, but I made a character, a Brujah inspired by Vinnie Jones’ character in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Kind of a money-shark/sociopath. Anyway: Vampire, Copenhagen, Grittier-than-thou, probably inspired by those Danish “Pusher” films that came out in the nineties.

Tim Bradstreet: Brujah. Vampire: the Masquerade.

Tim Bradstreet: Brujah. Vampire: the Masquerade.

I wouldn’t use the original system, and I’d probably adapt/simplify the setting somewhat (fewer clans and fractions etc), but use enough of the original material to keep some kind of “feel” of that 90s goodness. Yes, it would obviously have to be set in the nineties too. Because.

I think I’d look into that free version of the Undying game that’s out, which is some kind of “Vampire done right” deal that’s Kickstarting now.

(I was sick and tired of vampires about 15 years ago, almost – but not quite – as fed up as I am with zombies. But a movie like “Låt den rätta komma inn” goes to show there’s still something to be said for the old monsters. And I’d definitely play this campaign if the opportunity presented itself. Especially if Magnus GMed. Well, I’ll play anything Magnus cares to GM.)

Swords without Master
I recently bought this little game, published in the Sword & Sorcery fanzine “Worlds without Master”. At 3,99$, there’s not really any reason not to, and I’ve heard good things. I’ve only briefly skimmed it so far, though. As far as I understand, there’s some kind of rotating GM-system, and it enables no-prep or low-prep sessions. Which sounds pretty ideal for busy people like my friends and I (ok, I guess I could cut back on time wasted online, and I’d suddenly have bucketloads of time on my hands).

I haven’t really read all that much fantasy. Tolkien, LeGuinn’s Earthsea, Narnia. A few more. I read a few of the original Conan stories (owned that gigantic collected edition at some point), but found them a bit dull/repetitive after a while. But I’ve certainly played around with fantasy tropes in RPGs for the better part of my life.

There’s something about the Sword & Sorcery genre that really appeals to me, from what little I’ve understood. The whole “pre-Tolkien” aspect is certainly nice (nothing against Tolkien, but it feels like I’ve been swimming in his derivatives all my life). And the “pulpishness”, for lack of a better term. More human-focused, fewer humanoids? And epic in a very specific way. “Epic while gritty/hard-boiled”. Or something to that effect.

I think I’d look at the Sorcerer and Sword supplement for Ron Edward’s Sorcerer for further inspiration. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, as far as I recall. Maybe pick up a few more copies of Worlds without Master while I’m at it.

(This one might conceivably happen, especially if my impression about rotating GM + low-prep sessions is correct).

Somewhere dark
They’re remaking Kult for the 25th anniversary. I never really made that game work, but it’s one of my “holy grails” or “one that got away”. I don’t know if I’m all that interested in action-horror. The system wasn’t all that (as far as I recall). I’d probably have to ditch more than half the concepts and clichés of that particular setting (not because it’s bad, just because the players and I would know them too well, and it would feel like rehashing 90s horror clichés rather than experiencing something genuinely new and frightening).

But I love the spirit of the thing. The no-holds barred “let’s reach down in the dirt and blood for entertainment, shock and thrills”. I think scary movies are good for us, in some way. Roller coasters, ghost houses, horror stories by the campfire. I think it’s primeval. But I also think we’re a bit jaded (at least I am). So we’d need something… close to home. Subtle and unpleasant, rather than “screaming in your ear at full volume and oh, hey, here’s a bucket of pig blood to go with it”. Something really, really dark. There’s some kind of “wave of sensitivity” going on, so I won’t go into specifics here. But I mean… dark-dark.

I find, as I get older, films (fiction in general?) has a stronger grip on me. I’m more easily moved. Identify with more of the characters, maybe? Maybe it’s just some natural age-softening going on. Less of the touch of sociopathy I suspect many young men suffer from, less testosterone… I dunno (I’m just 34, not Yoda). But more, I think it has to do with experience. That stuff could happen. I know someone that happened to. That could happen to me. That’s me. Up there. That’s us.

What I’m trying to say is: I don’t know if I could stomach a campaign like the one I just sketchily envisioned. But it could be interesting. Maybe just two or three sessions. For health reasons.

Funky Experimental
Back in 2006-2007, Matthijs started an Itras By campaign that I took part of for the first few and the last few sessions. For the middle ones, I was in South America (working on the book, amongst many other things), but I’d eagerly read the updates on mail and blog. His take was to do a *lot* of experimentation, but still true to the spirit of the game/setting. Surreal games, shared narration rights, new cards, lots of stuff. He described some of the techniques, methods and rules he employed (that would often vary from session to session) on a wiki that’s sadly lost. Some of it was also discussed on the old Story Games forum, I believe.

Sketch for new illustration for the French Itras By edition by David Cochard.

Sketch for new illustration for the French Itras By edition by David Cochard.

Anyway, what I’d like to do is capture the spirit of that campaign. The free-wheelin’ anarchy and joyful experimentation. With a group I knew could “click” and jam. Setting up a campaign as kind of a laboratory of ideas and experimentation. Maybe with some game as basis or loose scaffolding, maybe just some simple rules we could make up as a start. And then we could just… try out stuff, you know? There is so much hippie goodness floating around out there now, just seize some of that. Pick and choose. Change the cards around every session. Some stability would be good, I think. Maybe the same characters from session to session. Or at least more or less the same setting. One trick could be to explore the same core setting by means of a varying troupe of characters. Not exactly a new idea at this point, but in my experience very few ideas are actually new. Deep immersion. Trance states. Playful weaponry against perceived GM authority. Yeah. Something like that.

Over the Edge: It is just a tribute
In some inspired, hypomanic moment a couple of years ago, I typed up these short texts and labelled them “A Tribute to Over the Edge”.

Truth be told, I haven’t read OtE cover-to-cover (I borrowed it in the 90s and bought the anniversary edition a few years back). I’ve only played a single session in the 90s (I believe). Still, I think it’s had a strong influence on my gaming philosophy, both through Matthijs (as always), and as some kind of background radiation.

I don’t think the setting itself is presented in a very interesting manner (too many lists and old school “Monstrous Manual” vibe). I’m not enamored with all the “violent gangs”. But I love the simplicity of the rules, the anarchic mindset, the surrealism (of course) and many, many of the concepts.

I’d like to bring the whole setting to 2015, and go a few rounds with players of the same mindset to see what that means. The blogpost I linked in the first paragraph here could be a point of reference. And other weirdness. Chuck Palahniuk, maybe? A touch of Burroughs, obviously. I think this could be easily combined with the “Funky Experimental” campaign. We could imagine we were kids again, with some hope of revolutionizing gaming, ourselves, the fucking world.


The draug as envisioned by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen.

The draug as envisioned by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen.

Matthijs once wrote a game called Draug (in Norwegian). It’s set in Norway in 1801, but – a bit like Ars Magica – it’s a Norway where creatures from fairytale and folklore are real. I’ve briefly toyed with the idea of bringing that concept to present day Norway. I would probably look more to the Norwegian movie Thale than Troll Hunter for inspiration. The former is a sort-of-creepy present-day take on the “hulder”, a beautiful woman with a cow’s tail who’d enchant and guile hapless men and boys into the mountain. Troll Hunter is more of a comedy. Finnish “Import-export” is something in between.

Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist (Låt den rätte komma in) has some great contemporary takes on some of these creatures in his short stories. I think that’s the kind of vibe I’d be aiming for: creepy, contemporary, “what-if” type stuff.

(Yes, I am in love with Matthijs, what’s it to you?)

Star Wars
Around the time the last batch of Star Wars movies were coming out, we ran three campaigns in-between movies, using the same era and some of the same characters/NPCs. I think we first used a “d20”-system, later “Saga Edition”. Now there are new games out from Fantasy Flight, so it might be fun to check out those. We had a *lot* of fun with those, consciously ripping/riffing of the vibe of the films, unapologetically paraphrasing concepts and tropes. Played the “theme song” before every episode etc. Nerdcore joy, 13 again. “Look mom, I’m a Jedi!”

What I envision here is a relatively short campaign to coincide with Episode 7, so it would need to happen this fall or next spring at the latest. In the previous campaigns, we set it a thousand years prior to the films. Some of the players were inspired by the KotOR computer games. It gave us a lot of freedom to invent setting. Most of the tech and society worked in more or less the same way as in the films, of course.

We could go back to some of that old material from 10-13 years ago. But maybe it would be cool with a different approach, this time. Make it more specific or different. “Smugglers in the Outer Rim”, “Coruscant Low-Lifes embroiled in Galactic Drama”, “Secrets of the Galactic War” (stuff happening off-screen in the original films), etc, etc. There’s a thousand possibilities, and brief googling will certainly provide further ideas. If we choose to step back onto the path of pure fanboy joy.

(Blog post continues under image).

«Chewie, we’re home».

At least one of the Danish «7 campaigns» blogs was in English, but this is the only one I could find at the moment (please feel free to link in comments): Elias’ blog Filemonia.

(This is currently kind of wishful thinking, for the day I’m yet again a 20 year old student with seemingly unlimited amounts of time for nourishing long-term campaigns, or my friend’s kids grow up, or we all retire or something. I’m very happy to be in a seemingly long-term D&D5 campaign we started in November (my character has the fireball spell and we’ve met an owl bear. It’s awesome). We’ll round off our The Clay That Woke campaign sometime before the end of summer (I believe), and there’s this series of small-press/indie oneshots I’m planning with a couple of friends. Maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in some kind of mini-campaign this fall, but there are also two larps, life, job, other creative projects and the girlfriend abroad. We’ll see. Anyway, I can dream, right?)



It’s your Destiny
At some point I feel like I should grok Fate, like I did Apocalypse World. I’m not particularly enamored with post-apo as genre, but the game itself just felt very important to try out, you know? Seminal influence and all. Modern point of reference, like GURPs in its heyday. I feel the same way with Fate, but I just get so impatient/bored with rule texts, man. I definitely understand there’s  something there (and even tried to run 3-4 sessions in an aborted fantasy campaign. Magnus helpfully provided me with a simplified summary of the rules. There is something wrong with my head, when it comes to game procedure…).

Aspects and all that. Learn it I must.

Me and Magnus talked about setting up some kind of Pirates in the Caribbean anno 1700s (not the Disney-stuff, more historically inspired) for a run of 5-7 sessions. And use Fate. Not sure if I’m sufficiently in love with the idea. We could come up with something else. I imagine Fate would be particularly good for pulpish games, but that could just be prejudice.

Pattern Recognition
I love William Gibson’s writing. Especially when I can understand it. It’s the kind of text that makes you feel cooler upon reading, y’know? I tried a few pages of the new book, The Peripheral, but had to give up. It was like every 20-30. word caused me some kind of friction. Maybe I’ve grown denser over the past 15 years, maybe it’s just a harder read.

Anyway: loved the cyberpunk-stuff. Loved the Blue Ant trilogy. Especially the first book, Pattern Recognition. That kind of… what is it? Contemporary sci-fi? Magical realism? Thriller? Capturing some kind of vibe/spirit like that in a game would be awesome, or at least interesting to try.

Probably something very-near future, or maybe even contemporary but with a focus on cutting-edge technology. Trouble is, I imagine it would take a lot of research and setting-building to generate the experience I’m looking for. I’m simply not knowledgeable enough. Maybe read 3-4 books and some Wikipedia articles. Maybe ally with players with more insight into the world of hacking, espionage, weapons technology, political economy and corporate machinations than myself.

Maybe there’s a game out there that would cater to all this, but I haven’t heard about it yet.

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«Ta Land» («Take Land» – The Larplaboratory April, Ingrid Galadriel et. al). Photo: Private.

Can we/you/I play 51 role-playing games, larps, boardgames, card games etc in 2015? Here’s Epidiah’s challenge:

001I’ll probably  update this blog post now and then.

The games I’ve played so far:

37. Bibelspillet

36. 1 Feminist nanogame for Fastaval anthology (playtest)
35. Oss imellom (larp)
34 [Ultra Top Secret] (playtest)
33. Café René (short larp, Blackbox Deichman Oslo]
32. Real Men (Grenselandet short larp festival)
31. The Other Life Project (abbreviated, Grenselandet short larp festival)
30. Vandrerne (GM at pre-launch oneshot gathering)
29. Swords Without Master (via Hangouts)
28. Before We Wake (larp)
27. Squat
26. Kaleidoscope
25. ‘Terps (co-GM)
24. Timeline
23. There’s a Fan Fic for That
22. Klossmajor (similar to Jenga)
21. Shave a Sheep
20. Ligretto Dice
19. Take Land (short larp, Laivlaboratoriet)
18. Experiments with robots (short larp workshop, Laivlaboratoriet)

Consequesting Omens (Dresden Files larp Stavanger, January: investigating academic). Photo: me.

Consequesting Omens (Dresden Files larp Stavanger, January: investigating academic). Photo: me.

17. Demons (Fastaval 2015)
16. The Bunker (Fastaval 2015)
15. Split Utopia (Fastaval 2015)
14. Grotesque (Fastaval 2015)
13. Room (Fastaval 2015 – GM)
12. This Miracle (Fastaval 2015)
11. Itras by (GM)
10. Bezzerwizzer (trivia)
9. The Clay that Woke
8. Femkamp (card)
7. Aye, Evil Overlord
6. Consequesting Omens (Dresden Files larp)
5. Dixit
4. Happylaiven (Potter larp)
3. I know you are, but what am I? (chamber larp )
2. D&D (GM 1 session)
1. Cards Against Humanity

«Badges I’ve earned»:

For those who have played at least five games with more than five players apiece.










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A young nuk got to wear the white colours of the nuk after their initiation. Photo: Li Xin.

A young nuk got to wear the white colours of the nuk after their initiation. Photo: Li Xin.

Larp. Finnskogen, Norway, July 1-5, 2014. 

Organizers: Eirik Fatland, Tor Kjetil Edland, Margrethe Raaum, Martin Knutsen, Trine Lise Lindahl, Elin Nilsen, and Jørn Slemdal.

80(?) players.

After KoiKoi, the organizers asked us to postpone analysis and dissection of the larp design for a week, and instead share stories and personal reflections. This text is a slightly edited version of a “letter” I wrote to the organizers the day after the larp. It’s meandering, subjective and personal.

If you’d rather read a more analytical approach, please see the links at the end of this post.

KoiKoi was set in a hunter-gatherer society; maybe in our world, maybe elsewhere. Maybe the present era, maybe the future. Every second year this nomadic people gathered for feasts and rituals at their sacred home in Koi valley, and the larp was set during such a gathering. In “reality”, we were in the woods, somewhere in the east of Norway.

I’m Laughter

Laughter, my character, was one of the three elder nuks permanently residing at Koi. Photo: Li Xin.

Laughter, my character, was one of the three elder nuks permanently residing at Koi. Photo: Li Xin.

My character, Laughter, was also aldnuk at Koi. The nuk were sort of a “third gender” at the larp: hermaphrodites, outcasts, transsexuals, queers, shamans, “sensitives”, or crazy people. These kinds of people would often end up with this gender. Ald was the prefix given to the elders. They lived at Koi, where they were taken care of by the nuk. The larp used the gender-neutral (Swedish) pronoun “hen” to refer to nuks. In this translation, I’ve tried to use the form “singular they”.

When I first heard about the larp a year ago, I immediately knew that I wanted to play a nuk. But I didn’t realize until quite shortly before the larp was to begin that I was to portray a sort of Übernuk, with a lot of responsibility for several of the communal rituals that made up the framework of the larp. I was a bit nervous in the face of this task, as leading so many people in ritual improvisation is something I’d never done before. But I received good help from the organizers, and when I called my co-player Gustav I was assured that this would work out just fine. Gustav played my aldnuk-colleague Fog. In real life, he’s a full-time nuk: he makes a living as a travelling storyteller at various Viking and medieval markets, and has a lot of “nukish” knowledge of the forest, stories, religion and rituals. With the player Fabe as aldnuk Storm, our trio of elders was complete.

Memories, moments and thoughts

Storytelling in the main hall at Koi. Dew, one of the elder men. Photo: Li Xin.

Storytelling in the main hall at Koi. Dew, one of the elder men. Photo: Li Xin.

After the main Koi Ritual, there’s always a feast at Koi. People sang and danced. I’m often uncomfortable with dancing (even though it’s become better over the years), but Laughter entered the dance floor shirtless.

I didn’t know I could chant and make didgeridoo-like sounds with my mouth. I learned it at Koi. It’s not often I scream and sing and hum until I’m hoarse in my daily life. I did at Koi.

I never got around to reading all the stories the organizers had provided in advance of the larp, but I wanted Laughter to tell stories. So I just improvised based on what happened at the larp, plus fragments from the cultural compendium and other stuff that came to mind.

Laughter told the story about the nuk who let everyone steal their face: children, women, men. But when they had taken off the face and put it on their pillow and thought they could safely go to sleep, the face pulled a terrible grimace.

The ancestral spirits, Kwath, were invisibles to the characters, but we the players could see them. Photo: Li Xin.

The ancestral spirits, Kwath, were invisibles to the characters, but we the players could see them. Photo: Li Xin.

Laughter told the story about the KoiKoi where everyone was so horny. Woman lay in her bed, and made horny woman sounds (the others in the circle made the sound womanwoman makes when she’s horny). Man lay in his bed and made horny man sounds. And nuknuk, what sounds did they make? They made a ritual for HornyKwath, and Laughter spoke with HornyKwath using an effeminate, strange voice as they walked around the circle.

Laughter spoke of the two foreigners who were so afraid. They were at the mountain by Koi and tried to talk to each other, but they didn’t have language. Aldnuk Gust came and held the Language rite for them, so that they learned words.

During the rite of remembrance, Laughter told the others about Gust, aldnuk at Koi. They never really liked Gust. After many somber and sad stories of death, I, speaking as a player, wanted to tell a story that would be fun to listen to. It was amusing to see how Gust took on a life of their own after this ritual. Several people spoke of them, and anecdotes were told about how strict and angry they were.

The flow

Newly become men, engaged in ritualistic fighting. Photo: Li Xin.

Newly become men, engaged in ritualistic fighting. Photo: Li Xin.

After Nuk rite I got into character. From there on out the larp proceeded more or less by itself for me, just the way I like: flow, immersion, channeling. Call it what you like. Ideas, stories, sounds and sentences came on their own, and I think a lot of it came out exactly the way Laughter would have said and done things. We had a framework, created by the organizers in the compendium; we had the actions of the other players, and we had the physical limitations and possibilities of the setting. Into this framework we poured chaos, and new things arose. As it happens.

The Death Rite. Photo: Li Xin.

The Death Rite. Photo: Li Xin.

I asked one of the organizers at our two-man workshop before the larp whether our Death rite was in fact a ritual murder, and he confirmed this. During the larp, Gustav, Fabe and I concluded that Laughter would lead the ritual. Thus, they were the only person in the ankoi people who could kill other people (at least in a ritual context). I think the Death rite as a whole worked, at least for the main characters affected – the elders who were to die. Some parts obviously worked better than others. But as the time for the killings approached, I felt the atmosphere grow tense. I think the ritual provided interesting contrast, both personally, for my character, who was often a light-hearted, silly person, but also for the whole culture. Ankoi were not only peace-loving hippies who drummed and sang by the campfire. Their culture also had dark, brutal aspects.

Masks contained spirits. Everything had spirit: plants, animals, the water and the air. Through the use of masks, they could posess the characters. Photo: Li Xin.

Masks contained spirits. Everything had spirit: plants, animals, the water and the air. Through the use of masks, they could posess the characters. Photo: Li Xin.

After the Death rite, I was uncertain how Laughter would act for the rest of the evening. We solved it by having the three elder nuks return to Koi with two white ribbons from the place of the ancestor spirits. There was singing. The nuk Breeze, who lived at Koi, opened the doors wide. The three elder nuks entered the ceremonial hall. Fog had the white ribbons tied to their staff. They danced around the fire, chanted. Laid the ribbons down by the fireplace. Laughter got down on their knees. Sometimes, they’d burst into sorrowful moans. The song in the room continued, but changed character. After a while the circle (on its own?) started chanting the names of the deceased: Ebb, Dew, Ebb, Dew, Ebb, Dew… The names of the two aldmen became a melody. Laughter, the only ankoi who takes human lives, crept towards the fire on all fours. Screamed, and left.

Later that night, they sat by the fire at Boarfam. Told lighter stories. Were comforted by their old friend and lover, Wave. Joked. Laughed. Their face still painted with the death mask.

Aldnuks applying ritual makeup. Photo: Li Xin.

Aldnuks applying ritual makeup. Photo: Li Xin.

Sometimes I was Laughter. Sometimes I was Ole Peder, observing. That’s the way larps are, at least for me. The illusion is never constant; the most intense immersion comes and goes. Ole Peder saw his friends from all the Nordic countries. Skilled, experienced role players, alongside younger larpers. Grown-ups and youth in somewhat comical costumes, playing with seriousness. I liked what I saw. A lot of good play. Many good “scenes”, as we sometimes say.

I didn’t have much plot to speak of; more like “tasks” to be performed. I often find that to be a good base for a larp, as I would still be embroiled in the plots of others.

I thought NukRite was nice. To me it was the first rite that “really worked”. I hope we who were there (the elder nuks, the travelling nuks and the nuk who lived at Koi) gave a good (and maybe a little scary) ritual to the children”. We mostly followed the instructions in the ritual compendium, but added a few details of our own. Amongst other things, there was a round of somewhat impossible questions, like who would you choose, your father or your mother?” When the ancestor-spirits were called upon and one of the organizers appeared with the large clay mask, the children had to approach Storm, who whispered two questions: Did you hear Kwath?” and What did Kwath say?”

Photo: Li Xin.

Photo: Li Xin.

I was happy with my “family”: the elders and nuks who lived permanently at Koi. We had no bigger inner conflict or drama. We were the eye of the storm. It gave me a feeling of great calm to play with them, a calm that has yet to evaporate as I’m typing this.

The weather was good, thankfully. Three days of rain would have changed the experience a lot. It’s good to be in nature. I forget how good until every time I’m out there. Maybe it’s what we’re really meant to do? Us people, I mean?

During the “debrief”, we were separated into groups of three and told to talk things over. I got together with two larpers I’ve known for a long time. Nice things were said. One of the players talked about how the larp had dealt with fundamental human themes. Gender. Death. Change. Growth. It’s true.

Sometimes, there was too little time. Many rituals were to be held before KoiKoi was over. The nuks had to remind the others to attend. Pestering other players doesn’t feel good, but timing can be hard in a game based on improvisation.

The cheers and thank you rituals straight after a larp can be hard. It’s easy to feel left out. This time I had the energy for it. I felt included.

We’re not actors, most of us. We can’t do another take. What happens, happens. Larp isn’t perfect. One of the organizers talked about this before the game. “Dare to fail”, they said. Give the character time, a chance”. Sometimes I failed; some things I did wrong. The character came to me in the end.

I was impressed with how well the techniques for ritual improvisation worked, especially the wall of sound we created together. To dare to take part in it made me proud. I’m not a singer. But it seems I can make a lot of sound! Exciting.

I saw a lot of good play. I was happy that there were some relatively new players; fun with some new faces. Many participants were internationals, mainly from the Nordic countries. I knew many from Knutepunkt and other festivals, but it was my first time playing a longer larp with many of them.

KoiKoi (analysis/blog post by Danish Peter Munthe-Kaas)
Experimental anthropology at KoiKoi (by Finnish Kaisa Kangas)
The larp’s homepage (in Norwegian)
Selected photos (by Li Xin)

Publisert i Laiv | Merket med , , , , | Legg igjen en kommentar

Matoppskrifter og matinspirasjon

Jeg ba mine Facebookvenner om tips om gode mat-blogger med oppskrift og slikt, siden jeg har lyst til å begynne og lage mer mat hjemme. Legger innspillene jeg fikk her, så jeg har dem samlet til senere (Facebook-tråder er litt forgjengelige av natur, dessverre).

Majas mat-blog: I Eated It

Idas mat-blog: All den rare maten

Trines matblog


Lenkeliste på Veggispreik

Startsiden: oppskrifter

«Avansert vegetarisk»:,

«For litt manneperspektiv»:

Fra Boller til Buritos («helt uten oppskrifter, men veldig morsom»)

Hobbykokken («når du har fått litt mer erfaring»)

Fru Timian

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It is frequently argued that games are supposed to be fun.

[Context: I presented this text at «the hour of the rant» during Knutpunkt 2014. It consists of verbatim quotes from the Knutpunkt book «The Foundation Stone of Nordic Larp».]

I do not usually drink alcohol on a Tuesday afternoon or a Wednesday morning, dance sexily in a Spider-Man costume while singing karaoke, or travel without a cell phone and computer, but on this cruise, I probably would.

For what is live action role-playing if not a constant construction of alternative structures of being alive as a humanoid creature?

It is frequently argued that games are supposed to be fun.

Whether this means that it is acceptable for the participant to have intercourse as a character or the belief that a participant can in fact have intercourse completely in character are the main themes of discussion in this school.

There is limited research on these kinds of games and experiences.

Searle argues that social reality is constructed through constitutive rules. Constitutive rules are not rules in the traditional sense — they are not directives on how one should behave in a given situation and they cannot be broken in the traditional sense. Rather, constitutive rules are social structures we use to establish social institutions.

The majority of players, I must add, did probably not even see anyone in the nude.

If the game-makers succeed in presenting the player with a reality they can find plausible, then the world is the world is the world, enabling an experience that does not perceptually come across as fictional.

In Luminescence, possibly the most symbolic larp of all time, the terminal patients were placed in an abstractly lit room on a tonne of white flour – and the players instructed to treat this fact as both literal and entirely expected.

Role-players are slowly deconstructing the wall between reality and game, letting larp become “radiant” instead of a closed space for play (no matter if that play is political or escapistic).

Grown men skating as fast as they can to move a piece of plastic to a specific area. Seems pointless, yet it is immensely popular.

It is entirely possible, even easy, to see “objective reality” as a role-playing game. Making the games more complex and less abstract has made gaming reality stronger and more fulfilling. The next logical step is to lose the barrier separating games and reality once and for all.

Even if this means I have to spend the entire game alone in a closet without anyone ever finding out.


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People we’ve been, people we’ve yet to become

When I saw the gallery «11 Best Larping Pictures From Around The Globe«, I thought it’d be cool to do a similar thing with Norwegian larp photos. I did a bit of crowdsourcing on Facebook, and the images below are some of the ones that turned up.

I’m in no way implying that these are the very best larp photos from all Norwegian larps ever, they’re just the one’s that I was tipped off about and liked enough to post here. There are certain larps and photgraphers I’d very much like to see represented here, but that’d demand more research than I’m currently able to do.

If you don’t want your photo or image to appear here, please get in touch at ole.peder.giaever []

SPARKLES (2013): A Larp about vanity, fame and celebrities. Photo: K. Grønningsæther

SPARKLES (2013): A Larp about vanity, fame and celebrities. Photo: K. Grønningsæther

1942: Noen å stole på? (2000): 1942: Someone to trust? A larp depicting life in a Norwegian west coast village during the second world war. Photo: Britta S.

1942: Noen å stole på? (2000): 1942: Someone to trust? A larp depicting life in a Norwegian west coast village during the second world war. Photo: Britta Kristina Bergersen.

RED OCTOBER (2011): A larp depicting life in Norway's maoist  movement AKP-ml during the '70s. Photo: Marianne Gundersson.

RED OCTOBER (2011): A larp depicting life in Norway’s maoist movement AKP-ml during the ’70s. Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

RAVN'S SUMMER LARP (1998): Photo: Christine F.

RAVN’S SUMMER LARP (1998): Photo: Christine F.

ONCE UPON A TIME (2005): Western Larp. Photo: Anne Isene.

ONCE UPON A TIME (2005): Western Larp. Photo: Anne Isene.

NOSFERATU VENDEPUNKT (2013): A fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe

NOSFERATU VENDEPUNKT (2013): A fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe

MILORG D19 (2005): A larp depicting the Norwegian resistance during Second World War. Photo: Nina S.

MILORG D19 (2005): A larp depicting the Norwegian resistance during Second World War. Photo: Geir Harald Helgeid.

MARCELLO'S BASEMENT (2010): A musical larp based on the lyrics of the Norwegian band Kaizer's Orchestra. Photo: Li Xin.

MARCELLO’S BASEMENT (2010): A musical larp based on the lyrics of the Norwegian band Kaizer’s Orchestra. Photo: Li Xin.

MAD ABOUT THE BOY (2010): What would happen if all the men in the world suddenly died? Photo: Li Xin.

MAD ABOUT THE BOY (2010): What would happen if all the men in the world suddenly died? Photo: Li Xin.

LOOSE ENDS AND STIFF UPPER LIPS (2005): A humurous larp based on the works of Wodehouse. Photo: Andreas Berg

LOOSE ENDS AND STIFF UPPER LIPS (2005): A humorous larp based on the works of Wodehouse. Photo: Andreas Berg

LIFE IS CHEAP (2013): A Firefly larp. Photo: Tim Esborn

LIFE IS CHEAP (2013): A Firefly larp. Photo: Tim Esborn

KRISTIANIABOHEMEN (2007): The Christiania Bohemians. Depicting life amongst the bohemian crowd in Norway during the late 19th century.  Photo: Marianne Gundersson.

KRISTIANIABOHEMEN (2007): The Christiania Bohemians. Depicting life amongst the bohemian crowd in Norway during the late 19th century. Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

JUST A LITTLE LOVIN' (2011): A larp portraying the gay community in New York and the Aids epidemic during the early '80s. Photo: Frida Jansen

JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ (2011): A larp portraying the gay community in New York and the Aids epidemic during the early ’80s. Photo: Frida Jansen

A Handfull of Time (2008): Fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe.

A Handful of Time (2008): Fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe.

BARE SOLEN ER DITT VITNE (2013): (The Sun is your witness). Larp set in 1895. Photo: Kjetil Raaen.

BARE SOLEN ER DITT VITNE (2013): (The Sun is your witness). Larp set in 1895. Photo: Kjetil Raaen.

GUTTESKOLEN (2005): The Boy's School. Larp set in the US in 1957, portraying life in a boarding school for boys. Photo: ?

GUTTESKOLEN (2005): The Boy’s School. Larp set in the US in 1957, portraying life in a boarding school for boys. Photo: Geir Harald Helgeid.

DE FORTAPTE PIKERS ØY (2012): (Island of the lost girls. Larp set in the aftermath of the second world war, depicting the treatment of Norwegian women who had fostered relations with the German occupying soldiers. Photo: Thomas Atle Nes.

DE FORTAPTE PIKERS ØY (2012): (Island of the lost girls. Larp set in the aftermath of the second world war, depicting the treatment of Norwegian women who had fostered relations with the German occupying soldiers. Photo: Thomas Atle Nes.

DECA DANCE: Photo: Sunniva S. Elveste

DECA DANCE: Photo: Sunniva S. Elveste

1349 (1995): Photo: Lars Eithun.

1349 (1995): Photo: Lars Eithun.

Publisert i Foto, Laiv | 3 kommentarer

Problempost til Pythia

(Fra spørrespalten «Problempost til Pythia» i Morgenposten, den meningsbærende kulturavisen i Itras by)

Pythia har svar på alle spørsmål, og tar for seg utfordringer både store og små. Har du noe du lurer på? Send brev, rørpost eller telegram til Moherats allé 27, 132 Sentrum. Merk forsendelsen «Pythia».

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en bankfunksjonær fra Storenga, og bor i en trivelig liten villa nedenfor Itras Zoo. Alt var fryd og velstand, inntil nylig, da det begynte å vokse vinduer og speil på kjøkkenet. Det er som en skog! Naboene har fritt innsyn, og vi vet ikke vår arme råd. Men det verste av alt er at spisskammeret har begynt å konsumere maten vi legger igjen der. Hvordan bør vi best gå frem?
Vennlig hilsen “Ola Kristian”.

Kjære Ola Kristian.
Slapp av! Huset ditt har har bare blitt rammet av bygningskreft. Det er en uhelbredelig sykdom og det kommer bare til å bli flere og flere speil og vinduer. Etterhvert skulle det ikke forundre meg om dører blir sperret eller at det dukker opp en trapp til ingensteder. Til slutt vil huset enten falle sammen eller i det minste være ubeboelig. Mitt råd: Ta ut en forsikringspolise på huset før bygningkreften blir for åpenbar. Som bankmann burde dette være null problem for deg.
Arkitektoniske hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Min kone er den skjønneste av skapninger, men hun ter seg så besynderlig. I det ene øyeblikket forbarmer hun seg over meg, baker kaker og steller med barna. I det neste er det som om hun blir fylt av Gudenes Vrede. Hun kaster ting veggimellom, skriker og bærer seg. Jeg ber om ditt råd.
Med vennlig hilsen, “Herr Smult”

Kjære Herr Smult.
Ta det med ro. Alle kvinner er på den måten. Det er noe vi menn bare må akseptere. Hvis det blir for vanskelig kan du gå til legen og få en resept på laudanum, en effektiv medisin for å roe ned nervene. Ta et skje laudanum hver morgen, og gi gjerne litt til din kone også for å bevare husroen.
Realitetsorienterte hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Vi har nylig kjøpt en eldre villa her på Kirkehaugen, som vi er i ferd med å totalrenovere. Da vi var kommet til kjelleren fant vi ut at vi ikke var de eneste beboerne i huset: det lever en slags kjellerblekksprut der nede, som hjemsøker oss i søvne og fyller våre netter med umulig geometri. Er dette et fenomen du har hørt om tidligere, og finnes det noen presedens for hvordan man bør gå frem i slike tilfeller?
Med hilsen “H.P.”

Kjære HP.
Løsningen på ditt problem er såre enkel. Brenn huset til grunnen. Helst på en litt regntung og vindstille dag, så ikke ilden sprer seg og forstyrrer naboene.
Flammende hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg har en bror som er et par år yngre enn meg selv. Vi vokste opp sammen på Myntekollen, men livet har ført oss i ulike retninger. Nå lever jeg som maler på Kirkehaugen, mens han er Allviter ved Universitetet. Det siste året har jeg dog merket noe underlig: hver gang jeg ser ham fylles luften av englers vingeslag, hjertet mitt slår fortere og blodet bruser. Jeg kjenner attrå, mine lepper bever, og øynene mine blir fylt med ny glans. Tror du jeg kan ha blitt forkjølet? Er jeg simpelthen allergisk mot min egen bror? Håper du kan gi svar.
De beste hilsener “Julie”.

Kjære Julie.
Du skriver selv at dette kanskje er forkjølelse, og jeg tror du har rett. Pass på å holde føttene tørre og drikk litt varm melk med honning eller te med sitron før du legger deg om kvelden. Forkjølelse pleier å gå over i løpet av en ukes tid.
God bedring! Hilsen Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg skriver til deg fra Grelviks asyl for kriminelle sinnslidende, og forsøker etter beste evne å smugle dette brevet ut ved hjelp av en glupsk rotte jeg har temmet i løpet av de halvt dusin årene jeg har tilbragt her. Det er min mann som har fått meg innlagt mot min vilje, ene og alene fordi jeg har gjennomskuet den billedvev av løgner verden setter opp for oss. Det har seg nemlig slik: du, jeg og alt vi ser omkring oss er en fiksjon, forfattet av to skjeggete typer i en annen dimensjon. Denne innsikten har tatt livsmotet fra meg, men da jeg forsøkte å formidle det hele til min mann henviste han meg altså til dette “stedet”. Hva synes du jeg burde gjøre?
Med hilsen “Fruentimmeret”

Kjære Fruentimmeret.
Les godt gjennom det du skriver, og det vil gå opp for deg at du tar feil. Hvis to skjeggete typer i en annen dimensjon skulle ha forfattet en fortelling, ville de selvsagt ha skrevet om noe mye mer spennende enn et hysterisk kvinnfolk som for sitt eget beste har blitt lagt inn på asyl. Det sier seg selv at du er sprøyte gal. Stol på legene og din mann, de ønsker kun ditt beste.
God bedring! hilsen Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg satte meg på toget, hvorfra jeg kom vet jeg ikke. Da jeg våknet befant jeg meg i denne underlige byen. Her er så underlig. Himmelen er blodrød, mennesker oppfører seg ikke slik mennesker skal. Det er underlige dufter i luften, og drømmene mine manifesterer seg og blir til virkelighet i kaffekoppen hver morgen. Jeg vil så gjerne hjem til den virkelighet jeg trodde jeg kjente, men vet ikke min arme råd. Kan du hjelpe?
De beste hilsener, “Sigbjørn”

Kjære Sigbjørn.
Velkommen til Itras by! Alt er i den skjønneste orden, og du må bare slå deg til ro med at du aldri vil vende tilbake til den triste virkeligheten der du kom fra. Kanskje trenger du et lite opphold på Grelviks asyl før du finner deg helt til rette her i byen. Snakk med den nærmeste gardisten du finner, så kan han fortelle deg veien dit.
Inkluderende hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg ble født i tidenes morgen, og har nå regjert over en middelstor by som i begrenset grad eksisterer i cirka 311 år, siden min gudinne og skaper forsvant. Jeg er meget tykk, men har til gjengjeld tusen øyne jeg bruker til å plire utover all eksistens, kikke i folks drømmer, og beskue stjernenes myriader av konstellasjoner her over tårnet der jeg bor, etc, etc. Grunnen til at jeg skriver til deg er at jeg synes det begynner å bli på høy tid med ferie, men jeg vet slett ikke hvordan jeg skal komme meg unna mitt ansvar. Har du noen råd?
De beste hilsener, “Anonym”

Kjære Anonym
Å finne en god balanse mellom jobb og fritid kan være en vrien utfordring. Noen tar sine arbeidsoppgaver så innover seg at de fyller alle døgnets timer med jobb og bekymringer og utsetter alle forlystelser til en feriedag i den fjerne fremtiden. Men dette er ikke sunt for hverken sjel eller legeme, og Grelviks asyl har korridorene fulle med overarbeidede funksjonærer og kontorister som tok på seg alt for meget jobb og jobbet til fornuften helt slapp taket. Mitt råd: Ta deg en velfortjent hvil. Inviter noen venner på te og småkaker. Dra på en forestilling på kinematografen eller theater. Eller kanskje et lite lystseilas ut til Perleøyene? En liten pustepause nå og da kan holde galskapen på trygg avstand. Men hvis du kanskje allerede har mistet forstanden, så er det ingenting å bekymre deg for. Da er det bare å fortsette akkurat som før – det er for sent for deg uansett, og av hensyn til dine omgivelser så må du se å ta fatt i de mange arbeidsoppgavene som ligger og venter.
Mist ikke motet! hilsen Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er et mekanisk menneske med mekaniserte kamearaøyne. Jeg ser virkeligheten i sort hvitt, men skulle så gjerne vite oppleve disse såkalte “fargene” som jeg har lest så meget om. Hva bør jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Fargeblind”

Kjære Fargeblind!
Amor Fati, er det noe som heter. “Elsk din skjebne”! Farger er, på samme måte som emosjonene jeg antar du som mekanisk mann ikke opplever: kjærlighet, omsorg, savn, sentimentalitet etc, blant faktorene som forpurrer manges hverdag og stjeler oppmerksomheten vekk fra produktivitet, disiplin og allsang. Fargene har en rekke konnotasjoner, og det er et helt symbolunivers knyttet til hver av dem som det tar en mannsalder å få noen grad av innsikt i (og selv da vet man gjerne mindre enn da man først begynte). “Blått” assosieres med bølger, manndom og kjekke matroser. “Rødt” med ild, kjærlighet, styrke. “Grønt” med vår, sjalusi, nye begynnelser. Og så videre, og så videre. Det å gå rundt å tenke på alle disse tingene leder ikke til annet enn psykoser og kunst. Du skal prise deg lykkelig over de øynene du har, min gode maskin!

(Eventuelt, og hvis du på død og liv insisterer selv etter å ha lest dette, kan du oppsøke en optiker.)

Rosa hilsener fra Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en ung og pen mann i en god jobb. Men nylig mottok jeg en skrekkelig beskjed: Mine foreldre har fortalt meg at det er på tide at jeg blir gift, og jeg ble beordret om at jeg skulle fri til min egen kusine! Hun er jo hyggelig nok, men jeg trives best som en fri og frank ungkar, og vil slett ikke gifte meg. Hvordan kan jeg komme meg ut av denne forlovelsen uten å fortørne mine foreldre?
Hilsen “Ungkar 27”

Kjære Ungkar 27,
Nedenfor Kirkehaugen ligger det et tempel viet Aldora, gudinnen for trolovelser. Hvis du oppsøker den ved midnatt en kveld fullmånen står høyt på himmelen og bloter en sort geitekilling vil problemene dine løse seg til det beste for alle parter.
Offervillige hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en forfatter med skrivesperre. Vanligvis sitter jeg i fred og ro på mitt skriveværelse og skaper dikt og noveller, men i det siste har inspirasjonen blitt ødelagt av en talende ravn, som kommer flaksende og forstyrrer meg i tide og utide med kryptiske vers. Hva skal jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Nevermore”

Kjære Nevermore
Kan det være så vanskelig? Kjøp inn noe gammelt brød hos bakeren, hell rottegift på det og legg det i vinduskarmen.
Kra-kra! Hilsen Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en respektert og vellykket herremann med kone og flere elskerinner. Uheldigvis gikk en av disse tøytene hen og forelsket seg i meg, og etter litt om og men endte det hele opp med at kastet seg i Akeron og tok sitt eget liv. Det burde vært enden på visa, men det viser seg at noen elendige journalister i Primatskriket har startet å spørre og grave i denne ubetydelige hendelsen. Om min perifere rolle i denne affæren kommer frem i dagen, kan det utarte seg til en skandale! Hvordan skal jeg få dysset ned denne saken? hilsen “Monokkel og flosshatt”

Kjære Monokkel og flosshatt!
Dette er ingen ting å bekymre seg for! Sørgmodige ungpiker med brustne hjerter går omkring og drukner seg til stadighet, og din venninne er kun én i rekken. Jeg foreslår at du setter i stand noe riktig stort bladfykene i Primatskriket kan engasjere seg i istedenfor, for eksempel en bybrann, et kupp eller et veldedighetsball av noen art. Det bør ta oppmerksomheten vekk fra den druknede piken for godt.
Gordiske hilsener,

Kjære Pythia!
Nylig ble jeg oppsøkt av en fremmed person som ga meg et tilbud jeg ikke kunne si nei til. Jeg fikk sjansen til å starte et nytt og bedre liv og de siste månedene har vært helt fabelaktige. Uheldivis har jeg begynt å få noen svært ubehagelige mareritt når jeg sover. Jeg har prøvd urtete, og unngår å spise sterk mat før leggetid, men ingenting hjelper! Hva skal jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Skår i gleden”

Kjære Skår
Jeg har alltid hørt at mareritt skyldes dårlig mage. Du skriver at du allerede har forsøkt urtete, men har du testet en skikkelig tarmskylling hos Doktor Funkelbart? “Doktor Funkelbarts tarmskyllinger: renser ryggen og gjør Hypnos vinger skinnende blanke!”
Kjøpte og betalte hilsener fra Pythia.

Publisert i Itras By, Rollespill | Merket med , | Legg igjen en kommentar

A Trip Down Memory Lane

My 15 years in larp.

For a long time, I’ve been telling people that I started larping in 1997, but according to the infallible memory of the Norwegian Larp calendar, I’ve only been involved in the hobby since ’98. 😉

Wonder what larp is? Me, Eirik and Even have written an article about that (in Norwegian): Erstatningskaffe og alveører

My debut came as a priest of the elemental church in the weird fantasy setting of Skumringstid where there were cell phones and other technological miracles amongst some of the groups, as I recall. I remember being a little confused, and maybe ill-prepared. I was 17 at the time. Maybe I hadn’t read the compendium thoroughly enough. Maybe people didn’t play up to my status. Maybe I was just a n00b. Anyway, I wasn’t too enthralled. Larping seemed to take too much time and effort compared with what I got out of it, so it took me four years until I tried it again, but I sure am glad I did.

Some Romans enjoying themselves at Amaranth III. (Photo: Lise Hamre).

My larp epiphany came at Amaranth III in 2001, where I played a slave in the antiquities. It was all immersion and bleed and whatever we call it these days. It really opened my eyes to what larp can be like: such an amazing hobby, where people come together to share and create an illusion, and immerse themselves in the lives of someone, someplace else. The larp had many, many slave characters, and focused on this aspect of Roman society. I don’t know how “historically correct” it was, and there were some fantasy elements. The Amaranth larps followed the family saga of the cursed Amaranth family, who had some kind of pact-with-a-demon-thing going on.

Then, the same year, having been bitten by this strange affliction, I attended the artsy larp inside:outside, which was kind of a prisoner’s dilemma thing. All the characters had different ideological leanings/viewpoints, and were held prisoner for some reason they didn’t know. I mostly remember having to pee, that the white plastic prisoner’s suits were quite uncomfortable, and that being brought out for “interrogation” came as a relief.

The Amaranth IV larp site, in Skåne, Sweden (Photo: Hanne Jakobsen)

In 2003, I played two very different, but both very cool larps. Amaranth IV continued the saga of the cursed Amaranths, and this time I wasn’t slave but master. Or so I thought… My character got royally shafted in the end, by the testament of his wicked father (the larp was centered around the nightly readings of this testament, there were also nasty occult rites and stuff, of course). Here’s my review of the larp, in Norwegian

Me as baron von Lövenfeldt sometime during the 18th century. And a castrato singer whose name I can’t recall (Angelica, one of the organizers). Photo: Helene Johnsen.

Then there was PanoptiCorp, which was recently reprised in Denmark. It was a satire of PR companies and the way they “rule the world”, with a strongly critical perspective of that industry. I guess this was the larp that “proved” to me that larps can be used for critique of phenomena in our own societies (not that I’d doubted it). My review (in Norwegian).

Also that year was Den store Kyrthanim-laiven (wow, I larped a lot that summer), which took place in the fantasy setting Veiskille and centered on a nomadic group of people. Yes, a gypsy-like group of nomadic people… The larp itself wasn’t all that interesting to me personally, but I chilled out a lot and got a girlfriend. My review (in Norwegian)

Kjærlighet uten strømper (2004) was an example of a genre that has come to be termed a “costume drama” (or “stockings larp” ;). It was set in Denmark-Norway during the 1770s, and featured an old, but relatively broke, established family of nobles who wanted to marry their son away to a nouveau riche bourgeoisie family (who wanted titles etc). I had so much fun as the baron of the old, wealthy family. He was a total dick. You can see him pictured to the right, here. My review, in Norwegian

The local blacksmith working in “Gibson” in the old West (Once Upon a Time). Photo: Anne Isene.

Once Upon a Time (2005) was a western larp, where the scenography was pretty great. There are some people who own their own “cowboy village” out in Akershus county, and in addition to this a lot of tents were set up, a “main street” was built etc. I think other players probably had more fun than me, but the visuals of this thing were impressive. My review, in Norwegian

Norges Dæmring (Norway-Sweden in the early 19th century). Photo: Veronica Sæther.

Norges Dæmring (2006). Another costume drama, by the same organizers as “Kjærlighet uten strømper”. I had lots of fun and high passion as the nationalistic poet at some union friendly burghers’ fancy estate. Norway-Sweden, early 19th century. My review, in Norwegian

Blodige Baltazars skatt (2006) was a silly, one evening pirate larp. Yarrr. My “review”, in Norwegian.

The Bohemian crowd at «Kristianiabohemen» (2007). Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

New Voices in Art (2007) was the first «chamber larp» I attended. The concept of a chamber larp, as far as I’ve understood, is to have sort of a script, so that the piece can be run again. They’re also relatively short. New Voices is about a group of aspiring artists at a party in the gallery the day before the big vernissage. It was my first encounter with so-called “meta-techniques” in larp: you could tap the glass of fellow players in order to hear what their characters were really thinking. Here you can download the PDF for the game. Me and Even’s reviews at the beginning of this thread

Agabadan (2007): now this was some weird, experimental goodness that I quasi-attended from Chile. The game itself took place in Norway and online and in people’s heads. It wasn’t really a larp, more some sort of experiment. I didn’t get to participate much, but there’s a thread about the “larp” over at the forum.

Kristianiabohemen (2007). A larp played out over two consecutive evenings, about the Bohemian crowd in Oslo (Christiania) in the late 19th century. A fun, unpretentious thing. Here’s a capsule review of the larp, and here’s some reflections about the meta techniques employed (which were new to me at the time). (both in the Norwegian)

From the musical larp Marcello’s Kjeller. Photo: Li Xin.

Then, starting in 2009, there was an explosion of shorter larps on the local scene here in Norway. At the annual larp conference Knutepunkt that year, I attended When Our Destinies Meet, Walkabout, the Larp Factory started up in Oslo, with the goal of organizing monthly (!) shortlarp events. There was The Upgrade! which was sort of about reality shows and their contestants, Kjærlighet i fornedringens tid, about lovers and love affairs, Oasen, a fantasy scenario set in a 1001 Nights type setting, Marcellos Kjeller, sort of a musical larp based on the music of Kaizer’s Orchestra, Didrik + Tina 4Ever (a fun soap opera type larp about a marriage ceremony), Fade to Grey and several others. Scripts for many of the short larps played under the Larp Factory banner have been collected in the excellent volume Larps from the Factory.

I didn’t attend a longer larp event again until 2011, when I played in a Harry Potter larp called 1958, set in the year 1958. I had a lot of fun as the American ambassador of magical somethings, talking with a silly accent, magicking my obtrusive wife and stuff. My review, in Norwegian.

I must’ve gotten a taste for the longer format again, because the same year I attended Rød Oktober, a larp about the Norwegian maoist movement of the 70s, AKP-ml. A very interesting experience, and one of the best “historical larps” I’ve attended. I’ve written about the larp here on the blog previously.

In 2012, the Larp Factory was still running, and I attended Klassefesten (Play the Cards), Playing with intent, and (the highly experimental dating-as-performance-as-larp) The Lover’s Matchmaking Agency. I also attended the second run of Norges Dæmring (the trend of reprising longer larps is also an interesting feature of the last few years in Norwegian larping). I attended my first Call of Cthulhu larp, Festung Norwegen. It was set in 1945. My review, in Norwegian.

This year, there was the fantasy-mafia larp Cosa Nostra, but otherwise I’ve been focusing mostly on shorter larps and freeform stuff at different festivals.

I sort of skimmed over the shorter larps, chamber larps, freeforms or whatever one wishes to call them, not because they’re not interesting, but because there are just so many of them! 🙂 I think this is where the cutting-edge experimental stuff seems to be going on, but I could be wrong. Anyway, 15 years on: I think I’ll keep on larping.

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