Nordic Larp hit the printers a few weeks ago. The book will be released on the 22nd of December in four simultaneous parties in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. The parties kick off at 19:00 local time. The Stockholm part fill be held in Betahaus (Skeppsholmen 30), and in Helsinki the location is Dubrovnik Lounge (Eerikinkatu 11). Locations in Oslo and Copenhagen are not yet decided, though.

These parties are probably the only chance to get the book before Christmas. The book costs 30 Euros. Later on the book will be availble through a webshop and the better role-play/larp shops across the Nordics.

You are hereby invited to join the parties. Feel free to bring a friend.


Sarah Lynne Bowman, the author of The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems and Explore Identity (which I still haven’t had the time to read), speaks about larp and its Nordic variety in a Bitch magazine podcast.

SR: I know that the culture around LARPing is pretty different in Denmark and Sweden, for example, from how we perceive it in the U.S.

SB: The Nordic LARPers, incredible group of people that are fascinated by LARP theory; role-playing theory in general, but specifically LARP and how it can be used to promote social change, how it can be used to challenge gender stereotypes, how it can be used to recreate totalitarian states. It’s absolutely fascinating. It makes what we’re doing over here look like child’s play. There’s this one called System Danmarc where they spent nine months creating a set in the middle of Copenhagen, and they created a shantytown. I forget how many players, maybe 350 or something like that. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, and they’re playing the lowest of lowest classes. I mean, there was like real violence, real sex, just, you know, anything goes—

SR: –As characters?

SB: –Real drug addiction—yeah. And the government was funding it. There are people in America who were doing experimental stuff too, but nearly to that degree. I mean, these people had manifestos, and anti-manifestos, and just, you know… it’s pretty incredible stuff.

Later on she goes on to a certain rape scenario too.

Let’s see….

  1. Proofreading drafts
  2. Wondering whether layout wizard Tommi will get pissed because the errata is so long
  3. Proofreading captions
  4. Proofreading photographers
  5. Proofreading photograph types
  6. Adding authors’ late minute adjustments to errata
  7. Stressing that there will be language difficulties with the printing house
  8. Figuring out what the credits boxes of ancient games should really say
  9. Wondering if we really should say maximum instead of maximal
  10. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is huge
  11. Stressing that after three rounds of proofreading by professionals, we have still found an error or two relating to irregular verbs
  12. Considering running for office just to make double spaces a criminal offense
  13. Commenting the cover drafts
  14. Debating cover drafts
  15. Debating logotypes
  16. Remembering what peaceful sleep was like
  17. Going through piles of photos that have arrived way too late, just to see that they don’t contain masterpieces
  18. Redrafting a marketing plan
  19. Panicking over the correct spelling of a word that’s in 50 captions
  20. Finding out the correct spelling, and waiting the heartbeat to slow down
  21. Figuring out likely reviewers
  22. Stressing that the book will weight almost as much as two milk cartons – and how that will effect all the postage and packaging
  23. Considering running for European parliament just to outlaw Danish last names that are not really family names
  24. Finding out that case Y doesn’t really convey the mood of the game
  25. Discovering hundreds of new photos of case Y
  26. Despairing that we have forgotten something
  27. Delivering dozen photos of case Y to Tommi, hoping he won’t get a burnout
  28. Planning publication parties
  29. Writing press releases
  30. Stressing that there is a just the right kind of balance between the four countries, between genders, between old and new, between documentary pics and awesome promo pics, between players and game masters, between fun and misery, between immersion, dramatism, simulationism and gamism, between colour and black & white, between establishing shots, close-ups and details, between ingame and offgame, between academia and accessibility etc.
  31. Drafting logistics plans
  32. Deciding retail and wholesale prices
  33. Proofreading late-minute additions
  34. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is massive
  35. Figuring out author copies
  36. Writing captions that are still miraculously missing
  37. Panicking over someone commenting that picture X looks like it’s been hardly edited
  38. Finding out that it has indeed not been edited yet, since it might still be changed
  39. Stressing that no one will care about the book enough to buy it
  40. Stressing that the book sells out too soon
  41. Proofreading captions that were just written because they were still miraculously missing
  42. Stressing about correct hyphenation of words in English, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Latin and all the other languages featured in the book
  43. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is colossal
  44. Finding out whether the Danish guy took photographs in- or off-character in that larp in Los Angeles
  45. Stressing that someone will have a fit since the book contains frontal nudity
  46. Proofreading and editing back cover blurbs
  47. Worrying that the photographers and organizers whose work will not be featured won’t talk to us in the future
  48. Figuring out the minor details of printing, such as the size of the print run
  49. Just stressing
  50. Wondering whether Tommi will get pissed because the errata is ginormous
  51. Planning the therapeutic Nordic Larp presentation for Knudepunkt, detailing all this and much, oh-SO-much more

As we have worked on this book, and especially now that the end is near, we have in several cases been forced to meddle with crediting practices. While we try to shy away from creating a hall of fame, it is obvious that if you spent X hours laboring on a project, it’s quite important on whether you get the recognition and bragging rights when an occasion arises.

Projects like Dragonbane and Conspiracy for Good unfortunately have 100+ people working for them, and our credit box is not that large, so sometimes you can’t credit everyone. Sometimes the order of listing the credits leads to discussion, sometimes everyone should be credited for “larp design”, even when there’s one person who specifically focused on that.

Whenever there’s been discussion, the chief organizer’s say goes in this book, usually a producer or a chief creative. Then again, the organizers of System Danmarc wanted to only credit Opus, and The White Road lists all players, as it was collectively created.

Personally I think that credits are important. The Company P has stuff ranging from Knappnålshuvudet to Tähti in their early work portfolio, and Rollespilsfabrikken lists stuff starting from teen pirate larps in their cv. Being involved with something like Carolus Rex, Mellan himmel och hav or Delirium can help to open the doors of the digital game industry, a larp-based boarding school or it can help kickstart your event organizing company.

So… for any project that takes at least five person years of work, I say this: Be fair. Don’t shy away from discussing them, or constructively demanding recognition. Sort credits out early, even during the project, and list them on your website. And while it is not entirely applicable to what we do, take an hour to read the IGDA Crediting Guide.

Photo by Bjarke Pedersen, from Level Five.

After more than a year of work, we feel proud, happy and relieved to publish the first preview drafts of the Nordic Larp layout. These are not final, but this is generally how the final book will be like.

So here you go, with The White Road, Luminescence, Dragonbane and System Danmarc. Trust me, the early stuff on The Executive Game and PehmoYdin looks equally brilliant.

For the stunning visuals of the book, we are grateful to our endlessly patient layout artist and photo editor Tommi, to our photography experts Katri and Suvi, and obviously to all our first-class photographers. If you want to comment the drafts, please email your comments to nordic.larp at gmail.

We’ll also close down the crowd financing soon, so sign up for it now or never. Remember, for the supporter price of €50 you’ll get your name on the list of supporters, and a copy of the book at the first opportunity. We might also hug you in Knudepunkt. While our finances are well in order for printing, hard covers and luxurious paper, trickles like these can make or break the deal when it comes to things like dust jackets, final print run and some details of distribution.

The marathon of making this happen is turning into the final sprint. Happily, there seems to be light in the end of the tunnel.

Juhana Pettersson announced the new high brow Nordic magazine on larp and role-playing in his blog yesterday:

Playground Magazine is a Nordic quarterly publication about larp and tabletop roleplaying games. Its aim is to focus on new, interesting, groundbreaking and unconventional games.

The magazine will be launched in early 2011. The first issue is being worked on now.

Playground is based in Norway, but will be in English. Its aim is to cover new phenomena on roleplaying games across the Nordic countries and beyond.  The editor in chief is the game designer Matthijs Holter (Draug, Society of Dreamers).

The editorial team features people from Norway, Denmark and Finland. The “Finland team” consists of me and Laura Kalli.

If you’re a writer, a photographer or an illustrator and wish to work with us, get in touch: We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting articles, subjects or people.

Right now, what Playground needs more than anything is people who want to do marketing or distribution. If you have a clue about either of those things and wish to further the cause of Nordic roleplaying, get in touch.

This is quite exciting. There has never been a proper Nordic magazine on role-playing. The closest thing is probably the crappy ‘zine panclou I edited with Johanna Koljonen and Markus Montola a decade ago. I wish the magazine lasts for a long time. RPG magazines in Finland have tended to die out and the situation is not much brighter in Sweden. In Denmark there is a thriving free advertising-financed magazine about the mainstream of larp, but only a few issues have come out so far.

Knudepunkt 2011 has a date. Mark this down in your calendars now:  February 17 to Februar 20. It will be held at Bymose Hegn, the same conference hotel used in 2007, when Knudepunkt was last in Denmark. The newsletter also tells us: “Since last time however, the interior has been redecorated for your pleasure and both the lounge and sleeping carts are now updated with the most modern of wonders.”

The call for program items is also out.

PARTIAL DRAFT, click below fro the whole shebang.

One of the things we try to do with Nordic Larp is to paint a big picture of the Nordic larp scene. One of the nice things in editing the 29 different stories about larps is seeing their commonalities and differences. A nice palette of tools, an interesting repertoire of genres and so forth: Looking at the manuscript and the photos made me realize only now that indeed, System Danmarc belongs to the old tradition of village larps, making it as much a follower of Trenne byar in that sense as Dragonbane is.

One exercise in this is that we think about putting a table of This Stuff to the intro of the book, painting broad lines and generic thematical similarities between our material. We have made  work version of the table, and would invite you to comment below if you can add to our knowledge, or disagree with our draft.

Some of the categories are flimsier than others, and feel free to point out our errors in that sense as well: Physical Action and Therapy especially turned out to be a bit weird. The final version will probably be a bit cut down version of this anyway, so take this as a brainstorm draft.

X is intended to signify a strong relevance of a theme, ? indicates weak, accidental or partially failed relevance, and !!! means that we really need your opinion.

We are really interested to see how this ugly monster turns into an awesomely beautiful illustration in the layout process. 🙂

The call for papers for the Knudepunkt 2011 book came out a few days ago.  The call for description on larps is similar to what we are doing with Nordic larp (short texts, a lot of images), but with the emphasis on writing to other organizers, not on the player experience. Anyway, I’m personally probably going to offer two pieces.

Read the rest of this entry »

Well, some of it at least.

The book is nearing completion. It should be out before Christmas. We have received a number of grants which enable us to print the book, but every cent counts. So we are crowdfinansing the last parts. Everything we get at this point will go to making the book more awesome. Better paper quality, more pages for pictures, dust jacket, this is the stuff we are after. So if you want to support the project and get your name in the book – as well as get your copy of the book as soon as it is out – then this is your chance to help.

In the Nordic countries, live action role-playing has developed into a unique and powerful form of expression. Nordic larps range from entertaining flights of fancy to the exploration of the intimate, the collective and the political. This incredible tradition combines influences from theatre and performance art with gamer cultures, in order to push the boundaries of role-playing.