What is Larp?
Larp is the experience and telling of a common story together through improvisation, creation and immersion.
To tell a common story together you need:
- A story, a purpose or a direction of where the participants are expected to take the larp. Otherwise they can impossibly tell the same story. Each plot, intrigue and interaction should reflect back to this overall story the larp is trying to tell or portray.
- Transparency. All participants need to know what story they are telling. Otherwise they cannot possibly tell the same story. If a gamemaster is present at all times and takes responsibility for the story and its direction, transparency for the players is not necessary.
- To meet. The design of the larp needs to enable meetings between the players where larp can happen. These meetings should not unnecessarily be prevented by practical things such as distance, darkness or cold, nor by in-game status hierarchies, language or schedules.
- The characters. All characters are created and played with the purpose of being a part of the story.
- Responsibility. All players need to take responsibility for telling the story together. Both by including other players and playing according to the story the organisers have communicated.
- Earnestness. The story should be taken seriously and played according to the story’s own logic.
- All is known. The organisers need to make sure all the relevant information to tell the story reaches all of the participants. If it doesn’t reach the the players it will not be in the story.
- Excess. Surplus and excessive information that the players do not take the time to learn is not a part of the story. It will only make some players hesitant to improvise and others annoyed at the less knowledgeable. Excess in information will result in it not being part of the story and the larp, since it is not known to all players.
- Practice. To tell the participants something with words alone isn’t enough, anything that isn’t practiced will be forgotten by many and hence isn’t in the story.
- Ensemble. The story is told by us together, hence we need to know who we are. Before the game the entire cast needs to see and meet each other at least once.
- Co-creating. A larp is created by many people together telling a story. The workshop before the game needs to reflect that. The majority of workshop time should be many-to-many communication, and not one-to-many.
- Core groups. Larp consists of smaller groups telling parallel stories together, hence the group management is an essential part of the design. To make sure all are heard core groups shall never be larger than eight people. Each group should be led by someone who is assigned and able to take responsibility for the group process. This ensures that the group is doing the right thing according to the story, and the inclusion and safety of all its players.
The story manifesto is inspired by The Manifest Sunday from 2001.