Solmukohta 2020 Summary

Solmukohta 2020 Summary

Solmukohta 2020 is over and you can find all the talks here! This years Finnish edition of the Nordic larp conference Knutepunkt was held online, as the Covid-19 pandemic made physically meeting up impossible.

The program was streamed as video and we’ve gathered all recordings of talks here, together with transcripts and slides where available.

If you want to talk to others about the program content we suggest joining the Facebook groups Nordic Larp Community and Larpers BFF, as well as the #solmukohta2020 hashtag on Twitter.


Solmukohta 2020 Keynote speakers: Kjell Hedgard Hugaas, Sarah Lynne Bowman, Usva Seregina and Jonaya Kemper.

Sarah Lynne Bowman – Integrating Larp Experiences

In this keynote, Dr. Sarah Lynne Bowman will discuss the importance of integration practices for concretizing and completing transformative processes after larps end and daily life resumes. She will present different techniques for integrating transformative experiences into our off-game lives, including creative expression, intellectual analysis, emotional processing, mindful transitioning to daily life, interpersonal processing, and community building.


Article associated with the talk:

Kjell Hedgard Hugaas – Designing for Transformative Impacts

In this keynote, Kjell Hedgard Hugaas will make the case for why we should design larps that invite the potential for transformative impacts on players. He will discuss the importance of transparency and intentionality when designing for impacts in domains such as emotional processing, social cohesion, educational goals, and political aims.


Designing for Transformative Impacts — Kjelll Hedgard Hugaas (Solmukohta 2020)

Link to article mentioned in talk:

Usva Seregina – The Future of Larp as a Commodity

Jonaya Kemper – Building on Our Own Ashes: Larp as a Decolonization Tool


It’s a retrospective – from the year 2040! Six speakers tell us what’s happened in their world of larp “in the past 10 years”.

Solmukohta 2020 Futurespective speakers: Erik Winther Paisley, Eleanor Saitta, Eirik Fatland, Johanna Koljonen, Sharon Underberg and Karolina Fedyk.

Futurespective: Eirik Fatland

Futurespective: Johanna Koljonen

Futurespective: Karolina Fedyk

Futurespective: Sharon Underberg


Futurespective: Eleanor Saitta

Futurespective: Erik Winther Paisley


Janina Kahela – The Inbetweeners – Teens in Larps

Larps and larp related events have started to become more common for children, but there’s a gap between ages 12 and 18. They’re not children anymore, yet not old enough to attend adult-themed larps. We are at risk of losing this age group if there are no games for them, when there’s often no big reason to exclude them. Janina Kahela has organized several larps for children and separately for teens as participants of “grown up larps”. After a short intro the program will host open discussion in the comment section on the subject.

Kaisa Kangas – Seaside Prison – Designing Larp for Wider Cultural Audiences

Seaside Prison is a blackbox larp financially supported by Finnish Cultural Foundation, about life in Gaza. Lately, art and entertainment in general have been going towards interactive and immersive dimensions, and there has been interest towards the larp toolbox among, for example, performance artists. However, wider cultural audiences often find traditional larps hard to approach since they take a lot of time and require preparation. One of the ideas behind Seaside Prison is to create a package that is easier to approach. The larp is run in a theatre environment and employs sound, light, and video projection. Could this be a joint future for larp and theatre? In this talk we discuss how the larp was created, its aims, and the possible futures for larp in the culture establishment.

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Mátyás Hartyándi – Larp – Oddity, Hypernym or what?

A talk about the future and self-definition of larps for those who are interested in overlapping activities and/or multidisciplinary cooperations. As the meaning and praxis of Nordic larps evolved and expanded during the last two decades, some of its larps became nearly indistinguishable from other established forms of role-playing (e.g. process drama or socio drama). Is this a bug or a feature? What type of relations can enrich larp? And (how) should we react to these changes? Larp has the potential to become a new, inclusive, and all-encompassing umbrella movement, but inbred ignorance in its circles might also limit its recognition in favor of more established forms. How can the larp movement stay geniune yet be open to change? And what kind of role should larping take in the eyes of outsiders?

Larp_ Oddity, Hypernym or What_ (SK2020)

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Julia Greip – Safewords for Brave Spaces

Content warning: sexual assault

In this talk, the speaker will offer an overview and typology of different kinds of safewords and gestures currently in use, a consideration of what requirements and parameters need to be taken into account in choosing safewords for a larp, and an evaluation of benefits, risks and problems that might arise with different types of safewords.

The focus is on finding safewords that contribute to the creation of a “brave space”.

Alessandro G. – Designing Nostalgia – Techniques for Larp about Memory and Ageing

In this talk we will explore how larp design can deal with memory, past, and ageing. Is it possible to use those factors to enhance our larp experience? Are there specific techniques? Can we use nostalgia as a design tool? We will explore these themes and present design solutions and case studies based on sound, non-linear timelines, smell, objects, character writing and transpartent design. Expect a dynamic and enaging talk, open to questions.

Charles Bo Nielsen – Bad Romance

Content warning: sexual assault, violence

How to use bad romance to play more comfortably with people you have less chemistry with. It can often be easier to play romance that doesn’t work out well, because it gives a good excuse to keep intimacy to a minimum while still having a lot of meaningful relational play. This talk will also include more non-binary examples, after some well founded critisism of that lacking in an earlier talk on romance. Expect lots of awkward romance memes!

Jost L. Hansen – Solmukohta TV

Solmukohta TV (also SKTV, KPTV, or SK-KPTV) is a sketch show about larpers, made by larpers. SK/KPTV is a tradition that started at Knudepunkt 2015 in Denmark. The show used to involve just the four host countries, but last year we opened up so any country can submit their videos to include even more people in the fun. This new tradition will continue at SK20. Come and watch whatever madness participants have come up with!

Usva S. – Living or Larping Consumer Culture? Exploring the Commodification of Larp

In the recent years, we have witnessed a definitive growth of the larp community and a growth in recognition of larp in wider culture as a legitimised activity. As larp begins to be more present in society, the wider culture also penetrates the social structures of larp as a community and an activity, one of the central outcomes of which is the commodification of larp. In this talk, I discuss how larp is becoming commodified, what that means, and what the repercussions of this development are for specific events as well as the community at large.

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Asya Volodina, Elena Ashmarina – Russian Roulette

Content warning: loud noises

Russians love mechanics and philosophy. In this talk, we’ll tell you about some best practices in Russian larp mechanics, and also explain how they work to enlighten these larps’ ideas or to move the story forward.

Using music for fighting, origami for science, duct tape for flashbacks, pins for sex… we can continue this list forever!

Mikko Heimola, Nino Hynninen, Jukka Seppänen – Shearing Sheep and Holding Ballots – Community Building in a Post-Apocalyptic Campaign

Content warning: pandemic

Second Year (Toinen vuosi) was a 4-part larp campaign about building a community of survivors immediately following an apocalyptic pandemic. The larp focused on community building and practical aspects of survival – how a group of strangers coordinates their interests, how norms and institutions develop over time, and how consultants build a chicken coop. The presentation discusses pros and cons of this setting for a larp and what aspects should be given special attention in larp design.

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Eleanor Saitta, Johanna Koljonen, Martin Nielsen – Maps, Loops, and Larps

Have you ever thought about what you actually do when you larp? How you understand the game around you and decide what to do next? Have you thought about that awkward period at the start of a game where nothing connects yet? In this talk, Johanna, Martin, and Eleanor will try to make sense of the way we manage information and make decisions during play.

Maps, Loops, and Larps

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Elzbieta Glowacka, Karolina Fedyk – Never Prepared, Always Ready

Numerous larps, particularly sandbox larps, give the players the opportunity to engage in preplay – be it short scenes in the form of play-by-forum rpg, memes, quizzes, or letters to and from the characters. Not all playing styles are conducive for preplay. While such tools can improve the experience, they are not for everyone, and in certain rare cases they might even affect the larp negatively. In our talk, we’d like to share our thoughts on how to recognise such situations and approach preplay, or lack thereof, in ways that will be beneficial for all the larp participants.

This presentation aims to address alternative approaches to sandbox larp preparations and techniques of getting in character for people who can’t or don’t want to engage preplay in forms mentioned above, and more. It covers both exploration of one’s role and outward-oriented means of getting to know your character through costume, practical tools to approach character creation and designing character arcs. Finally, it addresses FOMO and ways of alleviating it, to make the game as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Might also contain topics of attention and focus, simple mnemotechniques, tools for relation building like mind maps, and onions.

Lindsay Wolgel – Larp/Theatre Crossover in NYC

This is a talk about the larp/theatre crossover work currently emerging in NYC, based on the projects Lindsay has been a part of in the past year as a professional actor in New York. Productions include Sinking Ship Creations’ Off-Off Broadway show The Mortality Machine, Calculations by Caroline Murphy of Incantrix Productions, OASIS Travel Agency (an immersive theatre/nightlife/alternate reality game blend with participatory elements by Silver Dream Factory) and more! Discussion includes the experience of being a hired facilitator/actor in these pieces as well as the trend of commercial “immersive experiences” in NYC.

Read more:

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Eevi Korhonen – Using Social Media in Larps

From Twitter and Facebook to custom-created platforms, social media has been used in larp both in- and off-game. This talk looks at the various social media platforms, their pros and cons, and how they have been employed or faked in various larps. We also take a peek at the future of social media in larp.

Kol Ford – Mind the Gap: Barriers to larping for people from backgrounds of structural poverty

Larpers that come from a background of structural poverty face significant barriers when attempting to fully participate in larps. This talk looks at the challenges faced by such individuals both as participants and as organisers as well as presents the strategies developed by poorer larpers. By looking at the strategies that are already being adopted, we can see what we can all do as a community. Existing larp structures, such as subsidised tickets and crewing, work really well, but a lot more can be done!

The talk is aimed at larpers who are interested in doing what they can to help larpers from poor backgrounds to participate. The goal is to open a discussion about what we can do to help more people feel welcome and included in our hobby. We will talk openly and frankly about the difficulties that we face as participants and organisers, as well as explore ways in which larpers are already addressing the above described problems. We will further explore common barriers faced by the various types of poverty, the unique problems faced by their different circumstances, and the benefits of widening participation to include people from poor backgrounds.

Josefin Westborg, Anders Berned, Kol Ford, Mike Pohjola – 500 Magic Schools for Children and Youth

This programme item brings together the NGOs, companies and other entities that run magic schools for kids and youth. Each organisation will be presented with a focus on what they have in common, what they do differently and why, and how they can inspire each other. The aim is to create knowledge exchange and inspire others to start up magic schools. One goal in the programme is to agree on when we would like to have 500 magic schools for kids in Europe (and how to get the funds to start it up).

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Mika Loponen – Turku Manifesto 20 Year Memorial Burnin’

20 years after the first Solmukohta of the Millennium, we gather to celebrate the first great political act of Finnish larp: the publishing of The Turku Manifesto – and it’s subsequent burning as an act of political vandalism. Loved and loathed for two decades, the proponents and the opponents of the manifesto agree on one thing: no larp related work prior to the manifesto has affected the art form as deeply – nor has been discussed as heatedly and widely. At the 20 year memorial burning, we delve deeply into the uncompromising vision of the publication – and then burn the hell out of it. Hosted by Mika Loponen, the original arsonist, with A VERY SURPRISING SURPRISE GUEST!

Chris Bergstresser – Peacock – a Global Larp Clearinghouse

Getting information about larps in the hands of players is an ongoing struggle for organizers. And finding out what larps are being run is equally challenging for players. I have a proposal — and a prototype — for a larp clearinghouse named Peacock. It includes standards for larp data and a website to share that information.

This talk will show the basic features of the system, along with the design decisions, to be followed by a discussion about the remaining steps to reach a public beta.

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Thomas B., Mélanie Dorey, Michael Freudenthal – Is Immersive Theatre the Future of Larp?

Content warning: sexual assault

Thomas B. is an opinionated connoisseur of larp, dilettante larpwright, and immersive theatre debutante. While repeatedly ranting about the word “immersive”, Thomas will cover highlights of larp-ish events such as Assassin’s Creed in Napoléon’s mausoleum, costume parties in Versailles, a murder mystery in the prison cell of the Marquis de Sade, physically chasing the plot train in NYC, and larping with unprepared actors in theatre basements. Mélanie & Michael co-wrote The Lost Generation, an immersive theatre party focused on seamless narrative design. They will present a vision from the field as well as examples from their design. All attendees welcome, no prior experience necessary.

Q&A from the original viewing at Solmukohta 2020 Online event:

Herwig Kopp – Life As Bad Larp Design

Content warning: loud noises, violence

Late contribution. This video was not part of Solmukohta 2020 online programme.

Let’s take a larp design perspective on our current (Western) life/culture, analysing the roles we get offered to play in our contemporary societies as if it were a Nordic Larp. What world design are we exposed to? Which factions, which campaigns can we choose? What conditions, items, and degrees of freedom are we given? Can we influence the narrative, goals, or ending? Through a game design perspective we might gain a deeper understanding of our agency, rewards, and challenges.

All Talks

You can also fin all talks in this YouTube playlist:

Update 2020-05-01: Added “Life As Bad Larp Design” by Herwig Kopp.

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