Rituals of Being

Rituals of Being

Routines and rituals define much of our lives. A routine, or an everyday ritual, is a reiterated, habitual or mechanical way of behaving. Regardless of whether you’re going to a larp with an everyday or an extraordinary storyline, they can be used as a tool to get a feel of your character before the game and to get or stay in tune with them during the game. Routines can serve several purposes:

  • Structuring an (ingame) day
  • Structuring the entirety of the larp
  • Strengthening the feeling of everyday, or alternatively,
  • Strengthening the feeling of an abnormal day when broken

When you follow or break your rituals you can steer your experience towards the vision of the game or the game you want. If you have shared your routines with your co-players ahead of the game, they will know what you’re doing and be able to play into it too.

To start forming routines, here are some questions:

Waking upWhen and how does the character get out of bed?
Morning routineWhat do they do before they start their day?
MealtimesHow do they eat their meals? Are they different from each other – in what ways?
Personal groomingWhat do they do before going to bed?
Bedtime routineHow do they get into bed?
Ways around co-workers/formal relationsWhat does a normal work/activity day consist of?
Leisure time activitiesWhat do breaks from everyday activity look like? What would disrupt/ruin their routine?
Ways around friends
Ways around family / Alone time
How do they prefer to spend time with close relations/
family? Do they like doing this at all?

Example 1: Laura the Maid-of-all-work at Fairweather Manor

In a game designed around work-related activities, the routines of everyday work may come to mind first, but your character will still have their own personal routines. The maid-of-all-work wakes up all other servants, but she gets up even earlier to savour the moment when she has the manor to herself. She spends that time sitting on the big staircase reading. She skips down the hallways knocking on doors — because no one is up to tell her not to do so. Then she goes down to the servants hall to first turn on the coffee and tea pots and she starts the cleaning of the servants quarters. She hums when she works. Her short and sporadic breaks are spent walking outside dreaming of dancing at a ball, and if she has the time she will write a letter home to the family on the farm.

Example 2: Badger of the Machine Dogs at Blodsband Reloaded

Badger wakes up and puts on the clothes and makeup that are specific to the Machine Dogs, a band of engine worshipping road warriors in a post apocalyptic world. She grabs coffee and finds a quiet spot in the sun, angrily staring at everyone before the coffee soothes her mood. Badger needs her coffee and the rest of the group knows to stay away. The rest of the meals are different, eaten while lounging on top of the cars. Whenever Badger has downtime or a quiet spot, she returns to the cars, half asleep on the hood she can feel connected to the engine — and her player can reconnect to the character´s core. Badger doesn’t have a need for personal space, so whenever she sits with other dogs, she’s always touching or sitting close to them.

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Anne Serup Grove (b. 1987) is a Danish larper and ethnographic designer by trade. In recent years, Anne has focussed on inclusive costuming and safety in larping.