In the Limits Below the Line – An Interview with Brazilian Larpers

In the Limits Below the Line – An Interview with Brazilian Larpers

Leandro Godoy, one of the founders and producers of the larp group Confraria das Ideias (Eng. Brotherhood of Ideas), conducted an interview with a diverse group of larpers, players and designers from different regions in Brazil. He seeks to understand the limitations faced in Brazil, both inside and outside the games.

The people interviewed were:

  • André Sarturi, 45. Actor and university professor, founder of the Enigma larp group. Curitiba – PR.
  • Carolina Scartezini, 40. Witch of the word. Creator, actor and artistic advisor at Tudo Teatro group. Itaberaba – BA.
  • Effe Schmidlin, 29. Multi-artist and teacher. Member of the Sangria larp group. Belo Horizonte – MG
  • Henrique Marins, 44. Teacher. São Paulo – SP
  • Larissa Forchetto, 28. Video editor. Sao Paulo – SP
  • Luiz Falcão, 36 Designer, Visual Artist, Set Designer and Art Educator. Founder of the group Boi Voador and NpLarp. Sao Paulo-SP
  • Rafael Silva, 32. Realtor. Member of the Sangria larp group. Belo Horizonte – MG
  • Raissa Alonso, 32. Historian. Sao Paulo-SP
  • Tadeu Rodrigues Iuama, 39. Teacher. Member of the Coral Amarelo larp group. Sorocaba – SP
  • Thais Pistorezzi, 43. Journalist and actress. Maceió – AL
  • Vanessa Mayumi, 29. UX Designer. Sao Paulo-SP
  • Viviane Silva, 40. Art Promoter. Member of the Matilha da Garoa rpg group. Sao Paulo-SP

Photos of various Brazilian larpers

On factors limiting participation in larps

Luiz Falcão: For a long time, what limited us was that there were no larps to play. Organizing or running a larp is a lot of work. There was a time with a greater variety of larps (between 2010 and 2016), but today we are somehow back with scarcity once again.

Larissa Forchetto: For me, the biggest challenge is exactly this – there aren’t that many larps to go to.

Luiz Falcão: There was a time when we knew there were larps out there: there were the Graal larps, São Paulo by Night (and other vampire larp groups), and Megacorp, for example. But – this is a thing that we end up not considering – sometimes there are games, but they are not always for our player profiles. (see e.g. Falcão 2014).

Luiz Falcão: In 2013 there were a series of initiatives to change the situation, such as Luiz Prado’s larps. But it wasn’t enough. 

André Sarturi: I don’t know many people in Curitiba who larp. ​​The ones I know are much younger than I am, and I’m not really involved with the scene. If there were more larp groups, I would end up playing more larps.

Thais Pistorezzi: I moved from São Paulo to Maceió, and there are no larp groups in the region.

Luiz Falcão: Parenting, its complexity and all its invisible work. I work on the weekends (because I work with art and culture), and during the week I am at my daughter’s disposal. I don’t even have weekends for free time.

Henrique Marins: Family and professional commitments require, for example, traveling more frequently on weekends.

Tadeu Rodrigues: Calendar. And adding to this the issue of logistics and the main thing for me, the demands of day to day life. I have to put a lot of things in my daily life aside to be done during the weekend – besides, of course, spending time with my daughter. And these are everyday things, cleaning the house, cooking for the week, etc. Having more weekends participating in larps would mean having fewer full weekends to take care of these everyday demands.

Rafael Silva: Adult life consumes our time, leaving little space for pretend play. 

Carolina Scartezini: I don’t play that many larps, basically for reasons of time and logistics – these are the only reasons why I’ve never been able to go to an in-person larp at the Confraria, for example.

Viviane Silva: For me, transportation  and larp schedules are very relevant factors.

Vanessa Mayumi: My biggest impediment is transportation, combined with the calendar. The city (São Paulo) is huge and transport takes a long time, so when I go to a larp I have to reserve the whole day just for that. If I have more things to do during the day, I am not able to go to the larp. ​​The sooner I find out about a larp, the more likely that I can plan.

Photos of various Brazilian larpers

On themes and great larps

Raissa Alonso: Currently I also prefer more reflective themes, like in the larp Último Dia em Antares (Brazil 2016, Eng. Last Day on Antares) or in the incredible larp inspired by Tommy: Cegos, Surdos e Mudos (Brazil 2017, Eng. The Blind, the Deaf and the Dumb).

Leandro Godoy: In Último Dia em Antares, a family has decided to flee to a planet orbiting the star Antares (on a one-way trip) to escape a catastrophic crisis on their own planet, but upon arrival, they discover that the star is about to explode. They wait for the end of the world, dealing with frustrations, the feeling of impotence, the fear of death, and trying to enjoy their last moments together. The larp is non-verbal: participants must interact with their bodies, by miming, and via facial expressions – without saying a single word.

Cegos, Surdos e Mudos was inspired by the rock opera Tommy (The Who, 1969) and the episode Apenas Bons Amigos (Just Good Friends) from the Brazilian tv series Comédia da Vida Privada (Private Life Comedy, Guel Arraes, Jorge Furtado and Luís Fernando Veríssimo, 1995). The story begins with a group of friends who get together at the end of high school and decide to test the legend that, by listening to the Tommy album with a lit candle, a person can glimpse their own future. From then on, the players begin to play the group’s meetings from time to time, permeated by the history of Brazil over the last sixty years. The group has to deal with their own traumas, constructed from the lyrics and characters of the songs on the album. The larp’s delicate design combines music, Brazilian history, and the characters’ personal relationships as they search for new meanings for past events and learn to value the friendships we make in life. (see Godoy 2021)

Vanessa Mayumi: The topic is very important to me. If the theme doesn’t motivate me, I end up thinking it’s not worth the effort of organizing everything to be able to go.

Luiz Falcão: I’m not interested in boffer larps, just as boffer larp audiences sometimes aren’t interested in the larps that I like. Nor in campaign larps that often try to simulate character evolution in electronic role-playing games. To me, they seem to try to reproduce a certain capitalist game where hierarchy and meritocracy are mandatory and relationships are mediated based on the accumulation of points. I also do not like larps that are based on established intellectual properties such as Vampire, Harry Potter, etc. Even though I might really like the IP itself, these games tend to have issues around canon. They generate hierarchies and conflicts… and they reduce the creative potential of the experience in favor of reproducing familiar narratives.

Lack of larp culture and resources

Luiz Falcão: One limiting factor is that larp is not seen as normal and socially accepted the same way many other activities are. We don’t even have a scene, a subculture. Soccer, cinema, theater, and video games are everywhere. There are cinemas in every shopping mall, films appear on TV, on YouTube, there is a hype. Your colleagues at work play soccer. Your father takes you to the soccer stadium. And there is no Brazilian larp community or the community is very small. Furthermore, the cost of living in Brazil is very high – and most players are not in the upper classes of the population.

Rafael Silva: The term “hunger larp” is not for nothing. There is a lack of transportation, food, and costumes to participate in larps. If you can’t afford it or don’t have a support group or network, you’re out.

Luiz Falcão: And there was the dismantling of culture from 2016 to now, with the Coup d’Etat, accompanied by a destruction of the economy for the poorest and an increasing precariousness of work (with the imposed labor reform that dismantled workers’ constitutional rights), with a drop in purchasing power, galloping inflation and a reduction in leisure time.

Leandro Godoy: You are referring to the sad incident of President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 despite being innocent of the charges and who faced misinformation and hatred in the media. The process followed the rites of the congress but served the interests of a ruling class unhappy with social reforms and the loss of economic power.

Effe Schmidlin: And this gets in the way of finding resources to create scenography. Even accessing more private locations is difficult. Meetings in Belo Horizonte city take place mainly in parks and public squares.

Luiz Falcão: Even if you are working with art and culture, it is very difficult to work with larp – because it is not a recognized artform. It is no exaggeration to say that larp was on a rising tide until the 2016 Coup d’Etat – and after that it has been in a downward spiral. The reported problems of lack of money, time and health, all or almost all, are directly related to the precariousness that has been ongoing since 2016.

Leandro Godoy: And unfortunately, this led directly to the fascist government of Jair Bolsonaro between 2018 and 2022, which greatly compromised social relations, and had the dismantling of culture as a government plan, among other terrible policies. (see Prado & Godoy 2022). 

Luiz Falcão: It is also worth highlighting the role of social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), from 2016 to now. Aggressive behavior on these networks has increased at the same time that the reach of dissemination has decreased. Participating in online communities (not just larp communities but all kinds of online communities) or publicizing activities on these networks is no longer productive. The publicity doesn’t reach the players, but the haters are always there, ready to attack.

Leandro Godoy: I think we can observe some patterns: scarcity of larps, themes, difficult urban mobility, social inequality… Any and all of these can end up limiting players in one way or another.

Do limits in larp restrict or support players?

Luiz Falcão: It depends on the game. There is no difference between support and restriction. Freedom without limits is the freedom of the oppressor. The guardrail, on the balcony, supports you and restricts you. The problem with restrictions is when they are not well applied. Beyond limits, without any limits, there is oppression. Going beyond the previous limits is alright. Beyond the current limits there is always a new limit. Every larp is a game of subjection. The question is “what do I agree to subject myself to”. 

Larissa Forchetto: I think that when I’m playing, the word limit captures both things. If it’s a limit of what I know or what I can do, like acting or knowing the subject, I can push myself to overcome it. However, I feel limits are also an important support for me. They help me know how far I can go with certain things within the game itself.

Raissa Alonso: It’s a dialectical relationship. I think it boosts and supports. I feel safe when we define the limits of what we feel comfortable with in the game. I prefer it to playing blind. I think limits can be built based on consensus. When there is conversation, I feel driven to test things within larps. When there are no limits, I always prefer to be cautious, because I don’t want to be invasive with other players.

Henrique Marins: I have always found it very important, in the larps I have participated in, that the organizing team has been concerned with people’s physical and emotional safety. Knowing that there are limits increases confidence that this security is maintained. You can play freely, within the agreed limits. At the same time, knowing that the limits are there and that they can be activated at any time supports your play.

Thais Pistorezzi: I believe that an open dialogue is necessary, at least to clarify doubts. If there is a restriction in a larp, players are allowed to question it. When it is properly explained, it can be respected by the players, and it can boost ideas and even character and story building. A limit can also be a form of support. It helps us understand how far we can go, so that everybody respects each other’s boundaries. When a person knows there is a restriction, they are not supposed to ignore it and cross the boundary it defines.

Luiz Falcão: It’s an ethical issue. Who guarantees compliance with a limit during the game? Who guarantees that a security code works? The best way for shit not to happen is to not do shit. It isn’t difficult to give a false feeling of security or participation. Sometimes, the rules say something, but unwritten rules produce conflicting interpretations by players, leading to unexpected things.

André Sarturi: I’m an artist and I think there are ethical limits, but at the same time art shouldn’t have limits, so in my understanding limits should be negotiated. I currently run larps for students at the university I work in, in an environment where people are linked to the arts. We have been able to explore 18+ themes in the larp O Baile do Cara de Cavalo (Brazil 2022, Eng. The Horse Face Ball), and ​​we are studying e.g. cabaret and urban violence. 

Rafael Silva: Limits are created in dialogue. They are social agreements. And as such, they enhance the larp experience. I have few limits when it comes to larping, ​​but I understand those who need more space to enjoy the experience.

Viviane Silva: Restrictions that are there to guide the game stimulate much more than they limit. I believe they should not be or treated as a dead end.

Carolina Scartezini: When I’m playing, a limit serves both purposes: it is an inspiration (in the same vein as a creative restriction) that drives me, and it gives me a feeling of security. In general, I deal well with limits. I think they are important both to provide clarity and security and to instigate creativity. In my view, when the people participating feel that they can simply do anything, without any restrictions, they end up doing nothing as they are lost.

Tadeu Rodrigues: When I’m participating in a larp, I think the word limit means a parameter. I think it can support play. But above all, I think it gives parameters to the participants’ experience.

Effe Schmidlin: In some situations, safety rules and meta-techniques allow me to go further. In others, limits prevent me from causing problems for other people by playing. The ways in which the limits are drawn define how I will engage in the game, and how the magic circle where the game happens is built.

Limitations in the game

Leandro Godoy: What limits you during a larp? Knowledge of themes, language, resources for creating costumes, time to study characters and plot beforehand, or any personal limits?

Luiz Falcão: Text, rules, and rituals have to be available for consultation somewhere since an excess of rules and symbols can contain too much information to remember. Or too many mechanics, like in Vampire larps – consulting the rules can interrupt the larp and does not increase dramatic tension. 

Leandro Godoy: I have a lot of difficulty remembering many of the rules during a larp. In fact, after I started playing more larps, I started to reduce the amount of text in the larps I organize. 

Luiz Falcão: Assuming that players know or handle something that they don’t necessarily know or handle is a problem.

Tadeu Rodrigues: It limits me if the larp requires a lot of time to read and memorize the character and the plot. Brazilian larps don’t typically require much prior preparation but if a larp does, it becomes a barrier for me. So if I need to invest time before the larp, ​​it bothers me a little, which limits me.

Leandro Godoy: Larps in Brazil don’t often require much preparation from the players. We try to make participation as practical as possible, becaus

Photo of a masked person entering a coffin surrounded by other masked people

Histórias Extraordinárias Sesc Belenzinho.

e everyday life leaves little time to read a lot of materials for a larp or to obtain complex costumes. But sometimes larps require greater preparation from players.

Henrique Marins: I think I have had the most fun when I have had more time to prepare for my character – to come up with a costume, to study the materials, and to plan some action for the larp. Of course I’ve also had really good experiences in larps where I jumped aboard almost at the last minute. 

Raissa Alonso: Time needed for reading and internalizing the character depends a lot on the larp – its design and atmosphere. Sometimes it is nice to have prepared beforehand, sometimes the fun is in the improvisation.

Thais Pistorezzi: Limitation is a word that brings so much anxiety. I don’t remember feeling limited in any larp. There have been situations in which some points in the story or the characters’ costumes have caused difficulties because of a design problem. However, everything has always been resolved and worked around so that the larp could continue smoothly.

Raissa Alonso: I think it’s cool when resources are offered by the organization, so that no one feels limited. When I have to bring costumes from home, I always feel like people are comparing me to others. 

Larissa Forchetto: The costumes and customizing them are the issue that limits me most at a larp. However, finding them is not something that I consider impossible. It’s a limit that I can work with.

Tadeu Rodrigues: Costumes are not really an issue in our productions, but there can be issues with ready-made costumes –  I’m big! And often when there is a larp that has ready-made costumes, I know in advance that there will probably not be an outfit in my size. When there is a ready-made costume available, it often does not fit me which creates physical discomfort. Of course, this is a question of resources. We are a third world country, so investing a lot in costumes is not something that is in the spending priorities. 

Effe Schmidlin: Resources for creating costumes are a problem.

Raissa Alonso: I think the strongest personal limit I have is the body issue. It needs to be negotiated, always. It can be really cool to explore it, but at the same time it is a really sensitive topic. I hate it when I feel pressured to do something, which can happen a lot when you play in a group. I think that when the game pushes you into doing something exceptional with your body, there should be a content warning. I wouldn’t play a larp blindfolded, for example, without having complete trust in the organizers and without having very clear limits on what is allowed to be done.

Luiz Falcão: Body, affection, sensitivity, sexuality, all of these need to be well discussed. Depending on how it goes, they can be issues for me too.

Henrique Marins: In some cases, the character can limit the player’s performance in a larp. For example, if the character is an introvert, you might need to avoid more intense scenes. 

Tadeu Rodrigues: Interpersonal issues also limit me at larps. I don’t feel comfortable particitating if there are people whom I don’t like spending time with. If there is somebody who makes me feel rejected or refused, then I often don’t even participate. And if I do participate, I keep my distance during the larp. If I don’t like somebody outside the larp, I don’t feel comfortable playing with that person. 

Carolina Scartezini: Until now, only two things have made me not to want to participate in a game: if the theme and the way it works do not interest me (generally, this happens with boffer larps or larps that seem too pedagogical to me) or if I know that something about the topic actually is a painful trigger for me (like in the larp about the military dictatorship Soldier Pereira and his school friends).

Vanessa Mayumi: My biggest limits are my health (physical and mental) and how much the activity will affect me and others. Of course, if I’m sick and contagious, I stay home. But beyond that, if I’m not mentally healthy to interpret the character and the themes, if the topic affects me personally, or if I’m not well enough to socialize with other people, I end up not going.

Viviane Silva: What limits me is my health. It is difficult for me to see in dimly lit locations. Moreover, I find it hard to stand still for a long time.

On resources, collaboration, and inter-disciplinary larp

André Sarturi: Resources limit me the most. Even though it is possible to organize larps with minimal resources, it can be interesting to do something that requires elaborate technology – for example video projection, video mapping, and electronics prototyping platforms. These are not necessary, but it is cool to be able to try another experience inside a larp design and to test the limits. The question is how to acquire and manage these resources. You also need to consider whether using technology makes sense for the game or not.

Luiz Falcão: I feel it is quite limiting to try to larp when you are filmed or when there is an audience watching but it is not properly included in the design. If you’re offering something to the audience, it is theater, not larp. In the larp Grimm Agreste (Brazil 2014), the relationship between the players and the Grimm Agreste exhibition – a beautiful installation inspired by the tales of the Grimm brothers reimagined with the aesthetics of the Brazilian wilderness and countryside – and its audience worked well because of the costumes and the design of the game. However, I have seen other experiences where this relationship did not work well, frustrating not only the participants but also the larp designer.

Leandro Godoy: In general, it is interesting to see how the practice of larp evolves with these collaborations. Ten, fifteen years ago, we weren’t discussing negotiations, costume discomforts, or how much game design and agreements can affect us during the experience. I believe we have a lot to talk about and a lot to experience. As a community, we can evolve beyond the issue of resources needed for games to happen safely and provide incredible artistic experiences.

Thank you everyone for your contribution to the conversation. I hope we meet soon, in a new larp or chat, and that these questions can lead us – participants and readers of the interview alike – to reflect more on the challenges and limits, and to have increasingly inclusive, safe and unforgettable experiences!


Luiz Falcão (2014): New Tastes in Brazilian Larp. In The Cutting Edge of Nordic Larp, edited by Jon Back. Knutpunkt.

Leandro Godoy (2021): The use of music as a magical element for the larp experience. In Book of Magic – Vibrant Fragments of Larp Practices, edited by Kari Kvittingen Djukastein er al. Knudepunkt.

Luiz Prado and Leandro Godoy (2022): Larp Against Fascism. In Distance of Touch, edited by Juhana Pettersson. Knutpunkt.


Grimm Agreste (2014): Brazil, Sesc Interlagos. Confraria das Ideias.

Cegos, Surdos e Mudos (2017, 2022, 2023): Brazil and Sweden, Centro Cultural da Juventude, Sesc Pompéia and Konsert & Kongress. Confraria das Ideias.

Último Dia em Antares (2016): Brazil, Sesc Ipiranga and Centro Cultural da Juventude. Luiz Prado and Boi Voador.

O Baile do Cara de Cavalo (2022, 2023): Brazil, online at FLO (Brazilian Larp online festival) and UNESPAR – Faculdade de Artes do Paraná. André Sarturi, Luiz Falcão.

Soldier Pereira and His School Friends (2021, 2022): Brazil, Sesc Pompéia and online at FLO (Brazilian Larp online festival) and International larp festival by Chaos League. Leandro Godoy and Confraria das Ideias.

This article has been reprinted with permission from the Solmukohta 2024 book. Please cite as:

Godoy, Leandro. 2024. “In the Limits Below the Line – An Interview with Brazilian Larpers.” In Liminal Encounters: Evolving Discourse in Nordic and Nordic Inspired Larp, edited by Kaisa Kangas, Jonne Arjoranta, and Ruska Kevätkoski. Helsinki, Finland: Ropecon ry.

Cover photo: Histórias Extraordinárias Sesc Belenzinho.

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Leandro Godoy graduated in management processes and is currently a sociology student. He is one of the founders and producers of Confraria das Ideias, a Brazilian NGO that has been promoting the language of larp since 1999. Also known as Confrade Godoy, he was awarded by the “VAI” (project of the São Paulo Department of Culture) in the mid-2000s, and has contributed for RPG and larp to be recognized as cultural practices by the government, including larp in the cultural programming of the city and state of São Paulo since then.