Nordic larp

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Nordic-style larp, or Nordic Larp, is a term used to describe a tradition of larp game design that emerged in the Nordic countries. The term is contested and there is no one clear cut definition. Definition

This is the definition used by the websites. It's less of an academic definition and more meant as a statement to gather the scene around it in an inclusive manner.

Nordic-style larp is traditionally different from larp in other parts of the world – here are a few examples of aims and ideals that are typical for this unique gaming scene:

Immersion. Nordic larpers want to feel like they are “really there”. This includes creating a truly convincing illusion of physically being in a medieval village/on a space ship/WWII bunker, playing a character that is very close to your own physical appearance, as well as focusing on getting under the character’s skin to “feel their feelings”. Dreaming in character at night is seen by some nordic larpers as a sign of an appropriate level of immersion.

Collaboration. Nordic-style larp is about creating an exciting and emotionally affecting story together, not measuring your strength. There is no winning, and many players intentionally let their characters fail in their objectives to create more interesting stories.

Artistic vision. Many Nordic games are intended as more than entertainment – they make artistic or even political statements. The goal in these games is to affect the players long term, to perhaps change the way they see themselves or how they act in society.

Jaakko Stenros 2013 Nordic Larp Talk Definition

For a Nordic Larp Talk in 2013 researcher and co-author of the book Nordic Larp, Jaakko Stenros wrote a defintion with help from Markus Montola and Bjarke Pedersen.

A larp that is influenced by the Nordic Larp tradition or contributes to the ongoing Nordic larp discourse.

For some this might seem to loose. As Stenros puts it:

This definition may seem disappointing, or even like a cop out. It does not arm you with analytical tools that you could use, disconnected from larp practice, to identify a Nordic Larp. But Nordic Larp is not a set of instructions. It is not even a coherent design philosophy, though that is a fairly common claim online. It is a movement."

Brand statement

To perceive Nordic Larp as brand. Stenros tried to confine it to a 48 word brand statement.

A tradition that views larp as a valid form of expression, worthy of debate, analysis and continuous experimentation, 
which emerged around the Knutepunkt convention. It typically values thematic coherence, continuous illusion, action and immersion, while keeping the larp co-creative and its production uncommercial. Workshops and debriefs are common."


Nordic Larp introduction

An introduction to Nordic Larp by Johanna Koljonen at Nordic Larp Talks 2010.

Nordic Larp defintion

A presentation by Jaakko Stenros with the ambition to define what Nordic Larp means at Nordic Larp Talks 2013.

External Links