A Norwegian Winterlarp was a concept of quasihistoric larps that would involve reliving the daily life of a certain historic period as central aspect of the frame of the larp.
Early concepts, techniques and perceptions of playingstyles in Norway is deeply rooted from the everyday situations that arise when playing non-stop for days in a forest, living in cabins heated with firewood.
The reason for these historic larps to be held in wintertime was to be able provide another form of larps that was suited to do in the off-season period of the winter holidays. In contrast to their predecessors, the early summerlarps cabins needed to be rented in order to be able to handle the cold weather. The summerlarps use of tents or pineshelters were viewed as inadequate due to the temperature and the snow. Cabins where rented through active larpers that had connection with the organisations of norwegian Scouts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting).
The evening before the start of the larp participants would decorate their living quarters, get into costumes, make food and be only partly playing their characters. They might do last minute practice of names of related characters. Individually people would be testing the way of talking in-character, and often practice common songs related to the diegesis or the the overall genrè of the larp. More importantly participants would discuss routines like when to wake up, dishwashing, fetching water, maintaining the fire, foodmaking and establish time and reponsibility for common meals and other practical matters.
Being 360 degrees larps these concepts avoided off-game time by for example making it a part of the game to also be in character when in your underwear (requiring people to provide seemingly period underwear, nightcaps and the like), when you were sleeping, when you went to the toilet. This made almost every location an active part of the game. People were at least trying to be in characer when in the toilets, in their sleeping quarters and so forth. Since the cabins would be relativily crowded with people it was viewed as limiting to the game that any indoor location should not be a part of the diegesis. It might not have been a conscious choice of the organisers, but players would get so involved in the game anyway, that it was at this moment in time difficult to upheld a rule of not allowing participants to sneak around other people sleeping, or kidnap people when they went to the traditional outdoor toilets in the dark. (See the building in this photo to imagine a typical gaming location nighttime at these larps: http://www.maion.com/media/b2c56340-3668-11df-9d3e-19590d98061b-outdoor-toilets)
- A Winterlarp usually had a typical element of a flying start. Participants would go to bed out of character with the instructions that the larp will start when they wake up.
Often the organisers would stage a scene early morning when everybody were asleep that would wake people up and kickstart the story. This would allow the characters a reason to feel alarmed, and also allowing the players diegetic excuses for their character to be confused or insecure about how to react in the first hours of the larp.
In litterature and film the term relates to the concept in medias res.
In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of things) is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the mid-point or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning (cf. ab ovo, ab initio), establishing setting, character, and conflict via flashback or expository conversations relating the pertinent past. The main advantage of in medias res is to open the story with dramatic action rather than exposition which sets up the characters and situation. Because it is a feature of the style in which a story is structured and is independent of the story's content, it can be employed in any narrative genre, epic poetry, novels, plays, or film.
Obviously so is also the case with larps.