Workshops has been used all over the Nordic larp scene as tools for informing players, developing ingame relations, working with meta-techniques or just building gear and talking about the upcoming larp. Pre larp workshops can diverge much in length, preparation and facilitation from organizers, purpose and attendance from players. A workshop can be a few hours of practicing meta-techniques before a larp or two full weekends of co-creation and game design.
Even though workshops are designed in many different ways, it seems that most workshops contain all or some of the elements below.
Information Presenting the larp and the design choices of the organizers. Defining which parts of the larp is designed and which will be developed during the workshop.
Group building Creating a safe and trusting group, who are able and willing to play the larp intensely.
Character and/or group creation Allowing players to create their characters and the social environment they are going to play in, based on the design choices of the organizers.
Safety Introducing and practicing techniques for ingame safety and tools for player safety, before and after the larp.
Meta techniques Introducing and practicing the chosen meta-techniques for the larp.
Character and/or group development Rehearsing how the larp could be played and developing a common sense among the players of how it should be played. Also a phase for continued relation development among players.
The Danish way
Mandatory pre-larp workshops were introduced in Denmark in 2005 for the larp System Danmarc and workshops have been central to many Danish games since then. In this tradition, the workshop is the central tool for developing the game design in a co-creative process between organizers and players. These workshop processes has been planned as full weekend or double weekend workshops spanning from 16 to 32 hours of intense workshopping. These workshops has been mandatory for the players, often making the bar for participation quite high as it gets time consuming and expensive to travel to a workshop far from home two times before the larp.
A workshop handbook has been written (in danish) on the danish workshop tradition and an online workshop handbook (in english) has been launched in 2012.