What is Nordic Larp?

What is Nordic Larp?

Nordic larp[1]Larp is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically portray their characters. There are many different styles and tradition of larp all around the world. is a term for shared larp traditions in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. What sets the Nordic larp traditions apart from others is a strong emphasis on collaboration and collective creation, unobtrusive rules, as well as a rich variety of play styles and settings sometimes including heavy themes.

Characteristics of Nordic Larp

Steeped in societal traditions of non-profit self-organization in the Nordic countries, larps in the Nordics often are both created and played in a very collaborative way. The starting point usually is that all participants take equal part as players in a game with a shared responsibility for the atmosphere, story and experience. Non-player characters, monsters, and central plots, common in many other larp traditions, are rare.

Nordic Larp Styles

Different styles within the Nordic larp traditions have very varying levels of costuming, props and sets. Story, drama and atmosphere are held in high regard. In games with conflict, winning and losing most often serves these ideals more than player against player out of game competition. Rules are few when the exist at all and are often designed to break immersion[2]Being immersed in the game. Either in your character, the setting or the atmosphere of the game. as little as possible. Characters are generally described with personality traits, background and motivation without stats or numbered skills. Score, experience points or leveling are very rare.

The strong base in Nordic larp is weekend-long larp events in different genres. Larps are commonly one off events, sometimes as part of a shared world or series of larps. A larp series, or campaign, will often have at most one major yearly event. While players will sometimes portray the same characters at several events in a campaign, it’s common to play different characters at different larp events.

Chamber larps, black-box larps, free-form games and scenario games are shorter larps played by a smaller group of players, most often in a single room during a couple of hours.

In the Nordic larp tradition larps can be viewed as a artistic endeavor and a valid form of expression that can be deeply meaningful to the participants. Larps that explore serious themes and ideas are common in many different genres and styles, but it’s not universal. There are lighthearted black-box larps as well as thematically heavy weekend fantasy games.

Nordic Larp Community

The yearly Nordic larp conference Knutepunkt[3]Knutepunkt rotates between the four Nordic countries and changes names to the language of the country it’s held in. Knutepunkt in Norway, Knutpunkt in Sweden, Knudepunkt in Denmark and Solmukohta in Finland. has been the base for pan-nordic exchange of ideas and knowledge since its start in 1997. Other community hubs includes this website[4]This website was started in 2012 by Johannes Axner to cover Nordic larp and related topics., the Nordic Larp Wiki and Facebook groups like Nordic Larp Community and Larpers BFF.

Learn More About Nordic Larp

The term Nordic larp reached a wider audience with the coffee table book Nordic Larp published in 2010, edited by Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola.

You can read more about the term Nordic larp, its history and definition on the Nordic Larp Wiki.

References   [ + ]

1.Larp is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically portray their characters. There are many different styles and tradition of larp all around the world.
2.Being immersed in the game. Either in your character, the setting or the atmosphere of the game.
3.Knutepunkt rotates between the four Nordic countries and changes names to the language of the country it’s held in. Knutepunkt in Norway, Knutpunkt in Sweden, Knudepunkt in Denmark and Solmukohta in Finland.
4.This website was started in 2012 by Johannes Axner to cover Nordic larp and related topics.