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Brems

From Nordic Larp Wiki

When someone says Brems (Norwegian for "brake" or "slow down"), it signals that the current situation is going in a direction that the player is not comfortable with. It is the responsibility of the other players present to change the direction and/or reduce the intensity of play.

Brems is a commonly used safeword, employed in addition to Kutt as a bare-bones structure for managing risk and handling emergencies at Nordic larps.

Uses

Brems is a tool for players who feel that they are closing in on their personal boundaries, either physically or psychologically. It can be interpreted as "this far, but no further" or even "one step back, please", depending on the situation. It can be inserted into ordinary conversation, as in "please - 'brems' - don't be so mean". Recipients of a brems have a collective responsibility for resolving the situation.

Unlike kutt, brems does not declare a crisis or stop roleplaying, which lowers the threshold for using it. By saying "brems" a player is implicitly making the statement that "I am in control, and the roleplaying we did leading up to this situation was OK", which can have a reassuring effect on the recipient.

Examples

  • Player A is interrogating player B. B's face is pushed down on a table and it's getting really uncomfortable. B says "Brems". A loosens the grip so that B can find a better position and continues the interrogation. OR: A lets go of B and continues the interrogation.
  • A and B are playing out an intimate scene. A realizes that she is not comfortable being this close to a complete stranger and says "Brems". They continue the scene with less touching. OR: B says: "Did you hear that? I think someone is coming!"

Limitations

The consequences of "Brems" are not as clear as those of Kutt. For it to work it requires sensitivity on the part of the recipient and good communication between players.

Brems etiquette

  • When someone says "Brems", it should be heard and respected
  • When someone says "Brems" the intensity of the scene in question should be reduced
  • A player should not have to give a reason for saying "Brems" after the game.

History

The Brems rule was introduced at Norwegian larp Moriais Vev (1997), and spread to other Nordic countries in the early 2000s - as evidenced by the word (meaning "brake!") retaining its Norwegian spelling and pronunciation even when used outside of Norway. It was made as a supplement to the Kutt rule to give players a tool to get out of uncomfortable situations without having to break the game. Part of the idea was that this would make the players feel more safe about pushing each other comfort zones.

External links

Eirik Fatland on Kutt and Brems http://larpwright.efatland.com/?p=339