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MachineNotes from a session where Mo H. spoke about Elin Dalstål’s Knutpunkt 2014 presentation Larp, tabletop and other form of roleplay. What can we learn? The blurb for this was as follows:

Larp, tabletop, BDSM, chats, theater, MMOs. Roleplaying exist in many different forms and media. What can we learn from different role-play media? How do they differ?

Round table discussion about different forms of roleplay and other activities and what we can learn from them.

No experience needed.

The following is from Mo H.’s notes on the session – full notes will be linked in when they’re available.

What larp can export to other games

  • Co-creation, e.g. collaborative character development
  • Proactivity (active participants as opposed to passive)
  • Immersion (e.g. teaching dancers how to dance as a character)
  • Management skills
  • Emotional resonance
  • More convincing/realistic characterisation – e.g using ability cards vs using your own skills

What larp can import from other games

  • Telling complex, deep stories.
  • Euro-style boardgame mechanics.
  • Getting a sense of achievement from games.
  • Performing different roles in larps (allowing people with different agendas to play together).
  • Dice for conflict resolution.
  • Story gamer toolbox – the ability to influence the ongoing story beyond what your character can do, such as playing other characters or setting scenes for fellow PCs.
  • Focus. In a larp, it’s almost impossible to see or follow the whole story. It would be great to find a way to be able to see inside the game, similar to how it’s easy to know what’s happening in a tabletop game.
  • The prophecy mechanism from Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne – playing to a particular end condition.
  • Forsooth! has very specific end conditions, which fosters metaplay and forces players to collaborate on how they’re going to resolve the game.
  • Techniques from TV and movies (e.g. in the Omega Delivery larp, [possible spoiler behind the white text here] a flash-forward is used to establish the closing scene of the larp. [and spoiler done].
  • Taking the example of the video games industry, we need to understand better where the strengths are in our medium and use that to best effect in your narrative structure. As an example, in the video game The Swapper, the player gets a device that allows them to clone themselves. You use the clones of the PC to overcome various puzzles and challenges, although the game design eventually forces you to question the ethics of using the clones, often to their death, to achieve success.
  • This is similar to the dystopian game Papers, Please. In this game, you have a limited amount of time as a border crossing guard to decide the rules of allowing people access to a totalitarian country., This forces you to make difficult moral choices in a time-pressured environment. Judy realised this would be a really interesting horde larp (where some players play fixed player characters, but the majority of the players play a “horde” of rotating characters).

The group came up with other things that were transferable – such as Occupy movement techniques frequently used at Knutpunkt. These included silent clapping, where you wave your hands in the air to show appreciation for a speaker’s point. This originally comes from the American Sign Language sign for applause, and was used by the Occupy movement as a non-disruptive form of applause.

Other Occupy movement hand-signals were often used during the presentations at Knutpunkt, and could easily be used in larp to communicate with the organisers or speakers in a non-invasive way.

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