Sunday, June 26, 2005

International LARP

Clash of larp styles

When starting this blog one of my main goals was to describe and learn about role playing outside of Sweden. The focus has to a large extent drifted away towards other things, but the international aspect has been surfacing a few times. One good way to learn is through contrast. I have already mentioned Jonas thing on Swedish fantasy larps. A comment there led me to a discussion (in English) about the Italian group Ordo Solis (about which I have been reading before, they seem to travel much through Europe) playing at a Swedish Enhörningen (The Unicorn) larp. Another piece of the puzzle is given in an article by one of the Ordo Solis members.

At times the above mentioned discussion get a bit heated. Of course it's about the Italians and the Germans doing OOC during the larp, and them beeing surprised of how 'hardcore' the Swedish players are. Things get even more strange when you understand that a lot of people in Sweding throw a lot of crap on Enhörningen for lacking in seriousity. I have heard several people calling their larps unplayable because of too low standards on players. In addition this larp, Vågskålen, was a beginners larp. (Let me just make it very clear that I have no opinion whatsoever, I have never joined a fantasy larp and don't know what they are like, but I'm positive that anyone larping in Sweden can agree with that certain groups of larpers have held these opinions of larps by Enhörningn. Vågskålen specifically got good reviews by all parts, as far as I have seen.)

My own, mixed thoughts

The larps I have gone to have all depicted a reality (or non-reality) closely related to some point after 1930 and they have all been short, the longest being a bit more than thirty hours. In the larps I have been to it would be unthinkable that anyone would OOC in front of other players without a very good reason. My experience with bringing new players to larps is that you never have to tell them this. When you explain that you have a role and that you will play for a certain amount of time noone misinterprets this.

What I'm trying to get to is the tradition of OOC in larp. I'm told that this was common in Swedish larps until the middle of the 90's. One obvious reason is of course that fantasy larps by tradition are very long, which gives more time for boring periods and reasons to talk OOC. But I still think that the main reason is that in fantasy larps the equipment is the main interest. To have such genuine interest for equipment (which I totally lack, I lack interest for my real self's clothing too) might of course increase your immersion in your role, but others might join the event just because of their interest in equipment and then take less seriously on the playing.

There are obviously a lot of people who have a huge interest in medieval equipment but without the interest for playing characters, as the existence of SCA proves. What we have in Sweden is a quite clear division between these two interests.


Anonymous Corvo said...

Hello Im Corvo of the Ordo Solis.
I deeply disagree with an elitarian, closed vision of LARP. People that let himself "disturb" by the presence or the attitude of other people are the beginn of intollerance and racism.

BTW, this arrogance to be the "BEST" is widely prensent in Europe: at least every nation and/or organization, claims to be the best.

This aggressive/defensive attitude is IMHO the way to destroy the great potential of the LARP as human experience.

12:26 pm  

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