… And that’s it – a finished synopsis

In this post I talk a lot about the process of pitching a game to Fastaval, read more about what that is here.

So some time ago I published the first, very rough, rambling draft of my synopsis here. When I finished the synopsis and sent it in, I was quite pleased with myself, it’s not a perfect case study of an synopsis, but considering what it looked like before, it’s a big improvement. And it got in. Now it’s important to note, you can write the perfect synopsis and still not get in, if you just happen to pitch a game in the same genre or style as a lot of others. Simerly a rough synopsis can get in if the game being pitched is something the program needs. You never know, but you do know that a well worked out and clear synopsis helps a lot.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about a synopsis than this one. “The Courage of Teddies” meant as much to me as this game, but I was more sure I would get through as it was a very clear and traditional game. “…And that it” I know sounds strange and it was very hard to describe what the players will be doing and why that is cool, so I don’t think I have spent as much time on a synopsis as for this one.

So this is how the synopsis ended up, if for nothing else, it can be used as a case study of how much a synopsis can change from draft to finished text.


One of many drawings from the playtest (text: a light in the dark)


…And that’s it – Synopsis take 4

Humanity has been wiped out by the grey plague, now the last group of survivors have settled down and slowly begin to hope that they have survived it and can begin again. Then the plague strikes, and they know it’s all over, that’s it. We follow the last days of this last group of humans.

How do you put the loss of your friends, the loss of relations, your own eminent end to words? It’s impossible, but through the childlike act of drawing, we can get just that little step closer to expressing and reflecting on these thoughts. That is what this larp aims to do.

The focus of the game is three things the characters will lose during the game: them as an individual, their relations and the group. From attempting to deal with these losses comes most of the play. As you try to face your own end, as you try to sort out your relations before it’s too late, and as you see your group dwindle and try to connect to the few that are left.

Visual creation as communication and reflection

The central tool in this game is visual expression, like drawing or painting. The characters express their thoughts through visual means rather than verbal. Talking is allowed but the culture and workshop will make sure it’s greatly diminished. Drawing is used for communication and as a means of reflection. By expressing your thoughts as drawings, you focus on the subject in a very quiet and intense way. This makes the game a very personal and immersive experience. It will also be a very different way of documenting the larp.

This means that during the larp the players will often be sitting around quietly and drawing, alone, in pairs or as the whole group. They will be talking, often using the drawings as a starting point for the conversation. The end result is making an already emotional game more intense as the players are focused on their emotions and thoughts and not what the right thing to say or do next is. It’s important to note: drawing happens ingame, it’s not a metatechnique, it’s the characters trying to handle their situation through drawing.

The story

  • Act 1: They dare fearfully to hope. Gradually they think of a possible future, they dream. Act 1 ends with the first sign of the plague.
  • Act 2: Now they know they are going to die, there is no escape. They try to handle their end, they try to reflect over what this means. Act 2 ends with the first death.
  • Act 3: They die one by one, they say their goodbyes until the last human on earth closes her eyes. Act 3 ends with the last death.

During the game the GM will play a grey spirit, representing the memories of what the characters have lost to the plague, being touched by this spirit will bring forth these memories. This is also how the grey plague spreads, with the GM putting gray marks on the players. When you have three, you have minutes left to live. Will this touch be the one that dooms me?

As the characters die they also become grey spirits that represents the memory of that person. They move around wordlessly, longing to be remembered, but only through concentration can they connect to the living and be remembered. They can sense the other spirits around them, and if they try hard enough they can connect with them for a fleeting moment. When the last human on earth is gone, the spirits linger for a moment more, looking at what they left behind.


The workshop will focus on the three things mentioned before: Individuality, relations and the group. The workshop will also teach the players how to express and reflect visually. The workshop is very structured and run by the GM.

  • Individuality: A character’s starting point will be the player picking a physical item, that one thing they still have with them from before the plague, something that really defines the character. From the question: “why do you hold onto this item?” the  players brainstorm with drawing and via a range of exercises go from wild ideas to a playable character.
  • Relations: Relations are also created visually by pairing the players up, looking at each other’s visual character sheet and drawing how the other character sees your character. This will then be added to the other’s characters sheet. That way you create the others impression of you, but it’s up to them how to interpret it.
  • The group: Each player draws her impression of the group, and present it to the others. From this the GM helps the group create three routines that honors: the individual, the relations and the group. These three things forms the traditions of the group, it’s what binds them together.


  • The game is roughly finished.
  • It has been playtested once at Østerskov Efterskole, where among other things the grey plague mechanic and the visual creation tool worked great.
  • During Larpwriter Summer School the elements that worked less well (for example the use of mood boards and the way the grey spirits worked) has been redesigned and the game is ready for it’s second playtest.


  • Type: Larp
  • Genre: Tragic beauty (Grave of the Fireflies, Mary and Max)
  • Number of players: 10 til 20
  • Number of GMs: 1 or 2 for very big groups
  • Run time: 5 hours
  • Language: Danish and English
  • Writer: Simon James Pettitt
  • Mail: simonjamesp@gmail.com
  • Telephone number: +45 26811833

…And that’s it – Game looking for theme song

My next game, that I hope to send to Fastaval will be “…And that’s it”. Between acts there’s a meditative pause that will last the length of a music number. The beginning of that number also signals the end of the act and is also the signal for the players to go and lie down and meditate over what has happened and what will happen now.

But I’m having a hard time finding an appropriate song or music number that fits. It needs to both the quiet and relaxing enough to be used as meditation music, but I also want it to hit the tone and feel of the game, a sort of tragic, feelgood, immersive experience.

So I’m reaching out to you for help, what music numbers would you suggest?
As a help I have included the introduction texts below here:

I might also use this as the synopsis for when I send it to Fastaval, but is that enough, or what would you add something about, and what am I using too much space on? or:
What more info is needed and what should I cut?


Picture by Sergei Radiuk

…And that’s it

That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first sign of the illness has just reached you. Now you know your fate, it won’t be painful, it won’t be violent, but over the next day or so you will one by one fall asleep and never wake up. You know that this is the end, and that you are the last. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

This is a larp that has its players create a goodbye. The game has the players think about how they would close the shop on humanity and by doing that have them think about what humanity is, and what we want to be remembered for both as individuals, a group and as humankind.

The players are a group of survivors of a disease called the gray plague that has swept the globe. There’s no cure, and the only sign of it is gray spots on your skin. You know that when they show up everyone around you will already have been infected. There’s no other symptoms, no pain, no choking or throwing up. All you know is that in a day or so after you get the spots, you will fall asleep and never wake up. The group knows that they are the last humans on earth. How they know that is not important, it’s just a fact everybody knows and accepts, no buts or ifs. They are the last.

They have been traveling for many months through the empty cities and landscapes. Every day waiting for the first of them to show the dreaded gray spots. Some were strangers before this journey, some knew each other, but during their travels they have become a tight knit group, a little society in its own right with their own rituals and habits.

During the long days and nights they tell each other’s stories from their former lives and remembers together parts of that long journey. Before the gray plague they all had different jobs and functions, some were artist, some had more normal occupations. But our grand society left plenty of supplies behind for the little group, meaning life is not a struggle.

So during the long travel all in the group has become creators in their own right. Telling stories, singing songs, creating art, making poems, taking pictures. They create by themselves, they create together in pairs and as the whole group. No one in the group thinks the quality of the works are important. It’s the ideas and meanings behind each creation they care about.

Now after a long journey, they have found this place, and decided to stop here and settle down. This will be their new home. No one yet dares to talk of a possible future, the gray plague still lurks in everyone’s mind. To hope is dangerous. But now stopping and setting up a home, it is very difficult not to hope. And the first whispers of time after the gray plague has begun.

This is where the game starts. The first act is the fragile hope. Slowly reluctantly starting to hope and to think and even talk of a future. They use their creative drive to speculate about hope, about the future and maybe still also the fear of hoping to soon. Act 1 ends when someone in the group suddenly develops the first gray spot. Five minutes after this discovery act 1 ends, and after a brief meditative pause act 2 begins.

Act 2 is the main part of the game, and the longest bit. In this act more and more members of the group shows the gray spots. The groups know that within a day or so they will all be dead, and humankind will be over. Our long history will end within the next 24 hours with the last of this little group falling asleep. There’s no reason to run, they already have the plague, all of them, they have just yet to develop the gray spots.

Now they turn their creative endeavor to the end. To creating the works they will close history with. Both their own, the groups and humanities. How do you say goodbye when you know the final end is near? Act 2 ends five minutes after the first member of the group falls asleep. After yet another meditative pause act 3 begins.

In act 3 they say their final personal goodbyes as they one by one fall into their last sleep. When the last person on earth falls asleep a final short meditation will be held on the now empty earth. And then the game is over.

Larping in Minsk

I must start by saying how well organized the whole thing was. I’m gonna steal a lot from Minsk Larp Festival for Black Box Horsens.

Just look at those stickers! They worked as both flyers and well stickers. I now have one on the back of my phone. It’s brilliant! They even had name tag stickers.

And as a game designer I have never felt so taken care of. Before the festival they had asked for a list of what I needed, so when I came into the venue there was a bag with the name of the game with everything I had requested!

First I played “Take a lift” a game about people somehow stuck in life. And in an elevator. Imagine the scene from “You got mail” in the elevator and you get a pretty good idea of the larp. I sadly have no pictures from the larp.

It used space very well. With the lift, flashback and flashforward spaces as tape squares on the floor. The interesting thing was that in flashbacks the player having the flashback could control that scene, but in flashforward he could only set it and then the other players decided what happened. Nice little twist.

Next up was my own game “Waiting for Flight GO901” it went well, there was crying. It was also the record for most surviving travelers. It didn’t change the game that much, which surprised me.

Apparently there’s a game called “Turbulence” from a previous Larporatory. I talked to one of the designers about combining the two games, as Turbulence is about people on board a plane that crashes.

First we were joking, but in the end we actually had a cool idea for how that could work. So it might happen. It would basically be running the two games simultaneously but workshopping them together so that the instead of a bag you are actually waiting for another player character.

Then play the games as normal but when it comes time to find out who survives you bring the two groups together. They stand in each end of a room. One at the time the travelers move forward, then the people waiting for that person also moves forward. We wait for a painful moment. If a red spot turns on, on the traveler is dead and must walk away. If it is white she survived and can go to the ones waiting for her. It’s so over the top it might work.

Any way that was the program for Saturday the rest of the evening was talking and dancing.

On Sunday I had the first slot off so I hung out with some of the organisers and just relaxed. I needed it.

After that I played Ground Rules a very well designed larp from this year’s Laboratory. It’s a funny yet serious game about living in a communal flat in an unnamed communist country.

I really liked it and the tools it used. I could have played it for longer. I kinda want to hack it and make a day long version.

All the plot happened a bit too much at the same time for my taste. But I like dwelling games.

But the structure was so good. A scene took place in the morning or evening with either players waking up and going to work or coming home from work. Work was a space outside the play zone with chairs facing the wall. There we could imagine how our day went. I liked that.

Between each scene we slept and each player was asked to do a inner monologue about what happened between each scene. It was a way we could signal intentions to each other. Really cool.

Workshop and character creation was also well handled. Although a bit too fast for my taste. But they had each family do a scene for the others showing why it was that they had to move into this communal flat. And that had the most alcoholic line I have ever heard:

“Are you drunk again?!”
“I only had one bottle.”
“Of whisky!”
“Oh I didn’t notice…”

Loved it. All in all good players in all my games.

As I said in the last post I could ramble on much more. But if I did I would never get it done. So let’s stop here

Being in Minsk

I haven’t written about any of the things I’ve been doing since JaLL. I haven’t had the time for the long rambling posts I used to. I have long drafts for last years Larpwriter Summer School, Black Box Copenhagen and Before We Wake, but haven’t had time to get them edited and everything after them I haven’t even had time to write a draft. And it looks like that won’t change for the foreseeable future.

So I’m going to try and develop a new and quicker way for me to write about my larp experiences. This is an attempt at that format. Tell me what you think.

So this weekend I went to Belarus to participate in Minsk Larp Festival. They had invited me several times and finally I could go. This first post is about my time in Minsk. The next will be about the games I played.

The format I’m trying out is to write this on my phone on my way home. And I’ll try and make it picture based by picking some pictures I took while there and write whatever thoughts they give me.

All in all it was a great trip where I again and again thought “wow this is not something you experience every day”. Right after we were picked up at the station came one of these experiences.

  We went to a flat some of the other international participants had airbnb’ed. Through a hazarded and definitely not building regulated route they showed us up on the roof of the building that sat right in the centre of Minsk to the view above the central square of Minsk.

The next day our local hosts (all my fellow LWSS alumni) showed us parts of Minsk. Me and Yauhenia (Who I stayed at during the festival and who was a great host and guide) started out by visiting the national library that is housed in the space station you see above. It’s just one example of the size of Minsk. Everything is built big and with lots of space between.

We went to the top of that building and got a great view of Minsk including these soviet era buildings still with the original murals. 

  Inside the top floor was a small art gallery. This picture is from that. The artist painted these landscapes littered with these strange ghost ladies. Very moody. 

  We then meet up with Jamie and Mark, some of the other international participants and lwss alumni, and went to a museum for sculptures. As you can see most of them prominent communists.

  They were all by by the same artist apparently known for his ability to show emotions and personality in is works.  (can’t remember his name). This picture is of one of the first female officers in Belarus, I really like the strong expression.

  The artist was very fond of sculpting Lenin.

  As you can see…

  We were told that during the soviet an artist could make a living just making Lenins because every city, no matter how small, always had to have at least one Lenin. This artist was known for making some of the best Lenin’s. 

  After that we went to the area where the festival would be. It was in the middle of the hippest part of town. 

  It was an old factory area were the old factories were being turned it to studios, cafes, workspaces, galleries and so on. A very strange mix of old rundown buildings and incredible hip and modern activities. 

  In one of the galleries was a showcase called “21” it was a group of 21 year olds who each had been given a disposable camera (with 21 pictures) and asked to show their life and identity through the pictures. It was really interesting and they had really but some thought into the pictures. 

  It kinda connects to “…And that’s it” a game I’m designing where I want the players to create the characters through mood boards.

  We talked about that it could be interesting to give players of a long larp a disposable camera as preparation and take pictures to represent how they will play their character. Then you could put them on wall before game start and that way everybody could get a visual idea of the other characters. That could be cool. 

  In connection to the gallery was an independent publisher and its bookstore. They had not been outright banned but their permit to print kept getting delayed by small “mistakes”. So they had been fined for printing books without a permit. This created an outrage and people donated money to help pay the fine. All these stars are names of the people who helped. 

  In the evening I had the most special experience of the trip. We went to see The Belarusian Free Theatre. A well known theatre group where the writers and directors have had to flee because of their critical plays. Now they continue to work in London and the actors still perform the plays but in hidden locations. 

  The play was called Being Harold Pinter and was a mash up of parts of his plays and his Nobel speech. It was very intense and I both felt like an outsider and like I was being included in something special. I understood the play on an intellectual level. But looking at the local audience I could see this struck them much much deeper. One of them said afterwards: “it was like they kept poking us with the things we know about our country but don’t want to think about.” It was a very powerful experience. 

There’s many many things I haven’t mentioned now that I’m trying out a shorter format. Many cool talks and you know all the social stuff. But you might later hear about it from the ideas and thoughts that they gave me. 

Humm that became longer than expected. Next time is all about the larping. What do you think about the format?

A question and a few ideas

I have so many blog post in draft form, about all the things I’ve been up to, the larps I’ve played. But I just havn’t had time to write them up. And now I wonder if there’s even a reason to write about things that happened in the autumn. And while I ponder that (feel free to help me ponder), here’s a few ideas I’m working on. What do you think, do you have suggestions?

…And that’s it
That’s it. We’re done. Humanity is over. You are the last group of survivors and the first sign of the illness has just reached you. Now you know your fate, it won’t be painful, but over the next day you will one by one fall asleep and never wake up. You know that this is the end, and that you are the last. What do you do with your and humanity’s last day?

Steve-E – A Wall-E larp
For 200 years they have been doing what they were made for. Now with the discovery of a functioning tv showing bits of old films a whole new world of dancing, feeling and exploring opens for them. How will this little group of robots handle it?

Dance of the Perseids
You are shooting stars, and you are about to burn up. But as you dance across the sky you have one chance to live a story. One story, that’s all a shooting star gets. They have to take all their longings, dreams and desires and put into this one story. Not a life, a story. It doesn’t have to be happy, it’s not about joy. It’s about living and experiencing in that one hour you get. It’s about creating a story so bright that people looking up at you will see your fire and wonder.

This last idea is the one I’m furthest with, the core mechanic is dancing. Not being good at dancing but finding that zone when you are just enjoying to move your body to music and don’t care what it looks like. I want music to be at the center of this larp. From character creation to story creation to how the players move and interact.

Ticket sale for Black Box Horsens start december 17th

It’s been quiet in here for long, mainly because I have been very busy. And don’t expect it to liven up in this year. But In the new year I hope to write a lot. I have a lot to say to old things I’ve been to, but not written about yet. I have it in rough texts, but it needs to be gone over quite a lot.header-1

But that is not the point of this post, the point is Black Box Horsens 2016. I just wanted to bring this message:

The ticket sale will start december 17th at 18.00 CET.
The complete program will be online soon, and it looks great!
Admission to the Festival will be 14 euros.
Tickets for games will be 7 euros each.
See more on: blackboxhorsens.dk

JaLL – The end – What others wrote – Everything I wrote

Some of the other players of JaLL have written about the game. I’ve collected the ones I could find here. But if I have missed some please tell me, I want a complete collection. Here you will find both academic and design comments on the game alongside very personal accounts of the game (sometimes within the same post). But I can highly recommend to read them all as they all either puts to words my thoughts in a much better way or even highlights elements that I had not even considered. Good reading.

Losing friends and the stories we tell ourselves – Just a Little Lovin – Denmark 2015
Evan both retells his characters story in a very readable way, but at the same time offers some thought on why the game works.

Love sex death and liminality ritual in Just a Little Lovin
Sarah looks at rituals and what part they play in a game like JaLL. This one really blew my mind and I’ll be returning to this when I really start designing “The Longest Stay”.

Just a Little Lovin
For Mo this was his first Nordic larp and he gives a good account of what made it so strong and good.

The bridge between love and death
Eden writes about death in roleplay. She compares the role death plays in JaLL and “White Death”. She also gives an account of her JaLL experience that is just so well written.

Sikkerheds mekanikker og sikkerheds kultur
Here Troels talks about how safety techniques are not only there to be used, but that the mere presence of them creates a culture of looking after each other.

A fantastically horrible journey through the early 1980s
In his by now 3 part series (more on the way) Emil retell his personal story much like I did. As you will see, he had a completely different narrative than mine, and I can tell you each and every story within the game was that different from each other.
Part 1 – Background
Part 2 – Act 1
Part 3 – Act 2

They luster on
This very personal post about the game by Erik is so damn well written and captures so well some of my own thoughts about the game and the experience it was.

The Book
From the first Danish run of JaLL this book was made. It contains accounts from that run. I haven’t read it but will at some point in the future.

The Speech 
This is not from that game but a speech Eirik gave before his larp Koikoi that Tor readout at the beginning of ours and should be read out before each and every larp.

This is my last post about JaLL, I had planned to write about the tools, techniques and structure of the game and also my favorite scenes from the game. But both posts didn’t quite work, so I won’t do those. But this is a cool way to end it. Because all the post above in one way or another covers those two points better anyway.

One thing I want to add is that when trying to write my favorite scenes I realized how little of the others play I had seen. I had been so focused and I suppose worried about my own game that I never just sat for a bit and watched what was going on around me, something that is actually completely fine to do in a long game like this. I think that is a lesson, I’ll try and take with me, and another reason to why I want to try to play an In game photographer. Then you have an excuse to observe other people. And I know that I’m differently aware when I’m on a photo job, and it would be cool to move that awareness into a game.

So that was it, that was JaLL. In in a roll of the credits this all the posts I made about JaLL from beginning to end:

Pre JaLL posts:

Just a Little Lovin – intro: The very first post I wrote about this game.

Just a Little Lovin – Bruce: My presentation and thoughts about my character.

Just a Little Lovin – Thinking about the character: the thought process I had used in preparation for the game.05-BJAR6498

Just a Little Lovin – Talking about the character: How I had used talking to others as a tool for preparation, and tips for others on how to use it.

Just a Little Lovin – Theme music for a character: the role music played in my preparation, and tips on how to use it.

Post JaLL posts:

Just a Little Lovin – Intro post: the first quick reaction after the game

JaLL – The dual story of Bruce – Act 1 the rich bastard in doubt

JaLL – The dual story of Bruce – Act 2 love and confusion

JaLL – The dual story of Bruce – Act 3 happy ever after, breakdown and buildup

JaLL – Clothing and magic items: how to use costumes and items as a immersion tool both in preparation and during the game.

JaLL – Just a Little Sexuality: A on request post about my experience with sexuality in this game.

Thank you for reading along.
Simon James Pettitt – 2015

JaLL – Clothing and magic items


Flamboyant eighties

Clothes might not make a man but in a larp like “Just a Little Lovin” it goes a hell of a long way to make the character. There’s the obvious thing: JaLL takes place in the eighties known for its outrageous and colorful fashion and the characters are all part of the most outrageous of these trends in each their own way, (Flamboyant gay, drag queens, disco stars, 54 partygoers, spirituals, hippies and so on).

So as the organizers kept saying: this is not a reenactment, we wouldn’t be criticized for wearing items that might not strictly belong to the eighties. It was much more about the feel and power of the look than historical accuracy.


Note not only the epic Diane but also the many colors in the background. You can’t make out details, but you get a general feel of the whole thing, thats pretty much how it felt. I wouldn’t be able to recall specifics but the general look of the people stays with me.

And when you look at the pictures from JaLL you can see that it worked, the people there were such a powerful mix of color and expression. Especially in the first act, it’s just strong colors and combinations everywhere, (in the later acts some took it down, some up, but it was never as crazy as act one). And just standing among these people looking so different from everyday life and looking different yourself goes a long way to get you into the mood and into character.

Clothes In perpetration
But clothes does so much more than that. This might be obvious for larpers but for a chamber larper with a background in Fastaval and black box it’s not. In fact I have ridiculed people for spending so much time and money on costumes for a larp, (and might still do, there’s a limit to everything.) But JaLL and in parts “Fladlands Sagaen” (or just Sagaen) (Østerskov Efterskoles fantasy campaign) has taught me how much help just looking for the right clothes is for your understanding of the character.

I played along once in Sagaen, so I needed to quickly come up with something playable for one session. Having never owned a single piece of fantasy style costume, I had to depend on the costume cellar at Østerskov (which wasn’t the worse thing, as this roleplay school is pretty well stocked.) Going down there I didn’t really know what I was going to play, but though slowly finding bits and pieces to wear an idea emerged, and for each new piece it became clearer. The larp “Sarabande” does much of the same, part of the character workshop is to chose an item of clothing that fits the character, but it is done at a point where your character is still very loosely defined. So just this one choice makes it much more concrete.

The same is the case for JaLL just on a much larger scale. I became so used to going into every second hand shop I passed in preparation for JaLL, that after the game I kept almost doing it still, but had to keep reminding myself, no, you no longer have to do that. Very rarely did I buy anything, but just looking at clothes and I suppose also just rejecting things because they didn’t feel right, was an important part of me finding out how I would play Bruce.


“It’s cool and fun yes, but it doesn’t really say Bruce…”

I found several things that would fit his stockbroker image (soooo many striped suits that almost fit), but every time it felt slightly wrong. This wasn’t the part of the character that I wanted to play up. I wanted to use his raw animalistic power, life force and also hunger, hunger for always more.

It was only when I found the white tuxedo that it felt right, so I had to buy it even though it was a bit expensive. But I’m so happy that I did. I only wore the whole set in act one (because the pants don’t quite fit), but it still had the right effect and that jacket worked surprisingly well with just light brown slacks. For me that jacket made Bruce.

So clothes limits and focuses a broad idea and as we know limits feeds creativity. But clothes also helps in the way that saying no to certain items says something to you about the character. And finally clothes may put a new spin on a character give it just that twist the character needed.

Clothes during the game
During JaLL we joked around in my room with the fact that in this larp the men spend as much, if not more, time fretting about their outfit as the woman. A crude cliche of a joke, but for me it had some truth, I have never been more aware of what I was going to wear. Each act we changed, different things was in focus, the characters was in a different place and it was a surprisingly strong tool to use what I choose to wear to show that. It might not have been noticed by the other players but for me it was important.

In act 1 my clothes was wild and colorful, it has been compared to a pimps outfit, and that’s not far of. This was a man letting of steam, a man out for a party, enjoying life without limits. In act 2 it was much more stiff, still the bright white jacket, but now with a buttoned up shirt with a tie (a bright pink tie, but still I could always feel it tight around my neck, (and when I took it off, it was at a point when Bruce was tensioning down a bit.) It was also a more stern look that fitted the relationship between Bruce and Mickey in that act, (read the story here). And finally in act 3 Bruce was a bit more loose, letting go of control trying to find some peace and being more relaxed. So still the same jacket but now a black t-shirt underneath, still very eighties but definitely more relaxed and more comfortable for me. So the feel of the clothes on my body did a lot to my game, it became a physical subconscious reminder of the style of game I wanted for each act.

Magic Items
“This sword gives me plus two when fighting dragons!” “Oh but this necklace gives me plus two at playing Bruce, and these shades can hide or show my true intentions.” Bruce had two magic items, but they were magic for me not the character. More than anything I wore did they helped me get into character.

IMG_4372The shades
The most obvious was the shades, shortly after arriving at the location I put them on because I knew I wanted to wear them at all times, so I needed to get used to that. It was surprisingly easy. They also took some of my softer features and hid them leaving me looking sterner and tougher than I am, or at least it felt like that, and that’s the important bit.

With them on I felt stronger and more attractive and I used that a lot in my play. But that wasn’t all, I was very aware when I took them on or of. I would take them of when Bruce was being more open and honest or just showing feelings. He didn’t do that much in act one, but from act two and on especially in the morning they came on and off more and more often.

The player of Sam noticed this in one scene where they were talking about a tattoo for Bruce (she was a tattoo artist) he had the shades of, talking honestly about the need for this (the tattoo would be the initials of Sinclair a hidden tribute to his lost friend), But then someone else joined the table and on came the shades and Bruce quickly changed the subject.

This was a surprisingly powerful tool for me. Props can really enhance the game, just like I wrote about with shoes in my post on “Tilbagefald” (Relapse) (in Danish sorry).

My other magic item was a silver necklace I wore at all times, it was rarely visible, but for me it became the symbol of Bruce. Between acts I would quickly change into my own comfortable clothes and relax in that, getting well out of character. But I kept the necklace on to keep this one connection between me and Bruce. It became the strongest connection between me and the character.

And It was the one thing from the character I kept on after the game ended, it didn’t feel right to take it off just yet. And then suddenly sometime during the afterparty I went by myself and it felt right, so I took it of. There was something about it, even though it wasn’t visible I could always feel it’s weight around my neck and that kept reminding me, that now I was something different. And that’s important I think.

So items or props can be used outwardly to signal things to other players, subtle as it might be. But they can also be used inwardly to remind you about certain important things.


JaLL – Just a little sexuality

When I published my intro post about the larp “Just a Little Lovin” I asked what people would like to read about in my posts on JaLL. One suggestion that came up was sexuality. Apparently others have had very strong experience with this. I remember several of the gay and bisexual players talking about how great it was to finally play a game for them. Erik put it very well:

“JaLL making the plotlines gay and queer made them easier to understand for me, or at least identify with, so I could appreciate the *stories* on their own merit without having to make mental adjustments and hypotheticals.”
(You should also read his account of the game, it’s way better put than mine)

Many also commented on the fact that it was great to experience a larp with a set of characters from their world view so to say. (As someone joked: finally the straight roles was outnumbered in a larp)

That for me as a straight(ish) male has really been an eye opener. I have been thinking about this before for example in connection with “Things That Happen to Other People.” (A Fastaval game also by Tor). That this larp is sadly special because many of the characters are LGBT, but other than the fact that AIDS hit this group first most of the conflicts and stories don’t arise from the fact that the characters are LGBT, it’s just a fact like any other part of the character. It’s the same in “Things That Happen to Other People.” It’s about a group of people fleeing a civil war, and in this group there’s a love story, where the two lovers just happen to be men. It’s not an issue, it’s just a fact, and I love that and we need more of that.

1-BJAR6708 (1)

Foto: Petter Karlsson

Another thing that is kinda connected to sexuality or more correctly gender (I think) is something I took from the larp: those who know me, know I’m not the most manly of men in that boring traditional way. I have in the past been asked if I’m gay. My stance and body language is not traditional masculine and my favorite cocktail is the cosmopolitan. I’m ok with that, I have accepted that. And luckily I have never been ashamed of it. It’s such an ingrown part of who I am, that I have never tried to change it. Not because I was particularly proud about it, but because I know it would be uncomfortable and in wain any way.

And I know now who very stressful and tense it would be to try and change, but I’ll get back to that. As I said I’m not ashamed of it. But I’m fully aware that some men and probably also women have looked down on me because of that. And I have seen it as a weakness. It’s hard to 2-IMG_3727explain. It’s a bit like I know I’m not that good looking, but I’m not ashamed of that, there’s nothing to do about it. But I’m fully aware that it’s a weakness that puts me at a disadvantage in some situations.

Bruce on the other hand was very masculine. I even went to Hanne, who ran a gender bending workshop, for people playing a different gender than their own, to get some tips on how to be and move more masculine. That by the way became a great tool for getting into and out of character. I would dramatically change the way I stood or moved and I would feel different. When getting out of Bruce I would exaggerate my own body language to show myself that I was me again, it felt so liberating because it felt very tense to be in that manly way and to be so aware of how I held myself at all times (that’s what I meant by stressful and tense. It helped my immersion, because Bruce was stressful and tense, but to try and do that day in and day out? Never!)

But Bruce felt very powerful, so sure of himself and his place in the world. Even when cracking when facing death and confusing love he was still powerful. He was still this pillar of energy, power and command. Just on shaky ground. And without thinking about it after the larp I felt this power stance move from Bruce’s way of standing and moving into my own way of standing and moving. I suddenly felt proud of my body language almost defiant. It has since gone away a bit, but I can still once in awhile feel this defiant power and proudness of my way of being. Before I didn’t care what others thought, but I was aware that they might see my body language as week compared to other men. Now I’m at times able to feel proud of my way of being. This is me, this is my strength, and I’m fucking proud of it. There’s power in it not weakness. That is a strong experience. And that is what I took from the larp in form of sexuality or gender or whatever it is.

Now playing gay, well as I said I’m straight(ish), but I have played gay before. I have even played straight relationships where my female partner was played by a man. And I have played gay relationships with a woman playing my gay lover. And I have never had a problem distinguishing the player form the character and being aware that the love I played was towards a character not the player. So I didn’t really have any issues with playing gay. It’s just yet another love story just with different genitalia combinations. And who doesn’t love a good love story?