LARP design theory that’s resonated with you

I’m watching Knutepunkt videos and got completely blown away by the presenter saying that in any given LARP, the four most limited resources are time, space, player energy, and player cognitive processing. This is really fascinating food for thought.

What have you read or heard in LARP design that struck you in a similar way? What got you thinking?

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This was a long time ago, when Nordic larps were this strange thing I didn’t know much about - reading a description of Europa, and the procedures someone described for getting into character and having warm up periods and props that meant something only to her. It made me think more about the internal game and what the organiser could do to foster it.

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Oh was it J Li or Jason Morningstar? Because they come up with this awesome Pattern Language for Larp Design which that reminds me of.

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I haven’t heard of that one before, actually! Thanks for the link!

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I found a lot of familiar stuff in the LARP pattern language book, but the stuff on criticality was new and really resonated with me.

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The criticality idea is neat, it’s a great way of conceptualising a non-linear larp design. Some larps have a “plot” with known waypoints, but many others are a whole vortex of whirling stuff happening and no way of knowing where anything will land.

Another similar thing is this article on chaos theory in larp design (page 157, Montola, 2004). That’s something that also chimes with how I think about larp, not just as a narrative but as a dynamic system rather like an ecology.

I’m a bit of a simulationist/immersionist, truth be told, but I learned long ago that most larpers want things to “make sense” and “end nicely” and “not kill my character for no apparent reason” so I tend to temper my urges for unbridled chaos.

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