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Describe in detail

27 Oct

Purpose
Concentration, imagination, agreements

Instruction
Instruct the players (in groups) to describe a scene from the game they are going to play in as great detail as possible, while the others listen. Guide them by giving an example with a lot of detail yourself (How does it look and smell, what sounds are present, what is the mood, the weather, the situation and so on).

Ending
The exercise ends when everyone has described a scene.

Variation
Consider having a short discussion after each description to callibrate if this is really the game the players want to play.

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The judgemental mirror

8 Apr

Purpose

This exercise experiments with a characters perception of how others perceive him or her

Instruction

Preparation

The group writes down around seven actions that can be taken in social situations, which the person later has to perform nonverbally in front of them. While this is going on, the person playing the character should leave the group. This should take a maximum of five minutes.

Examples, for a young person, who is in love with a girl, but scared about how the family will judge him, might be performing the following actions:

  • Smiling at the family.
  • Looking serious in front of the family.
  • Greeting the family for the first time, by trying to shake their hand.
  • The First Kiss
  • Kneeling and asking her to marry him.

Exercise

  1. One participant stands in front of the rest of the group. They are all bunched up closely, such that he can see all of them, and they can stare back at him.
  2. The group hands him a slip of paper with an action on it
  3. The person then has to perform this action, nonverbally, whilst all the other participants stare at him and comment on his behaviour in a judgemental manner. The other people never do anything other than stand and stare at the person. The main participant must maintain eye contact with the others at all times.
  4. Whenever the situation has drawn out for long enough in an awkward manner, another slip is handed to the player, which he then has to perform

Examples might be:

  • “That smile is very awkward”.
  • “My god, seriously, he is doing that?”
  • “Grow up.”
  • “This is a disaster.”
  • “Thank god I’m not him”

Ending

When all the notes have been used you thank the players.

Variation

  • If done as a character preparation exercise, the other players might play their respective characters as well, while being judgmental.
  • The affirming mirror. Instead of being judgmental, the other players notice nice things about the character.
  • The status mirror. If done as a character preparation exercise, the other characters might comment on the behaviour based on their relative opinion of the person. A rock star might be showered in praise, with certain people finding his actions ridiculous, whereas a bully victim might be despised by some people, pitied by others, and loved by one person.

 

Created at Knutpunkt 2014 by Danny Wilson and Frida Karlsson Lindgren

Character Co-creation: Surrendering to the group

5 Mar

Purpose

To create characters collaboratively. To let go of the power of your own character creation, and give it to your group.

Requirements

The group must be smaller than 6 people, or else you have to split the group in two.

The players need to be comfortable with improvisation. If not, then you have to work a lot more and add a couple of improvisation exercises.

Instruction

– Tell the participants of the concept of Veto and Retake. If someone gives you a suggestion about your character which you don’t want to use in play, say Veto and the person gets to do a retake, i.e give another suggestion.

– There’s a point with every part of this workshop, and the order they come in. However, you may rearrange and pick out the bits that fits your larp.

Improvisation

-Start with instructing the players to lie on the floor or sit comfortably. Take turns to say random words in the relationship and trait categories, e.g “shy” or “lovers”

Attitude: Pair up two and two. Give each other your (pretend) opinion of them, e.g “I think you’re a pain in the ass”, or “I love how you fight”. Take some turns, and then change direction of the improvisation. If A has been giving and establishing what he/she thinks of B, then it’s B’s turn. “Oh, you think I’m a wonderful dancer!” or “You hate my guts”. Remind them that you’re supposed to pretend stuff, and not tell your partner your real attitudes.

Secrets in the closet: Pair up two and two. A asks what B has in his/her closet, and B presents one of his/her secrets. “Look here, I’ve been cheating these last two years!” or, “I’ve been lying about my past to get a job!”. Change direction after a couple of rounds, so that A establish what B has in his/her closet. “Oh, you have an inferiority complex!”

Accusations: Pair up two and two and start accusing each other. A “You have exactly the same sweater as me, you’re just trying to be like me, aren’t you?” and B gets to shortly react.

Character creation

Fragments: The group shall collaboratively write as many character fragments as participants. The fragments may only consist of an external unreasonable anticipation, “My mom always expects me to get top grades”. You should also add two long-term goals, that in certain situations will be in conflict and force decisions. “I want to make my parents proud, but/and I want to have as much fun as I can in my life.”

Memories: Gather up and give out the character fragments at random. The group shall focus on one character at a time and describe a memory they have about him or her, from the perspective of their own character. “She always used  to laugh a little too loud at my jokes. It’s was quite uncomfortable”. Do a few rounds while the owner of the character take notes.

This exercise’s purpose is primarily to find out who the character is, through someone else’s eyes. But a lovely side effect is that you get to know the relationship between A and the other characters, and a bit of who they are. Point it out to the players.

Eavesdrop: The group improvises a scene where they talk behind the back of the character, while he/she eavesdrops. Make a scene where they talk positively and one negatively, e.g. a scene where A did a great thing scolding the teacher, or when A fucked the whole project up. The character has heard this in-game. The other players play their own characters. Switch so that everyone gets to eavesdrop.

Short-term: Take turns improvising in couples while the rest watch. You will make up scenes where you explore the characters short-term goals. B starts with an accusation or assumption, with focus on relationship and personality. “I know it was you who made me trip during the exercises! You always try to make me look bad in front of everyone, what have I ever done to you?! “

Open Your Eyes

25 Apr

Purpose
Establish groups within an larger group. Create (secret) relationships between players. Cooling down moment. In-game ritual.

Instruction
Instruct the player to stand or sit in a circle. Everyone should be able to see everyones eyes. Now everyone closes their eyes. You ask them questions that they should answer by opening their eyes – if the question is applicable to them. For example: Please open your eyes if you want to be the leader of the group. Or: All who want to have a love affair, open your eyes. People opening their eyes will know who their likeminded are. Let them take a good look around. The people who do not open their eyes of course are unaware who opened their eyes. Then everyone closes their eyes again and you ask the next question. Ten questions is doable, sometimes players want more.

Ending
After the last question is asked, everyone can open their eyes. Either: Let them have a break afterwards, so they can talk about who opened their eyes and when. Or: Use the input for a follow up in the workshop. For example: All who want to be leaders go into that corner and do a follow-up exercise.

Variations
1. Let players give input for the questions you are going to ask. What do they want to know or what groups do they want to create? Let them write this down on a paper (preferably in one word) and use these questions.
2. Use a ‘Jokercard’ for ‘cheating’. Give everyone a piece of paper. If the question asked is not applicable to them, but they really want to open their eyes, they can use this paper. Let them rip it two halves (so you can hear a Joker is played) and they can open their eyes. They can only use the Joker once.

Question and feedback: mail@hannemarckmann.nl.

Blind animals

10 Feb

Purpose
Fun, working with senses, working with character foundation.

Instruction
Instruct the players to lie on the floor and close their eyes. The start leading them through a short storytelling session where you go through the senses one after one, instructing them to focus on this particular sense for a while. When you are through, instruct the players to find a “character” in the setting of your choosing (a damp forest full of animals or a cave full of trolls are recommended) and tell them that they are allowed to move around and interact as they want.

You also instruct the players never to open their eyes and not to use language (other sounds are perfectly fine).

Ending
The exercise can last for a long time (20-40 minutes is easily doable) and you can end it whenever you feel that the players have had a fulfilling experience.

Variation
Before you start the exercise hand the players small notes with inspiration for their “characters”, for example “large”, “agressive”, “slow” or whatever you want.

If you want, you can choose to use the characters the players have created as the basis (or an element) of the characters they are going to play in their larp.

Walking

10 Apr

Purpose
physical understanding, spatial understanding

Instruction
This is not really one, but several different exercises all oriented around walking in different ways. The exercise starts with all players walking around in a circle, finding a common pace and after that all sorts of different variations can apply.
– walking as if you get older/younger with each step
– walking in a constricted space.
– only walking in straight lines
– only run from place to place

Ending
the exercise ends with the players being instructed to walk as their characters.

Variation
the exercise can be continued with the players walking as their characters, acknowledging each other and recognizing each others status in the hierarchy by looking up or down when they meet the eyes of another character.

status circle

18 Feb

Purpose
Creating ingame status relations

Instruction
The status circle is a simple exercise to visualize the statusrelations within a group of characters. All players stand in a circle and one by one sits down; the character with the lowest status sits down first and the one with the highest status will sit down last.

Ending
The exercise end when only one player is left standing or if a few players are left and it doesnt seem that they will be able to get any further. It is not a problem to have obvious status conflicts in a group, but it often makes sense to work with them later on.

Variation
In stead of merely having the ones with the weakest status sitting down, they can sit down behind the one that they feel have the highest status (or at least a strong personal relation to them), thus supporting and enforcing the status of that character.

friend/enemy

18 Feb

Purpose
fun, social dynamics

Instruction
The participants are told to stand in a circle and each secretly select a friend and an enemy. When the facilitator tells the participants to begin, everybody starts moving.

The purpose for the participants is to get as far away from their enemy as possible and to keep their friend in between themeselves and the enemy.

ending
Small groups will typically form during the exercise and the energizer ends when the facilitator feels that the energy is going down. Typically after a few minutes.

Variation
this exercise can also be used in the character creation proces, where the chosen friend/enemy can be used as ingame relations of a positive/negative orientation. The exercise can also be used after character creation for visualizing cliques in the ingame group.