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Power Clap

2 Mar

Fun, energize

Instruct the players to stand in a circle, with the left foot towards the center. Then instruct them to rub their hands together until they are nice and warm (energized). Then instruct them to slowly bring the top hand up above their heads.

Tell them that you will count down from three and that on “one” they will all clap and shout “yes” three times.

It end when you have done it 🙂


Samurais and ninjas

22 Apr

Fun, concentration, communication, working with core.

Instruct the players to stand in a circle and instruct them in the three movements and sounds they can make.
1) Samurai: Sound = Haa’a ; Movement = lift folded hands over head (as if they were a sword)
2) Ninjas: Sound = Ho ; Movement = chop with folded hands towards the belly of the samurai.
3) Samurai: Sound = Hai ; Movement = Point to another person in the circle with your folded hands.

So…the point is that the samurai lifts his sword to go for the kill, but is intercepted by the ninjas (the persons immediatly to his right and left) after which he still chops at someone…and then whomever she has chosen starts over.

The exercise should be serious and fokused and the sounding should be clearly outspoken.

As your participants become accustomed to the exercise ask them to to it rhytmically, so you get a nice “Haa’a, Ho, Hai” rhytm going. You can also tell your participants that they have to run around the circle every time they make a mistake to increase the difficulty.

The exercise ends when you feel that your participants have found a nice rhytm.

Constructive Bickering as a larp technique

2 Feb

Duration: 10 minutes

Goal: Get participants comfortable with screaming and arguing with each other; get them to understand how easy it is to change the atmosphere of a group when other players are good at listening.

Instructions: Divide participants into groups of 3 to 6. Give them a scene where a conflict is likely to arise: what to do about the club’s stolen money; what to serve at a buffet; how to organize the night guard; prioritizing the group’s needs, etc. Tell them to start playing.

Alternative 1: Make large signs (taping the short ends of two a4 papers together, for instance) with the bickering-instructions. Hold these up and show them around – all groups have to change their interactions to match the sign. Re-use signs (passive aggressive and forgiveness are good ones to have more than ones)

Alternative 2: Make small slips of paper with the bickering instructions. Give two each to the players and tell them to not show the others. Let the players know that they have to try to get the group, at one point or other, to turn towards fulfilling their instruction.

Bickering instructions (add more of your own): Louder; Even more loud; Angrier; Tears; Frustration; Passive aggressive; Forgiveness; Happy Memories; Accusations; Ultimatums; Constructive Plans; Agreement.

Confessing, Gossipping and Confronting as conscious tools for a better larp.

2 Feb

N.B: If you are familiar with the term “narrativist” larping style, this fits into that style. If not, don’t worry about it.

Duration: 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the tim you have.

Goal: Get participants to think consciously about how social interactions like confessions, spreading rumors and confronting other players  in interventions makes sure more people get in on the fun of social larping.

Phase 1: The short lecture ~10 minutes.                                                                                                 

Now we’re going to talk about a few larping tools or techniques that maybe you, up until now, never considered “tools or techniques”. For larpers with experience and/or a good “sense” of what a larp needs, this might be self evident, but our experience is that even those get a lot out of thinking about these things consciously.

First, let’s talk about confessions. Social larps typically have secrets. Characters might want secrets to stay secret for ever, but you, as players, want secrets revealed. A hidden secret is boring. This ties into an important larp principle: A character’s goals and desires are not the same as the player’s goals and desires. This then is another larp principle: When you have or find out a secret, you have to spread it around to a at least a few persons. How can you do this? [Ask group for suggestions].

  • Confess to an authority figure. A priest, a leader, someone you admire. Your character suddenly feels guilt or uncertainty and needs advice.
  • Confess to your best friend – you can even get them to promise Never Ever Ever to tell someone else. (We’ll get back to this)
  • Confess to a complete stranger – they will never be involved with this (your character thinks) so surely it can’t be a problem to confess to them.
  • Misspeak! Your character suddenly “thinks out loud” or says something that gets others to suspect that something is wrong.
  • Your character gets drunk or angry or incredibly happy and just shouts something out in the middle of the playing area.
  • Write a diary or a letter with your secret. Leave it (“Forget it”) in a place where a lot of people go. (Do not hide it, people are unfortunately often too polite to look at “forgotten papers” unless it is very obvious that they should.)

This brings us to the next technique: Gossipping or Spreading rumors. If you have a secret, you have to get it out there to more people. And, here’s the next principle: if you hear a rumor you have to spread it on to at least one (preferably more) people. And if someone tells you to Never Ever tell someone else the rumor, remember that you can always get the same promise of the next person you tell it to, and you’ll be safe: use Promise-Not-To-Tell-rumor chains. Now, what are some different motivations for different characters to gossip? [Ask the group for suggestions]

  • Spread the rumor because it’s fun to spread rumors! (“Oh dear, listen, listen, I hear the most horrible thing – did you know that they say that Sara cheated on her wife?”
  • Spread the rumor because you wish the person it involves ill. (“That Sara is no good – I have it on good authority that she cheated on her wife. She’s such a pig.”)
  • Spread the rumor because you wish the person well. (“You know what I heard? That Sara had cheated on her wife… She’s such a sweet heart, it must be the stress, I really worry for her, what can we do for her?”
  • Spread the rumor because you Simply Can’t Believe It. (“Someone just told me that Sara – our Sara! – had cheated on her wife. Why would people say such things? Make up such lies? What is this town coming to, I wonder!)


The next logical step is confrontation – or intervention. An “intervention” is a practice where people who are concerned over a friend’s behavior get together to confront the person as a group.  A confrontation can be more openly aggressive. When you have the slightest reason to do so, as a player you have a duty to start to work towards creating a confrontation with people who you have heard rumors about. Now, when you do this, try to use another important larp technique: always bring a friend along. Whatever you do, try to involve at least one other person, spreading “play” and cool scenes along. What are some motivations for creating a confrontation you might use for you character?

  • Do it with bad intentions (“Sara, you pig, you’ve cheated on my sister! Admit it!”)
  • Do it with good intentions (“Sara, we’re all here because we love you. We know about the cheating. We think you are in a bad place emotionally right now, and we’re here to support you, but also to tell you, one by one, how your behavior has hurt this famiy, and how hurt we are by you.”).
  • Do it in support (“Sara, we’re here to say that we’ve heard the rumors about your cheating, and that we of course, don’t believe them at all! We wanted to give you the opportunity to say exactly what you think about these false accusations.”) (This is, of course a good opportunity for Sara to confess).


To sum up, we have the following principles

  • A character’s goals and desires are not the same as the player’s goals and desires.
  • When you have or find out a secret, you have to spread it around to a at least a few persons.
  • If you hear a rumor you have to spread it on to at least one (preferably more) people. (Remember that you can use Promise-Not-To-Tell-rumor chains.)
  • As a player you have a duty to start to work towards creating a confrontation with people who you have heard rumors about
  • Bring a friend along

Phase 2: Exercise instructions                                                                                                                     

The participants will now larp a mini-larp in a dream that their characters are having. They can use their characters from the larp they are about to attend, if this exercise is done in preparation for a larp. The setting can be, for instance a queue for something where everyone is waiting, or maybe a party. It doesn’t matter if the participants characters would be unlikely to meet prior to the larp – tell them that this is a dream and that they are vaguely aware of it being a dream. This is a good opportunity for participants to “test out” their characters before the actual larp starts – they can test and discard mannerisms that don’t work out, for instance.

Give out x number of slips of papers with secrets (where x = (number of participants/7), approximately). On these slips are secrets. Give them out to volunteers. These are the rules:

  • The participants have Y minutes (at least 15) before all the confrontations have to be done.
  • The volunteers have to, as soon as possible, find a reason to confess the secret to a few people.
  • Anyone hearing a secret/rumor has so spread the rumor on to more people.
  • As soon as you tell someone a rumor that that person has already heard, you have to form a group of people and go and confront the person the rumor is about.

Examples of secrets are: I’ve stolen money; I’ve cheated; I’ve stolen a really nice hat/scarf/pen; I’ve lied about (a task I had to do/that I’m guilty of something) to X; I’ve gotten access to Y in an unfair manner etc.


Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestions of questions about the workshop!



Susanne A vejdemo DOT se

Move that body

8 Apr

Helping players become less self-conscious. Spatial understanding.

You can play this with non-rhythmic music or in silence.

Have the players walk around randomly in the room. Tell them to stop, stand up straight with their arms along their sides. Guide them through their body, making them aware of every part. Have them focus on the blood stream and the pulse. Tell them that their pulse is a natural rhythm that occurs in their body every living moment – that their body is always moving, always dancing to the rhythm of the heart.

Instruct the players to move to the music in any way they like. Tell them that they dont have to worry about doing smart moves or looking cool.

Elaborate by having the players interact with each other.

This exercise can last for around 15-30 minutes. It usually benefits from a slow pace.


29 Oct

Fun, being silly.

Instruct the players to pick a famous character (such as Zorro, Donald Duck, Macbeth or Nero). Then tell them that they are going to die soon by being shot and that they are supposed to die as that character. They also need to find a sound for the characters death.

When you have instructed the players you point your “gun” at them at shout “BANG”! and then they all play out the short death scenes at the same time.

The exercise ends when everybody has ended they scenes.


29 Oct

Fun, working with communication

Tell one player to go outside. Tell the rest of the players to select a place in the room and that they are supposed to clap louder as the person enters from the outside and gets closer to the spot and lower as she moves away from it. It is important to tell the players that they should try to gradually increase and decrease the sound level.

When you have instructed the inside players, you can let the outside player to come in and the exercise begins.

The exercise ends when the player who were outside goes to the right place (and optionally performs the right action).

If you want to make the exercise more complicated you can add an action for the person to do.

Another (less pleasant) variation it telling the players to “help” by shouting at the person trying to find the spot, shouting louder as she moves further away from it.

Open Your Eyes

25 Apr

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

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.

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.

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:

Blind animals

10 Feb

Fun, working with senses, working with character foundation.

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).

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.

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.


28 Jun

Fun, physical understanding, spatial understanding

Tell the players to pair up. Then ask them to imagine that they are in a still image of a fight. One player should start by placing herself in an advantegous position, touching the other. The other player should try to “take in” the disadvantage for around five seconds and then move herself into a new position where she has the advantage – not by pushing or using force on the partner, but by moving herself.

Note that an advantegous position will very often be one of superior balance.

The exercise ends when you think that the participants has had enough.