Methods

A pre-larp workshop can consist of many different elements, aimed towards different aspects of the game design and development. Workshops has been used all over the Nordic larp scene as tools for informing players, developing ingame relations, working with meta-techniques or just building gear and talking about the upcoming larp. Diverging very much in length, preparation and facilitation from organizers, purpose and attendance from players these different workshop perspectives cannot really be conceived as a tradition.

The Danish way
In the perspective of this blog, I work mainly with the Danish workshop tradition which has emerged during the last 7 years. I do so because it is the tradition I am familiar with, but also because it seems to be the most far-reaching tradition in terms of co-creating larps with the players at the workshop.

In the Danish tradition, emerging from larps such as system danmarc, totem, delirium and kapo the workshop is the central tool for developing the game design in a co-creative process between organizers and players. These workshop processes has been planned as full weekend or double weekend workshops spanning from 16 to 32 hours of intense workshopping.

These workshops has been mandatory for the players, often making the bar for participation quite high as it gets time consuming and expensive to travel to a workshop far from home two times before the larp. This was the case in both totem and delirium, where all players participated in two workshops.

In the context of kapo, a “pay and play” style workshop was tested, where the international players arrived before the larp to participate in two days of workshopping to prepare them for the larp. This seemed to make the larp much more accessible for international players.

Workshop elements
In the context of shorter workshops certain elements such as meta technique exercises will often have the focus of the workshop. However in the Danish tradition a bunch of workshop elements apply, which will all be introduced in the span of the workshop.

Information
Presenting the larp and the design choices of the organizers. Defining which parts of the larp is designed and which will be developed during the workshop.

Group building
Creating a safe and trusting group, who are able and willing to play the larp intensely.

Character and/or group creation
Allowing players to create their characters and the social environment they are going to play in, based on the design choices of the organizers.

Safety
Introducing and practicing techniques for ingame safety and tools for player safety, before and after the larp.

Meta techniques
Introducing and practicing the chosen meta-techniques for the larp.

Character and/or group development
Rehearsing how the larp could be played and developing a common sense among the players of how it should be played. Also a phase for continued relation development among players.

Planning the workshop
The process of the workshop will typically look like the list above. Beginning with information from the organizers and group building exercises before moving on to an idea development and design phase where the players, directed by organizers, develop characters and groups. Then a phase of exercises with safety and meta-techniques and lastly working with rehearsing and developing the play style of the larp. The group building typically lasts through the whole process, but is emphasized more in the beginning of the workshop.

The workshop examples category of the blog holds some examples of workshop scrips from the above mentioned larps.

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  1. La croisière s’accuse, une murder party en téléchargement gratuit | Thomas B. - April 3, 2013

    […] à l’ancienne, avec photocopies d’époque, points d’action etc. Bon, j’ai placé des ateliers nordiques au début, histoire de mettre tout le monde dans le bain du ridicule. Et j’ai zappé le prix du […]

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