As Larp Grows Up – Knudepunkt 2003

2002 didn’t have a book, but the idea was picked up again by the danes in 2003. This book really sets the mold for the KP books, it has all the stuff you expect plus an in-depth look at two of the important manifestos. It has aged rather better than the 2001 book, with less content sticking out as outdated. Instead it has some primers that have survived very well.

For my personal comments, see the disclaimer in the post on the first book

Classics

The Three Way Model – Revision of the Threefold Model – Petter Bøckman

A classic and controversial theory originally from tabletop thinkers of how there are three main ways to approach larping, the gamist, dramatist and immersionist angles.

I  don’t the dark days when this theory was the main weapon in most civil wars. It’s actually quite useful for communicating creative agendas.

The Dogma 99 Manifesto – The Vow of Chastity – Eirik Fatland, Lars Wingård

Ten commandments for a new purist way of making larps that take away much of the baggage from our tabletop origins and put power in the hands of the players. And a really thorough follow-up explanation, by the authors.

Aside from getting pissed off when people tell me how to do stuff, this is a really impressive early starting point for what later becomes nordic larp. It has a lot of the core values of today in infant form.

The Manifesto of the Turku School – Mike Pohjola

The original “Immersionism good, everything else bad” manifesto, that aims at larp as an artform. It has a lovely pretentious tone, covering up some good and some bad advice to players.

One more arrogantly contentious manifesto! This one is interesting because it sets up an ideal player, rather than ideal larp. Then again, they want me out of the hobby for my tastes.

That’s Larp!

Why do Bad Larps Happen to Good People? – by Joc Koljonen

An attempt to explore the differences in creative agendas and assumptions among roleplayers in different cultures, as well as the root definition of roleplaying and larp.

A bit rambling and full of old-timey viewpoints, but still a good look at how larpers assume about playstyles and priorities. 

The Meilahti School: Thoughts on Role-playingHenri Hakkarainen & Jaakko Stenros

A great attempt at defining roleplaying. It covers a lot of good views, though it’s scope is limited to gamemastered games in some form.

Nice and non-academic, just like i prefer. But it seems stuck on having a gm, which at times seems too forced to be true. 

Interaction: The Key Element of larpMorten Gade

A descriptive look at larp through the lens of interactions between the elements that constitute it.

Its a bit heavy on the “putting stuff into boxes” style, but does have a good central point.

Relation TheoryRyan Rohde Hansen

A look at how the dynamic nature of larp emerges from a set of very simple starting situations, also some observations on the relationships of players.

I love this text, very clever. It is exactly how I see larp, but with a better understanding of it.

The Diegetic Rooms of LarpCarsten Andreasen

An article explaining the differences and overlaps between fiction and real world, or diegesis / non-diegesis, plus the states of being and understandings of the players in that crossing.

A must-read for understanding how ingame and offgame overlaps. Academic, but well written for laymen as well.

Role-playing as Interactive Construction of Subjective DiegesesMarkus 

Montola

A primer in understanding the concept of diegesis, how it is constructed and how players will always be co-creators.

Another must-read, preferably before the above article. Really good introduction to one of the strongest concepts in larp theory.

The real world

The use of history in larpXenia Salomonsen

An overview of historical correct or inspired larps.

Not really my sort of thing, but does point out some pitfalls.

Institutional development of Larp in OsloRagnhild Hutchison

An economic take on the role of institutions in larpcreation, using developments in Oslo as an example.

Interesting angle on how roleplaying associations develop, I can definitely see some parallels from my own experience.

Play is PoliticalJohan Soderberg

Roleplaying’s position in postmodern living, as an individual escape or artform, as well as some political perspectives.

Interesting read, if you’re into the socio-philosophical navel-gazing type of thing. Medium-level academic namedropping and references.

Learning by FictionThomas Duus Henriksen

A critical look at using roleplay in education, especially the schism in understanding between teachers and larpers.

Once again the academic lingo is a bit over the top and the article lacks a solid point, beyond the usual “You’re doing it wrong and/or dangerously.”

Phantasmagorie, Simulacre and the Danger of DragonlanceMarie Carsten Pedersen

A modern cultural history look at fantasy larp, especially the worlds created. It looks on the role of escapism, fiction and myth in the act of worldbuilding.

A long, but good article not overly loaded with academics and a refreshing amount of personal taste.

Larp as a Way to EnlightenmentElge Larsson

A positive take on the vulnerable mental state in and after larp, looking at it through various religious and psychological lenses.

We’re currently very busy tell each other how dangerous larp is, especially afterwards. This gives a wonderful counter to that whole discourse.

Zen, Roleplay and Personal ExpansionDenkyu Sebatian Gundel

A look at zen and how it relates to roleplaying, improv and personal growth.

Quite rambling and pseudo-philophical, but a good message.

Just do it!

Fuck the AudienceJuhana Pettersson

A tale of a series of intentionally bad, randomly generated, sometimes fake (vampire) larps.

Weird article and weird larps. I agree we should be more weird.

The Development of IdeasChristian Badse

How to handle ideas, from inception, through refinement, testing and documentation.

Very thorough and professional approach, I heartily recommend it for the early stages of a project. 

Essentials of project managementMikkel Sander

Basic guide to the role of  main organizer of larp projects.

A lovely primer on how to lead a project, many good lessons.

The good character descriptionMartin Enghoff

The essentials of classic character writeups.

This is how most of the characters I’ve been handed have been written. It feels a bit stale to me now, but it’s a good guide for beginners.

Three basic concepts for LARP organizersRune Lippert

The values and lessons of the danish group Einherjerne’s style of simulationist sandbox larps, especially in regards to using minimal rules and creating immediate plots.

I have personal issues with Einherjerne, but that doesn’t change that the lessons here are sound and widely used in nordic larp today.

Dictionary

DictionaryPetter Bøckman

A comprehensive dictionary of various larp terms.

Not all terms are still in use and some are nation-specific, but a good source for understanding. Someone should harvest it for the wiki.

The Lost Chapters

The multi-tier game immersion theoryJ. Tuomas Harviainen

Expanding on the concept of immersion, it takes the principle apart and looks at three levels of immersion: Character, reality and narrative, as well as the different

A really good deconstruction of immersion, too bad it falls into the trap of using it for classifying player types and little else. 

PostmodernismElge Larsson

What modernism and postmodernism are and how that relates to larp / participatory art in general.

Yes, yes and yes. I’ve said the same things before and I’ll stick by it as true: Larp is the most postmodern artform, it simply could not exist otherwise.

 

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