In “The Prince”, Machiavelli insisted that to govern well, the prince had to be a sneaky and manipulative bastard. While I might disagree with his politics, he certainly had a point when it came to larp.
There’s a certain sneakiness required to do larp design well – even if you design with open cards, your players will thank you when the way that things fit together unveils something wholly unexpected. If they think that it was entirely their own doing – that is: if the players were manipulated – they will be even more grateful. Hence, the title of this blog.
Just like Machiavelli, I’m male. Similarities end there. I am 33 years old, Norwegian, resident of Oslo. I work as a consultant on interaction design and usability issues. In my private life, I am an active “larper”, one who frequently plays larps, and a “larpwright”, a designer/author of larps. Since 1994, I have been involved in the design of some 10-15 larps in the Nordic style – some for pay, most for pleasure – and written about the process in articles for the Knutepunkt books, the fanzines “Guru”, “Budbringeren” and Fëa Livia and the Amor Fati website. Both the Nordic and Norwegian larp communities are excellent places to be for larpwrights – there are plenty of peers, and plenty of constructive discussion. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of larp-related wisdom and experience that exists only in people’s heads, which is why I try to write it down. I enjoy an intellectual puzzle for its own sake, but – as a designer – I prefer the intellectual puzzles that seem like they can lead to something applicable.
For years I’ve been writing “articles” and “papers” about larp. A good article is hard to write, and mine tend to grow as I write them (I’m generally not very good at brevity (since I tend to get caught up in digressions (and digressions (but it’s all connected, see?) of digressions))). Since larp theory is strictly a hobby, that means my hard disk is littered with unfinished “articles” and “papers” that will never be read by anybody, but that were based on an initial Good Idea. Could there be a more effective way of bringing an idea to a reader without having to compose a whole article, or even book, around it? Turns out there is. It’s called a “blog”.
I’ve kept a blog or two before. The tricky part isn’t to start them, but to keep them alive. Which is why I’m trying a different strategy this time. Before I even got wordpress up and running, I’ve written the next ten blog-posts. Now, all that remains, is to click “publish”. And say: welcome!