There are different definitions of what a game-mechanic is and what a meta-technique is. When we talk about game-mechanics for this LARP we will use it describe the interactive mechanics the player must use in order to achieve something in-game: i.e. the lottery system used to gain new powers. We will also use it as an umbrella term to describe all of the following.
These are ways in which we can communicate off-game information between players in-game without having to stop and break character. As a player if you see or hear these techniques and they are not being directed at you personally: you most often ignore them. They do not exist in the in-game world. The words used when casting your powers are an example of a meta-technique.
When using your powers you must use the words “Alma (insert name of power)”. This phrase does not exist in-game, your character doesn’t actually say it, only you the player. “Alma” is a meta word to catch the other players attention and make them aware that they need to listen to what you are about to say.
These are the meta words for the powers, they are not heard by the players in-game:
“Alma Mortis” (For the touch of death).
“Alma Vitalis” (To resurrect the dead or heal the living).
“Alma Concilium: (followed by further instructions)” (For mind control).
“Alma Clairvoyance: (followed by further instructions)” (For mind reading).
“Alma Transfero” (to transfer your injury or emotions to another).
For more information on the five powers look under Fictional.
The Lottery System
Each player will begin the LARP with one, two or three out of the five powers. During the game the players can at any time go to the OFF-room and ask to receive a new power.
The lottery system consists of pulling a coloured bead out of a bag: each power is represented by a colour. The new power does not have to be played on straight away.
A player can choose to receive no new powers at all during the LARP, or all five powers in the first day. The player chooses their own pace based on the story they want to create for their character.
In order to participate in The Five Trials you should have at least three powers by Saturday afternoon. We will ask to talk to the interested players on Friday before the LARP.
Bloody, Easy and Tap Out
This is the safety technique we will be using for this LARP. It has a lot of similarities with the system known as Red, Yellow, Green.
The word you use to ask your co-player/s to escalate a scene is “Bloody”.
It can be used by itself or in a sentence: i.e. “No, I won’t go with you. Bloody hell!” would be an invitation to the other player to continue dragging you off or to man handle you more.
It is always a good idea to try and show what kind of escalation you mean when you extend the invitation. For example, if you and another player are having a fight and this has involved only shouting, but you want to escalate the scene and become more physical you could gently push the other player and use the escalation word. Await the reply before continuing.
The other player can now inform you that they accept your offer, or invitation to escalate by replying with the escalation word “Bloody”: i.e. “Don’t you bloody start!”.
The word you use to ask your co-player/s to de-escalate a scene is “Easy”.
If you get an invitation to escalate a scene and you do not want to, but you are comfortable continuing the scene at the level it is currently at: use the de-escalation word “Easy” to say no thank you. For example: “Ok, take it easy!”. This turns down the invitation to escalate, but does not end the scene.
The de-escalation word is not only used as a reply to an escalation request: if a player wants a scene to calm down, but not to end, they can inform the other player/s of this by using the word “Easy” at any time.
Sometimes we just don’t want a certain type of play, or a scene suddenly gets too much for us and we want out fast. This doesn’t always mean that we want or need to go OFF however.
This is when we use “Tap Out”: you physically tap the player twice somewhere on the body, like on the shoulder. You can also say “Tap, tap” to the player. This means stop what you are doing or about to do and let me leave this scene now.
It can be said/done discreetly or loudly, soft or hard: until the other player notices and backs off.
If a player uses “Tap, tap” with you: first of all stop what you are doing.
Now comes common sense, have you just done an intense scene together or do you know that the player has just come from an intense scene? Do they look distressed? Overtired? Hungry? Even though the player used “Tap, tap” not “OFF”: if you are in any way unsure or concerned about their well-being, take a minute to go OFF. Ask them if they are ok and if they need anything from you. We would much rather that you break immersion for two seconds to check if a person is OK than to ignore potential signs out of fear of breaking immersion for other player/s.
We will always support your choice to go OFF. If the situation feels unclear or you are uncomfortable in any way find the safety host and we’ll sort it out together.
If your common sense tells you that going OFF is not neccessary at this time: end the scene immediately and leave the player. You may choose to check in on the other player at a later time.
“OFF” is always “OFF”: you break the game or scene immediately. If a player uses “OFF” with you, listen to what they have to say. Ask them what they need from you. Help them get to a safety host if necessary.
We will always support a players choice to break immersion for the well-being of themselves or others. If you feel that this goes against your LARP vision/wishes/immersion needs then this is not the LARP for you.
Here are three different meta-techniques, to represent sex and kissing, that we will go through in more detail at the workshop. The safety words always apply and can be combined with all these techniques. More on this at the workshop.
Just because these techniques exist does not mean that your character has to have sex at this LARP. This is not a LARP about sex, but since it is a LARP about teenagers we want to have these techniques in place.
Hand on Hand
Place your own hand on your own body, the other player is now allowed to touch the back of your hand. You control your own hand on your own body and can move it wherever you are comfortable having the other player “touch” you.
The other player does not have to touch your hand if you place it in an area they are uncomfortable with. If this happens simply move your hand to another area.
How you touch the back of the hand is a good indicator of what kind of sex you are having: rough, soft, hesitant etc.
In this technique your arms, up to the elbow or upper arms, represent the sexual areas of your body. You can touch this area only: stroke, massage etc to demonstrate the type of sex you are having.
Making out technique
Using your hands to stroke the other player’s face. Like the other two techniques this can be used to demonstrate what type of kiss is happening.
Always negotiate intimate scenes with a player OFF first. We cannot stress this enough: ANYONE who kisses or touches another player inappropriately without the explicit consent of that player will be kicked off the LARP immediately. This is a LARP, there is no reason for you not to talk to your co-players about an intimate scene you want to do with them before you do it.