Category Archives: Roleplaying

It’s alive!

So you thought it was dead, huh. Au contraire, mon ami, things have just been busy. Go play they say.

So after visiting the italian convention AmberCon i Modena, done Fastaval in denmark and joined a bi-weekly gaming group at Olles place, I am quite worn out roleplaying-wise. Or maybe not. Perhaps I am teeming with ideas, inspiration and energy. Planning some shock-therapy here.

First of all, Mødregruppen (or The Mothers) will be put online, soon. If Dr. Wrigstad pulls through, it will be a simultaneous uk/dk release. Badehotellet, another of my personal favorites, is already online at alexandria in danish. I think people should play it. Its really fun. Playtested a forgesque Batman 60’ies game with the forementioned Olle-crew. Still needs work.

Oh, and met the grand old man of sweedish roleplaying (actually not so old) Tomas Ruzic. Tomas is one of the forefathers of sweedish freeform, had some interesting points of the importance of a well formed story. Not a big fan of the forge-games i presume.

Three events are on the horizon for you:A nice evening with the family is a larp/theatre hybrid inspired by Ibsen and Vinterberg among others. As far as I know it will be some kind of mashup of the various plays, at least characterwise. Being produced by the beautiful and equally talented Anna Westerling this will be the larp of the year. Even more so, Jeepers are also involved. The dates are August 17-19, 19-21, 21-23 and 23-25; the latter is for the international crowd, the rest are for those fluent in swedish. However, it might be sold out. Ropecon is the largest finnish roleplaying (and other geek-culture) convention. Around 3500-4000 people all dressed up in costumes, playing all kinds of games. Really an experience. ModCon in Italy. This is truly a pearl. Located in beautiful Modena, the weather is always nice, coffe is good and the food… you are standing in the pinnacle of the italian cuisine. And roleplaying of cause. The italians have opened up their borders, and are giving you, the international visitor, a unique chance to see whats going on below the Alps. The friendly Andrea Castellani (andrea.castellani[at]gmail.com) will able to guide you through the italian website (Hint: Add a uk-button, Andrea). Highly recommended. For a closer look at the intl programme look here click here 

So, if you need help, just call me or email me.

On nu-horror and The Mothers’ Group

A short recap: The Mothers’ Group [edit: New name is ‘The Mothers’] is my next game, which will premiere at the Danish convention Fastaval this Easter. In the game, the players play mothers, who at a group meeting, discuss various things related to just having become a mother with peers in the same situation. Even though it might sound placid or even boring, the game is everything but. High on intrigue and immersion, the engine that drives the game is envy, the gaining of status and that special evil that only women posses(1).

I characterise the game as a horror game, although none of the traditional horror-elements make any appearance in the game. No Chuthulhus, Vampires or demons of any kind. The horror in the game is more akin to the notion of ‘Personal Horror’, which I first saw appear in the games from White Wolf – the shock of realising that you are a monster – but in a different way. The monsters have left the building, and what remains are ordinary people; in this case mothers.

The game has been a long time underway. From the first threads of inspiration to the full-fledged game is at least 3 years. Sometimes ideas just have to mature. And someone must have the time to write them. My main inspiration for the game and the horror part comes from Sweden. The following is taken from the opening pages of Gustav Edmans game Under Sommaren (my translation):

“Always an adventure. There is always a monster, a conspiracy or over-exaggerated personal relations which must be present to drive the story onwards. I belive that this type of roleplaying, which requires extreme fiction to induce somewhat strong reactions, is to devalue the Swedish roleplayers”(2)Under sommaren, p.1 

This made me think, and in some ways inspired the non-conflict premise of Lady and Otto and eventually led to the concept of nu-horror). This is not to say that all games that involve fantastic or extreme elements are crap – it is the sole reliance on that element of the game to make the it work. This was essentially what made people leave horror-gaming in Denmark in the late nineties. People were fed up with playing (and writing) roles which were killers, sodomisers or the occasional rape victim. It was all cheap effects. And then they stopped doing it.

So horror more or less left the mainstream roleplaying scene. People were fed up. It didn’t work anylonger, people were not scared anymore and worse, the game-mastering specific to the games were looked down upon.And now, it is back. Same, but different.

(1) DISCLAIMER: Remember, this is fiction, right.
(2) Original swedish text reads: “Alltid ett äventyr. Det finns alltid ett monster, en komplott eller överdrivna personrelationer som bara måste finnas där, för att driva historien framåt. Jag tror att denna typ av rollspel, där den extrema fiktionen måste finnas för att framkalla någorlunda starka reaktioner, är att undervärdera Sveriges rollspelare.”

Immersion is boring for GMs

In a more or less recent post on Tobias’ blog, Tobias details some of his thoughts about gamemastering Baby Steps, Tobias’ most recent scenario.

Somewhere here, I also found time to game master Baby Steps together with Frederik with a journalist and Lordi biographer. The game was good, but IMHO a bit too immersed and thus a tad boring to game master. If I had realised the game was heading there earlier, I would have broken up the immersion and forced the players to rely more on the techniques toolbox (sitting/standing play, monologues, and insides and outsides) for immersion in the story rather than the characters.

And he is spot on. It was boring. I even had difficulty concentrating on what the players said (I was playing the therapist, so I had to focus on what was said). As we all know, immersion i s the holy grail of roleplaying – how do we handle it as game masters? I have seen (and experienced) this boredom before. The gamemaster is just watching the players unfold their intrigues, plotting and talking to each other. And what of the Forge-scene – is gamemastering boring here, also? Power to the players?Your thoughts, please.

Lady & Otto in the media

It seems that the game somehow gained some momentum after being translated and put online. A review of a kind can be read at Flying Circus, an italian website. Sadly my italian could be better and babelfish translation-service isn’t really helping. Translator wanted! Post in the comments!Also the norwegians are stirring, where Matthijs Holter of Draug-fame instigated a seminar about the danish scenario-tradition. Again Lady and Otto was played. thx Mattijs.F.

Its official: New game in the works

I just got an email from the persons in charge of the roleplaying games at everyones favorite convention in Denmark, Fastaval, that my next game is accepted into the programe.The game will be a short story called “Mødregruppen” or “The Mothers’ group”. The game is based on true stories from real mothers’ groups. Its a horror-story, but in a new way – ‘nu horror’ as I have coined it (well, actually it was johs). Nu horror is about real people with real and recognisable emotions in the real word. By lowering the threshold of what constitutes horror, even the slightest movement in an unpleasant direction, will invoke ‘that horror feeling’.Well, we’ll see if it works