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The Key Manifesto

The discovery of larp has led to a great surge of creative energy, and active participation of people in a society ridden by a passive consumer-ideology. Larp is swimming upstream, in a trend of passivity and ironic resignation. We are social animals, and the active interaction between us, wether in reality or in a fiction, is all we have to unveil our true potential as human beings. Interaction is growth!

There is a great potential for growth and development in larps, but the potential has to be realeased, in each of us. Larpers need to mature as much as the form they practise. In the current situation people are using their energy on this form, without the full benefit of it. Larp is an activity with almost endless possibilities for learning about human beings, yourself and others. The better way to release this potential, is by knowing the principles by wich a larp functions, and use them to the better for each participant.

The art of larp need to escape the selfinduced shackles of fictional detailism. The way organizers preplan a larp, the settings they create, the roles, the interaction that results from it, and the theories they develop around it; it all suffers under a detailed and rigid conservatism. The traditional larp is burdened with compendiums of dubios literary quality, stuffed with details no normal human may remember when the interaction starts. To deal with this problem they arrange prologues, and leave the misconception of highly detailed backgrounds to linger in the minds of would-be organizers. The players are left with bad conscience because they are not able to adhere to rigid demands of detailism created by fanatics.

Professional organizers are highly needed in the development of larp, and must be supported by all larpers, even if they work in unpopular genres. But they must adhere to the principles of this form, if they are to be a considered a boon to the development of live action roleplaying.

The use of professional players are contrary to the potential of larp, and to be avoided at all costs. No advanced interaction is possible within a context close to that of professional actors manipulating their public. Professional players only hinder the true participants from expressing themselves. The long term effect of this is to create advanced theater, and to render larp as a form impotent.

This manifesto is the key to knowledge on the principles of larps, and as such the key to a future with larps of greater diversity than today, and closer to the true potential of the form. It is the key, but should not be treated as THE FORM itself. Those adhering to this manifesto are daring, possibly stupid, and certainly on their way to a better world!


The Principles

  1. Less is more! To have few rules give better focus, and leave the threshold low.
  2. Focus is good. Freedom is crap. The creative mind flourish within boundaries.
  3. Larp is player interaction. Interaction with role, and interaction between roles.
  4. All interaction is, and shall be, physical. Any discourse is on the surface of action.
  5. All means shall be used to strenghten the interaction, and the use of roles in interaction.
  6. A larp is not drama, neither story, these are only means to strenghten the interaction.
  7. No means are selfevident, or with value beyond their function in the actual larp.
  8. A role must be played as fully and free as a real person, within the limits of the physical body.
  9. All players use themselves in a role, and none are their own self in a fiction. Escapism is a dead game.
  10. When a larp is started, all interaction shall be left to the roles, and no conflict is real.
  11. Any participant in a larp is responsible for the outcome of it.


The Keys, first set

  1. There shall be one society only, and no one in opposition to it.
  2. There shall be a rule on rituals people perform when they meet, and only one rule.
  3. All shall observe correct rituals, and the rituals shall be performed by their whole body.
  4. All clothing shall be in accordance with the setting, or in neutral dark tones.
  5. No clothing shall cover the face of the player.


The Keys, second set

  1. There shall be no visual markings of groups in the society.
  2. There shall be one geographical focal point for every eleven players.
  3. There may be one figure of prominence for every eleven players.
  4. Any figure of prominence shall be able to show its prominence by physical action.
  5. No role are outside society, and every role shall fear the reaction of the society.


The Keys, third set

  1. The focal point of the larp must be agreed upon, it must be adhered to, and communicated to the players.
  2. On no point in the planning may an organizer have responsibility for more than eleven players, or roles.
  3. No roles background, or description of a setting may have more than five short paragraphs.
  4. Every player have the potential to fill a role. Bad play is not the sole responsibility of the player!
  5. The larp shall be planned with no more than five rules, and every rule shall be significant for all players.


The Keys, fourth set

  1. Roles shall focus their mind on family, acquaintances (friends, lovers) and strangers, in that order.
  2. Every role shall focus it's play on physical actions. Consider every dull chain of actions as important!
  3. Positive physical contact is important, and shall be initiated as often as possible. Sex is not an important part of this.
  4. Sweat and fear is good! Physical and social discomfort is good! The full use of body and soul is good!
  5. Engage your mind, use your voice, listen carefully, and hunt for the focus of your fiction!


The Keys, fifth set

  1. No conflict may endanger the whole setting.
  2. No role shall be motivated by conflict alone, and no role may be a caricature.
  3. Every role shall have strong emotional ties to at least one other role, and must defend these ties.
  4. No weapons may be used without grave course, and without the utmost fear.
  5. No death may be neglected, and no larp continues beyond the aftermath of the first death.


These keys are tools. They must be used until they break!

These principles are holy. They must never be broken!

None shall sign this manifesto. It shall stand alone. It is written by a role. It is not the product of a real man. Anyone may use it, translate it, or develop it, as long as the keys are used and the principles are kept holy.

Thus is The Key Manifesto!


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