“Darkness had no need of aid from them—She was the Universe.”

Lord Byron, Darkness

The Gothic Experience

Gothic is a larp about five poets trapped in an erotic, psychological horror story, created by their own imaginations. This larp draws inspiration from Ken Russell’s Gothic (1986), a psychological horror film that is a fictionalised retelling of the Shelleys’ visit to Lord Byron in Villa Diodati. 

Gothic is played by ten players at a time. Five players will play poets, and another five players – who have already played as the poets – now play as their servants. It is the story of one night of drugs and madness, which resulted in the creation of various horror stories including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John Polidori’s The Vampyre.

Playing as a poet 

First you will play as one of the five poets. You will write poetry, drink, dance, fall deep into laudanum dreams and nightmares, summon the unquiet spirits of the dead, seduce and traduce and tread an uneasy path towards “despondency and madness” (Wordsworth, 1807.)

Playing as a servant

Then you will play the larp for a second time as the servant to the poet you played previously. The servants are reflections of — or reactions to — the poets. You will create nightmares, leading the poets deep into the darkness and you will choose whether to play towards destruction or redemption.

Not an upstairs/downstairs experience

Playing a servant will not be an upstairs/downstairs experience. Richard Hoppner, the Venice Consul, described Byron as being “culpably lenient” with his staff and that “he rather bantered with them than spoke seriously to them.” There will be opportunities to calibrate with your poet to discuss and agree the limits of the servant role, and the experience you want to play.

Further reading

Please read Is this larp for me?  before you consider applying for the larp.

Everyone’s brains work differently, some of us need to have all the information about a larp in order to sign-up, others will only need to read this page, Is this larp for me? and Key Information in order to make a decision to join.

For those of you who want or need to read more, we’ve included a lot of additional detail on this website.

Player Letters

We will ensure that all important information is included in the Player Letters, which are emails we send to all participants. We will also publish the letters here on the website, so you will not need to search through emails for this information.