Playstyle of Gothic
Our larp is a place for collaborative storytelling. Rather than trying to best our co-players, we aim to engage in mutually fulfilling play. This means there will be situations in which you will come out on top and others where your role will be to suffer a dramatic loss. The most gratifying stories are a good mix of failure and success.
- Slowly escalate into physical touch.
- State your boundaries in negotiations
- Say “Yes and”…
- Use the safety and game mechanics provided by the organisers.
- Respect your co-players for who they are.
- Involve people in your play.
- Touch people who haven’t indicated their enthusiastic and ongoing consent.
- Use any safety or game mechanics NOT in the game design.
- Exclude players based on their physical appearance, quality of costume, age, or gender.
Violence, intimacy and other intense play will always be opt-in and therefore we ask our players to slowly escalate these scenes (using escalation and deescalation mechanics). We will workshop and make space for pre-negotiation, all parties involved must always be comfortable to end the scene or to call for a calibration.
Safety & Calibration
The safety mechanics are designed to keep all participants safe from harm, and also to build trust; to make us feel safe with one another.
The calibration mechanics allow participants to control the intensity of their own experiences, to ask others to increase the intensity of play, or to tell them to turn it down, according to what they are comfortable with.
These techniques are not an emergency brake — although they can be used as one — instead they are designed to be used freely and regularly throughout the larp.
You are free to leave any scene at any time for any reason. To enable this during play, we use the Look Down Mechanic. This is a way of signalling to other players that Off-Game you want to leave the scene without being stopped or challenged. This is how it works:
- Shield Your Eyes
- Look Slightly Down
Offgame meta word
You can use the meta word ‘Offgame’ at any point to make it clear that you are speaking out of character, in the real world, as distinct from your character talking in game:
- Offgame: Cut the scene, I need to stop
- Offgame: I have to go to the bathroom
- Offgame: I’m happy to continue, but this rope is cutting into my wrist
Gothic uses metatechniques to calibrate play, these are phrases or physical signals that you can use to turn up or down the intensity of your experience.
For example if you are pushed up against a wall by Lord Byron you might decide you are okay with this interaction becoming more physical.
To signal this you use the phrase “Is that all you’ve got?” This is an invitation to the other player to escalate the scene. They might not want to do it. They might not feel comfortable doing it. However, if your invitation is accepted, they will increase the intensity of the scene.
If it is too much, you use the phrase “Lay off!” This is an instruction, not an invitation. If someone uses that phrase you should immediately dial down the intensity of the scene.
We also make use of physical signals with the same meanings. Scratching someone lightly as an invitation to escalate, tapping them two or three times as an instruction to de-escalate.
These techniques will be taught and practised in the (mandatory) workshops before the larp.
In addition to these Safety & Calibration mechanics, Gothic will also make use of a limited set of mechanics to enable play. These will be explained and practised during the pre-larp workshops.
We will use Theatre Style Sex to represent intimacy in this larp.
There are simulations of drug taking within the larp. Laudanum will be an alibi for the actions of the poets as they move from the real world, to a dream state, and then into the nightmare beyond. No actual drugs will be involved.
Mesmerism / Magic / Monsters
As the larp progresses, there will be scenes where the characters believe something otherworldly is beginning to occur, and some or all the characters will want to explore what is going on. There may be seances, occult rituals, or other acts of ritual taking place in the fiction. There are some characters in the larp with the ability to mesmerise (hypnotise) others. There is no system for this magic. You as players decide the effects. So if it makes for good drama for your character to be hypnotised, or creates play by belief in some act of magic, then we ask you to lean into it. If you believe you are seeing strange creatures lurking in the shadows, then please play on this fear. If someone tells you your fortune, feel free to play to make it come true.