In 2016 the founders of the Dystopia Rising LARP network were fortunate enough to be involved with an event called the Living Games Conference. At this conference dozens of game designers from around the world came together to discuss techniques for event hosting, creation, business, morality, and design among many other topics.
While at Living Games we were fortunate enough to be able to share ideas and techniques with a number of different piers in the community, one of which was Johannes Axner. Johannes introduced us to a process known as “innehållsförteckning” which was heavily shaped and brought to light by an incredible designer named Karin Edman.
This concept addresses the idea of game content and a player’s ability to make informed decisions in regards to their own comfort and interest in a game based on a listing of potential content within a game world. With LARPs ranging from incredibly emotional and cerebral experiences through more lighthearted fanfare, players need to be provided the transparency to determine if an event is right for them. While LARP can be immensely enriching and entertaining, due to the life simulation nature of the immersion experience, it too can potentially provide situations that are “triggers” for the individual or cause a degree of experience and/or bleed that a person may not want to participate in.
And as we grow to understand more about the nature of content, materials, experiences, and human triggers we learn that it is nearly impossible to give a trigger warning for every potential situation. While some content without a doubt is much more of a hot button subject matter and is more likely to cause a person to experience duress, anything related to a prior traumatic experience could result in a trigger. Particular songs, scents, scenarios, or visual effects that one person may not be triggered by could be potentially difficult for another player.
With this in mind the concept of the “innehållsförteckning” has been adopted by the Dystopia Rising Network. This term effectively translates to a “table of contents” or “ingredients list” for an experience where game organizers outline the key components and ingredients within a game experience in a form of simplified list. This list is not a list of triggers, but instead focuses of content that exist within the world so that the individual player has the agency to determine if these events are the right events for them.
The Network as a whole will provide a list of world components that are very much standardized for the Dystopia Rising experience. Each individual game, since each game has their own stories and their own local focuses, will then organize and focus what content is the most important for their local chapter and make this list available for the general public. As events have a drastic shift in focus, content, and tone the game organizers are encouraged to update their list to ensure that community members can choose what content they wish to engage in and what content they wish to remove themselves from.
While this listing does not guarantee that player to player interactions will follow the guideline focus of what story the game organizers and network wish to run, it does allow players to have a greater level of expectations and understanding of what an event could entail before even having tried the game.
Dystopia Rising LARP Network
Dystopia Rising Events Contains:
Acts of Violence, Torture, and Character Death. Amoral Characterizations. Camping. Communal Living Spaces. Community Building In and Out of Character. Conspiracy Theory Themes. Dark Humor. Discover-able/Hidden World Content (Blueprints for Equipment, Story Lore Evolution). Focus on Player Character Verses Environment with occasional Player Character Verses Player Character Conflict. Explosions/Fog/ Low Light/ and other Visual Hindrances. Gender Neutral Bathrooms. Horror Movie Style Themes. In character holidays. Images of Visceral Horror. Intensely Emotional Environments. Jump Scares. Lightest Touch Combat Simulation. Long term character growth (including relationships, friendships, and a growing shared history). Materials and cannon materials based on the Dystopia Rising Table Top Game Universe. Monsters (Zombies, Clowns, Raiders, Mutants, and more). Nighttime Attacks and All Our “On Guard” Environment. Non-Player Characters to Represent Friends and Enemies (undead, semi-dead, and living). Overarching continued meta-story and chronology. Physically Demanding Experiences (Running, Climbing, Simulated Fighting, Hiking). Political Intrigue. Prop Focused Materials System. Sandbox Style Storytelling. Self-Managed Engagement. Shared personal growth (in and out of character). Simulated Drug Use and Addiction (no real drugs or alcohol is allowed during events). Simulated Environmental Threats (Storms, Earthquakes, Plagues, Starvation, and Drought). Simulated Post-Apocalypse Crafting, Economy, and Politics. Simulated Psychological Role-Play (real psychological conditions are not used but instead inspiration from multiple different forms of mental illness are melded together for world specific content). Simulated Religious Conflict (A parallel to conflicts of religious ideology via game specific religions without using real world religious sources or content). Slavery (primarily as antagonist content). Splatter Modules (specific modules with forewarning that could get debris on the player). Strainism (A parallel to racism that does not use real world racist terms, but is used as a parallel to discrimination). Survivor Settlement Simulation (Family, Friends, Faith, Alliances, Enemies, Loss, Living Drama). Swearing. Twenty Four Hour Character Immersion. Wartime Simulations.
Does Not Contain:
Any content (themes, discussion, jokes, or conversation) that relates to sexual abuse or assault.
Real world violence or non-consensual physical contact.
Use of real world terms or segregation based on any “ism” or bias (Racism, Sexism, Gender Bias, etc).