söndag 30 mars 2014

Knutpunkt: A Week in Gothenburg : Sunday

Every year a larp conference named Knutpunkt (when held in sweden) is organized in Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Finland. This year, 2014, it's organized in Halmstad, Sweden. The participants however come from all over the place.

The week leading up to Knutpunkt is called A Week in (City). This year it's A Week in Gothenburg, and that means a whole lot of international larpers and larp academics head to Gothenburg today. I will be volunteering parts of this week before I myself head to Halmstad and the even venue for Knutpunkt on thursday.

The youth house Arena 29 will be used as a hub and centre of activity. Some participants will sleep there and some meals will be served there. Tonight there will be a movie showing at Arena 29 at 18.00 and for those who are old enough to drink there is a beer-themed tour of Gothenburg at 19.00. Arena 29 is open for visitors, focusing on those the Youth house is aimed at, the young people who usually attend activities there. Both visitors and those who sleep at Arena 29 have to be sober when they are in the house.

Here are directions to Arena 29

I'm looking forward to having conversations with people coming from other perspectives on larp and expanding my knowledge even further.

Me and Nathan Hook at Knutepunkt 2011

måndag 10 mars 2014

Jezebel Rising - skönlitterär text

Följande text utspelar sig i det universum som hör till lajvet Kindred Society, ett lajv i Vampire-anda. Vampire var ursprungligen ett rollspel utvecklat av förlaget White Wolf. Med tiden utvecklades det till lajv där metatekniker används för att simulera vampyriska krafter och vampirelajv finns idag över hela Sverige. Det finns deltagare som också tycker om att bygga ut sina roller och deras relationer med hjälp av skönlitterära texter. Dessa delas ofta med övriga spelare, vilka kan ses som den huvudsakliga publiken. Alla omnämda karaktärer tillhör deras respektive spelare.
Jezebel Rising

Pride is the beginning of downfall into corruption. Yet it is a part of the human condition, even more so for those who are no longer human. We have a being who at her core strains her self to reach a point where she will accept anything God extracts from her. But God in his infinite wisdom puts power to be wielded by her against the monsters that are her kin. And wielding power leads to thirst for more power and that leads corruption when one becomes willing to trade for it.
Talulah Jezebel is her name and she was the apple of her father's eye. Hosaia of clan Gangrel remade an innocent girlchild in his own image in what was a painful and bloody baptism. Upon committing this crime, he had hoped that the taint of the beast would not come for Talulah. But the beast comes for all vampires. The Beast takes no heed to the matter of the vampires origin, their pure motivations or the hope of their progenitors. And so Jezebel came for Talulah when she was embraced in New Orleans, to stay with her until the end of time.

Since her birth as a human, Talulah Jezebel had a knack for dying, and an inability to stay dead. This became even more so when she was embraced into vampirehood and leechdom. During a struggle for influences in the great City of Gothenburg, a vampire named Armando Miguel Vega del Toro stabbed his knife into Talulah's tender side and as she retreated to tend her wounds, she once more fell into the possibly endless sleep called torpor. And there she would have remained, but vampire politics end for no one.
Upon returning this time from the void, from that bodiless floating in the vicinity of God, she came back with his unforgiving fire inside of her. Because these are the final days, and she is one of many tools for the vindication directed at the leeches, the creeps, the vampires, murderers. Imagine the horror, to have to follow Gods unrelentless command to slaughter the only people who ever knew the true you. Sounds like what most of us would see as madness, but in this world, this is the truth. Talulah Jezebel might not have had much of a life before she died for the first time, but as the beast invaded everything she had been, would become and was, she did learn about murderous rage. Without God's blessing she was reliant on razor sharp teeth and claws to extract that anger on friend and foe alike.

And then, after God's blessing was put upon her, the potential to kill others of the blood...with a touch. Granted, not a brief touch but a prolonged one. A fire that licked at the soul and the nature of the sin that is inherently born into any vampire.
They, the vampires that lived in Gothenburg, had congregated a friday in february at what was once thought to be the prince Costanza's haven. And even before Talulah herself arrived, she betrayed them. She brought hunters to what was seen as a safe meeting. Hunters being humans imbued with supernatural skills, who thirst to end the lives of the undying. A contact of hers, named Harry Grimm, called her on her cell phone and told her where to meet the two hunters, and where to bring them.

Black rain had poured from an equally black sky when she came to meet them, one man, one woman. First a glimpse of the resolve in their auras, and a large tint of thirst for violence in the woman. The man called himself John, the woman called herself Jenna. Those were not their names. They had recently arrived in the city, as back up to their comrades. John’s hair was the color of last years grass, and it hung in a long and neat ponytail down the back of his dark coat. His clean shaved face and demeanor spoke of an age somewhere around 30. The woman was considerably younger, with a fresh but furrowed face, set in a constant snarl. Her hair was short and cropped, and a dark shade of brown. The hunters spoke, so that Talulah may know what little they presented about themselves, and tell her of their mission this night.
While Talulah was in the presence of the hunters, she was to be rendered harmless. By God, John was granted the power to make her vampiric powers subside and relent. That also meant that Talulah had to agreed to lose her special sight and lead them to where her kin were gathering. God favors the meek and both Talulah and the two hunters knew this. To have faith in the divine plan, even if that trust leads to the end. An inkling to deny it sparked and died and she accepted. John took his gloves off and took both her hands in his own. His palms were warm, and soft, like those of a scholar who worked all his life with books. A slight squeeze, almost reassuring and then an odd tingling sensation traveled up her forearms, elbows, upper arm, shoulders, and met in the middle. Within Talula's dead chest, a heart almost started beating again, a most peculiar and upsetting sensation. She hadn’t felt a heart struggle in her chest for so many many years, and the few hours it lasted wasn’t enough to get used to it. Rather, it was almost a source of panic for her, that fluttering feeling. It was her own heart that beat beneath her flesh, and it could ruin her.

Carl, it was Carl Skjöld that the hunters where after. Talulah knew Carl of clan Toreador since when she first arrived in Gothenburg 6 years ago, and their relationship could at best be described as strained. In the last few months, the young and gifted Toreador had seen it as his solemn duty to hunt down, incarcerate and discredit any hunter who saw Gothenburg their hunting ground and responsibility. There was no end to the hunters, but they where humans and they cared deeply about what happened to those who fell to Carl’s persecution. Not that there was anything strange about the way Carl reacted to their systematic extinction of his parasitic kin, or their own human anger at his success at putting stop to their activities. So it was to find Carl, that Talulah lead the hunters into the city. She knew where the city’s vampires had gathered a fortnight ago and it was to the same place, a white stone building near the city centre that she led John and Jenna.
The heavy metal door was locked, and ornate bars covered the glass of the windows. But she, they, God, had a man on the inside as well. A monster of a man. Harry Grim. Talulah peered briefly through the dirty glass of the door at the disfigured man waiting further in a darkened staircase. Harry had the unfortune to be embraced into the Nosferatu clan, a clan in which all members endured their bodies being warped hideously within days of them being turned.  The monster let them pass through by unlocking and opening the door from the inside. He mostly wore a mask to cover the worst parts of his face, but crooked and vicious teeth where visible beneath it. Talulah nodded in silent agreement with him and they then led the two hunters to a side room. Her body was trembling from weakness and fear. Fear was unfamiliar to her in no way, but to actually feel the ravages it had on the body was uncommon.

The side room had wooden paneling halfway up, and then some variant wallpaper with a warm reddish colored. In that room. With her partner in arms, Grimm. With the hunters that were in their right to not let any of them leave. With Carl, a man that parts of her loathed with the heat of a thousand suns because of the infractions they had committed against each other. In that room Talulah stood with a beating and trembling heart. Grimm had lured Carl into the room with promises of a meeting with a high ranking blood kin. Carl was seated in a chair in a corner of the room.
Talulah saw a switchblade in Carls right hand, how he nervously flipped the gleaming blade back, forth, back. Opening and closing it. The electric lights in the room reflected and danced of it. Seeing the blade with her abnormally normal eyes. The eyes god gave her, the male hunter John, had said, reminding her that The Sight that she so often thanked God for, in fact was an effect of years spent as a vampire and was drawn from blood not rightfully hers. On other nights she could almost read Carl like an open book and would know before he himself did when fear of retribution would stay his hand and when the rage of the beast would overcome him. Make him plunge that blade into someone. Now instead she had to stare at the blade intently, reading his body language instead. She found her mind wandering. If that blade sunk into her ribcage now. Would she, finally, die? How human was she? Would it matter more if she died now, with a heart almost beating? Jezebel would object to such fantasies, as the beast primarily focused on survival. And then the realization that the reason Jezebel was quiet was that she lay sleeping, far beneath the surface. The beast lay sleeping in the presence of the hunters. John, the name the male hunter had called himself tonight, explained it to an extent, to Carl. That he could, temporarily, keep the beast at bay, to speak to the man. But Carl refused. And he kept refusing.

Talulah and Grimm went to guard the door from others. Some vampire gathering who were young enough to either be curious to who was hidden in the side room or too powerless to resist when their elders sent them to find out. It was better too keep them out. Keeping them out of harms way. The dry, and polished wood of the ornately carved door and door frame felt intense to Talulah's hand. No soul sight to detract her mind from experiencing the materials surrounding her. Outside the door, the magnificent staircase curves down from the second story.

What looks like a young woman approaches her, descending the steps. She introduces herself as Freja and she dresses like a harlot or performer of some kind, adorning herself in black leather, shiny materials and chains. Blonde hair cascades down her shoulders and neck. In more conservative clothing she’d be just to Grimm tastes. The old Grimm.  She’s high, almost positive energy, yet unrelentless in the way she just looks straight at them. People who know Talulah and Harry Grimm are usually not as straightforward in their approach. She speaks in swedish, and Talulah realizes the language is hard to understand to her without the help from her Sight to see the actual meaning behind the words.
"English?" Talulah asks and the request is granted. Freja asks about who is hidden in the side room.
“Hunters. Best keep away.”

The hunters, having exhausted all attempts at diplomacy, eventually left. But not until a member of the city's vampiric council, Anne Brown of clan Toreador, interceded on behalf of Carl and made a deal both with the hunters and with Carl. Talulah didn’t even care to find out what they agreed about.

Talulah could physically feel the two hunters leaving, but they also sent a text message to the Harry Grimm. And at the moment of their departure, when her vampiric blood yet again coursing through her veins, and the last few shutters of her heart came to a stop she and Harry where in a tight spot.

Talulah had wandered upstairs, only to find Grimm and the coterie Facket in a deadlock with Ulrik and what was probably other Setites. Talulah knew, as she had been told, that the Setites where headed for destruction and that it was very possible that destruction was to fall on Grimm and herself to implement. Without the special sight that her vampiric blood and origin granted her, the soulsight, she had felt as blind as a seeing person suddenly having her eyes gouged out from her skull. Now, suddenly the room she held had awoken with the flame of emotion. The command had come “kill”. And at that exact moment Ulrik lit up like a bonfire, like a pillar of intense light and heat. He drew from his blood the ability to spellbound them all in his presence and the intensity of it immediately drew her to him. Killing him, or any of the vampires in his protection seemed impossible. She fixed her gaze upon him, then the white clad setite priestess cowering at his side. And heat bloomed in her heart, in that moment God touched her and let his existence be intensified in this adorned palace room. Vampires writhed and gasped to her right and to her left. It struck fear into them. Just a few steps and Talulah was across the room, now sure of herself and what she was to do in the moment. Pride set it’s tendrils into her mind. Through the commotion Ulrik shouted something, maybe directed at her, or at the situation, at all of them. Setites, Facket, Harry Grim, Talulah Jezebel.

“We get the infernalists first.” A suggestion for cooperation, to root out bigger evils together before going for each others throats. Talulah wasn’t going to go for Ulrik directly. He was glorious, perfect, untouchable from the soles of his immaculately polished shoes to the well rounded locks crowning his head. Instead Talulah's small hand closed around the thin forearm of the Setite priestess who was covering on the floor to the left of Ulrik. The arm was rotated enough for her to have access to the supple, white skin on the inside, where veins were barely and beautifully visible. Jezebel was tempted to just bite into the deeply satisfying liquid that lay hidden, but this was not the time for that. Instead they wielded a large pen she had kept clutched in her other hand and swiftly drew the sign of the cross, two black lines down the arm of her victim. Talulah set her eyes into Ulriks, the nemesis and felt blessing rushing down her arm, into her hand, into the cross she just made. Blessings that were anathema to the vampire body and soul.
“Burn. Scream.” Talulah was only faintly aware of the woman, who gasped, eyes widening. She tried to resist the mark, but to no effect. Her aura lit up with utter pain, only licking at Talula's peripheral vision. Yes. Jezebel roared, the beast just beneath the surface. But Talulah was addressing Ulrik. “Your arm. Give me your arm. Give me your arm instead.” He didn’t want to do it, why, she couldn’t read from him, and yet with an angry sigh he quickly shed his jacket and rolled up the sleeve of his immaculate white shirt. Talulah released her first victim, who sunk to the floor, nursing the pain in her arm. “Yes.” She agreed “We get the infernalists first” and to seal that, the mark was drawn on Ulriks arm as well and seared into that flesh, for his mind to remember. It was also put to the flesh of anyone who had attended in favor of Ulrik.
“And bring me your young.” With this last lash of words from her pridefull tongue she released them and turned her back on them, knowing they would be too broken, confused and fearful of her God to retribute immediately.

Pride is the beginning of the downfall into corruption. And upon leaving, and trying to free herself of whatever selfishness had been part of what she just had done, Talulah felt horribly, horribly alone. An aching void inside her stomach and chest. Humans could bring her companionship, but she had tried it and it had ended up badly, for the humans. She had only felt companionship when it was forced upon her, when the choice to withdraw or flee was not given. And now, somehow, the work she had to do had placed her in separate space, isolated from the others. She was above them. She missed her pack. She missed...touch. Her dreams for herself had always been thin, and now they were wearing even thinner, near breaking. No matter of faith would be able to keep her together. How long now before the end? What would she do without dreams. Down the magnificent wooden staircase she ran, away from setites and conflict, even away from Harry Grim. Searching, looking through the rooms on the ground floor.
Sonja. Maybe Sonja could pour into her and help her find herself again? Sonja was a clanmate to Talulah, and together they had been through more than most. Even through death. The dark eyed warrior in her long coat was at the bottom of the stairs, leaning in faux relaxment against the wall. Sonja, the clever fox, could smell that something was up. She wouldn’t let herself be led away, be alone with Talulah when her friendsisterclanmate was so desperate. So instead Talulah Jezebel found someone she didn’t even use to like, Veronika Bielke. And with that, Jezebel was...satisfied. A very good beast. She would never become free and she could hardly believe what had been done to her.
* * *
Nothing. First came nothing and then came nothing. Nothing. It would be for the best if there continued to be nothing. And then there was something. An itch. An urge. The neverending hunger. Life in a dead body. Movement of muscle, long since deceased. Remodeled more than once, into final perfection in the eye of others.
Knowledge that Talulah would never truly be alone, even if she felt lonely now, after the last meeting. Talulah put a cold fingertip to her lower lip. Her lips were so much more sensitive than they had been when she inhabited her old body. The sensation was a pleasant one, but reminded her of what feeding felt like. She quickly removed her finger, broke of the touch. Mustn't think of that.
The near future worried her. Already she could faintly read it's possibilities. A dark figure rising, as well known as every other part of herself. A razor blade smile. A beast pacing back and forth, back and forth. But to touch others again, and be body, and destruction. To kiss every last drop of tainted blood away. Even as she tried to suppress the memories they flooded back, and Jezebel reveled in them.

Images of the tall and lanky  figure of Mr J. Standing under the old city light in the moist New Orleans air. How what he did strengthened Jezebel at the expense of Talulah. A very good beast. The surprising other side of Madz, who was supposed to be a soulless and shattered monster of a man and yet had such soft and tender touches. How Jezebels hunger and ego was unsatisfied with anyone who gave of themselves willingly. Always the dark streak and the betrayal of trust whenever it was given. They called her oath breaker and boon breaker. She was not to be trusted. And Jezebel reveled in that. It is hard to live with a beast inside, a beast that thirsts for vengeance and destruction. Madz had been thrown aside in favor of someone who wouldn’t give in as easily. The beast...even when it is cowardly, still like to sink it’s teeth into what is a bit of challenge to chew off. Someone who had not given in willingly, but through favors, mutual acquaintances and a much better conscience than either he himself or others gave him credit for had the unfortunate opportunity to once be bonded with Talulah Jezebel. Much to her new fathers dismay. Talulah swallowed. The image of the tall man with his broad shoulders came to her mind. Her telephone still held his number.


söndag 2 mars 2014

Prolog 2014 - Lördag

Slog upp mina blå i hotellsängen av att min rumskamrats larm ringde. Åt en utmärkt och mjölkfri hotellfrukost, soygurth och perfekta löskokta ägg. Kramar och samtal om vilka som blir ombedda att spela befälsroller och vilka föreställningar arrangörer har när de tänker ut i förväg hur ett befäl ska vara.

Sedan var det presentation av det kommande årets lajv i det stora rum som kallas för Box 1. Flera intressanta projekt och jag förbannade lite att jag lite redan spikat vilka lajv jag ska satsat på i år. Trenderna verkar vara förmedeltid och 30-40 talet. 

Jag kanske länkar några trailers lite senare.
Gedda gjorde Granlandstrailern
13.00 besökte jag en Workshop som hette "Att spela en skitstövel" som hade flera beröringspunker med min egen workshop om att spela en kvinnlig antagonist. De som höll i workshopen var folk jag kände så som Ola, Sara, Hanna och Josefin. Superproffsigt föreläst, intressanta filmklipp på olika skitstövlar, där ibland House och Umbridge samt en strukturering av dessa karaktärers uttryck, motivationer och djup. Definitvt något jag kan låna av för att analysera mina egna karaktärer.
Anna och Eva är ett radarpar, varav jag känt Anna i flera åt. Hon bloggar även som Setsuna Ceras och gör en podd för Meganörd. De höll en kortare föreläsning om att spela kvinnor med makt. En reflektion jag har där är att de lajvare som beter sig illa mot en när man ska spela i maktposition väldigt sällan motiverar det för sig själva med att de ogillar en som kvinna. Istället kommer de att ha någon annan ursäkt för varför man inte duger eller ska bestraffas in eller offlajv, men det är ett kriterie de inte skulle döma en man lika hårt för, eller är en egenskap kvinnor oftare har.

En, eh, konstellation jag ingår i har precis släppt lajvet Landsväg vilket ledde till jättepepp deltagare och en spelning med sånger som hör till den världen.

Fyra musiker, två män, två kvinnor, utklädda till Grävare sjunger på scen.
19.00 utvecklade jag mitt skillset genom att Agnes fick lära ut ett riskhanteringsverktyg till en liten grupp. Bra med det var att vi hade Agnes fulla uppmärksamhet. Redan tidigt in i riskhanteringen för vårt påhittade projekt insåg vi hur mycket som kan undvikas genom en omdesigning av scenariot efter en tidig riskidentifiering.

Sist på kvällen 22-00 höll jag i en workshop om moderna och hemska scenarion med en filmisk touch. Bland annat byggde vi stämning med hjälp av färgsatt ljus, musik och masker. Nu har jag funderat vidare kring hur jag skulle kunna utveckla den workshopen så att jag aktiverar deltagarna mer och tänker att om jag delar upp dem i par och låter dem öva på hur man gör en ofarlig stagefightingörfil.

Jag somnade strax före två, därför uppdaterar jag först nu på söndagen.

lördag 1 mars 2014

Prolog 2014 - Fredagen

Two women relax on a blanket. The sun is strong and creates sharp shadows.
Körningen mot Västerås påbörjades i gryningen och gick genom ett ömsom regnigt, ömsom dimmigt sverige. Svagt gula och gröna åkrar som sträckte ut sig på båda sidor om motorvägen. Vindkraftverk som snurrade i sakta mak, där den den vingspets som för stunden pekade rakt upp mot himlen, doldes från vår blick av låga moln.
Delar av vägen bar jag solglasögon, och vår förmiddagskaffe intogs på en filt i Skara.
Västerås fanns till vår belåtenhet kvar. Här skulle vi delta i Lajvkonventet Prolog.
I sådana sociala situationer finner jag mig tidvis överväldigad av den mängd kroppskontakt som det förväntas av mig, men de som känner mig sedan innan var noga att be om lov innan de kramade mig.
Jag duckade ut från invignen med ursäkten att jag skulle testköra tekniken, projektorn, i den sal där jag skulle hålla workshop om kvinnliga antagonister efter invigningen. Satt utanför i några soffor med några andra äldre lajvare, där vi spekulerade i om det var ofrånkomligt att våra ursäkter för att inte delta i invigningen ändå kunde ses som ett ställningstagande som undergrävde andra.
Jag själv har samma tankar om mitt eget avvisande kroppspråk och ovilja att hälsa med kramar, något som är vanligt bland lajvare. Speciellt så för lajvare man endast möter ett fåtal gånger per år.

Antalet deltagare på min programpunkt svällde betänkligt, och jag var glad för varenda själ som kände att de ville starta igång hela konventet just tillsammans med mig. Jag inledde med en miniföreläsning om mina egna tankar kring att spela antagonist och sedan delade lajvarna in sig i grupper. Nästa gång, på söndag, kommer jag antagligen istället ta kommandot över gruppbildningarna. Uppgiften de fick att lösa var att skriva en antagonistroll och sedan visa upp den med en kort scen. Speciellt imponerad efter detta moment måste jag säga att jag var av de som skapade en antagonist till lajvet Lindängens Riksinternat. De förtjänade ett hederomnämnande för sina gestaltningar av motsättningar bland tonåringar.

Tyvärr förhindrade min hälsa mig att delta i de programpunkter jag hade tänkt mig, utöver min vän Johannes "Nördfeminism för män". När jag hade piggnat till igen var de programpunkterna förbi, men i ett något darrigt tillstånd hade jag ändå fått hänga med några av mina idoler.

Nu sitter jag trött och slut på hotellet och är tacksam för att jag ska få sova här och inte i en sovsal. Dessutom kan jag se bilen från fönstret, så jag vet att den har det bra. Imorgon har jag en extrainsatt programpunkt 22-00. Det blir roligt.

Black and white photo. In a spot of light, a sharp silhouette is visible.