a larp about the unknown, technocracy and what makes us human

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Design

Dear players,
Find here a basic version of our Design.

Genre

We are not aiming to bring a blockbuster larp to you. This is the weird off-broadway thing, the subversive independent production. You will experience drama and thriller alike. Among our inspirations for themes, moods and designs were: The X-Files, Orphan Black, 1984, Blade Runner, The Man in the High Castle, Gattaca, Saga, Lazarus, The Matrix, Tron, Inception and many others. The historical significance of the location will have an impact on our game design as well.

Setting

Der Pandora-Effekt is a larp about the unknown, technocracy and what makes us human. It is also a larp about exploring a lost, uncanny place and it's history and about making tough choices.

The game is set up in a universe that is not unlike our own - or rather, it is set up in two parallel universes. Their inhabitants will encounter each other in the abandoned barracks “Van Dooren”. One of these universes is a technocracy, the other one is focussed around the value of intellectual goods. Think of them as versions of our contemporary reality, which have developed differently at crucial points in the past. We are not talking about far off futuristic scenarios.

The existence of the other side is not public knowledge in any of the two worlds. And those who know don’t draw the same conclusions - not even within one world. The unknown can come along with great danger, but also with endless opportunities. Time is short and while someone just needs to make their cut, someone else will finally see the bigger picture and try to turn the wheel.

The characters will be divided into several groups from each universe. Not every character will know about the fact that another world then their own exists. Some will know nothing, some will be head to toe into it. During sign up, we will ask you about your preference for this.

Specifics of each universe will be briefed to you ahead of the game. You will develop additional traits and details of each society in workshops before the larp. We want to make the two worlds come to life with you before we gather on site, but you will not need to invest huge amounts of time before the larp.

In terms of disclosure, this means that once characters are handed out, we will strongly ask you not to speak about your character or the specifics of “your” universe to your friends who play on the other side. Discovering the unknown is a vital part of the design, that should not be spoiled.

Game structure

The game will be played in an act structure. That means, there will be no 24/7 ingame time. Sleeping and meals are always off game. The time between chapters will be used to do just that, but also for briefings, possibly providing options for small additional scenes / character-interaction etc. The beginning and ends of each act will be recognisable and distinct. This means, that you will go in- and off game several times during the larp. Sleep- and food deprivation are not part of the game-design.

Characters

You will receive pre-written characters with strong interpersonal connections. The characters will be divided into several groups, which offer emphasis on different topics and playing styles. There will be a survey to determine your preferences and your no-go’s, so worry not. Of course, if the character we assign to you does not work for you, we will find ways to figure it out together.

Clear for entry

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Teams

You will play in different teams of around 3 to 6 people with different thematic focuses, depending on their professions or objectives. Some teams will portrait official personnel, other civilians, others will be beyond these categories. A very small number of solitary characters will be available. Starting the game as such a character will most likely be very challenging, both physically and mentally. You will be asked what kind of team experience you prefer.

Despite their distinct themes and moods, all teams will have important things in common. Our aim is to tell stories of dramatic conflict, both inside the teams and between them. Conflict will be inevitable. You will have to compete, negotiate or fight (physically or mentally). Again, this will happen both on the inside of your group and with the other teams.

Relationships inside the groups will be designed during the pre-larp phase and in workshops right before the larp.

Our aim is to offer a variety of different themes to play on, so that everyone finds their place at the larp. During sign up, there will be a questionnaire to determine your preferences and limits.

Preparation / Pregame / Disclosure

Pandora Effekt is not designed to be a pregame heavy larp. However, you will need to prepare in certain ways. It will be possible for you to talk to certain people about your character, and it will be very important that to others, you don’t. We aim to make it clear, to whom you can disclose character secrets and to whom not.

Spatial Design & Location

Van Dooren is an empty space, virtually 18,000 m² of abandoned building. This has several consequences:

  • The game will be focussed on interaction between players, not on the environment.
  • Overall, the game will feel more like a huge Black Box then a (polish) castle larp.
  • There is lots of space to explore and to find “things”. Whatever that may be, you will need to look for detail.
  • The vast majority of objects that you'll find in Van Dooren will be in game.
  • The building itself is not heated and provides no usable sanitary facilities. Do not worry, there will be enough breaks and facilities nearby.
  • “Space” is relative.
  • Van Dooren and the area of the NS-Ordensburg Vogelsang are places of historical relevance and remembrance. The darker part of European history of the 20th century has brought this place into existence. We will respectfully use this in our game design and to support your experience.

Physical action

Physical conflict and violence will be part of the game. Also, the game will be physically demanding in general. We will introduce metatechniques and safety mechanisms. The amount of physical action which you become involved in will be scalable, both beforehand and during the game. However, it is a part of the design and not completely avoidable.

Technology

Technical props and gadgets will be important for this larp. You will solve tasks and riddles in the field of understanding, building and using technical devices. We will specify rules and meta-techniques how to handle gadgets ingame. We will also provide all the technology which you need in game. There may be additional technology props you may want to bring for certain characters/groups. This will be announced early enough to make preparations.