Day – A broken Europe that was not, under a State born from the ashes of total war. Comrades work to produce propaganda and lifeblood for the State. Decay, stagnation and exhaustion. Melancholia.
Night – A twisted Europe that was not, no order but desire after the never-ending war. Unclean craving hearts dance through secrets, pleasures and black lodges. A fever for the dark and the weird. Debauchery.
Day and Night follow each other, yet characters are the same.
Europe as a ghost
In each side of the mirror, Europe is a ghost and history does not really exist beyond the 1940s in this larp in any meaningful way. Characters live in what would be the equivalent of the 80s, but any cultural production of note or references stopped at the 40s, for the War went on, and on, and on, everlasting until it stalled by exhaustion and not by victory. Any creation is just gibberish propaganda during Day or mindless subversive entertainment that does not appear until Night.
We do not attempt to portray a consistent alternate reality, but a phantasmagoria. Two mirrors of a weird dream of what is not.
Day and Night
Characters behave differently and have different motivations, with a strong contrast between Day self and Night self, but they are the same people. During Day, we focus on order, stability, faith, work and community with a constant feeling of loss and melancholy caused by the War. Interactions are sad and subtle. Characters are seen as comrades who dress the same: plain, simple and functional, the way that The State provides. During Night, we focus on blackened passions, dark interests and secrets. Interactions are weird and desperate. Characters revel as deviants who express by dressing as they wish in a vintage or decadent style (or they undress partially if they prefer) and they cannot behave rationally or in a distant way even if they would like, for they are bound to hedonism, vice and sensation.
An international village
The language spoken will be English, which is considered the pidgin language – it represents a mix of broken English with a bit of Spanish and Polish this village uses. Characters have a Western Mediterranean or Eastern European background with Catholic roots and haven’t fully adapted yet. The comrades provide art, culture and lifeblood for the peoples that joined The State not long ago. At Night, characters simply don’t care to use any other language than English.
This is a larp for immersion, for embracing your character as completely as safety allows. There is no attempt to provide a narrativist or simulationist approach. This is not an aesthetic experience and it is not divided in acts with breaks. We aim for seamless transitions, seamless spaces and seamless experiences marked by the presence or absence of natural daylight. There will be structure, some events in motion and a premise recurrent, but they are not the point of this larp, they are our excuse for immersion and exploration of a divided character psyche in a weird and distorted environment.
Symbolic places, times and hearts
The external caves are a place for Night when it is Day, and even a darker and most dangerous place when it is Night. The hammam (arab baths) are the Dream: they are neither Day nor Night, a place of possibilites where waters walk inside the characters to awaken what they are not. The Dream changes personalities with traits that are not their own. Allegories play inside the psyche of the characters in contrast to their material reality. Their actions at Day and perversions at Night serve these allegories and inner conflicts.
Each full day cycle has a strong symbolic influence over the larp, tied to the astrological Planet which reigns on that period. The whole larp will be seen as a whole season, so an undefined amount of time will pass with each full cycle.
Wraith and wonder
Characters experience unusual things and consider them routine, and no strange event will make them think that what is happening is impossible or outlandish, regardless if it is Day or Night. Characters accept the world as it is. They don’t change it, they don’t rebel against it: they live it.
Death is final
Character death is final. There is no return, not even as a memory from the past. Death is the only way to abandon Day and Night, and it means ending the larp itself for you. Your character can get hurt by others, but can only die if you, as a participant, decide for death. Don’t take it lightly. Death is final and you will stay the rest of the larp apart from other players and outside any character interaction.
In any case, your character cannot die until the supper of the last day finishes.
The State exists during the Day; it is benevolent, yet mildly oppressive. It is harsh, yet slightly incompetent. It is providing, yet quite corrupt. It is made by the People, for the People, towards Glory. Shades of ideology mix and get stagnant. It is as if Bolshevism had fagocited and assimilated elements of Fascism during the War and they had integrated and neutered each other, so their principles appear under different words.
The State is definitely anti-bourgeois. At the same time, a religion of the Blood, the People and Hearth has swallowed the old Christian faith that existed before the War. Characters have Spanish and Polish names and backgrounds, living together in the village. They can privately have bourgeois and Christian convictions and The State won’t mind as long as they conform to society and don’t rebel. The State makes all people marry with the opposite sex and have an assigned spouse at a certain age, albeit it does not take sexuality in account nor supress it. Children born in the village are taken away and educated by The State according to their blood, their parents’choices and their personal aptitudes.
Society is at a middle point between the personal and the communal. Work is the highest value, but Work does not have to be physical. Some social activities are mandatory and coloured by authoritarianism, while at other times Joy, their spare time, can be spent freely in a conservative and constructive way.
History is over. The People won, The State protects and guides. Forever.
The War never ended and Europe became a feast for vultures, a ruined field, a place for excess and madness, for no other thing made sense. Society crumbled, and what remains is a gathering of craving hearts. Mind games, domination games, all sins that were forbidden are the main occupations. Nobody wastes breath producing anything, everything is there to be consumed and enjoyed. Somehow, there is food, clothes and tools around, for perversions and needs make them coalesce into the physical when nobody is looking at them. Is this sorcery? Perhaps, for God surely died before the War. There is a web of pacts, of ghastly obsessions. What, if not, is the life that remains to be consumed? This is the final dance.
Characters are the same, but their personalities are twisted and they pursue challenges, deviancy and get involved in secret practices for which they won’t be prosecuted, looking for pleasures and torments. Faith wanes, so the darkest passions arise. There is no State after the sun dies on the horizon. It is not only that The State is absent – it does not exist, both objectively and for the characters, which think that Night never ends. Their motivations and plans are changed–what was a planned evening of tea and pastries during Day could be really a debauched party or a blasphemous rite with no coherent meaning at Night.
History is over. We perform the final dance and the fever won’t let us rest until we join the soil.
Intimate and violent contact will be regulated by escalation techniques, more focused on expressing violence, desire and submission than enacting them. Safety comes first and opting out is always an option. The threshold of physical contact is medium: cheek kisses, hugs or light shaking being enough to enjoy the larp. Sexual play is played through theater sex.
Violence and sex will be enacted in a subtle way at Day and an outlandish theatrical way at Night. Nudity could appear, but never during Day time (except places in which Day does not apply, like Dream – the arab baths). Characters could be hurt, traumatized or wounded, but they are healthy and functional again at the start of each full day cycle. Regardless of Day and Night, no character goes for a true killing blow. They simply don’t. Life is precious and miserable. The State knows it, The Dark knows it. Only Death is final.
Play to flow
We want you to play not to win, neither to lose, but to flow. Flow along the actions and reactions of other characters, flow along whatever is coming. Don’t stop anything. Don’t block anything. Don’t attach yourselves to any expectation in your mind. Specifically, don’t pact any scene before the larp with other participants, that would be fixing your interactions instead of making them fluid (pacting the kind and sign of relationship you will have is great, though). Keep communications as diegetic as possible to avoid dropping out the character. A proactive attitude of the participant is needed to create content and meddle in other character’s affairs.
TV and film: Twin Peaks (TV), The Prisoner (1967 series), Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920 film), Things to Come (1936 film, up to and including the “1970” segment), Hiroshima mon amour (1959 film, only the Nevers fragments).
Literary: Das grüne Gesicht (Gustav Meyrink), Cien años de soledad (Gabriel García Márquez), En attendant Godot (Samuel Beckett), 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami).
Other: Pathologic (videogame), Zdzisław Beksiński (Polish artist), Ernst Barlach (German artist), TriORE (music project).
The free Village font is taken from here.