Post-Hauntological LARP

Nothing like starting a project getting out into the wild, past the point where I can make enormous structural changes to make me see all the flaws in it.

Well, nothing to be done now, but I want to note this set of thoughts down so I can try and get some use out of them later.  Sitting on the bus the other day, it occurred to me that with one exception, most of the LARPs, and indeed most of the RPGs in any form I’ve run are broadly hauntological.  And certainly, Restitution and Armistice are extremely hauntological, expressly reaching for anachronistic aesthetics, locked into examining aspects of the present through the lens of the past.

This bleeds through into their narrative design, as well, particularly in Restitution, which was very much about the inescapable hidden past of the setting.  In Armistice, it’s the characters, rather than the setting that are haunted (by their own prior actions), but the same concern with the past is still there.

There’s a reason for all this – it’s to do with laying the seeds of narrative down in the fictional past, in order that the play in the present can contain richer conflict and drama.

It occurs to me that Testament, failure though it was, was exactly the reverse – it was entire concerned with moving into the future by jettisoning the past.  I’d like to go back to that at some point.

While writing this, the notion of a generational game has occurred to me, where the players don’t have a fixed character, but play the scions of various houses at different points throughout history, although I think that might also get pretty hauntological if not very carefully designed.  Maybe start it in the present day?  Mind you that leads to SF type budget-concerns – LARP is not an SF-friendly medium by it’s nature.

Not really sure where I’m going with this, other than adding “run an unhaunted game” to my to-do list.