a) Trust and Techniques

Keywords: safety words, boundaries, opt-in/opt-out
Focus: Participants learn meta-techniques and how to trust each other.

Target: everyone

Place: Messhall

Responsible: Someone


The first exercises together are meant to create trust between the participants and offer them space to learn the basic meta-techniques. This part of the workshop is about creating a safe space for everyone. Game mechanics and rules, such as energy balance, will be explained later in the group exercises or interludes.

Escalation and Safety

Explain to the participants the two signal words “brake” and “cut” and how to escalate in a safe way. These signal words or safety words should help everyone to be brave in their play. It is important to trust each other so that everyone will use the signal words.

20 min

  • If someone says “brake”, the scene is de-escalated without ending the game.
  • It is fine to talk about it later with the person who said “brake” by asking for a conversation with “By the colours…” to renegotiate the way of playing the larp together. However, this is not compulsory.
  • When someone says “cut”, everyone in the scene stops their play. Everyone means everyone who has heard the signal word.
  • If someone breaks off a scene like this, you should briefly discuss what they need. You can talk now or arrange a conversation at a later time. It is up to the person who said “cut” whether they want to talk about their reasons or not.
  • If there is a need for discussion, please contact the organisers or one of the safety contact persons.
  • It is important to remember that the “initiators” are responsible for taking things slowly and paying attention to cues from the other players.
  • The “addressees” are primarily responsible for non-verbal refusal (e.g. through hand gestures in-game) or the use of the safety words “brake” or “cut”.
  • It is important to know that the roles of the escalator and addressee can change during a scene.
  • Do not start an escalation if the addressees have their backs to you. Always maintain eye contact.
Escalation exercise

The participants now practise an escalation once, which they are to de-escalate with the help of “brake”. Form pairs who take turns playing the roles. Ask them to act out the following scene:

What kind of scene?


The safety words directly change the flow of the game. If participants feel that they have (almost) crossed their boundaries but do not want to influence the others’ play, they can also calibrate more discreetly. Explain how the “crossing-out” and “By the colours of the light…” techniques work. Give some practical examples of the “By the colours…” rule and have all participants practise it once in pairs.

15 min

  • As an in-game reason for leaving a scene, you could say, “By the colours of the light, I need to lie down”.
  • If you don’t want to leave the scene but there is a reason for discomfort, you could say, “By the colours of light, are you Terrans always standing so close?” to alert the other person that you want a little more distance.
  • Leaving a scene or even the game completely is perfectly fine if you need a break.
  • All players are responsible for withdrawing from a scene they do not want to see or be a part of.
  • It is, again, the responsibility of the players to ensure that it is not difficult or uncomfortable to leave a scene should this be necessary.

Marking boundaries (Lines & Veils)

How close can someone else get to me during the game? Is a touch on the arm ok? Is a hug ok? Have the players line up on one side of the room for each of these questions, with one side indicating approval and the other disapproval. The lowest common denominator applies to the whole larp.

15 min

Then ask all participants to express their Lines & Veils. A Line is something that should never be brought up or played out within the larp, while a Veil ensures that an action or event takes place, but rather “off-screen.” That is, it may be mentioned in passing but not played out in detail as an essential part of the plot. As there may be very personal reasons for Lines & Veils, ask participants to write their Lines & Veils on slips of paper (provided beforehand) and put them in a collection box (approx. 5 min). Then read out the Lines & Veils without comment.

Repeat out-of-game room, safety persons, and give space for questions

Finally, refer all participants again to the out-of-game room and the organisers’ room as places of retreat or where you can find someone you can confide in. Leave room for questions.

10 min


    1. Ich habe es noch einmal ein bisschen umgeschrieben. Jetzt fehlt eine Idee für eine Übungsszene, die deeskaliert werden sollte. Sollen wir noch ein nonverbales Signal einführen für die Deeskalation? Beide Hände hoch? Faust auf den Kopf?

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