2009-04-23: Denmark and Norway
I'm back from a trip out Scandinavia way. These are two beautiful countries. Denmark, mild in climate with a pastoral landscape; Norway, the rugged cold northern country, bound by mountains and still-frozen lakes. Truly troll country. I learned that the Danes love their bicycles, made practical by the even landscape of their clean green cities like Copenhagen. And the Norwegians love ritual, as show by their use of us GMs in the opening ritual of the convention: we lead group of torch-wielding players in ritual movements, creating a festive if incendiary atmosphere. It was fantastic to get to catch up with friends I'd met in Finland, and to meet so many more wonderful and insightful folks.
The reason for my trip was to attend two role playing game conventions. The first, Fastaval, is a 25 year old event that is a hotbed of Nordic freeform. They encourage innovation and refinement of the games offered by a jurying the games, and awarding prizes for communication (formidlung), best story, best roles and best overall game. The effect is palpable. The games run are often sophisticated and always fun—or rather engaging. Many times their topic is not what one could consider "fun". A game about Torture, which I did not get to play but I understand handles this topic sensitively and affectingly, won the prize for Best Narrative. There is a project, Gnavpotveksler (tr. "the grumpy converter" named after a cartoon character) underway to translate the winners and more. This is an excellent prospect. If you'd like to get involved go visit the Gnavpotveksler Project Wiki.
The second convention, Knutepunkt, or Nodal Point, is a theory conference held each year in one of the various Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. They solicit papers annually and publish a book in conjunction with the con. This year's Larp, the Universe and Everything, is a gorgeous object, written by a truly international group, including authors from as far afield as Byelorussia, the US and Brazil. Many past books are also available online.
I'm tremendously grateful to the Danish National Association of Role Playing for making my trip possible! And I'm honored by the player's choice award at Fastaval for Under my Skin. Such wonderful players in that game and in all I saw. I'll also share more about the games I took part in and the sights of lovely Copenhagen and Oslo.
2009-04-23 21:18:19 Morten Greis
Nice to hear, that you had a good time in Scandinavia. Saw you at Fastaval, though we didn't get to meet.
Just one slight nitpicky thing, it's formidling. With the 'u' it sounds almost German, and that's a wee bit to the south ;)
And for everybody else, as Emily points out, look out for Gnavpotveksler. I for one am looking forward to sharing our scenarios with the rest of you.
/ Morten Greis
Part of the Imperiet-team
2009-04-24 12:54:31 Matthijs
Huh - my first comment didn't make it through. Apparently you can't be a monkey here, only a human.
Anyways, just wanted to say it was nice finally meeting you in person! And I hope to go to the U. S. someday...
2009-04-24 14:28:26 Emily
Thank you for the correction, Morten. I knew I should have checked my notes. :) Thank you so much for Imperiet! I am looking forward to getting to play more of the scenarios. Hope to see you next time!
And Matthijs—it was great to get to meet you in person. You have such a clear accent it took me a bit to *believe* you weren't just mascarading as a Norwegian. :) Hope we can get you over here for one of our cons, sometime. Though I cannot promise that the setting will be so lovely. Have to make up with the people, instead.
2009-04-24 16:23:56 Morten Greis
You're welcome :)
I'm happy to be a part of the Imperiet (and I can already now reveal, that we're planning the sequel) and really looking forward to see all the scenarios in English.
And hope you'll drop by again next year.
2009-04-24 20:21:00 Frederik J. Jensen
Emily, looking forward to read your reflections when you feel like sharing them. The American Eagle is well and send its regards :-)
Frederik J. Jensen