The Forbidden History is a larp about a college for the intellectual elite. It is about academic aspirations, secret societies, romantic entanglements, twisted power dynamics and subjects most taboo. It will take place on 28th of October to 1st of November 2020.
The Official Story
The year is 1986 but in some places, it is as if time has stood still.
St. Theodora’s College itself is located in a castle in Poland, shielded from the public. There, the political turmoil of the outside world passes without notice. At the college, hand-picked students are faced with two very different, and sometimes conflicting, realities.
The official story, the facade that everyone upholds, is that the school is strictly focused on academia. That it is through dedicated excellence that the enrolled students shape their future and their path ahead. The students are encouraged to engage in philosophy and ancient literature, in Latin and Greek, in architecture and art. They are also encouraged to have close and personal relations with the eccentric teachers, hand-picked by the school staff for their original and thought-provoking teaching methods. Only through these connections can the students find themselves and find a place in a world that has been placed at their feet.
Student clubs and study groups are common and many of the students themselves have a passion for discussion and debate.
But, there is another part of the school that no one speaks about in the open.
The Forbidden Story
The Forbidden Story, the one that everyone knows about but everyone keeps secret and hidden from the outside world, is a very different one.
Every freshman at the college are quickly introduced to the concept of the Societies. The Societies are where your path is truly chosen, or chosen for you. They are secretive and often occult in nature, dedicated to exploring the depths of the human psyche and the limits of human societal rules. Many of them are designed to free their members from societal taboos or constraints that would hinder them in their studies or their lives after college.
Each society has their own criteria for letting new students in, and their trials and initiation rites are often taxing and scary, but without one, you will not be allowed to stay at the College. The school board knows that the student societies are but a stepping stone into the conspiracies that rule the world outside.
Each society will select a group of students that are prospects, and some are prospects for several societies, resulting in painful choices and betrayals.
The Forbidden History seeks to explore the lives of its students in a very respectful manner with a focus on a polished outside, where everything strange or taboo happens behind closed doors. Here, hidden secrets clash with the mundane, forbidden romances clash with public expectations. The students are caught up in their own journeys, discovering themselves and their darkest aspects as the years at the school add up. Outside, the normal word awaits, and many older students cling to the strange refuge that St Theodora’s provides.
Even if the year is 1986, the students dress as they please and often take inspiration from a range of historical eras. It could be gothic or historically themed, eccentric or strange but always stylish. Think historical gowns, cravats, gloves, riding boots, accessories, and so on.
The larp is inspired primarily by the atmosphere of The Secret History by Donna Tartt but also by movies like Dead Poets’ Society and Cruel Intentions.
Should I go to this larp?
You should go to this larp if you are interested in exploring the themes mentioned above in a respectful and realistic way. The play style is immersive and with a focus on your own personal journey. We want our participants to engage in close relationships and in safe exploration of boundaries, thoughts and philosophies.
You should go to this larp if you have always wanted to experience academic decadence, romance and secret societies at a fantastic castle with hidden passageways and ritual chambers.
It is not a requirement to know the school topics to participate in the larp, and the academic levels will not be at real college levels within these topics. However, we would prefer if it you are interested in delving into them, even from an amateur level.
What is it not
It is not a larp about bullying or direct conflict between students to any greater extent.
It is not a larp about being shut out or being ostracized, but rather about being part of something, even when it might be bad for you.
It is not a larp with public scandals or great upsets to the status quo.
It is not an 80s larp. We picked the 1980s because we wanted it to be modern without having mobile phones. These people do not dress or use make-up in any normal 80s fashion – rather, they are inspired by timeless classic fashion and historical eras. There are multiple ways where the larp fiction differs from the real 80s, including politics and circumstances in the world, all detailed in the expanded material.
It is not a larp where anything magical or divine will be proven true. However, the experiences of the characters might very well resemble the divine or the mystical.
It is not a College of Wizardry larp or connected with that fictional world in any way. It simply takes place in the same off-game castle.
28th of October to 1st of November 2020. Three days of active play time. Participants will need to be on location at 16:00 at the latest on the 18th.
Czocha, Poland. The castle is a modern hotel.
Participants: 100, including 14-16 teachers.
There will be a bus transport from one or several airports, to and from the larp that you can buy alongside your ticket. The exact times will be given at a later date.
Sign-up will open on the 4th of November.
The process we use will be a combination of casting and lottery to distribute the spots for the larp, for player balance and a good distribution of different players. Everyone who signs up in the first evening will be in the same lottery pool.
The application is there to ensure that we get a good distribution of players for teachers and students, as well as to ensure we have a safe play environment for all of our participants. More information is available in the sign up form here:
Ticket price is still being determined. There will be subsidized tickets for those who cannot afford the full price as well as sponsor tickets for those who want to help others afford the larp.
What you will get:
* A close, personal and immersive player experience
* A detailed pre-written character and a friend group of closely connected characters
* Play as either a student or one of the teachers of the Liberal Arts subjects.
* A 4-night stay at the fantastic Czocha Castle including in-game sleeping quarters and meals. The rooms are shared between 2 and 6 people
* Two school days with mandatory classes for the students, according to school program and one day for in-depth classes and extracurricular activities for the students, held and created by the teachers.
* A masquerade ball on saturday night
* Participation in one of the Secret Societies that demand loyalty, devotion and hold rituals or meetings at night. Both student and teacher characters are part of the Societies.
* A carefully written and diverse fiction that weaves through your character and their relationships and engages you in the twisted world that the students have to live in
* Interesting and challenging classes that engages you no matter your previous academic experience
* A detailed casting form that is intended to tailor your experience to the themes that you want to explore.
* Workshops to prepare you for your experience.
The Forbidden History 2019 is designed and run by Atropos together with:
Kjell Hedgard Hugaas
The larp is designed and run by Atropos. The 2018 variant was produced by Dziobak Larp Studios
We also build a great deal on the 2018 run, where the following were integral part of its creation:
Ben Books Schwartz
Jonaya Kemper – Character lead & Organizers
Karijn van der Heij
Kjell Hedgard Hugaas
Safety and support on site
Anders Gredal Berner
Kjell Hedgard Hugas
Anna Lanna Harringer