are no romantic feelings between them; they might just be friends. Or a character might have a partner among the survivors on one of the other ships in the fleet. In these cases the romance is not a theme we expect you to play, but the npc is someone whose fate your character would care about. There are also characters who do not have any kind of a romance at all, past or present. All examples above are considered not to have a romantic contact in terms of casting.
Roughly 50% of the characters have some form of a romance as a supporting theme, and about 20% have romance as a main theme. What we mean by “a main theme” is that it doesn’t mean that these characters don’t have anything else to play, but in most cases their romantic partner is their closest and most important contact, and in all cases it is mirrored so that the romance is the main aspect for both characters. Romance as a supporting theme means that the romance can be a relevant aspect in the game, but if it doesn’t play out, there are lot of other interesting themes to explore. In these romances, there might be some imbalance concerning how important the romance is for a character (e.g. a triangle drama).
A little bit of insight into our larp culture: in Finland, it is very common that characters are written by the organizers and all the plots, themes, and contacts are ready-made. Larps in which you write your own character and create your own contacts are still a minority in Finland. It is very common that there are quite many romances written into each game. Most of us are used to writing and playing these themes. Within the past few years, it has become a standard to talk with your contacts about their boundaries and the experience they are looking for. Since we have a tradition of prewritten contacts, it is very much frowned upon to do ‘contact shopping’ to choose the players you want to play with while ignoring others. This doesn’t mean we expect you to play with someone you do not feel comfortable with or someone you feel threatened by. What we want to say is that if we can imagine we are in a distant spaceship instead of an elementary school, we can also imagine that our character is attracted to someone we are not. Romance is just one way to create meaningful links between the characters, and the same applies to friends, families and colleagues.
Since we have people coming from all around the world and from very different larp cultures, we want to highlight a few things concerning playing romances to create a safe and pleasant experience for everyone. These are pretty common sense things, but it is still better to state them:
Romances can provide extremely intense and meaningful experiences in a larp. Even if you have some doubts on playing romance, I would encourage you to embrace with an open mind all the plots written in your character. However, your safety and your preferences are our priority, and if you have any issues or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us!
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
Pictures by Axelle Cazeneuve, editing by Laura Kröger
Blog is written by several members of the production team.