Requiem: Reichskinder is a LARP game for 31 players written and organized by the Rolling Association. It was inspired by an uneasy period for Czech–German relationships right after WWII, which here takes the form of an atmospheric thriller in the fictional Rehabilitation Institute for Problematic Youth. Requiem: Reichskinder is set around the second half of the year 1945, but the game is not—nor does it attempt to be—a historical one. Players have the opportunity to experience the game either in the skin of Czech–German adolescents held in the Czechoslovak re-education Institute or in the role of the Institute’s staff.
The game deals with the big topics of personal integrity, national values, war trauma, and the blurred transition between reality and psychotropic states of mind. Its aim is to tell stories of guilt, punishment, and redemption.
There will be two international runs of Requiem: Reichskinder held in 2018:
- May 3-6
- May 10-13.
Both runs will start on Thursday evening and end on Sunday morning (Saturday night is dedicated to evaluation/feedback and a final party).
Thorough information about the project is provided in the new DESIGN DOCUMENT which we recommend you read.
Basic facts about the game
Although most players will be representing adolescents, the upper age limit of participants is not set. However, only players older than 18 years may participate.
The game takes place on the grounds of the old military hospital in Theresienstadt, which represents the Rehabilitation Institute for Problematic Youth, and in which the accommodation is also provided.
All meals, costumes, and props are provided by the organizers.
The game itself runs non-stop, including during the time dedicated to sleep. The unusual sleep mode is part of the game as well (there are eight hours for sleep allotted in the game, but divided into two four-hour shifts/blocks).
Various forms of oppression may appear in the game, but the game is NOT trying to establish as oppressive an environment as possible. A certain level of discomfort is just a gaming tool.
The game deliberately works with reality distortion and offers various levels of interpretation.
Please bear in mind that the game takes place in an old building that can only be heated to a certain level and that there are no showers or private bathrooms. You will also sleep on military beds for many fewer hours (sleeping is divided into four-hour segments) than you might be used to, and you will be asked to share the space for sleeping with other players (see the section “Practical” of the design document for details), so take this into consideration when deciding whether this game is for you. We believe that the experience of the game is worth and even enhanced by a little real-life discomfort, but do not hesitate to contact us to ask for details or to inquire about individual needs, etc.
About the game
Requiem: Reichskinder provides an opportunity to experience the depressing environment of the fictional Rehabilitation Institute for Problematic Youth through a personal story of being uprooted, searching for one’s identity, and coping with one’s past. Our goal is to bring to light the complicated stories of people living their lives in the grey zone between Czech and German nationalities, stories of young people whose lives were changed dramatically during the war and whose troubles not only failed to vanish with the end of the war, but often got worse or only then truly began.
Alternatively, players can become members of the Institute’s staff: Czechoslovaks who had often experienced the war firsthand and had to take an attitude towards the pupils in the Institute.
We provide a dark, atmospheric content game offering an intense experience, as well as a strong story that is developed during the game primarily by the players themselves, who are provided with strong techniques to do so. Our goal is NOT to create an authentic reconstruction of period realities or educational practices.
The discomfitting enviornment and strict schedule of the Institute serve as atmospheric tools that form the common framework of all the characters’ individual destinies. Our aim is by no means to physically harass the players or to test their abilities and boundaries. At the same time, it feels appropriate to emphasize that the game deliberately works with psychological deprivation, oppression, and restriction of freedom. The game also purposefully operates by blurring the common objective reality of the characters using a number of tools that allow players to develop their stories in a personalized way.
Neither psychological deprivation nor oppression, nor restriction of freedom, nor our narrative tools (see “Drama Therapy,” “Therapeutic Procedures,” etc.) should be considered a goal of this game. Our goal is to create a powerful story, and all these methods must serve that story.
The game is set in 1945, but it is only loosely inspired by some of the real events of that time, and it is not a historical reenactment. We use selective historical facts, and our intention is to tell the stories of people, not to present a portrayal of that period. At the same time, all the characters are fictional, their plots only loosely representing the destinies of the actual children of their time, and they are often presented in a concentrated, intense, pushed-to-the-extreme form. In addition, in order to focus on the main themes of the game, some other possible themes had to be superseded; for example, religion is of no importance in the game.
Players taking the roles of pupils and staff are not expected to do any kind of intense preparation before the game. In fact, it is highly recommended just to read your diary (which will be purposefully distributed days before the game), perhaps watch some of the recommended television series and movies and maybe one of the books, and finally arrive and play right away. No preplay or pregame negotiation is involved.
The roles of therapists are a bit more complex concerning game materials: Therapists will receive the diaries of all pupils 14 days before the game. There is no need for extensive research of the historical problematics; you will get a basic overview from your game materials and the basic idea from the recommended films. Each participant will receive an already complete character with a sophisticated past, personality, and his or her own plots, the description of which will be provided in advance shortly before the game. The costumes are also provided by us. The players will only need to bring their own shoes and warm/functional undergarments to put on under the costume. The pupils will also need simple gym attire.
The stories of the characters take place within the walls of the fictional rehabilitation institute, which is represented by the military hospital in Theresienstadt. A significant element of the game is the strict discipline of pupils and the consistent adherence to their regular daily routine. The game time is divided into several units that have a clearly defined schedule for blocks of activities, rest, therapies, and sleep. The pupils attend regular sessions with the therapists and undergo drama therapy and other, more drastic therapeutic procedures if necessary. Within the game, the element of repetition is essential; the stories of characters move forward and develop by repeating the seemingly identical activities that are in fact gradually moving somewhere or being put into new frames. The possible blurring or distorting of the players’ orientation in time as well as light sleep deprivation are recognized elements of the game. You will be familiarized with the entire game schedule from the beginning, and as players you will also know the approximate moments when the most important decisions should be made so that you can adjust the story of your character accordingly. The game environment is often bizarre and visually disturbing and uses various musical and light effects.
The game is of the touching type, which means that lighter forms of intimacy and violence are role-played in quite a realistic way, 1:1, game to reality—an embrace is an embrace, a kiss is a kiss, a brawl is a brawl. At the same time, during the introductory workshops before the game, all players can state and set their limits—the violence and intimacy borderlines they are not willing to cross within the game—and others must respect that limit. We also use a variety of other means to create a safe enough environment (see the design document for details).
The game takes approximately 30 real-life hours and is divided into three time blocks, each representing one game day. Each game day is then precisely divided into smaller units with clearly set content. For easier orientation, each character gets a personal chart with a schedule that is similar to a school timetable, which precisely defines the activities the character is supposed to dedicate his or her time to. These timetables have a precise purpose, and they are fine-tuned to serve the game as much as possible. The personal timetables are not in the game to oppress the players; on the contrary, they serve them by improving the options of the game layout, creating interesting situations, and revealing in advance when some of the breakthroughs in their stories will occur. The pupils are also always provided with a certain amount of free time, in which they can walk freely through the Institute and handle their own agendas.
The regular changing of activities and blocks allows us to put enough incentives into a time-constrained game and to prepare all necessary procedures and effects technically. At the same time, we believe that it will provide you with a frame that you can fill with your acting.
Drama therapy, or therapeutic theatre, is a mechanism by which players can portray their characters’ attitudes towards traumatic events in their past. At the same time, drama therapies serve as a tool that helps them express their relationships, shift their past experiences and look for re-interpretations, and lead them along desired paths toward damnation or reconciliation. Each player belongs to one theatrical play that covers some fundamentally traumatic scene from all the characters’ common past. Drama therapy within a specified group of pupils takes place repeatedly and differs depending on how the interpretation of events changes and evolves. It is one of the games’ key mechanisms, which allows the players to act out the development of their characters in relation to the outer world.
At the same time, it provides the chance to create fundamental twists in characters’ relations with one another, to create new conflicts and moments of forgiveness, and to build their desired paths to reconciliation or damnation at their own hands.
Because everything that happens in every new iteration of the drama therapy becomes the actual past—what really happened—and after the drama therapy ends, everybody has to work with the new past.
Characters in Requiem: Reichskinder
The characters can be divided into three main groups depending on their agenda and game style.
The pupils are the most numerous group. The players of these characters impersonate the Czech–German youth held in the Institute in order to be re-enacted, healed from the aftermath of the possible experienced traumas, and to have some appropriate Czechoslovak values instilled. That is why a strict routine, regular therapy sessions, and a certain amount of oppression by the authorities awaits them. Their role presents exactly the experience that we consider essential in Requiem: Reichskinder. They play a game about guilt, punishment, forgiveness, and damnation.
Another group is represented by the Institute’s staff. They are the work crew, educators, and nurses who take care of the pupils and at the same time develop their own stories. The players in these supervising roles are responsible for the correct operation of the Institute’s routine, for organizing the drama therapies, and for interacting with pupils from a position of executive authority. The players in these roles can expect a lot of responsibility, a bit of investigation, and very tense relationships with each other.
The last, very small, group is the therapists. They provide therapeutic sessions to individual pupils, keep personal files on each of them, and make decisions about the therapies and procedures that the pupils have to go through. The therapists’ game will consist mainly of interviews with the pupils and psychoanalysis. There will be just three therapists, and their game will be very specific and different from the other roles’ games; therefore, signup for these roles will also run separately from the other applications.
The roles of the therapists offer zero action and will be very stereotypical: The therapists will spend their time making constant rounds of interviews, through which they will try to get to know their clients better, or, on the contrary, they will reveal things to the clients that the pupils themselves are unaware of. The therapists do have a special kind of power over the pupils. Not only do they choose therapeutic procedures and evaluate the degree of national enthusiasm and other qualities of individual pupils, but the setting of the game also very often gives them a chance to determine what actually happened to a particular pupil in his or her past or to determine what his or her crime was. The role of the therapists is suitable for those who want to tell and co-create the stories of others in a special form, as well as for those who desire to decide the fate of others. The therapists will not meet or interact with the special friends of the pupils in any direct way.
First signup interval was launched on 17 November and will last 14 days, until 1 December.
Two international runs of Requiem: Reichskinder will take place in Spring 2018 on the following days:
- the fourth run - May 3-6
- the fifth run - May 10-13 (photo run) (photographs will be taken at this run—see the photo information in the Photo section)
Signup periods for the game always take place in stated time intervals, during which all received registration forms have the same value for us. In the event that the number of interested applicants exceeds the number of the roles in the game, we will decide who will get the roles by lot. Unsuccessful applicants can be put on the waiting list to replace players who withdraw or cannot come.
The price of the game has been set to €150. The price includes the game itself, accommodation, costumes, and food from Thursday evening to Sunday morning. In case the price is too high for you for some reason but you still desire to take part in the game, please do contact us via mail; we will definitely think of some solution.
After your role in the game is confirmed and you have paid the participation fee, the cancellation fee is 10% of the price. 14 days before the start of the game the cancellation fee is 100%. The ideal solution is thus to find a replacement—a player who will take over your role. Alternatively, we can help you find a substitute, but it will be up to you to make a deal with that person concerning how much money they will give you. One month before the start of the game the cancellation fee is 50%. If there is a substitute willing to pay full price, of course we will give you a full refund.
NPCs/ SHORT-TERM ROLES
Another way to participate in the game is to sign up as a short-term role player (NPC). We will be very pleased should you decide to take this opportunity, because you would not only enjoy the game from a different point of view than the regular players, but you would also help us a lot with the realization. However, for Requiem: Reichskinder we will only work with NPCs who have already played the game. That means that for these two runs, we won’t accept international NPCs.
After the first few runs, we decided to limit the taking of photographs during the game for several reasons. From the players’ feedback, we now know for sure that even if the photographer is very careful and sensitive, his or her presence during certain scenes can distort and degrade a player’s full experience.
This will be the only difference for the upcoming runs. At both runs, we will take simple portraits before the start of the game. However, during the game itself, the camera will only be present and photos taken at a clearly designated run. Even in this case, though, all photos will have to pass through the approval of both the authors of the game and all players.
- Contact email for all your questions: email@example.com
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Rolling: association for development of roleplaying and education games; Palackého třída 2020, 530 02 Pardubice, Identification number: 02296802, Bank account: IBAN: CZ7520100000002300500209 BIC/SWIFT: FIOBCZPPXXX