Harem Son Saat

Historical larp in 1913

Welcome to the home page for the larp Harem Son Saat. You may find all information regarding the game here.

This game is a work of fiction and all characters and situations depicted are entirely fictional.

"Enslavement is degrading not only to the victim, but also to those who benefit from it."

Germaine Tillion

Harem Son Saat

Harem Son Saat (Last hours of the Harem) is a historically-inspired, romanesque, narrativist Larp for 26 players.

Dates: 17-20 May and 24-27 May 2018

Participation fee: 150 Eur

Sign up: fill in the form here before 12 Nov

Set in a fictional area in the Ottoman Empire in 1913, in the tense years preceding WWI, the game deals with the issues of culture shock, gender segregation and power conflicts.
Language neutral, to be played in equal parts in English and Czech, meaning that the character has the same language skills as the player. English will stand in for Turkish, Czech will be the international language.

This section presents detailed information about the project

Harem Son Saat (« The last hours of the Harem ») is a larp for 26 players. The game will be played in English. Czech will appear in the game in certain parts, as a diegetic language. English will stand for Turkish and the default language of the Court. Czech will represent French as a diplomatic language.

Runs one and two took place in May and June 2016. Runs 3 and 4 in May and June 2017. Runs 5 and 6 will take place on 17.-20.5. and 24.-27.5. 2018 in Czech Republic.

General timetable:

  • Thursday evening from 18 until late: participants arrive, off-game get-together, fitting the costumes
  • Friday 10-18h: workshops
  • Friday 18h – Saturday 23h: uninterrupted in-game time and debrief
  • Saturday night: after-game party
  • Sunday morning: brunch and departure

A larp about balance of power, objectification of desire and culture shock in the Harem tradition of the Ottoman Empire, in the year preceding World War I.

In this game, players will embody people from the high society, who are either a part of the Harem culture or become confronted with it. They will play out the way this experience influences their interconnected destinies.

This game belongs to the tradition of the historically-inspired Romanesque games, with an added influence of Nordic-style techniques. The game is designed as narrativist and it is primarily focused on the collective creation of a story coherent with the key themes and the period. The game, however, will tend towards a realistic scenography and it will contain real time action, and light, non-intrusive meta-techniques.

The main source of immersion will come from the very complex character sheets, containing a detailed backstory. All the characters are connected to many other characters by shared past experiences. The goal of this design is to provide an emotional and deep experience and to reflect on gender and power issues.

Romanesque

Harem Son Saat is a Romanesque Larp, meaning, in the French culture, heavily character-based and character-driven. Characters are pre-written and extremely detailed and each is given their own set of issues and relationships. The game experience relies on the characters’ narrative arc, their evolution, worries and secrets in the troubled years preceding World War One.

A historically inspired game

The goal of a historically-inspired is to try to establish a 360° visual and to strive towards an accurate visual aesthetic. In that regard, an appropriate costume and preparation work are requested of the players. However, since this is not historical reenactment, a measure of liberty and interpretation is allowed, and, because it would be too costly otherwise, we will let the occasional anachronistic element exist (bathrooms for example will be modern).

More importantly, the game will be set in the entirely fictional domain of Morta Siyah, a minor sultanate. It will retain most of the culture and background of the Ottoman Empire at the time, but should by no means be considered representative of the Turkish culture or religion.

Narrativism and themes

The game will tend towards the narrativist approach, meaning that the priority will be collective building of a shared story. Adversity between characters will, likewise, have primarily a dramatic function (as opposed to being a competition between players).

The themes of the game are domination, sexual objectification, balance of power, culture shock, and civilization in crisis. The characters are all conditioned by their environment and culture. They are constrained by the system, but are also enforcing it, in every form of domination. Through confrontation with others, they might have to make complex choices, enforce their prejudice, or on the contrary, redefine their own identity, and accept their vulnerability.

At the center of the culture shock is the Harem, a display of power, but also of the fantasy of the unknown and forbidden. The European ideas and taboos, especially regarding sexuality, are expressed at the time through the orientalist movement, and for most, harems are associated with prostitution. In reality, the Harem is strictly codified and a display of power. The shock between representation and reality will therefore be explored in this narrative.

Constraints in gaming style

The game will be centered on gender segregation in different groups. It will also impose strict constraints, starting with the existence of gender-segregated groups and their separation over the course of most of the game.

Meal times and resting periods will also be fixed and immutable. The limitations for the players should only be moderate: food will be largely provided, and you should be able to sleep uninterrupted. However, freedom of movement will be limited at times, and this will be necessary to create the right atmosphere.

Female characters and eunuchs (gender-neutral) characters will have to cross the distance between the Harem site and the main site several times (a few hundred meters, very short walk, on the road or on the grass), and should choose their footwear accordingly.

Characters won’t be able to cross over that separation, with the exception of some given times. Also, as the title implies, the game narrates the last hours of Morta Siyah. Staging a revolution during the course of the game is not the point and questioning the establishment is something that should come from the characters' narratives - but does not have to. The end will be coming soon enough.

Security

We will use standard traffic light safewords of green, yellow and red. We will also use double tap for participants who need to interrupt a scene silently. Finally, we use the gesture of hand covering eyes or the words ”can’t see this” for participants who need to take themselves away from a scene.

A safe space/off-game room will be available to participants at all times.

Romanesque and roleplaying style

The Romanesque genre relies on detailed characters, written by the organizators, often based on literary archetypes. Background and psychology are usually precisely detailed, and serve as the backbone for a narrative arc that will be enacted over the course of the game. It is up to the players to choose how (or if) they will choose to go through it. The only requirement then can be summed up as this: each player should immerse themselves in the character and interpret it to the best of their ability, in a coherent manner, while trying to create the best possible story for all the players involved.

Timing and rhythm

Harem Son Saat will be a narrativist game leading towards tragedy and a downhearted, “end of an era” atmosphere. In that context, players will be asked to take a “play to loose” approach. While the characters will always try to act according to their own interest, players will have to act upon the characters sufferings and failures. Any success will have to come at a price.

The game will be divided into three gaming periods, to provide a better timeframe for gradation of the narrative. However, the game time will be the same as in real life (1:1 timing), with no breaks from characters, even during night time (with the exception of the resting space that will be accessible at all times, should a break be needed)

Transparency and fateplay

Romanesque usually relies on the characters’ secrets, and it is recommended that you keep the character’s secrets actually secret before the game. However, if other participants agree to it, you may establish a measure of transparency yourselves.

The ending, however, is transparent: it is the end of the Sultanate. The game ends when the Sultan steps down from power, and the character’s progression must work towards this ending.

Violence and physical actions

Harem Son Saat is not meant to have a lot of physical action. A limited number of character will have access to firearms (prop guns), fake knives or sticks. Participants might fake punches, but direct confrontation is not a part of the characters’ culture. Players should only use violence as the end of a process of escalation, to give other participants time to opt out.

Ars Amandi

Sexuality is central in dealing with gender segregation, objectification and exploitation. The meta-technique of Ars Amandi will be used as simulation for sexuality. Participants will have the possibility of opting-out in workshops. However, they have to be aware that themes and scenes connected to sexuality may appear.

Black box

A diegetic Black Box will exist in the game in the form of a meditation room. Mystical characters will have a specific role as intermediaries for the meditation room. Characters will have access to specific memories and meditation scenes in the meditation room, or may create their own.

Costumes

Costumes are included as part of the in-game experience.

Link to original site: http://www.asso-role.fr/haremlarp-en/le-projet/costume/

Characters

Design and writing

Basics

Characters are written and created by the organization. Their distribution will be handled by the organization, taking into account the preferences of the players given upon sign up. Age, appearance or ethnicity have no relevance for the role distribution the process. You can sign up for any gender, but it is preferable to sign up as the gender you commonly identify with (transgender people in particular are welcome to do so).

Language

English will stand for Turkish and Czech will stand for French (the diplomatic language). Role attribution will be strongly dependent on the language of the player. 8 roles out of 26 can be cast as English-speaking only parts. English is the main language as it is the Court language. about 80% of the game is in English. Some characters and NPCs can act as in-game translators.

You need to have a sufficient level of conversational English to attend the game. Some Court characters will be assigned in priority to international players. Some bilingual and diplomatic characters will be assigned in priority to Czech-speaking participants.

Gender and sexuality

Characters in Harem Son Saat will be gendered (male, female, eunuchs considered as gender-neutral), as gender segregation and power balance is central to the narrative.

As such, each group will have a strong gendered identity. Participants will have an opportunity to express their preferences on character gender upon sign-up. We therefore recommend that you sign up for the gender you most identify with, or gender-neutral, which is opened to any participants. You can still play cross-gender, but there won’t be specific workshops for this and the task of managing a convincing gender transformation will fall to you.

Sexuality in Harem Son Saat is an important issue. Relations between men and women are controlled, interactions are usually prohibited, and sexuality might be exploited or used as abuse. On the contrary, homosexual relations might be more tolerated than they would usually be in this period, being non-reproductive and not essential. The eunuchs are considered inferior for being “genderless” and seen as asexual, but they actually have sexuality and romance issues just like any other characters.

All these elements are a design choice because of the themes of the game and what we see as smoothness of organization. Their goal is to provide a better sense of the connection to gender representation, social expectation and representation of sexuality.

See specific character descriptions here.

Historical inspiration

Some aspects of the History of the XXth Century are explicitly used as inspiration, although they will be altered to fit the narrative, since Harem Son Saat is not meant to be a fully realistic game.

The Harem culture

Harem means « forbidden to men », and the term was coined to describe the group of women surrounding an important character. In this period, it was an extremely hierarchized place, following strict rules. Only women, children and eunuchs were allowed there, or close male relatives. The rules applied to all, the Sultan included.

The hierarchy was defined as such: the lowest rank was slave, then favored, then concubine (once they became a mother), then spouse when they got in favor and were mother to a Prince. The head of the Harem is the Valide Sultan, mother to the Sultan, who is all-powerful there.

The purpose of the Harem is not sexuality, but providing an heir. As such, it is a political tool. The smart woman can become a favorite, mother to an heir, and influence the ruler. Competition between women, especially mothers of Princes, was brutal. The eldest Prince was always the presumed heir, but exceptions were frequent and any male heir could become the next Sultan. Once a new Sultan rose to power, all of his brothers would be executed to prevent succession conflicts.

The Harem is a network of intrigue and competition. As such, women of the Harem were well educated; as possible mothers to the Sultan, they had knowledge and oration skills. Women were taught in the Harem, in rhetorics, writing, music and foreign languages.

Muslim women could not become slaves; therefore, the women of the Harem were usually of a Eastern European or Caucasian origin, but would usually convert to Islam once they became concubines. Sultans in the Ottoman Empire all were both of a European and Eastern origin. Some of the most talented slaves could rise high in favor, the most famous being Hürrem, favorite concubine to Suleiman the Magnificent in the XVIth century, at the peak of the Empire’s power.

However, at the beginning of the XXth century, the Empire is in decline. In Istanbul, the nationalists are in power, paying only lip service to the Sultan’s authority. The Harem in Istanbul was closed soon after they came to power, disappearing in 1912. Messages were sent to the families of the women that were there, offering to send their daughters back to them. However, most women refused to leave, or expressed their sorrow at having to, since they would leave the Palace and court life to return to what often amounted to miserable living conditions.

Orientalist art

Over the course of the XIXth century, orientalist art was developed following a mix of travelers’ tales and idealized images of the East.

The Harem, opposed to a monogamous Christian tradition, became the subject of many fantasies and representations, around the idea of something that was socially forbidden.

Whether or not the Ottomans themselves were aware of these ideas could be argued. However, it is probable that these representations influenced the attitude of Western sensitivities towards the Empire. The Ottoman Empire, sometimes dubbed the “Sick Man of Europe”, still held a lot of influence and raised fascination before its downfall in 1918.

The Balkan powder keg

The instability in the Balkan area served as a backdrop to the drama of the Ottoman Empire and it remains one of the main causes of World War One. The desegregation of the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe started with the “awakening of nationalities”. In the beginning of the XIXth century, Greece, Serbia and Romania became independent countries. The creation of these new monarchist states was encouraged by the European powers that wished to tear down the “sick man of Europe”. Competition ran wild between Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom for control over the Balkan space, a centerpoint for routes of a great geostrategic importance. Russia supported Orthodox States, whereas Austria-Hungary controlled Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. The murder of prince Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist on the 28th of June 1914 marked the beginning of the First World War.

Character descriptions

Here you will find the characters’ descriptions. Please note that all characters will have secrets of their own.

Male characters: the Sultan and his entourage at the Court

The Sultan’s court is comprised of the Sultan, his sons and close officials. They’ve all suffered from the ruler’s declining health; they all know that Morta Siyah’s domain, like the rest of the Empire, is in decline. The death of the eldest son and heir has accelerated the deteriotation of the domain, since the mourning of the Prince is still unfinished, and all issues regarding the future are left undecided.

Murat Hallil

Sultan: leader of Morta Siyah

After the Balkan War, Sultan Murat Hallil has decided to step down from power, once he has restored order in his own house, troubled family, and complicated politics. Themes: end of reign, conflicted feelings, melancholy

Alemdar Pasha

Grand Vizir: The Sultan’s right-hand man and longtime friend. Second in power only to the Sultan, he will accompany him through this difficult time of transition. Themes: duty vs. freedom, loyalty, conflicted feelings, regrets

Colonel Erkan

Commander of the Guard: protector to the Sultanate. The Colonel is an ancient military man, an old protector of the Sultanate. He has sacrificed much for duty. He now has to hold true to his principles and keep guarding the Sultanate to the end. Themes: regrets, atonement, lost love, tragedy

Kemal

Prince of the Sultanate: Son of the Sultan and possible heir. Kemal is self-confident, proud of himself, convinced of his own grand destiny. Can these certainties hold in a time of crisis? Themes: pride, ambition, ambiguous feelings, coming of age

Buhran

Prince of the Sultanate: Son of the Sultan and possible heir. Buhran is a dutiful son, and a reliable personality, who tends to be overlooked by his own relatives. Eager to prove himself, still wounded by his experience of the war, he may yet play a significant role in the crisis. Themes: loyalty, tradition vs. modernity, steadfastness, trauma

Male characters : the foreign visitors

A few choice foreign visitors have exceptionally been admitted to the Sultan’s Court, trying to negotiate financial support or rights of passage on his lands. Of course, the negotiations failed and they will all get, not what they wanted, but more than what they could have asked for. Following the local traditions, wives and daughters have been locked in the Harem; a forced separation that is not to everyone’s tastes.

Charles Wetherley

British Ambassador: The British Ambassador is conservative and convinced of his superiority and the validity of his mission. His certainties might crash in the face of tragedy and culture shock. Themes: failing moral values, breaking apart, family secrets, friendship

Sebastian Von Lenzing

German Ambassador: The German Ambassador was a long-time soldier but had to quit the front lines because of an injury. Recently married, he still has difficulties committing to civilian life, but tries to do his duty the best he can. Themes: idealism vs. politics, tragic love, trauma, finding oneself

Marwan Miralay

Spokesman for the nationalist government: Marwan was raised in Morta Siyah, but joined the Young Turks movement in Istanbul. Now a diplomat for the new Turkish government, he is very critical of the Sultanate and there to supervise the change of power. Themes: ambition, hot temper, trauma, revenge

Philippe de Villeneuve

French military attaché in Istanbul. An old friend of Charles Wetherley, Philippe is here to support his efforts, but he is also carried by his own memories. Can he overcome his troubled past or will he drown in sorrow? Themes: tragedy, lost love, guilt, obsessions, atonement

Daniel de Villeneuve

Son of the French ambassador: An ethnologist and journalist. He wants to discover more about the Sultanate’s culture, and might very well lose all his illusions. Themes: torment, bitterness, coming of age, finding solace, friendship

Aleksei Radin

A mountain guide: a peasant who works as a interpreter and guide in the Balkan mountain area, currently in the employ of the French. Themes: mourning, trauma, lost love, friendship, revenge

Female characters: the Harem

As a last tribute to the lost glory of the Ottoman Empire, the Harem of de Morta Siyah clings to the ancient past. It is ruled by the Valide Sultane, mother to the Sultan, who enforces the hierarchy. It is strict and punishments can be severe. Since the death of the Heir, no official first wife has been named, which is a cause of tension. While there are foreign visitors in the domain, the Harem also hosts their wives and daughters, which brings more change and dissent.

Hatice

Valide Sultane: The mother of Sultan Murat Hallil and the highest figure of authority in the Harem. She is a force of nature and her authority is feared by all, but she now has to witness the end of the reign of her only son. How terrible can this ending be? Themes: tragedy, motherhood, end of reign, lost love, atonement

Jihane

The Favorite: The brilliant Favorite has the trust of the Sultan and a high rank in the Court. The end of the Sultan’s reign will hit her hard, but she is a resourceful woman who will be able to reinvent herself in a new life. Themes: ambition, identity, friendship, loyalty, new era

Aysel

Bas Haseki Sultane: Mother of the dead Prince Heir Elemdar and of Princess Samara. She has spent her past two months in mourning. Can she stop grieving to face the beginning of a new era? Themes: mourning, motherhood, duty vs. freedom, responsibility

Nuriye

Haseki Sultane: Mother to Princes Buhran and Kemal. Ambitious and assertive, she wants her sons to succeed, and stands to lose the most with the end of the Sultanate. Can she protect her own interests while not losing herself? Themes: ambition, conflicted feelings, motherhood, identity, regrets

Emily Wetherley

The wife of Charles Wetherley: The perfect British lady, who might find herself somewhat stifled by tradition. She feels the tension between the role she has to assume in society and her own hopes for the future. Themes: conflicted feelings, motherhood, remorse, responsibility

Grace Wetherley

Daughter of Charles and Emily Wetherley: The willful daughter of the British Ambassador has eloped to the Harem 6 months ago, to her family’s chagrin. She wants to make her own way in the world. She might face the end of her illusions. Themes: coming of age, rebellion, passion, suffering

Edwige Von Lenzig

Wife of Sebastian Von Lenzing: (Czech - speaking role) The German Ambassador’s wife is quiet and mysterious; it is hard to know her thoughts and feelings. She seems to be quietly suffering, but of what? Themes: confusion, search for identity, conflicted feelings, trauma

Samara, Princess of the Sultane

Daughter of Sultan: Murat Hallil and of Aysel Sultane. Well-bred and energetic, is she ready to handle the end of her familiar homeland? Themes: coming of age, duty vs. freedom, responsibility, new era

Derya Kalfa

Treasurer of the Harem: A trusted servant of the Sultanate, who has to endure the jealousy of many of the other women for her privileged position. Is she ready to move on after the end of Sultan Murat’s reign? Themes: troubled past, trauma, revenge, mourning

Eunuchs and Servants

Fully committed servants and officials of the Palace, eunuchs are the bridge between the Harem and politics. They function as confidantes, administrators, healers, politicians, and excel in a variety of tasks. Considered “neutrals” and a population on the margin, they are in theory the bottom of the ladder, but their importance is such that they can actually wield a lot of power.

Kizlar Agha Sinan

Head of the Harem eunuchs: Was already in charge under the former Sultan, and has kept his place through authority and skill for a long time. Themes: old age, tradition, regrets, atonement

Sumbul Agha Sabry

Second-in-command of the Harem: Sumbul Agha is the leading force of the Harem, often taking charge instead of the oldest Kizlar Agha. He is in charge of supply and finances, and entertains ambitions of his own. Themes: ambition, conflicted feelings, bitterness

Izmir Agha

Harem eunuch in charge of security. Izmir has served as personal servant to the twin Princes. He served in the war with Prince Buhran, and remains shocked by the experience. Themes: friendship, brotherhood, trauma, loyalty

Eleazar Agha

Harem eunuch, Court Physician: The competent and devoted Court Physician. He won’t have issues to find another employment, but will he bemoan the comfortable life of Morta Siyah? Themes: duty vs freedom, identity, friendship, sacrifice

Rahman Hazrat

Islamic mystic: A spiritual mystic and leader in the troubled province of Nova Siyah. He hopes to promote and defend peace, but can his voice still be heard? Themes: loyalty, principles, family, regrets

Inayat

Islam mystic in training and follower to the former. A young mystic-in-training with a dark view of the world. Can he find peace in himself to be a good leader of men? Themes: troubled past, trauma, contradiction, bitterness, new era

Other servants

Other servants: some characters may also have personal servants in the domain. These servants will be considered NPC.

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka

Fotka


Context

The origin

Harem Son Saat is a historically inspired Larp. It is inspired by the history of the Ottoman Empire and European tensions preceding WWI, but all elements, especially the Sultanate of Morta Siyah where the game is set, are entirely fictional and belong to their own reality. It is fictionally located somewhere in the Balkan area, possibly on the border with Bulgaria.

The game is set in the summer of 1913.

Recent events

The first Balkan war ended in June 1913, by an Ottoman defeat, costing them most of the territories they had on the European continent. As early as 1908, a coup held by the Young Turks nationalists had left the Empire in disarray.

However, Morta Siyah, under the rule of Sultan Murat Hallil, on the Ottoman-Bulgarian frontier, managed to hold against the pressure of the European powers and nationalists alike. Despite that, the Sultan has not been able to renew communication with Istanbul since the end of the war. His son and heir died during the war and it has been rumored he is but a shadow of himself. Still, his control over the resources of the region is still great, and the area is fast becoming a strategic asset.

The occasion for the visit

After relations with Istanbul became tense, and a period of isolation, the Sultan has agreed to welcome visitors and diplomats again. But is he really willing to negotiate?

Morta Siyah has become a secluded place, maintaining ancient traditions that have been abandoned in the capital, such as the Harem, a place of subjugation and power. Ancient mystique and superstition still thrives there: it is said that the spirit of the Djinn inhabits the place and to the most influential of women, it grants the ability to predict the future. For all the exploitation they are subjected to, women have a special status in Morta Siyah.

You can’t reach the Sultan, they say, without understanding these beliefs. He never gives anything to those who don’t get to the heart of the Harem. Time goes by, and staying in Morta Siyah becomes tedious and dreary. Protocol and lockup have replaced the diplomatic discussions, for which nobody really cares anymore. Faced with the decline of a nation, the last hours of the Harem see cultures clashing and opposing aspirations failing.

Media

Feedback from players

Feedback article by Nast (run 1) in English Article by Rémi (run 1) en français Commentary by Marion (run 2) in Norwegian and English Commentary by Pablo (run 1) in Spanish Article by Mirella (run 3) in English

FAQ

Where, when, how ?

There will be two runs, both happening at Úsobí. Úsobí is a little village just between Prague and Brno. We will not provide you with bus transport, but we will do our best to coordinate cars to get you to the location with comfort.

Runs 5 and 6 will take place on 17-20 May and 24-27 May 2018. You have to be on location on Thursday evening, Sunday, on the other hand, is reserved for packing up and you may leave in the morning.

What does the participation fee cover ?

Venue rental, meals for the duration of the game, some small investments in props necessary to the game, travel fares (including getting the author to the Czech Republic), translation costs and costumes for you. The game is organized as a non-profit venture. Our association is a non-profit structure, we don’t do any profit on the game. The participation fee covers subscription to the association for foreign players (mandatory for insurance reasons). French participants will have to make sure they are registered with the association.

Costumes and transportation are to be handled by the players, but we’ll bring the international players all the help they can get. You’ll need at least one period appropriate costume (beginning of the XXth century/Belle Epoque)

What is the style of the game?

The « Romanesque » genre of games is a character-driven, emotionally inclined type of games, which has a long and rich history in France. In essence, it can be compared to some of the so-called « Mediterranean » Larps, the Czech « content larp », or Norwegian historical dramas. The characters and content are created by the organizers and there is a significant amount of written material for each character.

Each character undergoes a narrative centered around their past, interpersonal relationships, family and friendship conflict and personal drama. « Play to lose » and play for others are extremely important principles here.

How are meals handled?

There will always be a vegetarian option, and players will be kindly requested to inform us of any allergies they might have.

About alcohol: in-game alcohol will be limited and officially prohibited, and no alcohol will be served at meals or in game. Of course, some contraband might exist, in a very limited capacity.

During out of game periods, players might bring and drink alcohol in a reasonable manner. There will also be a bar on the location to satisfy your drinking needs.

How does sign-up work?

We ask people to fill in a form, so that we know what kind of character they would like to try and we keep a balance between players. If there are more requests than available places, lots are drawn at random from the pool of all signups at the end of the sign-up period.

Can we register as a group?

Harem Son Saat is a small format game where each character is individualized, it is therefore not possible to register as a whole group. However, you may indicate upon sign-up with there is someone you would like to register with, to play on the same run, especially for practical reasons.

These requests will be given priority, but we cannot promise that you’ll always get to play on the same run.

Why are there so many constraints on language?

Muriel wanted to make the game international, and considered running it fully in English, but for many people in France there is a huge language barrier, so she went for language neutral. Characters have been created to incorporate this issue and make language barriers a relevant aspect of culture shock. Personal experience from other games has shown that it is possible, and even immersive, to play along those difficulties, and while it may restrict the number of roles, I feel like there is good opportunity to play these issues.

Are roles gender segregated ?

There are three genders in the game: male, female, and neutral. Gender issues are going to be a major theme. Eunuchs will be gender neutral characters, to be played by anyone, regardless of their gender. You can specify during sign-up which character gender you’re interested in playing. Participants interested in playing cross-gender will have to make sure to wear appropriate costume and make-up.

What is your take on historicity?

While we try to go by the most accurate visual possible, and ask costumes in particular to fit the time period, we can’t hope to be 100% accurate. Also, historically inspired larps usually deviate from full accuracy in order to better serve the themes and narratives.

While the game will be inspired by the Ottoman culture, it is by no means an attempt to recreate or appropriate it. The Sultanate of Morta Siyah is entirely fictional, and its ruler has, within the context of the narrative, delved into insanity and deviated from the Ottoman traditions. Therefore, nothing that is enacted over the course of the Larp should be considered relevant to this culture.

The context of the upcoming First World War, however, will be of particular relevance since it questions the existence of power and domination in geopolitics, and will serve as background to the shock of culture that will be a driving force behind the narrative.

Who is organizing?

I’m Muriel Algayres. I’ve been organizing larps for a little more than a decade, mostly in the historically inspired genre. You may write to me at muriel.algayres@asso-role.fr

I’ve also got an awesome staff of helpers, coordinators and proofreaders to help me along the way.

Rolling is a Czech group of enthusiasts who organise educational games and larps, which allow their participants to try out something they would never dream to do in real life. You can contact us on facebook, see our webpage at rolling.cz or send us an email at rolling@rolling.cz.

Photography and image rights

The game will be documented by our associated photographers, who have experience in covering larps. You will be requested to sign up an image rights cession form, that stipulates that you accept that the photographers will be there over the game. Images taken throughout the game may be used for the organisation’ PR (non-profit only), within the following confines:

  1. No pictures will be taken during intimate or sensitive scenes
  2. You will have a chance to go through the pictures after the game first before they go public and remove any ones you don’t want to be published.