Statement about our larps and the invasion of Ukraine

Seven days ago Russia began an invasion of Ukraine, and since then we’ve been taking a hard look at the larps we’re doing.  

This has led to many conversations among our story teams and our production teams, and here is our plan for running the events. 

At the end we list some ways to help those affected by the conflict. 

About our story

When we set out to design WereWar it was clear to us that these larps would not be a commentary on real world events and people. Today it is not possible to separate the larps from what is happening in Ukraine. So we want to be open about our intentions, and about our approach.

We have done a lot of soul searching, individually and as a team, and stand by the larps that explore difficult real-world topics. In WereWar we will talk about violence feeding violence. All real world conflicts share underlying mechanisms of fear of the “other”, a desire for control, and hate creating hate. 

The larps are not specifically a commentary on the state of things today or any real people or conflicts, but it is one of the constant challenges and struggles of humanity.

If there is one take-away we’d like to give you, it is that hate blinds us, and fuels more hate – whereas openness brings us together.

The dark themes and human morals explored are meant as participatory storytelling. While participating in strong larp can be transformative and healing, this is not therapy. It is meant to inspire, and to ask questions and tell stories. As we portray antagonism and conflict together, all participants are still one community helping one another to have a shared experience – we do not pretend it is the same thing as lived experience.

Adjusting play

As far as possible, this larp has been written to reflect the reality of war. Despite its fantastic setting, there is no glorification here. This is not a larp where magical humans will heroically save the day. In light of what is happening we are taking extra care to make sure that every participant feels safe to take part in our stories. We do not propose to turn the volume on the larp down, instead we want to ensure we treat the subject matter with respect. Over the next few weeks, members of the team will be working to check every plot and event. To those of you who have submitted scene requests, we may reach out to you to make some changes, in order to be mindful of all players.

We hope these larps will be meaningful, and that the experience will help us process what is going on around us. 

With love,
The WereWar Team

A few word on practicalities

We are determined to run the events as planned.

During the pandemic, we learned to work with changing conditions and open dialogues with international and local authorities. We’ve established direct lines with guiding institutions, both in our host nations, and throughout Europe. 

We are constantly in contact with them to follow their recommendations on running events, international travel and participant safety. 

Anxiety and mental health 

The situation with the conflict in the Ukraine is tragic, and extremely stressful and worrisome. We all have different reactions to it. Be kind and generous with each other. 

We know that some players are worried about being unprepared for the game or not being in the right headspace for it. It is okay to come unprepared, even if you are playing an authority figure. We’ve written this larp in a way that allows for this and we will take as much of the load off your shoulders as we can.

During the larp there will be a space dedicated to taking a break. While we’re not offering therapy, we can offer you a safe space to breathe and rest, should you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

If you need to talk to someone, do so. Reach out to a friend or a relative. If you do not feel comfortable talking to them, consider contacting a professional. Below is a link to a list of European mental health hotlines. We highly encourage you to make use of them if you have the need. Remember, you are not alone.

Tips for traveling

The following are tips for traveling that were good advice before, but should be considered essential now.

  • Sign up for your country’s “citizens abroad list”. 
  • Do regular check-ins with friends and family, so they know where you are. 
  • Share emergency contact information with travel buddies and us organizers. 

How you can help Ukraine and refugees in Poland

We  have an opportunity with so many of us traveling to Poland. Those of us that have spare space can bring things that are sorely needed. Over the coming weeks we’ll be building a list of things needed for the relief effort. We’ll be establishing a collection point at Czocha, and make sure that things you bring get into the hands of the people who need it the most. 

So go find that spare sleeping bag you’re not really using or those spare toiletries. Every little bit helps. 

Many countries have volunteer groups and aid organizations collecting donations for Ukraine and its people. If you have anything to spare we highly recommend you contact a local organization and find out how you can help.

If possible, we also recommend making a monetary donation to support Ukrainian refugees. The International Red Cross / Red Crescent is doing some great work and even a single euro can make a massive difference.

Posted on March 3, 2022 by Thomas Mertz