July 2013 – April 2016
There was a Time of Many People. A Time of Plenty, of Mighty Cities and many things that made life easier. Something went wrong, and the time now called ‘Before’ suddenly came to an end.
Slowly we got back on our feet in the ‘Veste’, a small piece of Civilisation in a sea of barbaric Outside. But it could not last forever. Our Wall failed and we were forced to travel far away, looking for answers to questions that we previously never even knew existed…
Xenophobia was a four part LARP series (Live Action Role Playing) in a post-apocalyptic setting, organised by Evolution Events. From 2013 to 2016, I helped organise episodes 2, 3 and 4, and contributed to developing the story and setting, writing texts, designing puzzles, creating a large variety of props, and managing the game on site.
The story followed the inhabitants of the Veste (literally ‘stronghold’), a peaceful farming community 160 years after the end of civilization as we know it today, closed off from the outside world both literally and figuratively. When one day their protection stopped working, their world was turned upside down. Searching for a safe future for themselves and their children, they discovered that Outside was not only home to great dangers, but also normal people, trying to survive in their own ways. In the end, they found out what had gone wrong Before and were able, in consultation with their new friends and allies, to restore much of the old world’s infrastructure.
The pivot of all this was Iunct.io, the brainchild of one Mark Suikerberg that had connected everything in the world but had gotten out of control, and was inspired by a certain existing social network. In the last episode, our players got the free choice to restart this network as it was before, destroy it, or finish Mark Suikerberg’s last project: the improved Iunct.io 2.0. They chose the last option, despite the sacrifice that was needed. Before they got this far, however, they faced cannibalistic barbarians, eccentric scientists, cruel cultists, brainwashed soldiers, and more, and played an important role in both disrupting and rebuilding the status quo in the region.
Characteristic of Xenophobia were the themes and the playstyle: no spectacular tales of heroes, but ordinary people who are plunged into an unknown and dangerous situation and have to work together to survive. The relationships between the villagers were put to the test as they investigated the world around them and tried to make plans for the future. Apart from a fair amount of drama, puzzles, like ‘old’ machines that need to be operated or repaired, played an important part. Xenophobia III and IV in particular excelled in completely functional technology which the players could work on with hardly any interference of the organizers.
The photos depict just a small selection of events from episodes II to IV, picked to give an impression of the LARP’s various faces.
Xenophobia’s official website (Dutch) is: xenophobia.evolution-events.nl.
3-5-2016 - Xenophobia has finished