Skip to main content

History of Croatian LARP: Clans and guilds

It is interesting to note that today's mainstream fantasy LARP in Croatia has very different social dynamics on the event than what it had before. Today, most games run with relatively small numbers. Players which consider one LARP their "home LARP" usually camp together when visiting another organizer's game.

But until half a decade ago it was not about the organizers... It was about the clans, and things were running differently. Clans were most prominent in what I called Second Age in my recent Croatian LARP history article. They performed several vital functions which are usually missing from today's Croatian LARPs. While breaking and factionalizing the game, they were also enriching and diversifying it. They recruited players not for the larp, but for the clan - they had their own RP and agenda, visual identity (colors, flags, livery etc), camp organization etc, and - storylines of that time usually being weaker compared to what they are now - clan relationships and actions provided a great deal of content on a LARP. Which is understandable, as it's harder to give 100 people as tight an experience as to 20 people.

Clans got powerful, and organizers soon started to negotiate with them. Clan representatives were even sometimes called for to decide the direction LARP is going to take in the future. When a new larp would start, clans were the ones to talk to if you wanted to get people to attend, because majority of people were members of one clan or another. Actually, by that time most people were recruited by the clan, into the clan - it was certainly one of the reasons for the big LARP population boom of that time.

Guilds were all members of a certain character class noted in rules. It was more of an off-game mechanic, as guildmasters were basically assisting organizers and clans in making sure certain player learned how to play and that they followed the rules correctly. Guilds also commonly gave their members some in-character stuff, such as fighters organizing practices for their members, or spellcasters fixing prices of their spells... And sometimes even more than that. It added to a certain level of complexity, despite their commonly misunderstood in-game/off-game status.

Both went down with Summer Sessions. Clans because the number of players dropped, and as they did clans lost their power. Guilds were simply never reused in that form again. Plenty of clans still exist though, but they are far more integrated into the general population on a larp. The only group that is nowadays organized in a similar manner to the clans of old is our local branch of Green Banner.

Also, both provided interesting social dynamics on Croatian LARP and both became relevant once Croatian LARPs went over 50 players and as they approached 100. The only Croatian LARP in years to go over 50 players was last year's Jaska 8 - and this year Crolarp is the most likely candidate for being the high-number LARP with even more expected players. A decade ago it was the breaking point into the clan and population explosion - we'll see if social structures we once had will start again in some form...


Popular posts from this blog

The 15 rules of larp

The following 15 rules (warning: strong language) were written some years ago in Great Britain, and have been pretty much generally accepted on the British larp scene. Especially popular is rule 7 - widely known by its number and commonly considered to be the most imortant rule of all (and I agree). Even the biggest British larp forum has taken Rule7 as its name. The rules have been originally created by the Drunken Monkeys and edited by Rick Wynne who added some extra stuff in the explanations to make them more understandable to international audience (it still contains some British larp lingo though), more work-safe and to throw in his two cents. (copy of the original wording is available here ) 1. Don’t play a mighty warrior; play a warrior and be mighty. Don’t label your character. As soon as you say that you are the best swordsman in the land someone will come along and kick your ass. Just get into the mindset of the person and role-play it out. 2. No one cares about you

These 10 Easy Steps Are All You Need To Start Larping!

"How to become a larper? How to start larping? Where do you begin? How to join a larp? How to prepare for your first event? How to gear up? What do I need to know for my first larp?" Etc. These are all questions that people interested in larp ask all the time. And in over three years of writing this blog and over 350 posts on it, I just remembered I haven't written any decent advice for new and potential players. And that's why it's harder than it seems. Not preparing for your first larp, but writing about it. Different larps can be quite different, and can be even more confusing to existing larpers (used to another style) than to those who never larped before. However, I decided to do it - and write a comprehensive guide about it, with a catchy Upworthy-style title that's sure to catch the attention, right? After all, it did catch yours. Below you will find a 10-step guide that will answer the most fundamental questions about larping that you might ha

Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade rulebook review

Available on DriveThruRPG Reviewing a book as complex as this one is a monumental task. It was published 3 days ago, and it's got a monumental 550 pages of content - luckily, a large part of it was familiar to me from "slices" they released before they published the book, and little has changed there. However, rules is relatively small part of this. The book is loaded with art, stories, tips, setting lore and more. This is a review of the book as a whole, and there's much more in it than rules. But let's start at the beginning. Vampire the Masquerade larps have started all the way back in 1993 with the release of the first Mind's Eye Theatre, as a rework of the tabletop RPG published by the White Wolf Publishing (tabletop was published in 1991). The idea was to provide players with a way to play tabletop-like stuff in live format. Basically, like with tabletop, you buy the rulebook and run the game with your friends. And it worked really well - despite t