The Experience

Vision

Helicon is a larp about inspiration, power, complicated relationships, freedom, and dependency.

Characters will use and abuse power, and try to find a way to co-exist. They need to decide what they are willing to do to other people and creatures in order to achieve their goals, and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to get what they want.

The larp aims for high emotion, and includes a lot of social play and tension, as well as some ritualistic content.

 

Setting

Ingame, the larp takes place in a mansion called Helicon, in a remote place somewhere in rural Wales.

The larp is set in the “vintage era”, which is an unspecified time, somewhere between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th century. The exact year or location are not of  central importance to the game. 

Mortal characters come from different parts of the world and from various backgrounds, most of them from upper-class families. They met when they all studied at the same elite university in England. There, they found a way to lure the Muses of antiquity, and to compel them to manifest themselves.

Since graduation, they have all had spectacular careers, either in art, science, or in leadership. They are the Inspired whose work is known across the world. They can choose however and wherever in the world they want to live – some cannot get enough of fame and publicity, while others prefer to dwell as hermits in secret locations, and only come out to show their latest works.

All of them are able to earn vast amounts of money. Some will use their fortunes wisely, while others the money will corrupt and destroy. 

The Muses are mythical creatures, who first came to life in ancient Greece. There, they had several temples and shrines, the main cult center being Mount Helicon. Every 15 years, Mount Helicon calls it’s children to return home. The Muses are thousands of years old, but they certainly don’t feel like it, and they rarely look back to their previous lives. They live in the moment, enjoy being worshiped, and grant Inspiration to those they find worthy or interesting. Or at least… that’s how it used to be.

In Helicon’s world, it is normal for people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities to attend universities, and to work as artists, leaders and scientists. Sexism, ageism, ableism, and racism are not design elements. Classism (discrimination against people belonging to a particular social class) is part of some character’s stories. The Muses can choose to be of any gender, or genderless.

The larp will include elements of violence, alcoholism, drug use, sexual violence and some mental health issues, such as depression and mania. Players can choose not to have these elements in the background of their characters, but they might encounter them in other players’ characters. 

 

What will happen at the larp?

At the beginning of the larp, the Muses are dragged back after an unsuccessful escape attempt. An emergency ritual is completed with the intention to make sure that they will not try to escape again. This will cause quite a bit of distress, anger and tension before the first dinner. 

In the days that follow, each of the Inspired and their own Muse will explore their relationships, individually, and as part of the group. Between some of the characters, tensions will run high. Some will try to convince each other that the escape attempt was the fault of others, and was a one-time occurance. Uncomfortable confrontations will be unavoidable, and the gourmet meals will highlight these, with seating arrangements that actively contribute to the drama. The larp is generally structured in a “frontloaded” manner which means that there is more planned content in the beginning to kick off the relations, experiences and the stories that the players will carry with only little planned content on day 2. 

The Inspired will meet their old friends, lovers and colleagues. They will discover that their careers and their whole way of life is under threat, and they will try to stay in control. They will face ethical and practical choices, as well as the consequences of their actions.

The Muses will meet their siblings and resolve old and recent family issues, such as who gave away their escape plan to the Inspired. Some will try to find a way out of captivity, while others try to convince themselves and others that things are as they should be. In the end, the Muses will discover a way to freedom, and the almost unbearable cost that comes with it.

Examples of events that will take place during the larp

  • The weekend is characterized by a series of rituals. Examples are the Binding ritual and the Punishment ritual, in which the Muses will beg forgiveness for their attempted escape. These will be practiced and further developed during workshops.

     

  • Intimate discussions between the Inspired and their Muses.

  •  The Inspired will display the artistic, scientific or other achievements they have accomplished during the previous year. (The players don’t have to create art in-game or off-game.)

  •  Dinner warfare.

  • The drawing (forcefully or otherwise) of Inspiration from the Muses.

Examples of what you can do at the larp

  •  Try to manipulate your Inspired to give you freedom.

  •  Argue with your sibling about how they unfairly use your shared Muse much more than you.

  •  Create and participate in rituals to strengthen the bond between Inspired and Muse.

  •  Have a passionate romantic scene with a mortal or a Muse.

  •  Threaten or convince a friend to hand their Muse’s Inspiration over to you.

  •  Beg for forgiveness from your Inspired and find their mercy ecstatic.

  •  Overdose on Inspiration, to which you are highly addicted.

  •  Gamble for extremely high stakes, such as your Inspiration, your fortune, your freedom or your career.

 

What this larp is not

  • The characters will not create art or participate in science during the larp, unless the player specifically wishes to do so. The Inspired characters are all exceptional artists, leaders and scientists, but the players’ off-game skills are irrelevant to the larp. Similarly, the Muses don’t have to embody their art – if you’re playing the Muse of the Dance, you do not have to be graceful and glide across the floor like Giselle.

  •  The Muses will not successfully rebel against the Inspired, and this is not a game about the Muses rebelling together.

  • While there can be erotic tension as well as play on physicality, there will be no public sex scenes or nudity, as this is not primarily an erotic larp.

  • The Muses and their powers are real, but the game will not feature any other deities.

  • No character will be killed during the larp.

  • There will be no strict plotline for the overall larp. There will be plenty of character relationship options and possible storylines for the individual, and there will be plenty of time to play this out, in order to experience the bond between human and Muse. All players are invited to create stories ingame, and to create play for each other.

 

Inspiration

This larp is inspired by ancient Greek mythology and various versions of tales of Muses, but the story and the characters are not an adaptation of the ancient mythology.

Other sources of inspiration are, for example, the art and lives of Erté, Tamara de Lempicka, George Barbier, Lee Miller and Luisa Casati; Calliope by Neil Gaiman; The Secret History by Donna Tartt; The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.