Two runs, Easter 2023

Daemon - A human connection experience

A vintage-style larp inspired by His Dark Materials

Design in Daemon

The core vision for this larp is experiencing how it is to playthe same character with someone else and be in symbiosis with them. Together, you are a whole human being. This also means that it is physically impossible to be too far away from each other at all times during the larp. There is no exception from this offgame, so be aware that you sign up with someone where you feel comfortable that you will need the same amount of breaks. If one party needs a nap – the other one will have to be out of the game as well. Energy level is an important calibration topic when choosing a partner.

In the fiction, separation will bring you both excruciating pain. The specific distance in practice is something we will try out in the workshops, but it is approximately 10 feet. How to be aware of each other at all times is also something we will practice in the workshops before the game.

You will play characters that have, or are trying to come to terms with the fact that they have been lied to for all their life, but many are still unsure of how they want to shape their future after the church has ended.

The characters are former Magisterium people, experimental theologists (physicists in our world), witches, nomads, soldiers, writers, adventurers, students at the university, politicians, natural philosophers and the like. The characters more or less know each other before the game starts – some only superficially.

You have great curiosity in common about what the changes in the world will mean for you personally, and how the new possibilities and world view will affect your understanding of the relationship with your Daemon. Scientific experiments might help you learn more about your connection to your Daemon and thereby – the world.

Consent and Safety Mechanics

Journeys & Tales LLC has various policies in place to help our events be a good and safe space for our participants, facilitators and staff. By putting them in place, we also want build a framework that allows our players to “go all out” in their roleplaying. We want to build common expectations and mechanics so players can interact and have easier, safer play with each other.

For Daemon we will be using the standard J&T policies. The players that participate in the event will also have them sent separately. And, like many larps of this size, we require our participants to sign a standard liability waiver form at the event check in.

The policies that covers our event in general are:

  • The Code of conduct – This sets out how J&T expects any of our participants, players, partners or others to act at our events.

  • Anti-harassment policy – J&T as a company and any J&T event is committed to providing a harassment free experience.

  • Consent policy and mechanics – Larp is a medium which inherently involved feelings and pushes boundaries. Our policies and mechanics around this is created to a safe environment for our players, and tailored to each specific event.

Content in the game

Gameplay you will find in the game is:

  • A larp mainly driven by interpersonal relationship and play between the human and Daemon, and between the characters.
  • Experiment with the symbiotic relationship between human and Daemon.
  • Have a passionate romantic interest where the Daemons show the true feelings while the humans aren’t allowed to show them.
  • Have fun by making great toasts to science which has won the war.
  • Have an existential crisis over losing your deity and seemingly gaining free will.
  • Question the nature of the human soul.
  • Explore what place desire can have in your life.
  • Relive traumas from the war through your Daemon to heal.
  • Dine and dance in a way you have never been allowed to before when The Magisterium had a firm grasp over morality in this world.
  • Threaten a former friend who was on the other side of the war.
  • Be shocked and horrified by radical experiments taking place between Humans and Daemons.

What the game is not about.

  • A ‘His Dark Materials’ reenactment. There will be no dangerous adventures in this larp, or other worlds like the ones the main characters in the books experience. No known characters will be in the larp or be known personally by the characters. This in only a world inspired by the novels.
  • What exists in the fiction outside of the setting and location we will be playing at, is not important. Yes, armoured bears exist, and some might have seen one in the war, but they are not relevant to the story. The same goes for spectres and other elements of the original material that are not on this website.
  • Daemons eating, sleeping like animals and being in full body costumes to look the part. Actually, in His Dark Materials, Daemons don’t eat at all. But as players, we need to eat, can’t fly and can’t be as small as a moth, so we will never be able to do a 1:1 representation of the animals anyway. Thus, the Daemon players will also eat at the table and sleep in a bed like their human counterparts and merely represent the animal form they have with bodylanguage and some costume/make-up parts. .
  • An erotic filled experience. Some of the important themes are definitely desire, the meaning of loss of innocence and newly won free will. Even sensuality or eroticism can be a part of this experience for some. However, the death of “The church” is not only about sexual liberation, and there are many kinds of desire other than bodily desires. Therefore players are advised to interpret ‘desire’ as broadly as possible.
  • A strict plotline for the overall larp. There will be plenty of character relation options and possible storylines for the individual and there will be much time to play this out to experience the bond between human and Daemon. All players are invited to create stories ingame and create play for each other.

Daemons and how they work

A Daemon looks like an animal and represents the soul or inner self of the human – so in this world the soul exists very literally, and it lives outside the human. A Human-Daemon pair can hear each other’s thoughts, and if one feels pain so does the other. If the human is in conflict with itself, the relationship with the Daemon might be harsh or even abusive. If the human is balanced and at peace, it might be the perfect symbiosis.

A Daemon will often represent either a part of the personality that the human suppresses or is a more correct representation of the human’s inner world. Together, they are a whole person. Usually, the Daemon will take the form of animals in the size range from a moth to a wolf. Larger animals are very rare. Before puberty, the Daemon will be able to change form to most kinds of animals, but when the human becomes more of a defined person and “starts losing its innocence” as the Magisterium would say, it will settle on one specific form for the rest of its life.

Daemons can talk just like humans and some of the discussions internally in the human are materialized in conversations between the human and Daemon. Often in conversations with others, the humans will be talking to each other or doing something together, and the Daemons will show how the two humans actually feel about each other while either talking between themselves or acting out the true emotions between the humans.

Because of this, the Daemon players have a lot of agency in deciding the inner workings of the human. A human can talk to another person’s Daemons as well but it is considered intimate. Especially if you know a person’s Daemon well, it probably means that you know the inner workings of that person or have an intimate relationship with them. You are definitely allowed to talk between humans and Daemons for example in four way conversations between two couples, but we will practice how it works at the workshop.
It is an absolute taboo for a human to touch another person’s Daemon and it feels very wrong. It would represent almost putting your hand through someone’s chest and touching their innermost soul.

Daemon players will be given a choice of 3 different animals suitable for the character and overall pairing, and can chose which animal they wish to portray as the role.

In the fiction, the Daemons ARE animals and have the form as such – cat, parrot, rat, snake, dog. Since we real life humans need to eat and sleep, and different animals come in different sizes, we can’t truly emulate Daemons being actual animals.

When it comes to practically playing a Daemon, you are welcome to use animal body language at all times, but no one is expected to eat off a plate on the floor or… you know… fly.

As a Daemon player, you will sit at the table and eat and have conversations just like your human counterpart. In this larp, you play a representation of an animal offgame even though it is an animal ingame. This also means that no full body animal costumes or make-up are wanted at this larp. See more under “Costume” in the practical section.