Two runs, Easter 2023

Daemon - A human connection experience

A vintage-style larp inspired by His Dark Materials

The story in Daemon

The Magisterium held you and everybody else in its iron grasp for so long that even now a dance or a light touch still seems bold. But they all tell you that things are changing. A wave of festivities and a sense of freedom is sweeping the world which is loosening up the straining bands of self-control and physical distance. However, you have only just started to live in this new world and nothing has really changed yet.

One of the core Magisterium’s beliefs was the concept of Dust, which they believed to be sin. For ages, it has been strictly forbidden to even talk about Dust, which is why so few people even heard of it. Of course, we are not talking about your everyday “dust” that swirls around in your house. Instead, Dust is a certain particle that is only observable through specialized instruments. Generally, Dust particles seem uninterested in clinging to children. However, when a child (in the words of the Magisterium!) “loses their innocence” around puberty, Dust starts to latch on to a young person’s body. This is also the time when the Daemon settles into its final animal form. Before this, the Daemon can change to any animal form it wants.

The Magisterium linked Dust to Original Sin and took many different measures, including deadly ones, to “protect” children from this loss of innocence. But new ideas have arisen. Dust seems… sentient. Like it has a mind of its own and is attracted, and connected to, awareness and consciousness.

And at the core of the confusion of the new world order, exciting new perspectives arise: What else was the Magisterium wrong or lying about?
Why do we have Daemons when people from other worlds don’t? What are Daemons really? Are they our souls – or something completely different? What is the state of the human soul without representatives of a divine power to tell about it? Can you separate yourself from your Daemon? And what does Dust have to do with any of it?

Societal and political situation

The king of Brytain and the Council of State in combination are in power. The Council of State is a one-chamber parliament with very limited voting options. So yes, members are voted in, but it is only nobility and wealthy merchants who can really vote. Common people, especially Nomads, have no such right. This means that it is mostly the nobility occupying the seats. For example, Douglas Eden is a renowned and very powerful member of the Council of State, but he is not nobility which gives him a disadvantage in debates and regarding when he needs help from powerful friends.

It is a rare sight for nobility and commoners to make each others’ acquaintances. It has been different especially among soldiers in the war.

Institutions such as the Universities are mostly sheltered and are self governing units with their own rules. However, for the last 30 years, The Magisterium pressured and intimidated universities to not study “blasphemous questions”. The “Department of Discipline,” of which Oswalt Langon was a prominent member, made sure of that. The Magisterium had extended its influence and power in society in general and had many supporters in the Council of State, oppressing people all over Brytain. However, The Magisterium was not officially in power, so although there is a lot of confusion, despair, deaths, and moral discussions, the government has not fallen with the death of The Authority and depowering of The Magisterium.

The character groups

Think of the end of the 19th century in England for the aesthetics and basic setting of this larp and then add some dark academia, steampunk, and the first half of the 20th-century style. There is a king of Brytain and different classes. Until The Authority died, the power of The Magisterium soaked through all parts of society. There was a layer of oppression socially, particularly regarding free speech. They also had members of parliament in their pockets. They were not all-powerful politically or socially, but it was a common discourse in all of society that you for example never discussed Dust.

Scholars, nobility, and politicians

The learned people live in colleges where they teach and research. Experimental theologists (physicists) research the natural world, including Dust. They are often the most knowledgeable people there are, but for many years the Magisterium tried to censor what kind of research was allowed.

Psychologists have been dying to investigate the relation between human and Daemon on an emotional level but even but has been forbidden under The Magisterium.

University students are also present. They are young, hungry and willing to take risks moving science forward in these exciting new times.

Some of the characters will be politicians, socialites or other influential people who have either had a say in the war or can influence how society should be shaped in the future. Their lives and options can potentially be changed depending on the discourse on morality and free will.

Former Magisterium people

These are the people whose employer lost the war. They were on top before The Authority was killed, but many ended up in prison or fled when the war was lost. However, the ones present fought The Authority from the inside – or claim that they did. Some of them even deserted openly to join the revolution. What is their place in the world in the future? How are their former beliefs being altered now? Have they really changed? Those are some of the questions that other people on the winning side of the war are asking themselves.

Nomads and witches

Two smaller groups in the setting are the Nomads and Witches.

A nomadic culture who travel around in their boats through canals and rivers in the cities. Their main income comes from trading goods. It is a cultural minority and a tightly knit community that has been oppressed by The Magisterium. Some of them chose to rise up against The Authority in the war, and they are considered brave and honorable people who hold their children in the highest regard.

The people of this culture are not called Gyptians like in the source material since the term can be construed wrongly, so the designer has chosen to update it.

Witches live in clans led by a queen, and only people identifying as women can be witches. Often, witches will stay away from other people and live their own, free lives, but some of them have interfered in this divine war. In many ways, witches are like humans, but live hundreds of years. They also have a very special relationship with their Daemon – they are able to separate for long distances in a way that no other people are. This is an inspiration to some who have questioned if what we know about Daemons is really that universal.