Vision

97PR is a high-production immersive larp set in the city of Revachol, in the world of Disco Elysium. It provides a slice-of-life view of a community struggling with poverty, living in a polarised society. We want to look at how a community of people arrives at the point of rebelling against the order of things — and what happens after the revolution, when people still need to work and live together.

Our aim is to create an immersive and thoughtful two-day experience where the participants experience a slice of life in the city of Revachol. This life will include the politics and drama of that fictional setting, as well as a glimpse of the everyday, with real and meaningful work the players will engage in. The game has a gritty, social realism theme, with the shabbiness of poverty contrasting with the glory of days past and great political and revolutionary ideas standing in opposition to the quotidian grind. Under the surface, there is also a supernatural, new weird aspect of Unseen Voices in the form of characters’ impulses, embodied by a group of players, who can sometimes influence other characters.

The larp will be designed for 95 players who will receive pre-written characters and play the larp for two straight days around the clock, with calmer downtimes for rest. The game will be preceded by one day of workshops, allowing participants to co-create relations and content and get a feel for the atmosphere. The event is designed for international participants from all over the world and will be played in English. It is produced by the Czech larp association Rolling and a team of international larp designers.

You do not need to have played Disco Elysium in order to play this larp (although we highly recommend you do).

The larp relies on pre-written, organiser-provided content, and all players will receive a detailed character with pre-written relations, a backstory, in-game groups, goals, and affiliations. There will be space for co-creating and fleshing out additional relations and details in the pre-game workshops on-site.

Certain characters will also offer more space for pre-game co-creation.

There will be 95 characters, and players can play any character regardless of any off-game characteristics, including gender, age, ethnicity, appearance or anything else. Most characters will be playable as any gender, with gender-based discrimination not playing a role in the society we create. However, some characters will have a given in-game gender, which may matter in individual plots.

Immersion in lore

97PR is very much a chance to revel in the deep lore that is the world of Disco Elysium. Whether that means sitting around having drunken conversations at the bar about the good old days of the Regnum Cocainum, lecturing radical students on Mazovian socio-economics in a damp basement or playing pétanque with the old veterans in the yard while the deadhead youth play their stupid anodic music in a corner, a major part of the game is about making that lore come alive and feel real and meaningful. The larp is, however, accessible to people who have not played the game, and we will provide all game-relevant lore information in pre-larp documents.
At La Cage nobody can be sure what will next day bring
Photo by Petr Zewlakk Vrabec

Everyday life & the out-of-the-ordinary

We want to create a slice-of-life type of larp, where there is more to the game than just sitting around plotting. We aim to create the means for this by enabling “real” work – actual jobs that the characters can perform part of the day — especially those that feed into a “chain” of interactions or enable others to, in turn, perform their jobs. You might be the Moralintern renovation officer doing their daily rounds, a local artist tasked with painting a mural, a street cleaner sweeping the yard or a carpenter boarding up broken windows, and many other small chores and jobs. We also hope to create an environment where you play pétanque with the same group of old codgers talking about politics every day or invite a few friends over to your cramped little apartment. We want La Cage to feel lived in and alive.

Poverty, socio-economics and politics

La Cage is a harsh place that chews up dreams and shits out people. A major theme of 97PR is the poverty and the class structures of Revachol, about how poverty breeds desperation but also community, about how even among the poorest, there are also different degrees of just how bad things are. It’s about making ends meet and the injustice of it all — and finding someone to blame. It’s about making do with little and how even dreams sometimes have to be killed and eaten over the winter to survive. It is also a larp about politics and ideologies. Revachol has a turbulent and violent history, and among the dilapidated houses of the poor quarters, the polished facade of Moralism often cracks. And through those cracks come seeping out the anger of Mazovian-Nilsenism, the hungry spectre of fascism and the nostalgic and embittered Suzerainism of old.
Not many can see the way out of the poverty
Photo by Petr Zewlakk Vrabec

Cultural clashes, prejudice & racism

Revachol is a melting pot of cultures, where people from all over Elysium come and have their dreams crushed against its sooty walls and its throngs of people. In this environment, racism, prejudices, and simple ignorance flourish, and this is an aspect of the lore we will not shy away from exploring as well — whether it be fascist ideas of haplogroup supremacy, ethnic tensions, colonial traditions and misconceptions, or just simple culture clash. We intend to handle this thoughtfully and carefully. Exactly how will be explained in detail later, but suffice it to say that racism will not be linked to player looks or real-world ethnicities.

Infra-materialism, supra-reality and the Unseen

A sub-theme of 97PR is that of what lies beyond our immediate, measurable reality. For some, this comes in the form of superstitions, a belief in ghosts or curses. For others, the cracks, in reality, are made manifest in waking dreams, glimpses of the alternate realities seen or heard during drug-induced hallucinations, while yet others still study Ignus Nilsen’s theories on the relationship between mind and matter — the revolutionary theory of Infra-materialism. We want to have a subtle sub-layer at 97PR, where reality sometimes becomes a bit blurry (and scary to some). Furthermore, the larp has a very special group of player characters that might be interpreted as somewhat supernatural. The Unseen are a group of characters that do not really get noticed in normal life. That weird old lady upstairs, the veteran begging at the corner, that young party person everybody knows but nobody really knows. In most situations, people just do not care about them. But the Unseen also serve as inner voices, special friends, and drug-induced hallucinations. It is in these forms that they show their true colours and provide special moments for some characters. A blog on the Unseen and their game can be read here.

Safety

The larp is international, and we expect our players to come from a variety of countries and cultures. As such, we would like to foster a space of tolerance and mutual understanding where we all assume the best intentions but also proactively take care to guard our boundaries and ask for help when needed. Any off-game harassment or discrimination is unacceptable. There will be mechanisms for cutting play and opting out of individual scenes. There will also be an off-game space available at all times and consultants able to help players with their game or any emotional safety issues. All safety mechanisms will be practised during the workshops. 97PR will deal with some difficult topics and may, at times, be an intense larp. Topics that everyone will encounter to some extent include:
  • In-game racism (unrelated to off-game race or ethnicity)
  • Extremism, including ideologies similar to communism or fascism
  • Violence, including domestic violence, psychological and structural violence.
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Suicide
  • Physical play — A certain level of physical play is seen as standard, including touching, getting grabbed/held, etc. It will be possible to opt-out from it, but opt-in or calibration will not be required for this sort of play.
We would like to stress here that there are certain aspects of the original game that will not be part of the game design and that we want the players to stay away from as well. These include:
  • Body-related discrimination — Real-life appearance and any physical traits will not be a part of any negative play in this larp.
  • Sexuality-based discrimination — characters will have a variety of sexualities. However, there will be no homophobia or other discrimination based on sexual orientation in our Revachol.
  • Sexism — While individual characters may have stories with a gendered dynamic, our Revachol’s society does not operate with gender-based discrimination, and most characters can be played as any gender.
These are points where we have decided to step away from the source material in order for everyone to be able to enjoy the game without having to deal with real-life shit like this.
Some found their calling in art, some in violence, some in both
Photo by Petr Zewlakk Vrabec

Story

We are not doing the game

97 Poets of Revachol is a labour of love, love for the fantastic fiction and world-building of Disco Elysium. We endeavour to produce something that borrows from that creation while not copying it outright. Our game will, by necessity, make some changes and dabble in quite a bit of our own subcreation while still respecting the deep background and lore of the game. 97PR is not the “larp version” of the computer game, and none of the game’s characters or major plot lines will feature in ours as anything other than background story. This is more or less a fanfiction set in the same world for a whole different medium.

La Cage. A dilapidated building next to Boogie Street. Encumbered with the past, the former hospital is now wheezing with decay. Today, it is reputed to be one of the worst tenements in the whole city of Revachol. For its inhabitants, the half-crumbled walls are both a prison and a refuge — but there is still life here. The heart of the building beats to the rhythm of anodic music.

Immigrant families far from home, penniless students of Mazovian socio-economics with bleak futures, shady gang members, and those who merely try to put food on their family tables. All together, squished under one roof.

Every day they toil to scrape by. When food is scarce, dreams must sometimes be sacrificed and eaten to survive. But in this waist-high cesspool of poverty, there is not only despair but also solidarity. An unusual piece of happiness in everydayness. Some seek solace in family, faith, art or a plan on how to turn their life around once and for all. Others nurse feelings of injustice and gather courage for radical action. Amongst it all — the Unseen voices of their inner fears and desires roam, ready to play their insidious games.

In the next few days, this community will experience not only the mundanity of everyday life. It will be complemented by undertones of the surreal, a microcosm teetering on the edge of revolution. La Cage’s various ideologies, disputes and life decisions are a prismatic mix, fizzling and ready to burst at the seams. But until that happens, everyone will do their utmost to simply exist. Because even in a broken place, life is worth living.

Timeline

The event is divided into the following parts:
  • Workshops (Wednesday evening to Thursday afternoon) — You will get your equipment and your place of residence, learn how to best enjoy the game, and have time to calibrate and co-create with your co-players. The workshops are mandatory and designed to work for both experienced larpers and first-timers to the hobby.
  • Prologue (first hour of the game) — The local gang ambushes the Wild Pines convoy. The mercenaries retreat into an improvised hideout, the Gang licks its wounds, the locals see opportunities everywhere, and a Coalition unit comes in. The larp starts with pre-scripted starting scenes, which will be more cinematic to get everyone into the game.
  • Chapter 1 (first evening and most of the second day) — Day-to-day life in La Cage. Political groups rally, the building’s secrets get uncovered, and the Gang escalates its violence. And still, work needs to be done, and art wants to be made. The Chapter ends with the Gang and the Mercenaries leaving the game — the only question is how.
  • The Intermezzo (second night) — The tyrants are gone, and the people celebrate. A long-awaited anodic music rave, a disco show for the old-timers, and general festivities. The surreal takes hold for a few hours, with the Unseen taking centre stage for a short while. The players of the Gang and Mercenaries will have this as a sort of down, chill time to either freely party or just prepare for their new roles the next day.
  • Chapter 2 (most of the third day) — The morning after the revolution brings more sober questions. People are grasping for power, orienting themselves in the new environment, or just stealing comfy and expensive furniture left over by their former overlords. La Cage is changing forever, and still, life has to go on. Work to be done, performances to be performed, and grotesque pictures to be painted. The chapter culminates with a traditional sports event that will end up with a fight between the hard core of the suzerainists and the globalists. Both the RCM Searchlight unit and some Union headbusters arrive, played by the former Gang / Mercenaries players.
  • Countdown (last hours of the game) — Everybody knows that there will be blood on the streets while our part of the city descends into a battle between those who stand up for strong, independent Revachol and those who believe in cooperation and internationalism. Choices are made, the very few people with the privilege to leave do so, and all plots are finished.
  • The Battle of La Cage — Unable to resolve their differences in a world that is falling apart, La Cage will follow one side or the other. Everyone comes out in the square, weapons or just pieces of furniture in hand. When the talks are over and people run into each other, the scene freezes. We do not know what happens after that.
Unseen events — While the Unseen characters will be able to attend almost all the events of the regular characters, they will also have separate events created only for their style of play.
The outcasts live in the dark under the building
Photo by Petr Zewlakk Vrabec

Groups and dwellings

Characters in the game are divided into groups based on who lives where. The groups might have slightly different play styles, and “where you live” is a key socio-economic indicator, but characters are also connected by many other interests, plots and so on.
  • Apartment Blocks A and B
    • Everybody who lives in La Cage is mostly poor and desperate. The families and professionals living in blocks A and B are the ones who really try to keep some semblance of normality in their lives. Workers, teachers, caretakers, owners of the local sweatshops, disgraced doctors, and others live here.
  • Immigrant Housing
    • People love creating distance between one another. Migrants from Graad and Oranje and some undocumented poor souls live here, stuck between horrible jobs in local sweatshops and old dreams.
  • Local Union Branch
    • Called the Club by most locals, the Local Union Branch has served a particular purpose for almost forever. While the boss and his team might still be posing as well-meaning union organisers, just collecting some fees here and there, but this facade has become extremely thin. They are the local gang, and they rule the place with an iron fist dressed in an expensive velvet glove. They have been able to withstand all pressure — but their end is approaching fast. However, they will go out with a bang.
  • The Reconstruction Office
    • Years ago, the Moralintern has set up a reconstruction office tasked with “restoring the building, re-skilling the inhabitants, empowering local self-governance, and promoting values of liberal, procedural democracy”. The effects are hard to see, but the office still functions. What is easy to see are the new arrivals in Coalition uniforms, decked not only in reáls and nice suits but also bodyarmor, personal weapons, and special equipment.
  • The Hideout
    • The survivors of an ambush gone wrong were forced to seek temporary respite in the tenement. Seasoned mercenaries in a close-knit group with quite a few dark secrets, major problems and high-powered weapons. (The Hideout game is very specific, and its design centres around waiting, slow tension, claustrophobic relationships and boredom.)
  • Sewer People
    • The lowlifes at the bottom of the barrel. They have been toughened by all the punches that life has dealt them and have very little to lose. And some of them are maybe even… happy here? (The sewer people will live in the cellar of the building in a cleaned-up but still dark room.)
  • The Unseen
    • The people you meet every day but never really pay attention to. The hidden avatars of various concepts, steering the fates of the people around them. They are a special group of characters with a separate sign-up process.
All characters (except the Unseen) are also part of at least one secondary group. These include characters from across multiple primary groups — and usually represent some smaller community or interest. For example, the Suzeranists, the Westwing Devils, the Order of Dolores Dei the Merciful, or the Theatrical Taxidermy Club. There are, of course, many other facilities in La Cage. A bar, two competing music clubs, the clinic, an immigrant-run tea room, a shady museum, a pawnshop, a place of remembrance for those already lost and many others. People spend lots of time there, but they live elsewhere.

What the larp is

  • A pre-written come-and-play game with some co-creation possibilities. Players will receive detailed characters based on their preferences; most co-creation will be concentrated in the workshops.
  • A community story focused on relations, societal changes, and a simulation of life in one tenement block — including work, art, meals, and hobbies.
  • A 360 experience with detailed set design and the main parts of the costume provided for players. Mechanisms will be minimal, focused on the supra-natural elements of the larp.
  • A story of poverty and real people who live their lives in a setting full of political and societal turmoil.
  • A somewhat spartan experience with limited comfort — no showers on-site, chemical toilets, sleeping communally on camp beds or mattresses.

What the larp is not

  • A gamist experience that can be won. We will focus on telling stories, and while there may be individual goals, they will serve to develop characters, not to be won.
  • Reenactment of Disco Elysium. The larp is set in the city of Revachol, but the events and characters of the game will not be present in it or only as background tidbits.
  • A fully customizable sandbox experience. The larp will have pre-written content and structure, and while players will be able to add to them, they will not be able to change them drastically.
  • A larp about a rebellion against oppression with a happy ending. The larp will include a small revolution or even several — but those are not the point. There is no black-and-white enemy, no one oppressive system that needs to be overthrown so that everything improves. The story of the larp is about planning and executing a revolution — and then living with the results and disillusionments of it.
  • A professional, profitable venture. The larp is organised by a non-profit association and volunteers. Any potential income will go straight back into improving the larp and making it sustainable for more runs. That also means the comfort will be limited, and players may be asked to help with some stuff. 97PR is a community larp — both in-game and out of the game.