Q. What is INKlarp?


A. INKlarp is a freeform larp-by-letter created by, and for, a mix of incarcerated and non-incarcerated people. It is in its beta stage, which means its creator still doesn't know what she's doing and will need your help!




Q. Does INKlarp have a plot or premise? If so, what is it?


A. Yes, INKlarp does have a premise. See above: all players are members of the Survey Corps, and all players have heard disturbing rumors — someone, or something, is assassinating members of Survey. Worse, the manner of assassinations suggests the assassins have accomplices in the higher echelons of the Corps… The letter larp is a counter-conspiracy, run by members of Survey for members of Survey. Letters on paper let the surveyors route around their higher-ups as they write directly to each other to try and discover who (or what) is killing them. Plus it allows them to send each other reports of their travels — because if Survey’s been compromised from the inside, someone should know what they’ve seen.




Q. Can I make plot happen? How do I make plot happen?


A. Please do make plot happen! Have your character crash her spaceship, kidnap a Princess, plunder a planet — so long as you record it in the plot document, cause chaos by all means. The only rule we have (for now) is that you should avoid killing other player’s characters and those character’s crews, families or spaceships without the player’s permission. Above and beyond that, act in good faith: try not to e.g. derail subplots other people care about or unilaterally annihilate popular setting elements. Plot and play to make fun for you and others: use your good judgement and be kind.




Q. Alright, I want to make a character and start playing! How?


Fill out this form here to make a dossier for your character: if you’d like some inspiration, take a look at some characters who are already in-game here. Then, when you want to start playing, all you have to do is write a letter in-character to another character who’s already in game; send the letter to that character’s player, along with your character’s dossier and (if you wish) an out-of-character introduction.




Q. What genre is INKlarp? What’s the aesthetic? What’s the “feel”?


A. INKlarp belongs to a genre sometimes called “retrofuturism” or “planetary romance” — space as imagined pre-Sputnik, by people who had read a lot of pulp. Sometimes described as “any setting in which Mars has actual canals.” To get a feel for the aesthetic, take a look at Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars, Georges Melias’s A Trip To The Moon (one of the first films!), or for more contemporary examples, check out Catherynne Valente’s Radiance or the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending.




Q. Okay. So who am I playing in INKlarp?


A. INKlarp is a freeform larp where you make your own character: guidelines for making an INKlarp character can be found here. However, there are some constraints: whatever else they are doing, all characters are members of the Survey Corps, a multi-planetary organization that sponsors large-scale missions of exploration. Most are paid explorers, and many went to “Survey Academy,” the Survey’s own Academy for training the same. Introduced characters have thus far included humans (unmodified and genetically engineered), aliens (likewise) and androids. As cultures vary widely from planet to planet and especially from solar system to solar system, almost any backstory is possible: for example, just because say, genetic engineering is accepted in Survey doesn’t mean all solar systems tolerate it.




Q. How can I keep track of the plot as it develops?


A. Excellent question! We currently have a plot Discord, where non-incarcerated players summarize all the letters they’ve sent and received. We hope this will allow people to keep track of the plot as it develops.




Q. What are my responsibilities as a non-incarcerated player?


As a player who (presumably) has access to a computer, we ask that you join the INKlarp Discord and keep us up to date on your progress. This larp is very much in beta now, and we'd like to make it good for everyone.




Q. Wait, but some of these players are in prison…what if I don’t want to give them my name or address?


A. In that case, we suggest using a P.O. box. They are inexpensive and lovely.




Q. May I see some letters players have already written?


A. Why, of course! Some players have already opted to share their characters’ correspondence; feel free to dig through these public letters here.




Q. Is there any special way we’re supposed to treat the incarcerated people?


A. If you’re playing with an incarcerated person (or several), it can be tempting to try and learn their age-race-and-crime by web searching their name. Please don’t do this. If you want to learn a prisoner’s age, race and crime, ask them; in fact, we encourage out-of-game correspondence with prisoners!




Q. What if another player says something rude to me?


A. It could happen! Please note that this is not a safe space. I can’t read everyone’s letters and make sure all the content’s tailored not to shock, and even if I could, I wouldn’t. I think one of the great unkindnesses done to people inside prison is they’re constantly treated like either toddlers or ticking time bombs, and I don’t want to add to that. This larp is open to the outside…but I don’t want to optimize around the fears of non-incarcerated people. That turns the folks I originally started this game for into set-pieces. Or people to be managed. Which is icky. You will be responsible for setting your own boundaries in this larp. Know that you never have to reply to any particular letter. Know that you can quit at any time. And finally, know that if you’re not comfortable setting your own boundaries…this is probably not the larp for you.





Inklarp