Arsenic & Lies

Family, secrets, murder

Designer: Karolina Soltys (UK)
Number of participants: 5–10
Duration: 3 hours
Genre/style: Nordic-style
The presenter feels that this larp IS suitable for young people aged 16+

REVISIT – this larp is coming back to The Smoke after successful runs here in 2018 and 2019

About the larp

It is 31 December 1919 and the party at Weatherby Manor is in full swing. The guests exchange furtive whispers of intrigue, blackmail and forbidden love. At midnight, a glass of poisoned champagne shatters, dropped from a dying hand. The family has to find – or frame – the killer before the police start looking too closely into their secrets.

Arsenic & Lies is a 3 hour larp for 5–10 players inspired by Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie novels. Rather than being a classical whodunnit, it focuses on the emotions, relationships and secrets of the characters involved: solving the murder might be less important to the characters than pursuing their clandestine affairs, arranging marriages of convenience or blackmailing their enemies.

More information on

Content Warnings: None.

Karolina Soltys (UK): Karolina Soltys has been writing, playing and organising Nordic-style larps for several years. She is a founder of The Immersivists Club, a community playing larps in London, and has co-organised three editions of The Smoke. Her larps have been presented at several larp festivals; one of them, Arsenic & Lies, has been published commercially. In her practice, Karolina takes inspiration from other forms of art (literature, film, music), adapting them into co-creative, character-driven immersive experiences.

Lorraine Kipling (UK): Lorraine participated in her first larp in summer 2019, and has been learning the ropes since then. She has worked in theatre, education, writing, and editing, and gets a kick from various kinds of creative collaboration. This presentation of Arsenic & Lies will be her debut as a GM.


Communication style Lots of speech
Movement style Walking
Tone Dramatic
Players create their own characters, in a workshop
Narrative control Players have some influence over story, but there is basically a script or structure that they’re within
Transparency Transparent design, but players can create secrets during play and keep them from each other / reveal them when wished
Representation level Scenery and props will be used to make the play space look something like the fictional space
Play culture The concept of rivalry or cooperation between players doesn’t really apply

Saturday morning, Studio 3