The Best Smoke Submission

Larp, meta, Smoke

Designer: Karolina Soltys
Number of participants: 8–16
Duration: 4 hours
The presenter feels that this larp IS suitable for young people aged 16+

About the larp

In 2021, the requirements for larps pitched to The Smoke changed drastically! This year, all larps submitted to The Smoke have to be 1 hour long, the scripts need to fit on 3 pages. Moreover, the festival will only accept larps which explore An Important Current Issue, and they all need to be playtested before they run at The Smoke.

Is 1 hour and 3 pages really enough to experience a larp, especially if it is meant to explore a societal issue without trivialising it? Will imposing this limit on new scenarios at a major festival stifle the art form? We will explore this Important Current Issue in this larp.

The first part of the larp will last 1 hour. You will be playing a group of larp designers with very different approaches to larp, long-time friends (or enemies, or secret lovers, or co-organisers — the most sacred of bonds!), who meet up every year to design together a scenario for The Smoke 2021. As usual, you’ve spent the entire retreat drinking rather than designing, and now it is 40 minutes until the submission deadline.

Fortunately, in 2020 we still allow larps to be longer than 1 hour! In this precious bonus time, your characters will get to explain their brilliant larp idea to another group of designers (who also happened to pitch their larp to The Smoke 2021…) and have them playtest it — while you playtest their horrible, half-baked larp which surely shouldn’t get accepted to the festival, especially not when your masterpiece is in the running!

Presented by

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


Physical contact Light contact; touching hands or forearms
Romance and intimacy Romantic themes but no player contact; e.g. discussion of romance, illicit glances
Conflict and violence Themes of conflict, but not enacted by players; e.g. quiet threats and vengeful stares
Communication style Lots of speech
Movement style Walking
Characters Players build their characters around a predesigned skeleton or archetype
Narrative control The shape and direction of the story is entirely, or almost entirely, determined by player choice
Transparency Fully transparent – players will, or at least can, know absolutely everything in advance
Representation level The fictional space is pretty similar to the play space
Play culture Players are in rival factions, teams, etc, which are in some sort of competition for success
Tone Light-hearted

Sunday afternoon, Studio 2