Character constellations



To flesh out a world or possible future and make it concrete, it is always useful for that world to be inhabited by characters. In this game, a community of characters is created. They connect and form various relationships with each other.



Some previous exercises are essential to prepare for this game. During a Mental time travel (p. ), players travel to the imaginary world. Then they try to conjure up some visions of themselves in this world using the Creating character exercise (p. ).

Step 1

The game master hands out pieces of paper and the players write down their chosen first name, inspired by their identity in the imaginary world. Then the obligatory round of introductions takes place, in which everyone introduces themselves with their fictitious name. Professions, jobs, hobbies or family situations can all be mentioned.

Step 2

The game master throws a ball of wool into the circle. A first player takes the ball of wool, holds the end, and throws the ball of wool to another player. While doing so, the first player tries to describe in detail the imaginary relationship they have with the second player. Then the second player throws the ball of wool to a third player, and tries to describe their relationship. During this first round, players take care not to throw the ball of wool to a player who is already holding the thread - so that at the end of the first round all players in the group have at least one defined relationship with another player.

If desired the game can continue and new relationships defined in a subsequent round until eventually all relationships between all players become visible. In this way, we weave together the constellation of fictional relationships between all players. As is the case for several other exercises in this Grimoire, the main rule of this game is that players never contradict each other's fictions. If one pretends to be the sister of another, the idea is for the other to build on that. Naturally, interrelationships are meant to be co-determined by the rules or logic of the imaginary world. What kind of communities exist in that world? In addition, of course, the characters remain human beings: some are reserved or suspicious, others know each other or are friends, still others have family ties (adoption, sisterhood...), etc. Alliances, opposites and affinities emerge, and a web or network of relationships becomes concrete.

Step 3

Now try to summarise the most important features of interrelationships in this world.


This method is borrowed from LARP practices (Live Action Role Play) and was introduced to us by Susan Ploetz. It was important for me that we tried to shape our characters after a session of 'Sensory Inspection'. We did a mental time travel while, eyes closed, we sniffed and groped the chosen object for our sensory inspection. The sensations resulting from the contact with the object, and the mental images that arose, stimulated the process of imagining the character. Images and situations appear, naturally building a character (or at least its broad outlines). Sometimes specific images come to mind. Sometimes it's all a bit vague and you have to call on your own aptitude to fabulate in order to complete the image. During a workshop with children, I tried the same exercise, and it was remarkable to see how closed eyes and contact with an object inspired their fantasy around the character.

When I was playing the game for the first time, I realised that I had built my character from personal flaws but also from my own resources. I was moved that some members of the group resembled me and that friendships on display in the game could develop in real life. Sometimes strong complicities can be revealed in such activities. It is very nice to meet or even fall in love in a game. It's also funny how some groups take on their characters to the point of creating avatars for themselves.

Anna Cz.


During our end-of-research weekend in Buda, Kortrijk in April 2022 Susan Ploetz introduced us to some principles of Nordic Larping. This was one of the games we played.

Suzan Ploetz, who was introduced to us by Erika Sprey. Suzan Ploetz is an American performer and visual artist living in the Netherlands. She has co-written various Larps and integrates somatic practices into these group experiences. She uses imagination, magical materiality and the creation of protocols to induce emancipatory emotional dissonance and perceptual expansion.

The instructions were written by Anna Cz. in French and re-written by Diederik P. in English.