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Scenes that interrupt and contextualize an ongoing scene by presenting information relevant to the current situation.

Live Action Roleplaying Games typically try to avoid have information given to players about the events without these being enacted. Contextualization is a technique that allows players to enact flashbacks or flashforwards that interrupt the current scene to present additional information about it.


The Black Box[1] technique in Live Action Roleplaying Games is an archetypal example of Contextualization. The Make a Speech[2] technique used in the LARP Joakim[3] shows a public example of contextualization; when players initiate a speech to the absent former classmate Joakim the rule stipulate that the characters hear this speech but the players tell the other players a memory about how they mistreated him.

Using the pattern

The prime design question regarding the use of Contextualization is when the Scenes the contextualization should be initialized. Other questions relate to if players can initiate the Contextualizations or if only Game Masters or events begin them, if they should be flashbacks or "flashforwards", and if they should make use of other Characters.

Narrative Aspects

Contextualization is a Narration Pattern.


Contextualization is a Meta-Technique using whole Scenes as its format, thereby both creating Scenes and modifying existing ones. It can easily break Temporal Consistency by having the Scenes take place in the past or future of what is "currently" happening in a game instance.

The use of the pattern modifies players' possibility of Enactment in that they can portray Characters at other times or even other Characters that are relevant to the narration.


Can Instantiate

Meta-Techniques, Scenes

Can Modulate

Characters, Enactment, Scenes

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Temporal Consistency


New pattern created in this wiki. However, the concept was first introduced as "contextualisation" by Wrigstad in 2008[4].


  1. Entry for Black Box on the Nordic LARP wiki.
  2. Rules for the LARP Joakim at Stockholm Scenario Festival 2013.
  3. Entry for the LARP Joakim on the Nordic LARP wiki.
  4. Wrigstad, T. 2008. Nuts and Bolts of Jeepform. Playground Worlds.