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Workshop techniques used before games to create the diegesis or prepare for playing.

Games where players take on the role of characters can be challenging because portraying these can be difficult, or knowing the rules the games uses to portray them are difficult. They can also be challenging because they may not be fully fleshed out and need details or relations to other characters, and doing this together may be challenging in itself if players may not know each other. Workshopping techniques are designed activities intended to help players overcome these challenges by working through various issues before actual gameplay begins.


The concept of Workshopping as a gameplay activity originates from Live Action Roleplaying Games of the Nordic tradition. The Ball of Yarn technique[1] lets group of LARP players visually see how the relations between their characters are created as well as pointing out which ones need more relations. Slow take-off[2] is the generic name for various techniques that slowly shift from introducing players to a LARP or letting them create the setting for one to actually playing them.

The Set-up phase of the storytelling game Fiasco can be seen as a dedicated Workshopping techniques developed for the game, but which could with minor changed be used for other storytelling or roleplaying games.

Using the pattern

Workshopping is the use of specific techniques to help players that take need to take on roles in games. This means that it is used to support Roleplaying and Live Action Roleplaying, and is typically used in the early phases of a game. One specific challenge the Workshopping techniques can help with is making people aware of the proper use of Substitute Actions.

The actual design of Workshopping consists of deciding on what gameplay aspects should be focused upon and deciding on which techniques to use. The Ball of Yarn[1] and Slow take-off[2] techniques invented and documented by the Nordic LARP community shows some examples of specific techniques, as does the set-up phase in Fiasco. However, it may be quite likely that specific techniques needs to be developed for any individual game created, especially if it is not similar to the LARPs or Storytelling Games for which the technique mentioned were developed.

Warming-Up Roleplay Exercises are Workshopping techniques that do not create or modify game elements but let players familiarize themselves with the Enactment or Roleplaying of Characters.

Narration Aspects

Workshopping often help players create and play Characters so they maintain both Thematic and Diegetic Consistency.


Workshopping provides players with Creative Control in the Initial Personalization of Characters. By doing so they not only modify these Characters, but can also take the step to making them Player-Created Characters and thereby letting games have Player Created Game Elements. This in turn can help them set or understand goals related to the roles represented by the Characters and thereby increase their chances of having the sensation of Role Fulfillment.


Can Instantiate

Creative Control, Diegetic Consistency, Initial Personalization, Player Created Game Elements, Thematic Consistency

Can Modulate

Characters, Live Action Roleplaying, Player-Created Characters, Role Fulfillment, Roleplaying, Substitute Actions

Can Be Instantiated By

Warming-Up Roleplay Exercises

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Entry for Ball of Yarn on the Nordic LARP wiki.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Entry for Slow take-off on the Nordic LARP wiki.