The Tribunal

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The Tribunal

Totalitarian oppression
Number of players
How long it runs
2 hours
Date written
J. Tuomas Harviainen
The Tribunal

The Tribunal is a Nordic theatre-style larp exploring totalitarianism and oppression. The game was written for and was the winner of the 2010 Larpwriter Challenge.[1] It has been run over thirty times around the world,[2] from Belarus to the USA.

The game has a simple design, with archetypal characters based on animal sterotypes (Wolf, Cat, Dog, Horse etc). It uses a short warm-up exercise and a pre-scene to get the players into character before moving on to the main scene of them waiting to be called to testify (it is thus a waiting game). The game itself does not resolve the question of whether the soldiers are found guilty or innocent; it is about the waiting and the tension, not the actual decision. However, there are wide variations in play, and some versions see the player characters interrogated or give testimony in character.[2]


Two soldiers from your unit have been charged with the crime of stealing bread. If found guilty, they will be shot. The problem is that they are innocent.

The Tribunal is a short, intense participatory scenario about the mechanics of oppression, inspired by Orwell, Krylov, and Büchner. The scenario takes place in a space of waiting, just before the first one of you is called in to testify in front of the military tribunal. Each of you will face the judges alone, not knowing what the others will say. So if you want to make a difference, or be sure you survive, you need to discuss and deal now. The Tribunal has been played all over the world and won the 2010 Larpwriter Challenge award and is an approachable point of entry for learning about Nordic larp.


  1. ...and the winner is... Larpwriter Challenge, 22 November 2010. Retrieved via 27 January 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 J. Tuomas Harviainen "Infinite Firing Squads: The evolution of The Tribunal". In Charles Bo Nielsen and Claus Raasted (eds), Knudepunkt 2015 Companion Book, Rollespilsakademiet (2015).

External links