Our story

“When a boy becomes a man, he swears a sacred Oath – that from this day forth he will help his people bear the Burden. This Burden is something he bears until his death. There is no way to disclaim the Burden once the Oath has been sworn. His entire life is now dedicated to seeing the Oath fulfilled. The social consequences for a man who fails his responsibilities are harsh and merciless. On the day he becomes a man, the boy is engaged to marry one of the new women.”

The Mo in their natural setting. Photo by Simon James Pettitt.

This is a larp that seeks to explore honour and honour-based cultures, but also to draw parallels and ask questions of contemporary society. The game takes place in a fictitious world, in a fictitious culture, but the details are borrowed from real-world cultures. The goal is for all participants to gain insights into how honour-based cultures function and feel, from many perspectives. Both as the one who upholds the norms and the one punished for endangering the honour.

“Becoming a woman is a ritual we know very little about. But what I’ve managed to learn, is that they believe that the ritual empowers the women to access a force which is the most dangerous in the whole cosmology of the Mo and at the same time, the source of all life. This is the reason, due to the fact that women should never again be allowed to be without the protection and responsibility of a man, that the engagements are made the very next day. This is to ensure that the least amount of time goes by, while the women are uncontrolled and a danger to all.”

Excerpt from “The Mo Folk – an analysis and anthropological study” by Ethan Rickman

The Mo believe that the ability to create life is at the same time a dangerous force. A force that threatens to destroy all they hold dear, if not held in check. The Vitality is a double-edged sword: Without it, no reproduction, no Mofolk. But without control it results in disaster and destruction. The force is found in the women and must be vigilantly controlled. When a girl becomes a woman, she gains access to the dangerous power and thus becomes a danger to the survival of the entire people. Someone must assume control over her. The traditions demand that she must enter the domain of a man as soon as possible. A man who can ensure that her powers are used to create life and continue the existence of Mo. Without his control her powers will turn destructive and chaotic.

Some of the certain signs that a woman is on the edge of becoming a danger to all: mood swings, bursts of anger or other emotions.

A man who fails to keep his woman in check has no honour and has failed in his responsibilities as a man. He is the one who has endangered the safety of the people.

That is why the Mo have The Honour, The Oath and The Burden. Once a boy becomes a man, he takes The Oath, which ties him to his Burden. That is what makes a man of him. The Honour is what helps him do what has to be done, for the greater good.

“How the womenfolk experience their station in life is impossible to determine. I am not allowed to converse with them in private. All my waking hours are spent in the company of the men. When women are allowed to participate they are quiet, meek and subservient. What the women speak of when they are alone together, without the supervision and demands of the men, is impossible to discover, to my great sadness. There are situations that allow the women to be alone, which I believe to provide a sort of safe haven to them. A place where they can be themselves, without affectations. But alas, it would take a female anthropologist to access these secretive spaces. I have asked the men about the women’s ritual wherein a girl becomes a woman. They stir nervously. It is obviously not something I ought to ask about.

It has become quite the obsession to me. The women of Mo. I must discover what goes on behind their lowered gazes.”

Excerpt from “The Mo Folk – an analysis and anthropological study” by Ethan Rickman

The starting point

At the start of play, the boys of the town are expected back from their year in the Outside. Everyone is excited to see them back. From Dalen, families have arrived with girls ready to become women and then married off. The expectations of the returning boys are high. During the year away, they must decide to return home to swear the Oath and become men.

For the women, this is both a season of sorrow and happiness. Some will lose their daughters forever. Others will see the happy return of their sons. Some will have their lives turned upside down and find themselves be married off to men they haven’t even met yet.