In 1937 all members of The Hermetic Order of Ardor disappeared without a trace.
The Order was gathered to prepare its members to ascend to a higher plane of existence. Notes found at their estate suggest that during one of the summonings run by the Lady Templar, at least one deity slipped through the cracks in the aether and slowly condemned the members to hell.
This is the story of what happened.
BAPHOMET is a larp about personal horror set in the vintage era. You sign up alone or together with another participant and dive into madness. You will fight the urges from the other side as hard as you can, but one thing is certain: humans cannot prevail over Gods.
The larp is played out in 16th century castle estate in the countryside of Denmark and is for 31 participants. The larp is played in English.
The World of Baphomet
The Hermetic Order of Ardor is a secret society that works towards enlightenment and transcendence of its members. The Lord Templars decide who can become a member through rigorous tests, to evaluate the magickal potential of your character and their partner. If they are judged to have the potential to ascend to a higher plane of existence, they will then be initiated into the society together.
The larp's participants portray couples who have risen to the 12th degree of The Order. They have been summoned to The Order's estate to go through the ritual to become Templars - the second highest rank, surpassed only by the Lord Templars who are the Order's leaders. For many of the characters, this step is very important: in the Order, only Templars and Lord Templars are allowed to have children.
Not everyone who was summoned will become Templars, since not all are ready to ascend. But all members will do their very best to help their fellow brothers and sisters reach their full potential.
The Order works a lot with Tarot, summonings, and various group exercises that will pressure its members to reveal their inner wishes and true potential. Since the characters are placed under strong pressure, larp participants should expect to be challenged both mentally and physically.
The Vintage Era
BAPHOMET is set in what we call "the vintage era". The vintage era looks and feels like somewhere in between 1910 and 1950. Exactly when is not that important, and we are not aiming for historically correct outfits.
The visual style of the larp should have a vintage feel, which means vintage dresses, suits, tuxedos, uniforms, emphasised in the details: a hat, the right hair and make-up, a monocle or maybe a medal.
The vintage era is an alternate reality where the world is without the big political movements that were present in our world during 1910-1950. There has not been a World War, and there no major political ideologies haunting Europe.
It is very much still a world of social class difference, where the rich and powerful have much more wealth and influence than the working classes. However, in The Hermetic Order of Ardor, this norm is challenged, and here you will find high born and workers side by side. In the eyes of The Order, the earthly position of people has nothing to do with their magickal potential.
BAPHOMET is a larp about personal horror and what happens when a group descends into desire and madness together.
As a participant, you will portray a member of The Hermetic Order of Ardor or its staff. The Order is a secret society that does everything in its power to help its members ascend to a higher plane of existence.
You are all gathered at The Order's estate to help each other prepare and perform the exercises and ascension rituals to attain the level of Templar. Inevitably, this goes horribly wrong. As two deities Pan and Baphomet slip through from the other side, The Order is consumed by madness.
A larp about personal horror
A larp with the themes: terror, lust, desire, power and loss of control
A larp about a secret society gone horribly wrong
A larp with a strong vintage feel
You should participate in BAPHOMET if:
You want to explore personal horror and make yourself and others afraid
You want to play intense and mature role-play in a safe environment
You want to explore a difficult genre like horror and see where it can take you and your fellow players
The larp is played in a very physical style where dancing is dancing and fighting looks real. Real alcohol will be served, but players deemed too intoxicated to participate responsibly will be removed from play.
All genders, sexualities and bodies are invited to act wicked and be beautiful at this larp. During play you are likely to become witness to nudity, public displays of affection and sexuality, simulated but realistic-looking sex, and violence.
A good minimum comfort level for participation is for you to hug a stranger tightly and maybe kiss them on the mouth. But whether gentle intimacy, portrayed lust or pretend violence, you will always have full control of your own body and of the story you are telling. You always choose who to touch and control who touches you. You can always leave any situation and step outside the play area to take a break from the fiction as needed.
These are themes and actions that might happen at the larp. You can always opt out participating in a scene, but expect to see others engaging with these themes. You can view this list as trigger warnings or content warnings.
Possession, which means non-consensual character actions. The participant always has control over their actions
Sensual and sexual play across genders
Bathing in dark water
Very physical play, including theatre style sex simulation (dry humping)
Violent outbursts, face slapping
Play on abortion and impregnation
Contacting the dead
Rituals based on B.O.T.A., A∴A∴ and Thelema
Religion – seeing religious expression
These themes and actions you can NOT opt out from during the larp.
Sleeping in a queen size bed with another participant (if a member)
Helping out in the kitchen, collecting dishes and the like
How Does the Horror Work at BAPHOMET?
At BAPHOMET you will not see any special effects or monsters suddenly appearing out of nowhere. We will work with a possession mechanic that can create scary, disturbing and terrifying scenes. The goal is to be afraid! Afraid of the potential we all have as human beings to be selfish, devious, horrible and evil.
We aim for your character to realize that the thin veil between our reality and the other side can be broken. Even the smallest glimpse into that horrible and unnamable place will ruin something inside them forever. And when they realize this, they will have no other choice than dance to the tune of strange and terrifying Gods.
Participation in the Larp
There are two different types of participants at BAPHOMET: Councillors and Members of the order. Each will give you different types of experiences and have different requirements for you as a participant. All will get a pre-written character.
The Members of the Order (Pair Participation)
With a Member Ticket you will have to play very closely together with one other participant. All Members of the order have a partner and it is together with that person you will go through the training. You will share a room with your co-participant and most of the beds are double beds. You need to sign up together with a specific participant as pair to participate as a Member of the Order. In the beginning of the larp, most of your time will be used together with this person. We recommend you meet up with your co-participant before the larp and discuss how your characters' relationship works. We will not have too much time at the workshop for this.
The Councillors of the Order (Individual Participation)
As Councillor of The Hermetic Order of Ardor you are already a Templar of the Order. A full member with the same privileges as all other members. You have, for one reason or the other, lost your partner and are now unable to ascend any further. But you have dedicated your life to The Order by serving it full time. You are probably one of the strongest believers in the goals and teachings of Ardor.
You will function as a guide for the other members, and receive their confessions just like a catholic priest. You also function as staff at the mansion. But the most important part of your job is not to serve food or keep the house tidy. It is to help and motivate the other members to reach their full potential. You know better, and they will listen to your advice. They just need to be pushed a little - or maybe a lot.
Councillor tickets are more affordable since you will have to help the organizers with scripted scenes, and also help more than the other participants with practical tasks like clearing tables and keeping the rooms tidy. You sign up alone to play Councillor.
For more on practical information see here.
BAPHOMET, Possession and Desire
A big part of BAPHOMET is the possession mechanic. Your character will be possessed by the aspects of the deities Baphomet and Pan. For Pan these aspects are lust, desire, pleasure and selfish indulgence, and for Baphomet power, knowledge, control, the flesh and absolute truth. You as a participant have to be ready to play on these elements in a mature and sensible way. If you are not interested in elements of sensual and passionate play, you should not play this larp. As a participant at Baphomet, you should also expect to witness nudity and violent behaviour.
It is important for us that you understand that BAPHOMET is not a larp with the theme of sex or sensual play at the forefront. Those things are very much present, but they are means to an end. The workshop will cover how to portray lust, passion, power, desire and selfish enjoyment, not only physically, but also intellectually. We will work with how the themes can be forces that create beauty but also very destructive and devoid of good.
You will of course set your own limits for how you want to play. We expect you to take control and steer a scene in a direction where you feel comfortable and safe. When it comes to exploring the larp's themes with other players, we have a simple but effective rule set. You will be able to fluently and clearly communicate your limits and set the intensity of play towards yourself without breaking the flow of play. You will use a set of distinct code phrases and hand signals to signal that you would like to step up, level out, or decrease the intensity of play directed at you. We will workshop this before the larp.
The Characters and the Pantheons of Gods
All characters are under the light of a deity. The aspects and moods that the deity represents inspires your character and her decisions. The deity does not dictate all of your character's decisions, but colours their choices. So if they are under the light of Zeus, they are probably more demanding and decisive than if they were under the light of Aphrodite. The gods we use in BAPHOMET are the Olympian, Assyrian and Babylonian gods.
The main inspiration for BAPHOMET, and also the previous larp is this series, PAN, is the wonderful short story The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen from 1890. In this story the world is based on the notion that nature is a chaotic being that, in the eyes of man, is evil and malicious. This idea is also present in Lars von Trier's movie Antichrist. The Order of Ardor itself is heavily inspired by the obscure Danish order "Vandrer mod Lyset" and the book by the same name from 1920.
Here is a small excerpt from The Great God Pan that describes the world of PAN and BAPHOMET larps quite well:
We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing.
It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current.
Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale.
But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form. Oh, Austin, how can it be? How is it that the very sunlight does not turn to blackness before this thing, the hard earth melt and boil beneath such a burden?