Juhana Pettersson


Oman roolipelin julkaiseminen ei ole helppoa. Roolipelikentällä on vähänlaisesti kustantajia jotka olisivat valmiita julkaisemaan tarjottuja pelejä ja varsinkin Suomessa kenttä koostuu sirpaleisesta joukosta pieniä toimijoita. Tyypillisesti oman pelinsä joutuu julkaisemaan itse. Tätä tietä ovat kulkeneet suurin osa suomalaisista roolipelisuunnittelijoista.

Roolipelintekijän täytyy tietää paljon:

Miten syntyy hyvä peli-idea?

Miten se jäsennellään pelitestattavaksi prototyypiksi?

Miten kirjoittaa varsinainen roolipelijulkaisu?

Miten hoitaa asiat visuaalisen ulkoasun kanssa?

Miten kirja painatetaan?

Miten roolipelialalla hoituu markkinointi?

Kurssin kuluessa käymme läpi indie-roolipelin koko syntyprosessin. Ajatuksena on että kurssin kävijät saavat kokonaiskuvan siitä miten julkaista oma roolipeli. Sisällön jäsentelyssä pyrimme aina konkreettisuuteen ja käytännön hyötyyn.

Kurssi on tarkoitettu niille jotka haluavat julkaista oman roolipelin mutta joilla ei ole asiasta käytännön kokemusta tai oma kokemus on rajoittunut muutamiin kokeiluihin. Haluamme erityisesti painottaa että kurssi on avoin osallistujien ikään, sukupuoleen tai muihin tekijöihin katsomatta. Pyrimme tekemään siitä inklusiivisen kaikille ja madaltamaan roolipelijulkaisun tiellä olevia esteitä.

Kurssin vetää roolipelisuunnittelija Juhana Pettersson.

Kurssi pidetään Helsingissä tiistaista 20.7.2021 sunnuntaihin 25.7.2021. Se on täysipäiväinen intensiivikurssi jonka kuluessa osallistujat tekevät oman roolipelin alusta loppuun saakka.

Kurssi järjestetään mikäli ilmoittautujia on viisi tai enemmän. Kurssille mahtuu yhteensä seitsemän osallistujaa. Ilmoittautuminen aukeaa 22.5.2021 ja sulkeutuu 29.5.2021 klo 18:00. Mikäli ilmoittautuneita on enemmän kuin kurssille mahtuu, osallistujat valitaan ilmoittautumisjärjestyksessä.

Kurssille osallistuminen maksaa 60 €. Osallistumismaksuilla katetaan kurssin järjestämiseen liittyviä kuluja. Maksu kerätään enne kurssin alkamista.

Ilmoittautuminen on päättynyt

Coming Soon: Engines of Desire

Where do you find beauty in larp? How to create larp in the intersection of politics and emergent play? How to design for player desires and make larp while avoiding burnout?

Engines of Desire is a collection of 31 articles and essays about larp by Juhana Pettersson. Many of the texts have been published before and there are nine new articles as well as a foreword by the play researcher Jaakko Stenros. The cover seen above as well as the book’s graphic design is by Anne Serup Grove.

The book’s essays span twenty years of Nordic Larp. The perspective is that of a larp designer, a player, a member of the Nordic community of play. The book is an exploration into the ideas and dynamics of larp during a time of intense artistic development in the community.

“I’ve been making larp for over twenty years now. I wanted to put everything I know about it into one book,” Pettersson says.

Engines of Desire will be available as both a physical book and an electronic release.

Juhana Pettersson (born in 1980) is a Finnish larp designer, novelist and game writer. Larps he has created or worked on include Luminescence, Halat hisar, End of the Line, Parliament of Shadows and Enlightenment in Blood.

Larp Workshop in Minsk, 12th to 16th of August

Larpers of Finland!

Do you want an all-paid, all-inclusive trip to Minsk, Belarus, to meet fellow larpers from around the world and network and play larps together with them?

We at Pohjoismaisen roolipelaamisen seura are happy to announce that as part of the EU funded network Larpers of the World, we will select 3-4 participants from Finland to take part in the workshop.


The theme of the upcoming workshop is “Empowerment through entertainment”. Participants will run larps based on scripts that are not written by the game master to analyse their structure with a template for larp design for a future larp script database. They will also work with community building and inclusion in larp. The program outline will be released closer to the workshop.

The Larpers of the World network will cover your transport to and from Belarus, and to and from the airport in Finland. Food and sleeping arrangements in Belarus will also be taken care of. If you want to arrive before or stay longer (note that Belarus only issues 5 day visas via Minsk airport) – you will need to cover the cost on your own.

A good level of spoken English is needed since participants will play larps together. It is a plus (but not necessary) to have experience with:

– running larps;

– running larps from larpscripts;

– have designed larps and would like to document them;

-developing ways for working with community building to foster civic participation through larp.

Young people (under 28) and minorities, as well as larpers from outside the Helsinki area are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please write a short motivation letter (max. 1 page) in English and send it to kaisa.kangas@helsinki.fi latest on June 30th. Please write briefly about your history as a larper and a larp organizer and let us know why you want to attend the workshop. Also include your age, the region in which you live and any other details you feel could be important for us to know when making the selection of participants.

Chernobyl, Mon Amour: But Is It a Game?

The designer of Chernobyl, Mon Amour Juhana Pettersson writes about the game now that an English version is in crowdfunding. Check the campaign here!

Sometimes I suspect that in our Helsinki-based roleplaying scene we were all played for fools. We got those early roleplaying books which said:

“It’s not about winning or losing!”

“The point is to play your character in a fictional world.”

“The golden rule is you can change anything to fit your game.”

And like the chumps we were, we believed all of it! In fact, we based much of our understanding of what roleplaying is on these statements. Character-based, with the play itself as the goal instead of competition or even rules-based challenge.

My first roleplaying game was red box D&D. In high school I switched to Vampire: the Masquerade. For a long time, I thought that my roleplaying history was fairly average: I had played the most defining games of each era.

However, travel, contact with people from other roleplaying scenes, online discussions and going to cons has led me to suspect that the way we started to play these American roleplaying games was fundamentally different from how they were intended to be played.



For me, these statements about what roleplaying was supposed to be, often found early in a game book, were the definitive truth about the artform. Everything on the following pages, the rules, the mechanics, could be discarded if they conflicted with the vision of the game as a personal, character-based experience.

I have come to suspect that for their designers, it wasn’t quite like this. Maybe for them, these statements were more a spice, a little extra to help the player to engage with the true substance of the game: The system. What I took to be the truth was actually just rhetoric.

This illustrates the importance of play culture. Games are communicated through the text in a roleplaying game book, but also through the culture absorbed by playing with other people. Thus, I read the same book as people the world over, but my understanding of how that book should be used was shaped by the specific values of the scene I was in.

What’s more, for years I didn’t really even grasp this, instead assuming that every scene played like we did. After all, we played the same games.


System Doesn’t Matter

The values implications of taking all that rhetoric seriously are immense. There’s a classic Forge slogan which says: System Matters. In a profound way, in my scene, System Doesn’t Matter. The game is created by the GM and the players, and the system is just a tool. The system is most emphatically not the totality of the game, and sometimes it can be used or ignored, depending on the needs of the moment.

The system can be fun to interact with, but the main enjoyment of the game doesn’t come from the system. Rather, it comes from the interactions and social situations played in the game in a more freeform style. A common sign of this playstyle is when you say things like: “We didn’t use the dice once during the game.”

Another sign is when people start discarding experience points as a mechanic even if they use an established system. This is pretty common in my specific scene because XP perpetuates mechanics-based thinking instead of focusing from the character and the direct experience of the game. It becomes an impediment with little added value.

(Just to be clear, I’m not bashing XP in a general sense. Just in the context of my specific way of playing. In many playstyles, it’s a great tool.)


Why Call It a Game?

If the play is freeform-based, the characters don’t have stats and even challenge-style scenarios are not really about succeeding but rather just the experience and the excitement, why do I still call Chernobyl, Mon Amour a game?

For me, the reasons have a lot to do with the roleplaying scene and my personal history. I love roleplaying game books and I’m something of a collector. I often use established games for raw materials when running my own campaign even if I rarely run anything straight out of the book. Despite stylistic differences, I feel strongly connected to the scene both in my small corner of the world and in a wider sense.

Despite it’s freeform nature, Chernobyl, Mon Amour is directly connected all the way back to my first experiences with D&D. Although the experience is different from many other published games, to me it’s still part of the same broad family of roleplaying games.

Thus, for me the use of the word “game” is not about definitions or theory, but community and lineage. Without D&D and my roleplaying community, this book would not exist.

Chernobyl, Mon Amour: The Social Game

The designer of Chernobyl, Mon Amour Juhana Pettersson writes about the game now that an English version is in crowdfunding. Check the campaign here!

Chernobyl, Mon Amour is a game about love and radioactivity. The great thing about love as subject matter is that it plays heavily to the strengths of tabletop games as a medium.

Tabletop games are typically played indoors, for example in someone’s living room. The participants sit around a table or on sofas and chairs. They mostly narrate the events of the game verbally, describing what happens. When I run a game, sometimes people stand up and do some things physically, but there are severe limits to how much can be done like this. In a larp, I can run across a field waving a sword. In my living room, I can stand up and take another player aside for a quick chat, but not much more than that.

Many roleplaying games have mechanics for things like combat. This makes sense: We can’t do combat for real in our living rooms, so it must be done with a different method. Rules mechanics make it interesting. However, the one thing we can do really well in a tabletop game is talking. We don’t need a mechanic to talk because we can talk for real.


Real Love

A lot of actual, real life romance consists of talking. This is the way you play romantic scenes in Chernobyl, Mon Amour as well. You can narrate details about action and the environment (“We climb to the roof of the building and sit down to watch the sunset.”) and talk out the social side pretty much the same way you’d do in reality.

For example, if two characters are on a first date, you can talk for fifteen or twenty minutes as your characters, almost as if you were in a larp. You don’t need a system for this because you already know how to do it.

In my experience, people can vary between speaking as their characters and narrating their actions and thoughts in a very fluid way. You can talk as your character, then explain her thoughts to the other participants to give them context, then go back to speaking as your character.

Sometimes scenes can be difficult to play, but the format of a tabletop roleplaying game is pretty forgiving in this regard. If another character suddenly declares his love and you feel your character should have a ready reply, you can take a moment to think about it as a player before you go back to speaking as your character.

Another way to use this flexibility is to skip boring parts.



It’s important here to grasp that these social scenes are principally not challenges. They’re not about who will succeed. You as the player don’t need to pummel anyone with your charisma. Rather, in these social scenes the point is to experience life through the lens of your character, feel the emotions in each moment and discover the nuance and wonder of small things.

Let’s go back to the rooftop. Your characters are sitting together watching the sunset. Tentatively, you hold hands. You feel the moment is intimate enough to make a confession, so speaking as your character you say: “I had a family before I came to the Zone. They don’t know what happened to me.”

This presents the player of the other character with a bunch of different options on how to respond, but nothing about this is related to “success” or “losing”. The other player character can be supportive or jealous, curious or distracted. The point of the scene is to explore these little details and how they affect the relationship between these two characters.



Especially when it comes to the theme of love, these types of social scenes form the backbone of Chernobyl, Mon Amour. They’re also the reason why the game is extremely light in terms of system: Because they can be played out almost for real, they don’t need system support.

My experience suggests that these types of scenes are very emergent, often veering into surprising directions depending on the particular mix of emotions present. What started as an argument can turn into a love scene and the other way around. They also take time. In my view, they work best if they’re taken as themselves without focusing too much on broader narrative context. After all, the characters are not living a story but their lives, the same as the players are doing.