Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Live Action Vampire v. Realms: A Comparison - Part II

by Gerald "Gray" Chartier  

[ICYMI: Part I here]

Part Two

As previously mentioned, when playing in the Camarilla’s Live Action Vampire LARP, no matter where one played, there were always certain plot elements one could expect to find.  In particular, one could expect to find the same antagonists whether they played in Boston, Seattle, or London – no matter where one went, one could always find the Sabbat making trouble one way or the other.

There isn’t much commonality of plot within the Realms.  Every eventholder is free to make up an entire world.  Thus, there tends to be wildly different antagonists from event to event.  That can be both good and bad.  It’s good if I didn’t like the plot of one particular event – I won’t be seeing that plot at every event I go to.  However, it’s also bad because if I did like an event’s plot, I only get to interact with it when that particular EH/nation throws another event, which usually winds up being once or twice a year.  That lurching from plot to plot is another obstacle to immersion.

That is not a criticism of any Eventholder, past or present.  Our EHs routinely do a fabulous job coming up with interesting worlds and engaging plots to interact with.  However, because there’s so little agreed-upon detail in our setting, EHs are basically obliged to start from scratch.  If our setting had more depth, it would provide elements for EHs to draw on to shape their plots.  We might see more overlap from event to event if EHs were basing their plots around a common setting.

In addition to the common setting, the Camarilla’s Live Vampire game had storytellers at the chapter, regional, and national levels.  Chapter storytellers created plot and ran games at the chapter level.  regional storytellers created plot that was shared in common by all the chapters in the region, and national storytellers did the same with plot that was shared by all the chapters in the country.  The higher level STs would coordinate with chapter STs to bring regional and national plot to the players.

Realms as an organization is roughly analogous to the Camarilla’s Northeast region.  Broadly speaking, Realms nations serve the same functions as Camarilla chapters, gathering players in their area and hosting events for the community.  However, we lack an equivalent to the Cam’s regional-level storyteller, so even if someone was interested in creating a plot that could be run across multiple Realms nations, there’s no one to bring it to for coordinating with the EHs.  The Realms is poorer for it, because having those storylines that interconnected the chapters was a large part of what made the Cam’s Vampire LARP so immersive.

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