I am participating quite happily in the Crowdfunding Kickstarter campaing for Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse from By Night Studios and hope for it to be most successful. Thus I like to introduce it with this article. This time in English.
The Kickstarter project serves to finance the rules for MET:WtA (Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf the Apocalypse). A new edition of the LARP rules known as „Laws of the Wild“ from 1997 and 2001.
The new edition will offer a complete and whole book. With system and rules being reworked and redesigned. The design goals included creating a wholesome, working system whose separate parts interact seamlessly. Enabling a certain atmosphere and feeling of the game without the need to house rule. Offering rules who enable a cinematic feel and yet make sense from a mathematical perspective. Enhancing different aspects of the game and the game experience. As well as not standing in the way or obstructing a potential crossover with MET:VtM (Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire the Masquerade).
The new edition does as well develop the setting towards 2016. Taken into consideration that things happened since the early two-thousands. How actual events could have influenced, developed the setting and which fictional events enriched the setting. Resulting in a setting that feels vibrant and alive.
The free Gamma-Playtest document offers extensive insight into what has been done:
DriveThruRPG.com Gamma-Playtest Rules (free of charge)
Even more insight has been provided with the Kickstarter-Updates:
Update #6 [Developer Blog] Politics of the Tribes: New Camps
Describes the two new camps that have formed and risen.
At the one hand there is the Sanctum of Gaia lead by the Silver Fangs. The camp is very traditional. They deny to cooperate with Fera, Kine or other creatures and fight for a total and complete victory over the Wyrm. They made a point to be taken seriously when they succeeded to fight the Harano plague (a kind of spiritual sickness).
At the other hand there is the Concordat of Stars lead by the Shadow Lords. The camp is more progressive, cooperating with Fera and believing that they should rather bring the Triat back to balance than to aim to eradicate the Wyrm. They made a point to be taken seriously when they succeeded to find Shard Seeds with the help of the Gurahl.
The camps are less two sects at war with each others but more two camps aiming at the more or less same goal with different world views. The Update provides more details.
Update #10 Righteous Rites: approaches to Garou ceremonies
Describes how they approached Garou ceremonies and rites.
Taken into consideration that they should be easy to implement in a LARP game, enable a focus on spirituality, don’t burden the storyteller with bookkeeping and empowering the players to take part in creating their game-setting.
Update #12: Biting Into the Bitten
Describes why and how it can happen that a Garou bite transform one into a Garou.
Taken into consideration that quite some feedback remarked that potential beginners may face a challenge to find concepts fit for beginners. Specially if the player doesn’t like to start as a Werewolf but rather as one who becomes one, yet is well past his teen or even tween years.
Studying and researching the wealth of W:tA and noticing the „Lost Cubs“ mentioned in earlier edition of the game.
Combining it with already established setting aspects like a weakened Gaia and what would be reasonable within the world. In regards of atmosphere and tone.
Thus while bringing the setting a bit closer to traditional werewolf myths it has been established that not just anyone can be bitten and transformed. One has to bring the prerequisites and get lucky – as much luck as being to be a werewolf brings – for it to work.
More details, and a better explanation, is provided in the update.
Does it actually work for Newbies, Beginners?
Taking MET:VtM as an example it does approach people new to either the hobby in general or LARP by offering a clear structure, an writing style that hits the sweet spot between being easy understood, explaining the rules clearly and being a good read.
Thus even as I have been pretty much a V:tM focused fan of the World of Darkness I do believe that Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf the Apocalypse will open up the interesting setting for me and present it in a cool way.
Uhm… what this Werewolf: The Apocalypse actually about?
Werewolf: The Apocalypse offers the player to have their characters assume the roles of werewolfs as well, occasionally, those of other were-creatures.
Werewolfs are less man eating monsters but rather warriors of Gaia (the Wyld), one aspect of nature. Nature forms itself from a Triat consisting of the Wyld (chaotic creation), the Weaver (order, preservation) and the Wyrm (Entropy, Renewal). The balance between the three forces has been destroyed when the Weaver and the Wyrm went ‚insane‘.
Specially the uncontrolled, mad Wyrm developed into a destructive force that manifest in economical disasters, catastrophes, environmental destroying actions and is spreading rapidly. (fracking, exploitation of resources, air pollution etc. pp.)
Werewolf tries to fight the Wyrm at the best of their capabilities. Trying to prevent the apocalypse or – at least, considering the current problems – bring it to an halt.
Even though the games leans itself somewhat to have a heavy focus on fighting and the war against the Wyrm it offers a complex and intriguing mythology. One aspect being the inclusion of spirits – think more nature spirits than those of the deceased – as well as a spiritual plane of existence the Umbra.
LARP or Tabletop?
The Mind’s Eye Theatre series and thus By Night Studios are focused on offering a LARP experience, addressing LARPers.
Judging from my experience at Las Vegas By Night the new system creates an absolutely fantastic, immersive, fun LARP game. Sure it might utilize somewhat more ‚telling‘ than usual for German or European LARP traditions. Yet not only are the location chosen and props used great, the player costumes awesome, the characters portrayed believable and interesting, the system used and rules were fun and benefited the game.
In addition of serving as a great LARP game I do consider that the rules as well as the setting, including the changes, will are more than fit for a good, old tabletop game of Pen & Paper played at a table or via G+ Hangout. I do actually consider the By Night Studios MET:VtM rules currently the best system provided within the World of Darkness (or Chronicles of Darkness) and look forward to test them in a Hangout game. As soon as I find time.
Thus I do recommend them for LARP as well as for tabletop.
Even if you don’t like the Rock Paper Scissors mechanic they provide an excellent setting. Which, in case of Werewolf: The Apocalypse has been designed with White Wolfs Lead Storyteller Martin Ericsson.
|Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf the Apocalypse|
|LARPers, gamers, and World of Darkness fans – Help us create the ULTIMATE Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse book!||
|PDF: $25||Softcover: $35||Shipping: $5 (USA) $35 (Germany)|
Just a book?
No, not at all. By Night Studios did their best to offer and support Werewolf: The Apocalypse by creating decent, high quality Merchandise products that enhance the game experience or are cool.
The following pins have been already unlocked:
The five auspices – Ragabash, Theurge, Philodox, Galliard, Ahroun
The Tribes – Silver Fangs, Shadow Lords, Get of Fenris, Glasswalker, Bone Gnawer
Tribes – Fianna
The pins should be of the same high quality that the V:tM Pins from By Night Studios offer.
The project offers the opportunity to get swords, werewolf Klaives, appropriate to be used in LARP::
It is possible to personalize ones Klaive with choosing the glyph embedded and granting the weapon a name. Furthermore the Klaive will be incorporated in the Werewolf the Apocalypse story canon.
Convention & Rage and Retribution
By Night Studios did organize a World of Darkness Event annually since 2013. Thus, of course they would organize one this year as well.
Especially with as the World of Darkness is celebrating its 25th anniversary!
The Grand Masquerade will take place at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans (right at the famous French Quarter). Stretching from the 1st to 5th of September, offering fans one more day than usual and taking advantage of the Labour Day weekend.
There will be an official LARP under the title „Rage & Retribution“ held, providing the opportunity to play Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The approach should be similar to the „Blood & Betrayal“ LARP for V:tM. Thus being a big scale event with actions within the LARP impacting the development of the setting.
The Kickstarter does offer the opportunity to play a „character of note“ who’ll be designed with the storytellers.
Of course that doesn’t mean by any chance that those who don’t pledge for the level only get to play uninteresting roles with no influence or impact.
I could continue for hours praising the project and its virtues.
Like giving the reason why I do like the project in regards of the more technical aspect of designing a Kickstarter, why I love the approach to LARP, more stuff about the setting and design choices I like and more.
Yet I’d like to avoid alienating readers who managed to get as far and would take further items to a new article.
Just as one last remark,… I am positively suprised that the system has been playtested. About the course of actual years, open for the public, with feedback collected, taken seriously and applied to the design.
By Night Studios shared their experience and approach to the playtest in an article spread over two updates:
Rage and Revisions [Part 1]: How your feedback helps us make better games
Rage and Revisions [Part 2]: Midwinter playtest and your feedback
To wrap it up, some of the artworks that’ll be included in the PDF & book::
Discussion / Questions at RSP-Blogs webboard
(or in the comment section, social media etc.)