When White Wolf
first delved into the World of Darkness
, all of the books in their "Storyteller
series" were formatted for table-top roleplaying
. As the series developed, though, players and authors thought it would be more realistic to become and their characters and perform their actions through live-action roleplaying
) rather than sitting around a table rolling dice.
And thus, Mind's Eye Theatre was born. The first book to be translated was Vampire: the Masquerade, which became Laws of the Night. The transition was clumsy; Kindred were no longer so powerful or educated, Abilities were lost, Disciplines were limited to three levels (and many were lost because of it), and even Influences were limited slightly. Character creation was simpler by necessity; most characters were forced to be younger, as elder Kindred were seemingly lacking in the powers that made them unique.
However, for all its flaws, White Wolf knew they had a good thing going; players were getting more involved in their characters, and some locations had set up very large LARP groups. There was even a national organization for registering Camarilla characters (aptly called "the Camarilla"). They also knew they had gotten some of the fundamentals right; conflicts were settled using simple Rock, Paper, Scissors challenges (rather than rolling dice), Bloodlines were more developed and dealt with more readily, and even the Sabbat were handled - a little bit.
White Wolf was encouraged, and moved on to translating Werwolf: the Apocalypse into Laws of the Hunt and Wraith: the Oblivion into Oblivion. In developing live-action forms of these games, though, they ran into problems with the oversimplified game that Laws of the Night was. Wraiths would have been, er, droppling like flies, and Garou would have been nothing more than humans with a remarkable kinship with dogs. So they changed the rules a little bit; more Abilities were allowed again, and Gifts (in their various forms) were altered slightly again and added to, making the werewolves and wraiths a little more mystical and powerful.
With the progression of the series came The Shining Host (from Changeling: the Dreaming), and The Long Night (from Vampire: the Dark Ages). At this point, the success of the series was obvious, but there were still problems with the old Laws of the Night; they produced a revised version quickly. The revision was about twice as thick as the original, and contained more details from the original Masquerade books as well as expanding Abilities, Influences, Disciplines, and even Nature and Demeanor.
White Wolf eventually came out with a Liber des Goules (ghouls, which had never had a separate book before), Laws of the Wyld West (Werewolf: the Wild West), Laws of Ascension (the long-awaited, very complicated Mage: the Ascension translation), Laws of the Hunt (Hunter: the Reckoning), Laws of the East (Kindred of the East), Laws of Elysium (rules for playing Elders), a Camarilla Guide, a Sabbat Guide, and even a Vampire Storyteller's Guide.
Obviously, the expansion has allowed for much more integration of the various settings into a live-action setting, both for the purpose of antagonists and accepted player characters. The consistency of the translations has also allowed some of the content from corresponding but unrepresented books (Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, the Clan/Tribe/whatever books, etc., various cities by Night, etc.) to be transposed for use in the system for the development of characters and antagonists.
Mind's Eye Theatre has only 6 iron-clad rules for live-action roleplaying:
- NO TOUCHING. As in, no hand-to-hand combat, no throwing people around, no swinging from chandeliers. No activity with the potential for serious injury is allowed.
- NO WEAPONS AS PROPS. This is expanded to include anything that *looks* real, including matte black water pistols as well as dress weapons and attack animals.
- NO DRUGS OR DRINKING. (That's for afterward, at least in most groups.) You can roleplay drunk without being drunk. It's not hard, it's more fun, and you don't *actually* impale yourself on that banister.
- FEEL FREE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE RULES in the book, obviously. If something doesn't work for your group, change it. If you're creating an elder vampire who's a monster, I seriously disrecommend following the character creation rules. Take it all into account in terms of your needs.
- IT'S ONLY A GAME. You're NOT actually a three-hundred-year-old vampire with the ability to fly. Enjoy yourself. The death of a character is NOT the death of you.
- HAVE FUN. It's a game. Play, for god's sake! This is not a game you win, this is a game you play. Dress up, get involved, have a good time!
- The live-action books are smaller than their tabletop counterparts.
- You can join the Camarilla, or purchase any books, from www.white-wolf.com.
- Aaron Spelling attempted to make a television show based on the World of Darkness, called Kindred: the Embraced, which came out shortly after the original Laws of the Night, and would have been a great example of how the system worked. However, it was an embarassment to those who knew *anything* about the system, not to mention being a terrible show, and was cancelled after only 5 or 6 episodes.