The “By Night Studios” Decision

One of the later decision points in the creation of Lost Chronicles was if we should use the Mind’s Eye Theater: Vampire the Masquerade (BNS) rules or continue with White Wolf’s Mind Eye Theater: Laws of the Night (MET). With little debate we settled for the MET rules for a number of reasons; familiarity, conversion, and continuity. The primary reason given for switching to the BNS rules was that it is new and gaining in popularity. The final decision was to use MET for Lost Chronicles from the beginning and going forward.

We have been using the Laws of the Night: Revised rules as written for almost 15 years, we know it is not perfect, but we also know and understand its failings. This gives us an understanding of what works and what doesn’t work, it also provides a point of reference for the stories that we have been telling and plan to tell going forward. The rules shouldn’t really affect the story, but they do, less so in political drama or intrigue, but when the characters are fighting the foe, the rules structure what they can and cannot do. This has resulted in our world be different than a world using the Table Top rules and will be different from games using the BNS rules. The significant changes in the BNS rules would make some of our legacy stories not make sense within the rules. Knowing the physics of the world that we are presenting was the primary reason that we decided to preserve the MET system in Lost Chronicles.

A decision which was made before the BNS vs. MET decision was to follow the Onyx Path material, which also weighed heavily upon this decision. One of the skills that our community has developed is the ability to translate Table Top mechanics into MET mechanics. Due to some of the fundamental differences between the BNS rules and the MET system, the process over conversion is not as clean. The other component in this is the weighting system in BNS which is tied to their meta-plot which we elected not to use. Until there is a base mechanic that better integrated with the Table Top mechanics while being light enough to use in a LARP environment, MET is the better choice for the direction we have chosen.

The major counter point in the discussion in favor of BNS was that it was a new offering. Being a new offering meant that if could be more attractive to new players and people from outside of the hobby. The counter argument to this was that the BNS books were only available through the same distribution as the existing MET book, of which the base books were less expensive than the BNS books. I think that the argument for BNS would have been significantly stronger if the books were being published through conventional means providing access to a broader and newer audience than is available through print on demand.

Our decision to not embrace the BNS rules is not condemnation of the rules, nor is our continuation of the MET rules a praise for them; we choose our rules based on what would be best for Lost Chronicles. If in the future there is yet another set of LARP rules, we will evaluate them and based on many of the same criteria, the community will have a choice in how we move forward.

Jason Robinson
Executive Administrator, Lost Chronicles