Category Archives: History

Onyx Path and Meta-plot

While assembling Lost Chronicles, we had a number of discussions about what we should be doing, as an organization, and how to build a better setting for our shared hobby. I think that one of the most important things was the idea of meta-plot and how we should address it. There were three options that we particularly focused on; no meta-plot, Lost Chronicles created meta-plot, or use of an external meta-plot / meta-story.

The idea of launching Lost Chronicles without pre-established meta-plot was unpopular for a number of reasons, and the discussion surrounding this brought forward a number of considerations. The first was continuity; as people filtered in or out of Lost Chronicles, the world would change. Without an established base, the direction of story could be easily swayed by a single person, or lost with changes in staff; using the Onyx Path material provides a guideline for how things were and how things should be in the future. The second was the integration of new chapters; having an external baseline offers games the potential to independently align to Lost Chronicles with less effort than many of us had observed or experienced in previous situations. Without a baseline, adjusting to a network can be very difficult. The final element was administration; if each game and Coordinator were to put forward the meta-story for Lost Chronicles, everything would need to be meticulously recorded to avoid plot holes and massive inconsistency, which is extremely difficult to maintain over time. These counter arguments were sufficient to advance the acceptance of external meta-story for Lost Chronicles.

The decision to maintain White Wolf’s Classic World of Darkness and OWbN history was made early, and the selection of an external source for new and developing meta-plot was relatively simple: By Night Studios or Onyx Path. To select By Night Studios would have required us to radically change or dispose of much of what we wanted to keep, so it was a non-starter. Onyx Path was the logical decision, and in the year since we made that decision, it has continued to be a solid choice. Their material is a clear extension of the pre-Time of Judgment Classic World of Darkness story line which was the genesis of OWbN, and, in turn, our starting point. With the ongoing success of their KickStarters, Onyx Path continues to pick up the writers which made the World of Darkness so appealing in the first place, and the story they are putting forward is well aligned with the flavor that Lost Chronicles has embraced.

Though I still expect that we will move in our own direction in time, I hope that it will be an interesting experience for everybody involved and do believe that this was the right direction for us to go. I hope that time will prove me right.

Jason Robinson
Executive Administrator, Lost Chronicles

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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

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Genesis of Lost Chronicles

In the early days of 2011, a number of people I associated with in One World by Night noticed that things were going wrong. These people were discussing leaving OWbN and do something different. I thought things could be fixed and started a working group to address some of the issues we identified.

The one item that the group clearly agreed upon was a lack of a unified direction in OWbN which resulted in 100 people pushing in different directions, with those hundred voices changing on a regular basis, injected more chaos into the situation. This was best reflected in the idea that the OWbN Council only had a limited memory which resulted in the same topics being discussed in different ways with different outcomes each time.

To address this issue the group built a document that is similar to the Lost Chronicles Charter, which became the OWbN Charter. There was a strong sentiment at the time that there were too many rules in OWbN and a popular voice ensured that this new Charter would not be binding. Although it was approved, it had no teeth and the aimlessness continued.

There were some major shifts in OWbN at the start of 2014, but as with many radical changes, change brought hope, the potential was unrealized, and turned to despair. Many of the same people that were part of the first group asked if it was time, and I agreed and we started Lost Chronicles.

We have defined our direction with the Lost Chronicles Charter and we have established our expectations for all participants with the Code of Ethics. I am once again hopeful that we will have a fun place to play and for our game to interact. Ultimately we will get out of Lost Chronicles what we put into it; therefore, I encourage each of you to put forward the best that you can, and please be considerate of everybody else that calls Lost Chronicles theirs as well.

Jason Robinson
Executive Administrator, Lost Chronicles

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