ABN – Paradigm

Let’s make a comparison.

In the familiar setting of World of Darkness games all participants are constantly vying for attention. They exaggerate their characters, aiming for massive drama and impact. This tends to create an exceptionally unsubtle race towards the bottom. Before long half the characters have horns, carry demon-haunted LARP around swords, all wear black leather trench coats subtly hiding Blade-analogue submachineguns, or are bedecked by magical ankhs, crosses and elaborate jewelry found in some Pharaoh’s tomb.

Also, the characters during an event are all active, and want to steal THE show. Thus any narrators are constantly running around parsing a sequence of near apopalyptic events. There will be numertous inexplicable consistency errors as players act on events or knowledge their characters can’t possibly know. Interpretation of the world at large becomes a bickering point between whatever Narrators active on respective nights.

The goal of Sophrosyne is turn this metric on its head and try and fix it. It’s a completely different paradigm.

In Sophrosyne the events of a night are simulated or “rendered out” beforehand by means of a set of standardized actions, resources and strategies.  That doesn’t mean all involved know what’s going to happen – things can suprise them – but on a specific night of play the events are more or less predetermined and those partaking act out these events before a live audience. You get a script and based on events acvt out that script. In a conflict two rivals may not yet know the outcome of a confrontation – there may be possible outcomes based on minor choices – but the flow chart of possible events is already determined beforehand.

This allows people to watch important events as spectactors and enjoy the show, rather than try to draw attention to themselves all the time. This style of Vampire LARP is much more a respectfully engaged spectactor sport. Important and dramatic events can be said or assumed to take place in some place elsewhere in Amsterdam, but actually are “acted out” in a discrete locale somewhere away from prying eyes, law  enforcement interference, journalists or interfering lowlives or tourists.

YES – there are many instances where characters will be prompted to visit very specific locales to asset dominance, but these events will be constrained and scripted – and if something major happens the events are pauses and will be taken to an appropriate stage event on the very next weekend. Say – the story establishes that a certain patch of territorial control in Purmerend is determined by the chance on random encounters, and these encounters are “simulated” to take place on a specific tuesday between 2a00 and 2200 in Brasa – and then combat ensues for some reason – the sequence of events is reported to the Narrator and  the actual confrontation is determined based on “fairly robust metrics and tangibles” and the result will be acted out th next weekend in a secure nd private location somewhere central in Amsterdam. Disclaimers will be provided, people will sit comfortably in chairs watching the scenes and beverages will be enjoyed. There will not under any circumstances be immature buffoons pancaked pale white drawing plastic guns or katanas, or pretending to cast spells, gesticulated like third rang gangbangers in above location in Purmerend. To do so more than once will be reason for dismissal from the game.

I understand it is immensely attractive to try steal the show and show the normies looking like Blade. But that was the 1990s and we an’t do that any more. We will aim for more classy and mature and artistic – and most of all discrete.