The Hidden Parlor is a collaborative World of Darkness live-action role playing organization, dedicated to unifying local chapters and players into a shared world. We aim to build a collaborative culture which enhances and supports the in-person LARP experience through the creation of cohesive shared setting which empowers players and storytellers to tell immersive and powerful stories in the World of Darkness.
Our international chronicle utilizes the Mind’s Eye Theatre rules set as published by By Night Studios and it’s Official Errata and FAQ.
Our world has changed a lot since the original World of Darkness materials were printed. Likewise, gaming within a multi-city LARP environment has also evolved. The Hidden Parlor was founded in 2015 and through our shared experiences in the World of Darkness LARP community, we came up with our three guiding principles:
- Dedication to a dynamic, immersive setting that empowers local chapters.
- Emphasizing the in-person aspect of Live Action Role-playing.
- Developing a Community based on shared interests, mutual respect and volunteerism.
Dynamic, Immersive Settings and Local Chapter Empowerment
The Hidden Parlor strikes a balance between each local community’s need for creativity and the organization’s need for consistency by creating style guides for each of the genres in our system. By providing wide boundaries on what we consider to be acceptable, each game is able to define themselves while remaining within the scope of the World of Darkness. Local Chapters are empowered to create a Setting Style Document that reflects the game that community is invested in playing.
Local Chapters will be sanctioned to create games where immersion is paramount; staying in character, having props, and rewarding costuming are some of the many ways we can promote this deeply engaging aspect of LARP. Mail invitations to your court, send handwritten letters to your paramours, invest in a prop to interact with when performing in-character ritae; in all ways we encourage our membership to harness their creativity and engage with this unique aspect of LARP.
The global setting expands beyond the boundaries of each individual game, and there are some players who enjoy the ability to interact with nonplayer characters from the canon materials. This is where our National and Global Storytellers come in they fill in the gaps with regards to the setting, fine-tune the tone and mood of the game, and portray global NPC’s. Our goal is to reserve NPC interactions primarily as those of mentors or elusive puppet masters, and to have the thrust of the story predominantly driven by player-characters.
The Hidden Parlor believes in cultivating “The Economy of Cool” where all player characters are seen as essential to the community’s shared story from their point of creation rather than when they reach a certain power or XP level. This creates an environment where newer characters (who are occasionally portrayed by newer players) are invited to be involved in politics, plots, and intrigue right away.
Emphasizing the In-Person Aspect of LARP
Many of us rely on the Internet (email and social media) as a means to connect with other members of our local and global community. In an age of instant-everything, we face the risk of having LARP go from a periodic, in-person shared experience to an online-focused, 24/7 game. This places undue stress on both storytellers who have to oversee and facilitate email-based scenes, as well as players who feel they need to participate in the “online game” in order to be involved.
Email lists are meant to enhance not replace the in-person LARP experience. We understand that some people are unable to attend game at their local chapter for periods of time due to health, work, or family issues. We want online-only interactions to be the exception, not the rule.
We encourage our members to focus on the immersive elements of LARP. This can be anything from constructing a costume to providing props and decorations for game site. Some of our participants choose to go as far as to mail actual letters for in-character communications.
Volunteering and Individual Contribution
Whether someone is new to the World of Darkness, LARP, or just new to our organization, we want The Hidden Parlor to be easy understand and join. The Hidden Parlor is a volunteer-run organization and couldn’t exist without countless hours of work from dedicated members. That’s true from our storytellers and club officers to the local participant who helps with providing decorations or music for their game site.
We believe in finding tangible ways to say “thank you” to our volunteers for their contributions, dedication and efforts. The Hidden Parlor offers multiple ways one can be rewarded for their efforts. When people are involved in a community, the result is a warm and accepting culture. We want to harness this and reward those who embody the community’s values. Our members shape and mold who we are perceived as an organization and community.
We also believe in building World of Darkness LARP community where everyone feels that they are able to contribute. We realize that while some of our participants may want to help, they may not know what steps to take. Someone who is relatively new to LARP may be hesitant to volunteer as a storyteller because they may not know what that would entail. A storyteller may want to make their game more enjoyable, but they might struggle with developing plots that work with different play styles. Likewise, participants in a local game may not know all of the ways that they can bring in new players.
To fix this, we work with members of the larger gaming/LARP community to create a series of how-to guides (which we are calling our Guidebooks), which will cover everything from new player recruitment to event game planning and plot development. The Hidden Parlor wishes to be good stewards of our own community as well as the greater LARP community, providing useful resources that may be used by other organizations.
A new story awaits, and we seek people like you to help us create it.