Basic Policies

It’s Only A Game

This is by far the most important rule. If a character is killed, if a plot falls apart, if a rival wins the day — it’s only a game. Don’t take things too seriously, as that spoils not only your fun but that of everyone around you. Leave the game behind when it ends. Playing Mind’s Eye Theatre is a lot of fun; spending time talking about the game is great. And yet, calling the person who plays the reclusive occult scholar at 5:13 A.M. on Sunday to discuss the possible cause of the recent juvenile disappearances at the haunted house is another matter entirely. Maintain perspective.

You might meet mean and nasty characters in the game. Don’t get them confused with the players. The worse a character seems, the more likely it is that the player is just a very good actor. Don’t bring out-of-character likes and dislikes into your character. Also, your character may die, sometimes through sheer bad luck. Don’t take it personally, don’t think that you’ve “lost.” There’s no such thing as winning or losing in this game. All that matters is having an interesting time and telling a good story.

No Touching Without Permission

It’s easy to get caught up in the game, but not everyone has the same comfort level with personal contact. If necessary, quickly describe what you intend to do out-of-character to the person whom you want to touch, getting their consent. Play it safe; Unless you know otherwise, assume touching isn’t okay.

No Stunting

Never climb, jump, run, leap or swing from anything during a game. Keep the “action” in your action low-key. If you can imagine you’re a hard-bitten private detective immersed in a shadowy conspiracy involving sinister creatures and ancient secret societies, you can certainly imagine that you dive across a table, rather than actually feeling compelled to actually do so.

No Realistic Weapons Props

We allow representations of weapons, but it must be clear at first glance that this representation is NOT a real gun, knife, sword, etc. Real weapons of ANY kind, even peace-bonded ones, are NOT allowed. We often play in semi-public places where we can expect police or security to come wandering by; we don’t want any non-players mistaking what we are doing, and we don’t want any accidents.

No Drugs Or Drinking

This one is a real no-brainer. Drugs and alcohol do not create peak performance. They reduce your ability to think and react, meaning that, among other things, your roleplaying ability is impaired. Simply put, players under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a danger to other players, and to the game as a whole. With explicit Storyteller permission, light social drinking can take place at or before a game, provided no one becomes intoxicated, the game location allows for alcohol to be served, and all players present are of proper legal age. (Even though no one should actually get drunk, don’t forget to designate drivers for safe rides home if any alcohol at all will be consumed at a session.) There’s nothing wrong with playing a character who’s drunk or stoned, but anyone actually getting even remotely drunk, serving alcohol in the presence of minors, or bringing any sort of illicit substances to a game is in bad taste at best and illegal at worst. It’s not being “edgy” or “mature,” it’s simply foolish. Don’t do it.

Be Mindful Of Others

Remember, not everyone you see or who sees you is playing the game. A game can be unnerving or even frightening to passersby. Be considerate of non-players in your vicinity, and make sure your gameplay actions or conversations are not going to alarm anyone in a public area. This is especially important given the heightened security levels around the world, even if you’ve always been careful about such matters in the past. Trying to explain that you didn’t really kill your friend, that your character just chopped off his head “in-game” to a suspicious policeman at 3 A.M. is often an exercise in futility. Likewise, hotel security won’t ask if you were discussing building bombs for purely “in-character” reasons before they call the police Chances are the of? cers who respond to the call won’t see the humor in it, either.

On an average night a relatively normal-looking group of Mind’s Eye Theatre players may discuss in things like monsters, cults, conspiracies, supernatural power and other topics that can unnerve ordinary people who don’t realize a game is being played. Throw in the fact that your players might wear shocking costumes, be overheard planning all manner of violent acts or describing gruesome things they’ve “seen,” and you have the potential for real trouble. Players should get a Storyteller to handle matter if outsiders look worried, frightened or angry, and more importantly never give in to the temptation to “freak the mundanes.” While a certain immature set might find it funny to deliberately disturb onlookers, others realize that doing so only hurts the game, whether by getting everyone ejected from the play area, causing the authorities to intervene or increasing the bad reputation this hobby has in the eyes of many people.

While you should enjoy this game and the fun and challenges it presents, never forget that no group plays in a vacuum. What you look like or more importantly what you act like while playing can have serious repercussions on those around you.

You Are Here With The Consent Of The Players And Storytellers

Saskatoon by Night strives to be open and accepting, but keep in mind that it is essentially an “invite only” game(even if all you have to do to get an invite is talk to a Storyteller and say you’re interested in checking out the game). Even if you haven’t technically broken any rules, if your presence is disruptive that invite can be revoked. Really, this is just a reminder of the last rule…

Make The Game Fun For Everyone

Not “win.” Not “Go out and kill everyone else.” Just “Make the game fun for everyone.” The object of Mind’s Eye Theatre is not winning. In fact, there are no rules for “victory.” It’s rather like trying to “defeat” a dinner party or “win” a play. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a direct dominate-and-destroy style of experience, but unless the rest of your troupe agrees with you, we recommend that you skip live-action play and fire up the video-game console instead. This isn’t elitism, it’s simple fact. The two types of games are designed with very different objectives in mind. The goal of live-action roleplaying is to have fun with friends and to tell great stories in a social setting, not to rack up kills, max out your dots or to achieve total numerical superiority over other players.

Indeed, in Mind’s Eye Theatre, it’s not about how the game ends, but about the journey and what happens along the way. It may sound strange, but it’s true: If you play for only your own amusement, you not only wind up amusing no one but yourself, but tend to alienate others in the troupe as well. If you play to make the game fun for everyone, all players are rewarded. Remember, everyone has dots on his character sheet. No matter how advanced your character is, someone else could be more powerful.

If your character is a total jerk, there are a number of ways to portray such him that still entertain other players, even if their characters hate yours. Responsible live-action roleplayers do not hide behind excuses like, “I’m a player and my character is a total bastard, so I can do whatever I want and the rest of the group can’t complain.” Rather, they understand the importance of concepts like, “I’m a player, so even if my character is a bastard — especially if he’s a bastard — I should make sure what I do makes for a better story as well as meeting my own goals.” It’s a small but absolutely critical difference. In the end, this ? nal rule is as much a measure of common sense as any other. If you drive away the other players by making the game miserable, you’ll soon have no game left in which to demonstrate your bad-ass prowess.

Most of this section adapted from the “The Only Rules that Matter” section of the Mind’s Eye Theatre book.