By Night Studios, LLC, (“BNS”) is a multimedia game publisher and the exclusive licensee of Paradox Interactive for Mind’s Eye Theatre (“MET”) World of Darkness© games. Originally founded in 2012, the current BNS team took over in 2019 and is led by me: Ryan Aughtry. In addition to publishing and game development, BNS manufactures and sells memorabilia and merchandise for fans of MET and the wider World of Darkness© universe.
While I am the President of By Night Studios, for me MET Larp was transformative. I started playing in the spring semester of my sophomore year of college on the recommendation of my roommate who was also my TTRPG Changeling© Storyteller. I have been in love with the immersive modern gothic fantasy LARP scene ever since. In fact, I met most of my dearest friends through this hobby and by participating in games I was able to overcome my innate shyness. Through LARP I discovered so much more about myself. This hobby is precious to me beyond words. LaRP has been around nearly as long as I’ve been alive, and I am grateful to be part of a team that will help it thrive for the next 30+ years.
It was Elyse, BNS’ Community and Social Media Director, who suggested I write this update for our community; an annual address about how I see things at BNS. I saw the wisdom of the suggestion and agreed, but immediately realized it would be no easy task. This was a challenging endeavor in terms of scope! And how was I to make it compelling? What follows below is my best attempt to do just that. I ask that you please not judge it too harshly . . . .
I view BNS’ leadership to be of paramount importance to the overall future of the hobby which I love. Thus, I am extremely passionate about what we are doing, will be doing, and have done on its behalf. Hopefully some of my exuberance is conveyed! Without further ado, please indulge me as I exalt our Triumphs (i.e., where I believe we have done well):
- Growing a great team! - Only one person from the pre-2019 BNS team stayed on after the leadership change, so we are more akin to a start-up than a company that's been releasing products for over 30 years. Thanks to the financial progress we have made since taking over, we have been able to engage with an amazing team of artists, writers, game developers, support staff, and leaders, all of whom share a love and a passion for the hobby. I’m so grateful to them. I’m so lucky to have them. And it seems nearly every week some new talent comes to our attention, enabling our team to grow. If you’re interested in working with us, feel free to reach out to me!
- Expanding our Merchandise offerings - Where previously BNS sold .pdfs and clan and tribe pins, we’ve expanded our offerings to printed books, costume accessories, props, patches, and novelties, and we have even released several new sets of pins! If you go to www.bynightstudios.com you will often find new offerings on a monthly basis. Merchandise is very important to BNS, as it provides essential operating cash-flow to support the round-the-clock business in between our crowdfunding campaigns.
- Speaking of Crowdfunding Campaigns - In 2021 we had two successful campaigns, launching both the Vampire: The Masquerade Volume 2 (an expansion long promised and delivered by us) and Vampire: The Masquerade – War of Ages (the first 5th edition Larp Sourcebook and the first to explore in detail Nordic Larp for World of Darkness). Those two products would not have been possible without support from donors and backers like you. These campaigns were a huge triumph for BNS, but that triumph is yours as much as ours, for without you it would not have been possible.
- Technology Innovation via the SRD: World of Darkness (bynightstudios.com) - One of our primary focuses is the creation of technology to empower the audience, to make it easier to play, and to help attract new community members to the hobby. I consider it a huge achievement that new players can find nearly all of our core MET V:TM rules in one easy to access and searchable web-based platform that we provide to the community for free thanks to those who backed our crowdfunding campaign for MET V:TM Volume 2! The SRD is only the first of many technological offerings we hope to provide. We know if we create more tools to support and enrich the game by making things easier and more fluid, more people will be able to enjoy the hobby!
- Memes and More - BNS’ active social media team (spearheaded by the mastermind behind this update: Elyse Haws) has grown our core Facebook™ follower count by over 50%, launched an ever-expanding Discord™ server, produced videos for Youtube™ and Tik-Tok™, and caused our engagement across these forums to skyrocket. Beyond just advertising, BNS’ sees our platforms as a way to provide inspiration to the community and advocate for safe, immersive, and inclusive roleplay. If you want to reach out to us on social media or reach out to me directly, please do so! We respond within a few hours to messages and are glad whenever someone engages with us.
In sum, BNS is healthy, growing, and excited about the future of LARP in the World of Darkness©! Even during the unprecedented challenges of the past year, we’ve made huge strides and the future will hold even more! Thank you so much for reading my report and for your support of a hobby that means so much to so many.
President By Night Studios