Saturnalia Dev Diary #2

Saturnalia Dev Diary #2

Posted by Reverie Studios on 23rd Apr 2022

The Kickstarter

In full transparency, Reverie has never actually done the ‘Kickstarter model’ of larp development before. It was totally new ground for us to come up with a concept for a larp, without actually doing things like scoping out and building the larp itself. However, since we were contracted by BNS to work with them as the primary, it was a bit of a chicken and egg situation as to the development of the experience and the funding behind it.

We also wanted to do a V5 Vampire larp by bringing in elements of V5 and transforming the way people look at vampire. When we initially spoke to Juhana about it, we knew we needed to do a thematic element that fit an American city and that we wanted to do something big and city-wide like Enlightenment in Blood, another one of his experiences Reverie participated in.

The Theme

In the end, we decided we wanted to do something with “transformation”. Vampires are static creatures in most aspects, so we wanted to explore what it would be like to see them evolve and transform as part of a one-shot experience. We also knew we wanted to use a city where people could walk around freely as vampires and most of the locals would not really care (there aren’t too many places in America where that’s true), so we decided to focus on New Orleans.

When we combined those pieces, we decided we wanted to do something historic and make up a holiday for it (Saturnalia) where for one night vampires could be something else. In order to really get characters in the right mindset, we sprinkled in some Second Inquisition threat and made it the last Saturnalia to see what our participants would do if there was potentially no tomorrow or future to have this experience again.

We also didn’t really want overt power dynamic politics entering the mix, so we made it a contested Domain with no Prince… It should give participants the ability to do a variety of actions (if they still want to be political) or ignore them and get lost in being a debased vampire for a limited time.

The End Result

Once we knew we had a grand theme and event we were happy with, we worked with BNS to get the details drawn up and decided to handle the logistical planning post-Kickstarter. I will say it’s weird for us to plan a larp like this, and we felt weird when people had specific questions. Now that we’ve got a lot of our lower level logistics done we feel a lot better about it, however, it was a new experience to take payment without a venue and other things locked down just yet.