Sanguine Dreams

800px-VampiresceneSanguine Dreams is a live-action role-playing game, much like a murder mystery party where the results are completely unscripted! Every week players come from all over the Bay Area to join in a dramatic, improvised story, portraying fictional characters and acting out a small slice of their lives. Our focus is on a collaborative, story-driven environment where the players take center stage.

One of several long-running LARP games in Sonoma County’s history, we started more than fifteen years ago when local players came together to create something new: a game based on political intrigue and a dedication to the game’s setting as presented in White Wolf’s Laws of the Night books. Ever since we have been helping to create and tell stories in an atmosphere of cooperation and healthy competition.

One unique aspect of our game, separating us from many other Vampire: the Masquerade groups, is the continual focus on interpersonal plot, rather than drama caused by external sources. Our sense of fun and entertainment comes from the political and social intrigues inherent in the setting, and the night-to-night complexities of the fictional landscape. While there are overarching plot-lines, they take a back seat to the materials the players create between themselves; never is a Storyteller-driven plot going to intentionally detract or override what has been put in play by the player base.

Our Getting Started page covers the setting and environment, in the most general terms at least, if you want to dive in right away!

“Say Yes” Role-Playing

We believe very strongly that player interactions should be additive – very often characters will discover that they had spent time in the same place, or encountered similar events in their backgrounds. These are perfect opportunities to build on to each others’ stories and to create a spontaneous connection, a shared history, wholly unplanned! Our entire game is focused on the idea that we as individuals can all contribute to a great tale, woven by more than thirty other players. We believe that responsible and good-natured role-playing can be absolutely enhanced by the simple idea of “say yes.”

The Role of Storytellers

In the more than twenty years that White Wolf has published books detailing the ins and outs of the World of Darkness, many conflicting stories, rules, and ideas have been presented. It is the role of our Storytellers to present a consistent framework, a setting filled with “fantastic realism” in which to play. Their primary task is to guide the game, provide avenues of exploration and story, and to encourage players to develop rich, three-dimensional characters to portray. The Storytellers are always on-hand to answer questions, help new players, or resolve conflicts.

Violence versus Combat

In some games, and indeed in the minds of some players, throwing challenges and the act of beating another player in some contest is equated with fun. While we don’t think there is any “wrong way” to have fun in a Vampire game, we think that tension and the threat of violence is a far more interesting situation than stopping all role-play to throw rock-paper-scissors. Sanguine Dreams is much more a thrilling drama than a shocking horror film – the former keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride while the latter relies on quick scares and bursts of action to keep you entertained. While everyone recognizes that sometimes combat is likely or even necessary, our game focuses on the continuation of story, not the ending of it.

foggy_woodsThis is a Vampire Game

The World of Darkness as written is home to all manner of supernatural creatures, but Sanguine Dreams focuses on just one type – vampires. There may be traces of other entities out there, but they will never be a primary or main focus of our plot lines. There are plenty of stories within the vampire mythos that don’t rely on external forces to remain interesting or viable. Other creatures, if encountered, won’t be exactly as presented in other World of Darkness books – they are unpredictable, wholly alien beings, at least from the vampire perspective.

The Scope of Chronicles

When Vampire: the Masquerade was written, particularly it’s live-action ruleset, it is easy to see that it was designed for small, infrequent, short-running chronicles. Through many years of trial and error, we at Sanguine Dreams have settled on an average chronicle length of three to five years; long enough that all characters get a chance to shine, and short enough to ensure that no one person becomes unassailable in power or position. Fresh beginnings give rise to new stories, and what really tends to draw people to a game like Vampire is the opportunity to tell and contribute to exciting tales of intrigue.

In Short

We’re all here to have fun! From the characters we play to the plots we weave, each of us wants to help make Sanguine Dreams the best game around for our play style. Each week we all work together to build something great, and as the stories unfold none of us, not even the Storytellers, can tell where they will end up. Come join us on this exciting, improvisational roller-coaster!