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Themes & Content

   "Themes" in this context are common story prompts that everyone is sharing. You're free to interpret them as you see fit, but they give us all a common direction to create in. Think of it as if we're all jazz musicians improvising in the same key. When you encounter these concepts, try to engage with or highlight them in whatever way is fun for you!​

 

   If this part doesn't make sense to you, don't worry about it. We will explain how you can play with these themes in our character workshops.

No Victims, Not Tonight

   The 1920's were a difficult and violent time for many people, especially marginalized groups. We are not trying to portray a magical vision of the 1920's without any of its real world problems. Instead, we're trying to create the feeling of that one night where everything was magical and anything was possible.

 

    It’s perfectly okay to have trauma in your personage’s past. It would be impossible to expect someone from that time period, regardless of background or social class, not to have experienced some form of trauma. These people just went through "The Great War" and a global pandemic. 1924 is less than 60 years from the 14th amendment. Jim Crow laws have been in place for a generation, the brief moment of Reconstruction replaced with widespread white nationalist terrorism. The Spanish flu tore through the world, leaving 50 million dead in its wake. Xenophobia was rampant and the government was merrily passing myriad anti-immigrant laws. To say it was tough out there would be an understatement.

  Elysian Revel does not seek to pretend that the 1920’s was not an era of extreme racism, xenophobia, sexism and violence, but rather, it looks to those who stood and lived in contrast to that. It explores the 1920’s of rent parties, the very first modern drag revues, avant-garde poetry salons, and dance halls, not just the fashions of the disaffected rich of “West Egg”. The Harlem Renaissance and the poetry of Langston Hughes still reverberate, and Louis Armstrong is bringing New Orleans Jazz to the world. Art, Spiritualism, politics, science, and music of the era all made shattering waves that still reverberate in our world to this day. 

 

   As a person living through that moment, wouldn’t you ask, Is that all there is? If this is the world the Powers That be Created, they have to be wrong, don’t they? Are you the type to change the world into a better place? Can you find someone and get through this world together? Is this the moment that you decide to get yours, and let them try to stop you? Will this be the moment to stop hiding who you are, and show the world that you can shine?

 

   Tonight, imagine trying to find a shiny, bright future, or maybe just a shiny, bright moment. Even if you came into the evening processing your spouse’s infidelity, disowned by your family, just fired for trying to organize a strike, about to be on the street, on the run from the law, or experiencing any manner of tragedies, tonight you’re taking the bull by the horns and you're going to make a party of it. Those are problems for 1925, and it’s still 1924 as far as you’re concerned. 

 

   This doesn't mean "no conflict", "no drama" or "no consequences"; you may lose your 'fortune' to a scam, get dumped, or start an argument with someone! It’s very likely that not everyone around you agrees on what that bright future looks like. However, it does mean that for tonight, no one will see themselves or anyone else as a victim.

It’s Scandalous for You to be Here

  No matter who you are, it’s scandalous for you to be here. If you’re upper crust, the fact that you’re here in such mixed company would be sure to raise eyebrows. If you’re middle class, what good could possibly come from going to such an openly decadent party full of debauched criminals and “artists”? If you’re one of the rabble rousers looking to bring socialism to America, how would your union buddies feel about you sharing a glass of champagne with one of the Carnegies?

 

  But if it’s already a scandal for you to even be here, would it really matter if you allowed yourself to be a little more scandalous? 

The Victory of the New 

  In any argument or conflict, the "newest" idea appropriate for the 1920’s should usually win. For example, if you are having an argument about art, or politics, or just about anything else, the new idea or the avant-garde should “win”, and the old guard or the old idea should "lose". 

 

You’re invited to be convinced, seduced or at least charmed by anything that seems new, even if it seems absurd! This doesn’t necessarily mean going along with it right away; after all, putting up a bit of a fight will allow the person with the new idea to showcase their passion!

Content Warnings and Policies

Alcohol Policy

  This is a strict 21+ event and you are allowed to bring alcohol. There will be a champagne toast at midnight for the New Year, with a non-alcoholic alternative. If you are bringing drinks to share, please try to have non-alcoholic options such as ginger ale or sparkling grape juice for folks who want to pretend they are drinking without actually consuming alcohol. Guests may not drink to excess at the game, and we reserve the right to remove anyone from the event.

 

No depictions of Sexual Trauma

    Under no circumstances is sexual trauma to be depicted in-role, even in a joking manner, and doing so is in direct opposition to the entire concept of the game, and you will be asked to leave.​ We are, however, not implying that this doesn't exist in the world; we are playing in a historical context, and history is messy. However, you must have affirmative, out-of-role consent of all present before even bringing up the subject in conversation. If you do decide to deal with this very difficult subject, we ask that you stay in the spirit of 'No victims, not tonight'. If you are unsure what the line is, err on the side of caution and steer clear of this subject matter.

 

Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia and Sexism

  The 1920’s was a horrifically racist, sexist and homophobic moment in American history, and we are not attempting to pretend that this isn’t the world of the 1920’s. While it’s important to acknowledge that some things have improved since then, the 2020’s are not free from these issues. These issues are pervasive throughout our culture, and we have not escaped them.

   Out-of-Role, Elysian Revel is intended to be an inclusive game, where marginalized folks can experience the joy of full acceptance and a historic rise of cultural power. The concept of “Black Joy” and honoring the resistance and resilience of past generations has been highly influential in the creation of this game. In-Role, it is very clear that the intent of those that are throwing this party to be the party is the exact same.
 

  We want to acknowledge that it is incredibly common for someone to be racist, sexist, transphobic, or homophobic today without ever intending it. Microaggressions happen every day, and with how pervasive these things are in our society, it’s impossible for us to never have caused pain or damage to ourselves and others with them. If someone tells you a behavior is racist, it most likely is [regardless of your intent]. When dealing with a historical context, especially while improvising, it is even easier for these microaggressions to occur.

     If a fellow player or game runner brings this to your attention, it is your job to show compassion, grace, and be willing to change your behavior and make restitution in at least the form of an apology. If a fellow player is bringing up these themes in a problematic way, you are welcome to pull them aside and speak to them about it. If you don't feel comfortable doing so, please grab a facilitator, and bring it up to them. Remember that you never have to participate in a scene that you don't want to participate in.
 

  If you are exploring such subject matter in-role, we ask you to tread very carefully so as not to either re-traumatize anyone or insert a (usually white) savior narrative. You need to have affirmative out-of-role consent with your fellow scene partners before actively bringing any of these themes into a scene.

   If you do not treat your fellow players with respect and honor, we will happily show you the door and tell you to leave.

A note on non-binary identities in a 1920's historical context

   While strictly speaking, non-binary identities were almost entirely unheard of in 1920's America, and while we do encourage you to lean into the time period, it is not the intent of the game to erase the existence of non-binary people. Trans people of all kinds have always existed. The game is designed to explore a previously repressive culture that is opening up for a moment before the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s returns to a less fluid society. Historically, we have found little evidence of gender neutral being used in the 1920's, however there is evidence from the 1850’s to the 1880’s of attempts at gender neutral neo-pronouns, though they didn’t reach wide acceptance.

   However, it is absolutely in the spirit of the Elysian Revel to ask to be referred to as whatever pronouns you desire, and expect that it will be respected. People may ask you some questions about it, but for this magical night, no one can tell you it's wrong to be who you are.

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