Thanks for coming out to our August Event! It was lovely to see you all again and working hard to keep 40 Watt a jammin’ place to trade. While we are already knee deep in event prep for September, I wanted to take a minute to recap some important subjects and situations that came up during the event. Complete with TL;DRs.
Game of Telephone
One thing I appreciate about Dystopia Rising is the democratization of the storytelling. Everyone has the opportunity to help move story along, and be a part of the process that allows all of our players to interact with the story we wish to tell. I think it is a really useful tool to help people learn how to tell stories by being a part of them.
My previous experience historically with LARP storytelling is one of exclusivity, where there is a handful of people who are always those who tell the real story, when those storytellers wander into the world as non agency characters (NPCs). In those scenarios, the assistance that players provide on their work shifts is generally combat or logistically oriented with few exceptions to allow them to shine in a role playing activity. Dystopia Rising has styled its system and storytelling methods to help provide opportunities to roleplay both important moments and combat engagement over their shift.
What I’ve experienced so far that, without the writers of storytelling modules (mods) always running the content, those stories can be interpreted and executed in different and unexpected ways. I think that if you look at the steps between idea and execution, you can understand why things may not always go as initially intended:
Idea happens → Idea is shared with others → Ideas are modified due to feedback → Idea is written into a mod → mod is reviewed and edited, sometimes not by the original author → a Marshal onsite reads the mod → Marshal explains mod in words to players going on that mod → Marshals/players execute mod → Players interact with mod
This is a lot of steps between an idea coming into existence and being provided to the players, and those last two or three steps require a lot of trust of our marshals and players to understand the intent of the original author of the idea, and that person isn’t always available to discuss the mod with. Additionally, those out on the mod itself have to react to what players do - the greatest dissolution of What Looked Good on Paper.
The best laid plans are destroyed in LARP. I truly think that the best content comes out of the unexpected. Its where I get the most joy out of storytelling. I certainly wasn’t planning on changing out three mods Friday of last game because folks at the trade meet found a skeleton in the woods and strung it up by its feet in the middle of town before I seeded the originally intended adventure, but I was certainly entertained by changing the direction of plot to adapt to it.
But sometimes things don’t go how they were intended in ways that are hard to salvage. Late Saturday night, I had seeded a trail jumping mod that evolved without intention into a cabin raiding mod. Coupled with poor explanation on my part at 4AM, and all of us still being new to the DR ruleset, we ended up with a scenario that did not go as planned with bad rules clarifications that I want to take complete responsibility for. Apologies to anyone that experience affected negatively.
TL;DR From paper to execution a story goes through many hands before its presented to players. Sometimes things get lost in translation, and we are doing everything we can to improve that process and learn from mistakes when they happen.
OPEN EARS 24/7
The next morning, I had follow up from multiple players on this mod about how that module went down and how our players felt about it. We were extremely grateful to everyone who was willing to speak up for players who may not have enjoyed that content, and were glad when the directly affected players spoke with us to so we could communicate with them how we intended to make amends. We can’t fix things unless we know what’s going on, and we have to rely on you, our players, to make sure that we’re in the loop.
If you were involved in some way in that experience and you haven’t touched base with a director yet, please do! We want to make sure we’ve heard your take on what happened and do whatever we can to make sure any concerns you have are addressed properly.
Your character will never lose infection due to a bad rules call. This is in CvC or CvE situations. We know that character death can be an emotional experience, and we don’t want you to be distracted from the story we want to tell you through infection loss because of a bad call.
TL;DR Please talk to us if you have a concern at the event, and leave feedback after as well! We’re always hear to listen.
Look forward to seeing you all again soon.