Howdy folks! It’s your friendly neighborhood Halden here.
I’m going to give you some exciting news and a little peek behind the curtain today.
You may have noticed, if you’ve travelled to other Dystopia Rising games, that other branches allow players to have CvC (character vs. character) actions without a guide, so long as all parties agree to it. These interactions are generally non-lethal, and are always communicated between players beforehand.
When we started Dystopia Rising: Georgia, we decided not to allow that right away. There were a few reasons for this:
CvC can be a pretty serious matter. By requiring a Guide for all CvC, we hoped it would encourage players to take it under consideration and give them some time to make sure it was what they really wanted before simply popping off.
We expected to have a high volume of players from non-DR LARPs. Since rules can differ wildly from LARP to LARP, we wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page and following the same ruleset.
We expected to have a high volume of players who had never LARPed before. CvC can be a huge cause of negative bleed, which can blindside folks who’ve never experienced it before. We wanted to make sure players had resources close at hand in the form of Guides to help if that happened.
When we started, many of our Guides had not played DR in a long time. Some had not played at all. Guiding CvC is a lot of pressure, and can be almost as intense as the CvC itself! We wanted the team to have the chance to get comfortable with Guiding low-stakes and friendly CvC before they were only called in for the big deal matters.
Technically speaking, unguided CvC is not ever mentioned in the Survivor’s Guide, therefore putting it in a game legal gray area that we seriously didn’t want to mess with. GA prides itself in staying very by the book.
I won’t lie—we’ve had some mixed reactions to this. The downsides:
For a while, there was a persistent rumor that DR:GA didn’t allow any CvC at all, which is an understandable game of telephone translation, but one that caused some headaches for us!
It’s also led to some players feeling unwelcome playing more CvC-oriented, combative characters. (Something a lot of the leadership fully empathizes with, having played hardcore CvC builds ourselves.)
It has, at times, stunted intensive RP that would have escalated to CvC that both parties may have enjoyed, but couldn’t for lack of a nearby Guide.
But there have also been upsides:
Our goal of making sure folks understand how serious CvC can be has been achieved
The overall bulk of first time LARP players have had the chance to really get comfortable with what bleed is and how to manage it in a healthy way
New DR players who came from other LARPs have had plenty of time to get used to DR rules
Our Guide team has more experience than ever
Overall, I’m very happy with the decision we made. I think it was the right move for our community, and it’s led to more net positives than negatives. I’m really proud of the intense, narrative, character-driven stories that GA players tell within our world. I’m even more proud of the supportive, understanding, healthy community that GA has become.
So: I think you’re ready.
I’m very happy to announce that, starting in May, we will begin allowing consensual CvC at DR:GA. This is a little ahead of my originally planned one-year timeline-- and that’s awesome, because it means you guys are kicking so much ass as a community that I feel completely comfortable letting this happen early!
Here’s how this will work:
If you would like to engage in non-lethal CvC with another player, go for it, provided you check in with them and confirm it’s ok first.
You may put general blanket statements out to other players if there’s a non-lethal CvC element you’re generally ok with (such as “It’s fine to Choking Blow me or mangle my limb for comedic effect” or “I don’t mind if you use Knockout to stop me from doing the dumb” or “I’m always down to fight! If you want to, bring it on!” etc). You can and should use the OK check in system to calibrate this in play.
We will not enforce CvC locks for “friendly fire” CvC, such as dealing a small amount of damage to someone who’s under the effects of Knockout. That said, even consensual CvC will result in a CvC lock if it is not “friendly fire.”
You may call damage when sparring, as long as both parties agree to it
For the time being, YOU DO STILL NEED A GUIDE if you would like to do lethal CvC, even if both parties are in agreement. This is just a precaution as we take off the training wheels.
Choosing not to participate in a request to solve a dispute with CvC does not mean you lose the dispute. CvC may not be your thing, so someone asking you to settle it in combat and you refusing does not mean you’re a coward or that you lost the argument, ever!
Not wanting to negotiate consensual CvC does not make you immune to CvC. If another party decides to proceed with CvC, they will simply require a Guide. It is still the responsibility of both parties to steer and be excellent to each other. (So if you’ve asked someone if they’d like to agree to CvC and they say no, and you want to do it anyway, take some time to consider if that’s really necessary or if there’s another way to settle a dispute or proceed with a scene.)
It is still your responsibility as a community member (and a cool person who isn’t a jerk) to use the OK check in system and to check in with the other party after CvC is completed to make sure everyone is doing ok OOC. We’re still out here trying to be friends in real life, even if your characters are fighting.
I genuinely believe that this is going to be an awesome move for our community, and is a great sign of the branch coming into its own. I’m SO excited to see what amazing new stories you use this tool to create together.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See y’all in the Gravemind!