December 2018 - New and Improved!

I know what you’re thinking, you can’t have something be both NEW and IMPROVED - and you’re right, but we’re giving you both new things AND improved things. So we’re right too! >_>

CONTRACTORS AND YOU

So, everyone knows that Dystopia Rising chapters are run like a real adult-owned business. Hey…stop laughing - fiiine. Adult-ish.

In an effort to make sure we don’t lose our remaining marbles and improve our processes and products, we’ve contracted three people to work with us at DR Arkansas.

Caroline Vance will help with Experience Design (Story), check people in on Saturday mornings, and a few other things that are more behind the scenes.

Truate Bearden will help with Community Management (Coord), check people in on late Friday nights, and a few things that are both behind the scenes and not determined yet.

Beth Gleason will help with Visual Design (Setting), check people out early on Sunday, and a few things that are also behind the scenes.

BUT KRISTA WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR M E ?!

Not much - other than you can expect a better product and a more-sane and less-tired Director team. These contractors aren’t gaining the authority to levy Corrective actions beyond what they already have as Marshals (verbal/written warnings) but you might see them performing in places that previously Dave or I did (training other marshals, putting out announcements or working the check-in table).

WE ALL WANT MORE GENRE

So what are we going to do to help us get there? We’re glad you asked!

Firstly, we’re going to purchase a tote for every cabin in Broken Arrow, one for the Tree House and one for the left side of J-house. These will be stored by us, but filled by ya’ll. These will be a place for players to store genre setting items (like those awesome genre curtains you want to block the sun and raiders out) for their living spaces/cabins. We’ll put these in front of each cabin during set-up and pick them up during clean-up; it will be the responsibility of the players to unpack and repack them.

Second, we’re going to award AP, in two different ways, for contributing to the genre of our town. You’ll get a one-time AP award (20) for decorating a place that’s meant for a limited audience (your character and their crew; example: inside of a cabin or tent). You can get a repeating award of 50 AP for decorating a public space (example: turning the right side of J-house into a genre-lounging spot for all players to partake in).

WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT MISSING SOMETHING BECAUSE FACEBOOK ALGORITHMS ARE GARBAGE?

I know my subtitles are usually shorter but I couldn’t figure out a good way to summarize that….ANYWAY - we’re going to continue these monthly updates via blog. If you’d rather get an email with all this info instead of scouring facebook or discord for the link, now that’s an option!

You can find our ‘Subscribe’ button on the bottom of our homepage (www.dystopiarisingAR.com - lookit me enabling you).

WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

We don’t do this because it’s glamorous or a great way to get rich (we’re still waiting on that LARP Billionaire Yacht but we’ve heard the paperwork got delayed somewhere… >_>) - we do it because it’s ridiculously rewarding to tell stories with all of ya’ll.

To that end, we want to make sure we’re telling the stories that most of you are interested the most often. We’re currently polishing a survey and will have it out sometime in early January. Keep an eye out!

If there’s something you want us to know but the survey doesn’t cover it - please use our feedback form: https://www.dystopiarisingar.com/feedback-form/

Also in the interest of letting you be a part of the stories that interest you, we’re going to be releasing our Arc Schedule for the first half of the year (Feb-May) on Dec 24th. Think of it as our holiday gift to ya’ll. <3

Bleed & How to Manage It

Bleed is, very simply, when the emotions of a character bleed into a person (or vice versa). I often refer to these as bleed in (from character and into a person) or bleed out (bleed of a person into their character). Bleed is something everyone experiences to one degree or another, and it’s not inherently bad (or good). It’s one of those things that just comes with the territory of LARPing and that means it’s something we should educate ourselves on. The players are far more important and cooler than the characters they portray and leaving bleed unmanaged can have a serious impact on individuals and the communities they’re a part of.


At the bottom I’m going to have a list of articles talking about bleed, managing bleed, debriefing and mitigating bleed. That’s where you can find a lot of depth, techniques and really the nuts and bolts of all of this. The rest of my post is going to be my observations, hopes and advice for the fam when it comes to the upcoming in-game conflicts.


Observations:

  • To one degree or another, everyone puts a piece of themselves into a character. It’s not bad - because that piece of ourselves helps us empathize with our character and really become them when we’re portraying them during game. This does mean that everyone is emotionally attached to their character, although the level of that attachment differs from person to person.

  • By and large, no matter how hard everyone works, it’s impossible to get characters to treat non-agency characters (NPCs) the same way they’d treat full-agency characters (PCs). And again, that’s not a bad thing because it means we’re not investing a lot of emotions in the NPCs - so we can tell different stories with them and minimize bleed issues.

  • Character versus Character activities cause FAR more negative bleed than any other in-game action. Worse than in-game politics (and man that’s saying something). This isn’t to say that only CvC causes bleed, far from it! Plot can also cause a bleed!


Advice - but keep in mind I’m one of those that extremely rarely experiences bleed-in:

  • Make sure to use techniques that reinforce the differences/separation between you and your characters. When talking about them don’t use ‘I/me’ use ‘they/them’ - it reminds you that they’re a separate identity.

  • If possible, talk about the negative things happening to your character in an excited way. For me, half the reason I play is because I want to tell a story of succeeding after struggle - which means my poor character (suffer puppet) has to have a ton of obstacles to overcome. I have a few people who compartmentalize as well as I do and we often goob about how our poor characters are in so much pain (emotional & physical).

  • Utilize debriefing, either formal or informal. Debriefing is essentially talking through the emotions your character experienced and separating them from your own, with the help of at least one other person.

  • Help someone when you see them struggling to manage their bleed.This can be as small as using the Ok Check-in system (I know it makes me take stock of myself when I’m asked.) or as big as taking someone aside and flatly telling them that their bleed is unhealthy and hurting themselves and others.


My Hopes:

  • Be friendly with the people who portray the enemy of your character. Now I know not everyone can be friends with everyone, but I also know that I absolutely want to be friendly with the people behind the characters that Treasure is going to growl at, hit, and possibly kill cause they’re nasty witches. I can see how they feel about handling CvC (if they need no notice, a heads up, a check-in, etc) and their thoughts on where our piece of the story should go.

  • Remember that this is a huge exercise in co-operative story creation, and that means that my story might have to be not be exactly how I envisioned it originally. Personally I find the unexpected twists to be amazing and invigorating, but some people need a heads up or a little more steering of their story - and there’s no one right way to do things. The only wrong way to do things is when you do them without compassion for your fellow players.

  • Listen to one another, even if what they’re saying is hard to hear. As we learned from Neville Longbottom - telling your friends difficult truths is the hardest thing we can do; but as friends it’s important that we do so. So if someone comes to you with a concern, listen.

24909822_1544342882267656_6937970810115589911_n.jpg

November 2018 - That's a Wrap

Alright, super short blog-post coming up….mostly cause after throwing so much weird shit at you last game we decided to keep this month simple. ;) <3

Thanksgivemas

We specifically schedule our November event on Thanksgiving weekend. Our community has a higher % of peeps (including Dave & I) where a traditional family event is either hella stressful or just not an option - so being able to share some fellowship and food with our nerd-family is very very important for us.

We’re always happy to see everyone for this event, but please remember that the people organizing the feast have volunteered to do so and likely need far more help than they will outright ask for. Offer to help them repeatedly! Many hands make light work!

Also, if you want to add to the feast, you can sign up: DR AR 2019 Thanksgivemas Feast

WRAPPING UP OLD AND STARTING THE NEW

This month we’ve focused mostly on wrapping up older stories, or at least starting the process of wrapping them up. We still don’t have a hard date for when the 3 year time-skip will happen but we know that very very few (if any) stories will cross the gap with us.

We’re moving to a new way of organizing our stories, and we think you’re going to be as excited as we are.

We’re going to focus more heavily on having an overarching story for each event. This means that each event will have a story with Rising Actions (Trigger, Quest, Surprise, Critical Choices), Climax and Falling Action. This doesn’t mean all stories will be limited to a single weekend. Much like the Star Wars 4-5-6 Trilogy we can tell a larger story while still having a complete arc for a weekend.

This means we’re gonna be able to give more focused teasers in so many more places (liiiiiiike the names for our events on Facebook). It also means you can look at the story for the weekend in advance and see if it’s one that you’re super duper invested in or if it’s an event you can miss and not feel too much FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). (If you actually can do this please teach me…)

We’ll make a blog post about that and more cool 2019 stuff after the November event. The next blog post will also start some discussions on what ya’ll think Crystal Creek should look like post time-skip. We can’t delve into the minutiae (cause y’know - blood oath and stuff), but we can start talking broad strokes and we want to have those conversations with you!

See ya’ll in the wastes! <3
#WeAreBecauseYa'llAre 

October 2018 - In Your Hands

SCHEDULE

We're going back to our normal schedule, which will often be referred to as the winter schedule or ‘oh thank god more chances for sleep’.

SPECIFIC MECHANICS FOR OCTOBER

Your Part

So, this month has opt-in plots and we’ll watch for the white glow-bands when we’re targeting people with those plots. You’ll always be able to find some glow at NPC Camp if you want to opt-in partway through game. You can also opt-out by just taking off the glow.

However, the plot is impacting the game as a whole - and to be honest, the overarc I’ve been so excited about 100% depends on how much ya’ll want to buy into it. I’m giving OOC knowledge about the mechanics a week prior to game to make sure you have a chance to ask questions - but hopefully your PC won’t suddenly know how to circumvent the effects. <3

Mechanics

Everyone’s throat is sore and the muscles feel tight, to the point of pain and damaging yourself when you use your vocal chords. Speaking above a whisper will cause the following effects:

  • 10 seconds of normal volume speech = 10 Body

  • 10 seconds of yelling/screaming = 1 Murder (10 body w/o bleed out timer)

There are ways to mitigate this effect, but you’ll need to find that out in game. It will come to an end at 10am on Sunday, although muscles will still be tight/painful just not enough to cause damage.

I will be giving an example of what each volume should sound like at Opening Announcements in case you’re not sure. I trust ya’ll to make reasonable decisions throughout the weekend and remind each other when someone’s voice raises and they forget to take the damage.

I look forward to scaring the pants off ya’ll and hope you buy into the fun we’ve planned for you. :)

COOPERATIVE CREATION ISN’T JUST A CATCH PHRASE

Lately we’ve heard a lot of scuttlebutt about Character versus Character situations heating up and we want to take a moment to remind everyone that no matter what, we’re playing a game with our friends in a community we care about. So here are some tips for how to have character versus character antagonism add to the story and experience for everyone involved.

  1. Don’t lie about it out of game. That’s the fastest way to move it from character versus character to player versus player.

  2. If you’re up for it, reach out and ask the other person if they’d like to discuss some negative RP coming their way. Some people deal a lot better with it if they receive a heads up. You don’t have to give them specifics, but a general ‘heya’ can go a long way.

  3. Aim for story, not mechanics. Don’t aim to perm a character with multiple infection in a single weekend. Especially if you haven’t done a pre-negative scene check-in as described in #2. The player of that character still wants to have fun at game and so would you.

  4. Be open to non-infection loss story and talk with the other player about it. Steering a story between two players is a wonderful way to make sure everyone has fun with negative RP. Conflict drives story - but we’re the ones who decide what the conflict looks like, not our characters.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD

Voting Drive

You’re our family, and we want your voices to be heard. To that end we’re doing a voting participation drive to give every ounce of encouragement we can. To vote in this year’s General Election you need to be registered by Oct 9th.

20 AP - for proof of registration to vote (you can use www.vote.org)
50AP - for every election you vote in (Arkansas Election Dates) - I know this year we’ve already gone past the primary elections, but we’ll probably do this again next time and include those.

IF you are an Arkansas player (defined as the database saying you are an Arkansas player) but live in a state other than Arkansas, you can still participate. (Texas Election Dates, Missouri Election Dates, Kansas Election Dates, Oklahoma Election Dates, Mississippi Election Dates)

Continuing Education about Sexual Misconduct

RAINN taught us that one of the most important elements for keeping our community safe is empowering everyone to identify and confront unacceptable behaviors. That's why we wrote a strong policy, with clearly defined paths of action in partnership with Texas and Oklahoma.

To further empower the community, nationwide, the DR LLC team has worked with RAINN to break down the information into easily digestible chunks and created two quizzes to check your understanding of the information. We encourage everyone to participate and work towards scores of 100% (you can take them as many times as you'd like)!

You can email us (DystopiaRising.Arkansas@gmail.com) a screenshot of your 100% completion and we'll award you 50AP for each quiz you ace!

To better ensure the safety of our community and to promote an educated & uniform response & awareness from Marshals, going forward anyone wanting to be considered for a Marshal position will need to have completed both quizzes.

See you all in the wastes! <3
#WeAreBecauseYa'llAre 

Team Refresh

Some other chapters have started refreshing their Marshal Teams and we talked to them and they found:

  • This gives team members a chance to look at the next year of their life and determine if they should continue on as a marshal. If not they can step back without any social pressure simply by not re-applying. This is also applicable to anyone who may be burnt out/close to burning out.

  • Allows Directors to make sure that all of the social groups of a community are represented by the team members.

  • Allows non-team members to feel like they have a shot at gaining a spot instead of ‘if there’s a slot available’.

  • Allows team-members who have cross-trained to select a new primary assignment as a marshal during the new application process.

  • Allows members of the community to come forward and report if they had an experience with a Marshal if they felt uncomfortable doing it due to the authority that comes with being a team member.

So, we’re going to try it and see how it works for Arkansas. November will be the last game for our current team. (Don’t worry, we talked to them about this before making this announcement! <3)

Want to be a marshal next year? Check out the new handy-dandy form page:
Marshal Application

Our goal is to have the new team selected no later than Nov 31.

As we said, we’ve spoken to our team and addressed their concerns, but in case you’re curious - here’s a few of the big ones.

  • We’re not doing this to get rid of Marshals who aren’t working out without addressing the issue. Dave and I are very direct communicators and we will always address a problem as part of resolving that issue.

  • What if no trained marshals apply? Training takes time! We aren’t anticipating that being a problem, but if it becomes one we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

  • What if someone not being rehired causes drama? Again, Dave and I communicate a lot - but we also respect a person’s privacy. So if Bobby Sue didn’t apply because their real life has gotten a little rocky; it’s up to Bobby Sue to tell people that. However, if Bobby Sue tells us it’s because of the rocky road and then tells everyone else it’s because we’re meanie-heads…well we’re likely to talk to them and then say something publicly to resolve the misunderstanding.

Sensitive Topics & Game Space

Hey Survivors,

There are a lot of LARPs designed to explore stuff at the edge of human experience. Prison experiments and concentration camps, militia and guerrilla warfare, and yeah - even topics like sexual assault. We aren’t really that type of LARP, even when we get close to it we have a HEAVY culture of Opt-In/Opt-Out.

We have a few tools to tell you the things we will go into - and it’s called our ingredients list. This is an attempt of giving you a comprehensive list of the ingredients that we will put in our story. Now - this isn’t to say they will all be present all the time, or all present at a really high level. Some of them are pretty spicy - so we use them sparingly.

Sometimes we’ll have plots that either go outside this list, or go heavier on the spice. You will ALWAYS have a chance to review these extra or emphasized ingredients and be asked to Opt-In. Knowledge is power and we want you to have it before you opt-into a plot.

Okay, so now some of you are going “duh Krista, we know this cause you put it on the website and we read every page of that thing”. ….Okay maybe not that exactly, but anyway - we also created a list of Banned and Discouraged Concepts.

Take a peek at those and then come back. I’ll wait, promise.


Okay…done?

Alright, so here’s why that list is important. Not all of us have the same experiences and traumas. What seems like either ‘not a big deal’ or ‘a neat element to add to game’ to one person might be the thing that sends someone to cry in a corner. So what’s that mean for you?

Keep those discouraged concepts in mind and understand that something that you don’t fully understand, and want to explore via LARP - might be very traumatic for someone else to see in a game space.

Example (w/ permission from Krystal): Krystal, player of Bambi, was struck by lightning just outside the boathouse. She jokes about it and makes light of it a lot (sometimes I call her sparky when she’s getting sassy) - because like many of us that’s how she dealt/deals with the trauma. However, if Krista fakes getting struck by lightning and falls to the ground in front of Krystal during a storm - that’s gonna be super upsetting for her for a lot of good reasons.

So anyway, there’s no one incident that caused this post (no really, if you’re feeling unspecific guilt that you may have been the reason I’m writing…stahp) - it’s just not a topic we go over regularly and reminding everyone and explaining the whys is always a good thing to take time to do. <3

September 2018 - Be the Change

SCHEDULE

We're going to stay with what is now our ‘Summer Schedule’. We’ll use this for any games May through September, and we’ll go back to our Regular Schedule in the other months.

  • Saturday morning mods will go 9am-1pm

  • Heat Advisory Hours (no mods) will be 1pm-4pm

    • Cheryl is generously donating a few hours to lifeguard the lake area around the dock again. 2pm-4pm

Post Office Hours will be:

  • Game On - 3am

  • 8am - 3am

  • 8am - Noon

If you have need of a card when the Post Office is closed and you can find an already awake Coord Marshal you can ask them to help you get the paperwork for your project. Please don't wake up a sleeping Marshal for this. I'll have to go all angry-LARP-Mom on you.

LET’S PLAY THE DIRECTOR SHUFFLE!

Last month we used the Director Cabin for Director Sleep and also as the central point for organizing clean up. Unfortunately not everyone is as kind to the camp as we are and that cabin isn’t a rentable space at the moment. That may change in the future, but for now we will go back to our previous sleeping arrangements in the left side of the Medical Building and using Jeffery House porch for organizing clean-up.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD

Voting Drive

You’re our family, and we want your voices to be heard. To that end we’re doing a voting participation drive to give every ounce of encouragement we can. To vote in this year’s General Election you need to be registered by Oct 9th.

20 AP - for proof of registration to vote (you can use www.vote.org)
50AP - for every election you vote in (Arkansas Election Dates) - I know this year we’ve already gone past the primary elections, but we’ll probably do this again next time and include those.

IF you are an Arkansas player (defined as the database saying you are an Arkansas player) but live in a state other than Arkansas, you can still participate. (Texas Election Dates, Missouri Election Dates, Kansas Election Dates, Oklahoma Election Dates, Mississippi Election Dates)

Continuing Education about Sexual Misconduct

RAINN taught us that one of the most important elements for keeping our community safe is empowering everyone to identify and confront unacceptable behaviors. That's why we wrote a strong policy, with clearly defined paths of action in partnership with Texas and Oklahoma.

To further empower the community, nationwide, the DR LLC team has worked with RAINN to break down the information into easily digestible chunks and created two quizzes to check your understanding of the information. We encourage everyone to participate and work towards scores of 100% (you can take them as many times as you'd like)!

You can email us (DystopiaRising.Arkansas@gmail.com) a screenshot of your 100% completion and we'll award you 50AP for each quiz you ace!

To better ensure the safety of our community and to promote an educated & uniform response & awareness from Marshals, going forward anyone wanting to be considered for a Marshal position will need to have completed both quizzes.

See you all in the wastes! <3
#WeAreBecauseYa'llAre 

August 2018 - Adjustments!

SCHEDULE

We're tweaking the schedule based on feedback from both players and team members.

  • Saturday morning mods will go 9am-1pm
  • Heat Advisory Hours (no mods) will be 1pm-4pm
    • Cheryl is generously donating a few hours to lifeguard the lake area around the dock 2:30pm-4pm
      • (I mean, I'm gonna force AP on her, but it's still generous)
  • Sunday mods will return, but focus on story.

Post Office Hours will be:

  • Game On - 3am
  • 8am - 3am
  • 8am - Noon

If you have need of a card when the Post Office is closed and you can find an already awake Coord Marshal you can ask them to help you get the paperwork for your project. Please don't wake up a sleeping Marshal for this. I'll have to go all angry-LARP-Mom on you.

OPENING NARRATIVE/WARM-UP

After opening announcements (around 10-15 min after) we'll have a guided opening narrative. This is our version of a tool other games use to help players transition from their own headspace into the headspace of their character. They've found that having opening and closing narrative sessions can help reduce bleed.

So how does it work? We come up with a few words to encapsulate the theme of the weekend. This helps frame the phrases used during the guided narrative, which is accompanied by a heartbeat rhythm provided by those involved. It'll speed up or slow down as part of the process, but don't worry - all you have to do is follow the guide's instructions. :)

This month's theme is This is Home.

FEEDBACK FORM

The feedback form is a direct line to our inbox, and we made sure that you can omit your name and email if you feel more comfortable providing anonymous feedback - specifically because players requested that option. :) You can do this by just leaving the name and email portions of the form blank.

Well we've gone a step further and included a check-mark where you get to determine if you'd like a reply or a follow-up to your feedback. Some months we have time to go back and answer every feedback we get, and some months we don't. This is designed to let us focus on the people who are expecting a reply and just absorb the information from those who don't want to discuss it with us.

This also means that if you report misconduct (of any kind), you can decide if you want to be contacted with follow-up information or questions. Sometimes that follow-up will just be "we investigated this and issued corrective actions" - because we want to punish in private and make sure that our friends have the chance to grow from their mistakes. 

SLEEPING BEARS...ER...DIRECTORS

As the camp and our player base continues to grow, we want to seize ever opportunity to make the experience better for everyone. This summer they added a Director's Cabin just behind the Office Building we don't use (a small building across the main road from the pool house/Ops). This month Dave and I will start using that for our own sleeping.

This means that if you need a Director and can't find the one that's awake - you can find the one that's asleep. :) And despite the title, while we may be groggy we're always available for ya'll (except the bathroom, I gotta draw a line somewhere...) and won't ever be upset that you woke us. <3

We'll also be using this cabin/clearing as the rallying point for clean-up instead of the porch of J-house. This will get the crowds out of the way of those who are trying to clean up that cabin and make us a little more centrally located for clean-up time. :)

See you all in the wastes! <3
#WeAreBecauseYa'llAre 

Sexual Misconduct Policy - What Does It Look Like?

So first,

you should know that I'm a Survivor of sexual assault. This makes me super emotional about these issues. I want to see evidence because I know how emotional I am on the issue. It also means that if I find an allegation to be false I become livid beyond imagination. Because those false accusations make it harder for people to believe the true ones. Anything that causes people to doubt a Survivor makes me ridiculously angry.

Dave spent 20+ years in the military where an accusation (false or not) could ruin your entire career, and he's understandably sensitive to the repercussions of a false allegation. This means that he wants evidence before taking any action. 

You should also know that statistics show that no more than 2-8% of allegations are false. (NSVRC) Roughly for every four people, 3 never talk to anyone/report sexual harassment after they've experienced it (EEOC Report, pg. v, First paragraph). 

Second,

we are not empowered to be investigators, that is a task for officials. Our goal is always to find out if there has been a violation of our policy and then act on that knowledge. 

We are also looking to create an environment that encourages reporting and confronting unacceptable behavior. One of the top reasons that sexual harassment and assault aren't reported is fear of retaliation. To this end we're never going to reveal the identity of a complainant and we won't divulge any specifics that could identify them.  I understand this makes some people uncomfortable, but this entire topic isn't one for comfort. For us, the protection of a victim outweighs the comfort of people who are not involved or the comfort of someone who is violating the policy.

Patterns of Behavior

Typically, we won't issue a Refusal of Service (RoS) for a first time offense. Now, I'm not saying there aren't some first offenses that can be done where an RoS is our immediate response - cause there are. 

That being said, what we watch for the most are patterns of behavior, because that's typically how you spot predators. They push boundaries slowly and in small ways, testing the waters to see if they can get away with larger violations of boundaries. They also like to live in the gray areas and ask for you to explain to them where the line is. If you say that an 8 second hug is too long, they'll argue that they only did a 7.5 second hug and so weren't violating any boundaries. 

Our Process

So Dave and I receive a complaint. We speak to them and ask for any screenshots or witnesses that they can provide. If we are given evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator has committed this act - we determine what the appropriate punishment is and send them notification. We are, at it's core, a victim oriented organization and our primary goal is the safety of the community.

This is the part that a lot of people are uncomfortable with, because we're not speaking to the accused before levying punishment. We understand why that's uncomfortable. The idea that people could be found guilty without a chance to speak for themselves isn't something we're used to in America - because barring the military, that's the opposite of our court systems. So I'm going to get a bit more in the weeds than I usually like to, in hopes of giving you a glimpse of how we operate and our thoughts on these.

So Dave and I argue - and while yah, married couples argue - I mean we often end up on opposite sides on issues and we discuss and argue until we can reach a middle ground. This sounds pretty easy - but let me tell you that both of us are REALLY stubborn people. When it comes to these situations, at the first I am typically on the side of the complainant and Dave is hitting the brakes and asking for hard evidence. 

So in the end,

it comes down to trusting our judgement and knowing that we hold the safety of the community as our most important task. We will share as much as we can without risking identification of the victim. 

We won't share information publicly, although we do give a summary to the members of our Marshal Team. We do this because we know it's more likely that players will reach out to them with questions, than to us and we want them to be informed when they give ya'll answers.

New Sexual Misconduct Policy

You may have heard some of us Directors gush about how wonderful it was to have RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) make a presentation at the Director’s Retreat in June. If not, prepare to receive a small gush and also an explanation.

The presentation from RAINN included facts and statistics about sexual harassment and assault, but more importantly it gave us expert advice on how to make our communities unwelcoming for perpetrators.

To that end, the Directors for Dystopia Rising Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma put our heads together and developed a Sexual Misconduct Policy that we could all agree on. Since our communities mingle and overlap in wonderful ways, we decided our policy should reflect that.

This behavior wasn’t acceptable before we wrote this policy, however RAINN taught us that making these  policies visible does a few very important things.

  1. Showing specifically which behaviors won’t be tolerated will discourage predators  from joining or remaining in the community. Predators thrive where they can push boundaries without consequence.

  2. Outlining which behaviors are inappropriate and the procedure when misconduct is reported helps members of the community enforce standards, empowering them to help keep their community safe.

So yeah, here’s us saying that this kind of behavior is not only unacceptable in our spaces - but showing you exactly how we’ll handle it and supporting our community in creating safer spaces for gaming.

July 2018 - New Things

Heya Survivors!

This month we've got a few new things in store for you all - and one of them is trying to post more of our announcements here.

Schedule Change

Last month we tried a pretty tiring schedule where mods ran from game start on Friday night into the weeeee hours of Sunday morning. In unrelated news everyone was tired as hell and we love ya'll but we don't want to do that again. >_>

Instead this month we'll be using the following schedule:

  • Game Start, Friday 9pm
  • Quiet Hours, Saturday 4am-8am
  • Heat Adv. Hours, Saturday Noon-4pm (No mods for player safety)
  • Quiet Hours, Sunday 4am-8am
  • Game End, Sunday Noon (Also there aren't any NPCs scheduled for Sunday morning, but with Dave that doesn't always mean you're safe. >_>)

New Things from Director's Retreat

1. No more mailing policy, mail things directly to other players. If you end up receiving a Unique Item Card, you need to bring it to Dave or myself for approval before it can enter play in Arkansas. You can still send mail to us if you want it delivered by Blue Birds. 

2. Marketing photos and use of specific color palettes. We all love new players, and we know that one of the best ways to snag the attention of people who don't know us is through awesome photos. So to that end we've created a color palette and we'll work with photographers to make really good photos match that palette. We're also going to set up a small 'staged' area near the pool house where you can pose and photographers can take pictures for both you, and us, to use. To make this all nice and legal we're going to have photo waivers for everyone to sign during check-in, that way if you want to opt out of having your photos used for marketing (not everyone's job is cool with the post-apocalyptic lifestyle >_>) you can let us know in writing. 

^This also means we're gonna start using our Instagram! o.0

3. We're learning new things from other people in the industry, and the industry is larger than you think. You can expect to see us continuing to add things to our set up and experience - some of them we'll ask you to be involved in, but as always...we encourage you to opt out when you're not interested/comfortable in participating.

Opening Narrative/Warm-Up

After opening announcements (around 10-15 min after) we'll have a guided opening narrative. This is our version of a tool other games use to help players transition from their own headspace into the headspace of their character. They've found that having opening and closing narrative sessions can help reduce bleed.

So how does it work? We come up with a few words to encapsulate the theme of the weekend. This helps frame the phrases used during the guided narrative, which is accompanied by a heartbeat rhythm provided by those involved. It'll speed up or slow down as part of the process, but don't worry - all you have to do is follow the guide's instructions. :)

This month's theme is overcoming obstacles

 

See you all in the wastes! <3
#WeAreBecauseYa'llAre

Concerned?
I recommend Communication
(No one is surprised)

Well, in case you missed it there's a new Corrective Actions system that's been laid out in a pretty awesome blog post by Jeff Moxley.

So why am I writing this? Because there's still some "this part makes me nervous" - because it depends on the judgement of either Marshals, Directors or both. And that's fair, other people may not make the same decision we would - and the unknown can be nerve-wracking.

I'm a fixer though, so I'm going to offer a solution. Ask your Director. About this, about their thoughts on specific pieces. About things that aren't related. Get to know them as people - because when given one of those situations that make you nervous I bet you can tell people what your friend would do. Don't be acquaintances with the leaders of your community, offer to be their friend and be genuine about it.

I have heard before, and I believe it, that some people are wary of talking to Directors - because we sit on the lofty and precarious perch of 'Authority' (tongue in cheek!). For those people - talk to your Marshals. They see how your Directors make decisions far more regularly than just during game weekends and I promise you they'd rather talk to you than have you keep your concerns quiet and to yourself. 

As with all things requiring a new local policy, Dave and I will be discussing what we want ours to look like. This may take a bit of time, so please be patient with us. We prefer to discuss and get outside opinions on our thought process to make sure we're establishing a good policy the first time that can be fairly applied to all parties. Or, as Dave says, "If I know the policy is fair for the little shit that annoys me, then it's fair for my buddy."

As you've seen, Directors value the voices of their players - so now is a good time to engage in those discussions and help shape your local community and local policies. In the end our community is the reason we all play this game, and only we can take the steps to make it continue to be the safer space we love - and that means we have to communicate. <3

Build the Community You Want to Live In

It sounds cheesy, but we firmly believe in the idea of 'be the change you want to see'. We tell people it all the time in various ways. It comes back to the idea of leading by example.

"Krista/Dave, how do we make players more strainist?"
"Be more strainist, compliment people afterwards on their hate of X strain. Be what you want to see and then show others how much you appreciate it when they do it."

Recently some new players in Arkansas experienced something we would have said wasn't a part of our community. Their characters were attacked and had all their starter gear stolen. We don't know who was involved and honestly, at this point, We're not sure we care to know - so please don't use this to start a witch hunt. (Note: We're not giving a lot of details on purpose.)

We were a little confused when new players in August talked about the blue armbands/glow being used to target new players and we reassured them that such a thing wouldn't happen and explained how the marshals could actually better scale threats in the dark to account for new players if they wore the glow. We still firmly believe the blue system is amazing and we're going to continue to promote the heck out of it. 

We've got a few other new-player friendly things in the works that we plan to bring into play for Season 3, but the blue armband system is the key. We know we all like being able to identify new players so we can encourage them and give them good deals and really make sure they have fun. That way they'll come back and get stuck in our nerd-family forever!

So what's the point of letting everyone know about this? Let's be a little more pro-active in watching out for our new players. Let's make sure they know people they can come to if there's a problem. Sometimes the official team is intimidating (cause we're official!) - so offer to be there if they need something and make our community that much better.

Now, let us put on this Official Director Hat....
New Player is an Out-of-Character status, so if someone (in the future) attacks a new player character, depending on the circumstances it could result in Out-of-Character consequences.
Engaging in ANY Character versus Character action without a Marshal will likely result in Out-of-Character consequences.
To refresh your memory on what those are please see pg. 29 of the Survivor's Guide 2.02

As always, feel free to reach out if you're confused on any of this. 

I am because you are. <3

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Some Things You Should Know - Krista Edition

I’m former military, from a military family and I married a military guy - this informs a lot of my mental framework and word choice. If you catch me using a phrase you don’t understand, please look at me like I’m silly and say “Civilian please” and I’ll have that gobsmacked look and quickly translate.

I’m a communications nerd, but more than that I often look at why people make the choices they do in communication and action, because I feel like knowing that makes everything else make sense. I firmly believe that communicating well is worth the effort and I will often call people out on lazy communication tropes such as rape/racist jokes or using hurtful terms/words because it was an easier word choice.

I am firmly of the opinion that people will make the right choice if they are given all the related facts. This means that I find manipulation to be super distasteful and if I catch you attempting such on me we’ll be less good friends than before.

I prefer direct communication, but I recognize that not everyone does and most of the time I will try to match your preferred communication style. Unless that style is passive-aggressive. I have trouble with it and if I feel you sliding into that style I’ll likely say something. Sorry - everyone has to have a hang up, this is one of my many. <3

I have PTSD from a vehicle accident during my senior year and my time overseas. If you can remember, please don't touch me from behind - even if I saw you walk back there I might swing back with an elbow and I like ya'll way too much to be okay with doing that even on accident. 

I’m also a firm believer in “I am because you are.” I plan on reading up on Ubuntu itself eventually, but in the meantime I lean on what my Drill Sergeant told me it meant. It means that the qualities I have, I have because you have them and we reflect one another. You have your qualities because I have those qualities. This means that I always want to work hard to show the qualities I admire - because I want my community to reflect those back at me, and I hope everyone else does the same.

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