Sunday, July 16, 2017


For the previous Dystopia Rising review on the Wisconsin chapter, see previous blog entry.


Arrived Friday with Seth P. and got checked in.  Didn't get to hear all of the initial player talk because they wanted us down in NPC camp when it was about half way through.

Wasn't disappointed to leave the player talk because it was the same rambling thing as pretty much all player talks.

Sat around NPC camp waiting for them to get their shit together, wondering why I left player talk.

Had a decent time NPC'ing though if any of the good NERO chapter owners I know saw so many (10-20 at any given time) NPC's sitting around idle they'd have lost their damn minds.  I really think you need someone with the mindset of 'ready shoot aim' to run the NPC camp.  Instead we have 'ready aim aim aim get distracted by unimportant shit aim aim visit with people aim aim fire'.  What a waste of manpower.  I kept imagining chapter owners Seth and Derek screaming "What the fuck is everyone doing milling around here for an hour?"  (Note - anyone who gives you excuses as to why I will say 'sorry, I sat there and watched - no excuses.)

Went to bed around midnight because my NPC shift was done and I was tired.

Saturday I hung out until I started to get extremely bored.  Had been told (in the player briefing) "If you get bored, go to NPC camp and we will get you on something".

The first time this happened, I was given a very small stack of very common crap to go sell for commission.  I did.  Neat.  I'm playing a merchant.  That works.  Better than sending in NPC merchants who don't go around trying to get the best price for things and keeps the new guy busy.

Got a job offer within five minutes from one the biggest trading houses in this game.  Disappointed the big boss when I told him I didn't live in the USA and wasn't going to be back.

Went back, asked for something - anything - else to do.  Was told to wait, there would be something.  Three hours of waiting later and nothing.  Outrageous.

Decided to go NPC again because hey, maybe I can make someone else's adventure suck less.

Did a bit role as Rick (of Rick and Morty).  It made me cringe a bit but on Sunday had a dozen or more people come up to me and compliment me on it.

Then, I went in for a different role.  Turns out they were going to have a big combat mod and didn't have anything non combative going out.  "What about something for all the people who are non-combatants?" I asked.

I was given a doctor who was suppose to just hang out, not advertise they were a doctor and bandage people up when they came back from the combat mod.

The lack of plot's creativity, preparation and ability to think on their feet astounded me.

While in game playing a very low key doctor, a staff lady asked me if I was having a good time.  I replied "No."  When she asked why, I told her what had happened.  She said I should go to the head story teller and tell him.

"I don't think he's going to be interested in talking to me." I said.  She told me "It's his job!" so I went in to talk to him.

He was getting ready to go out for the big fight when I told him I needed to talk to him out of character in his capacity as head story teller.  He told me he wasn't interested in talking to me just then.  I pushed through anyway and gave him a quick summation.

"If that's what they got, that's what they got." he replied.

"That's shit." I responded.

He shrugged and wandered off.  When I reported back to the staff lady who had encouraged me to go speak to him, she was indignant but also unable to help.

Despite the huge number of NPC's (every PC serves a four hour shift, every story teller an eight) this is very much a 'make your own fun' game.  Weak.

Spoke to some veteran players who have been regularly traveling around the country playing.  They told me a couple interesting things:

The plot/NPC's here was average or maybe even a bit better than many other places.
It takes between four events and a year and a half to start getting involved in any plot.

Every time they started to talk about plot, they spoke of things like 'this large thing needs to be built in order to keep some bad thing from happening'.  I said "That is not plot - that's a game mechanic to soak up excess treasure."  After a couple times of that, they wanted an example of plot.

If you don't know what a plot is you probably haven't had any.

Also, at a dinner after the game, I carefully monitored conversation between eight other people (I wasn't in the conversation) and did not once hear anything about plot.  That tells me quite a bit.

At around eleven at night, I decided to put a bullet in the brain of that day and cut right the hell to the next.  Sitting around was starting to feel like some sort of open air prison.

At check out, the director (owner?) of the game asked me what I thought about the game.  I responded "Great PC's, community, interesting system.  Useless NPC camp."  She thanked me but had zero follow up questions.  "I'm sure I'll hear about it later." she said.  This kind of told me "Nobody else is saying anything negative, thanks for your money, piss off."  Why owners ask for feedback when they don't care enough for follow up questions is a mystery.  Ego stroke?  Trying to be polite?  "How is your day thus far?"  I don't know.

I did have many many PC's thank me for NPC'ing and praise various NPC roles I did.  That was nice.

In conclusion:

Outstanding community/people
What appears (with my limited knowledge) to be an interesting system
Loads of time sitting around a table hitting it with something
Absolutely no plot

For some people (actually, many judging by how DR is blowing up these days) this might be just fine.  For me, having a really awesome character in DR would be like having a super nice house in Kansas.  Super nice - but you're still in Kansas.  It's not like I'd want to go to Kansas.  For any reason.  Same with having a nifty character (and system) in a dull fucking world.  Not something that appeals to me.

Side note:  Not sending this to the DR chapter I went to (nor advertising it at all) because I've seen the results of this sort of thing before.  You either get a 'sorry your event sucked' letter, or that plus a litany of excuses.  Or some sort of cold letter.  Whatever.

I really don't care if they get better.  I don't live in the USA and am not coming back for years (if I make it back) and thus have 'no dog in this fight'.  The people who play it seem to love it.  To me (plot wise) it was like a really shit NERO event where the plot team is busy doing a circle jerk instead of running things.  The only reason I wrote this is that there are several people who wanted my opinion and knew I'd give them the unvarnished truth as I saw it.  I'd give it a D-.

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