The LARP industry functions on a lot of “existing standards,” where things are done a certain way because that is the way they have always been done. Over many years, hundreds of games have had some form of senior player that is trusted with helping people with rules calls and organizing NPCs. In addition, one of the standard staples of LARP organization has been the idea of the "Story Teller" as a person who writes plot and story, and then comes to game and makes those stories become a live event. Story Tellers have been rewarded with character bonuses, free attendance to game, or other perks for this deeper level of involvement.
Looking at the standard of what a “Story Teller” has been across the U.S. LARP industry for years, we saw a gap. Traditionally, Story Tellers were undertaking two different roles: the role of a writer and the role of a marshal. Between events, Story Tellers were writing and producing content while being given guidelines, due dates, and direction for revisions. This written content would then be organized by the Director as needed for a weekend and then run during the event. While it is fine to entrust players with more responsibilities at game, it isn’t a best practice to have those players do something beyond a normal NPC shift’s worth of involvement without dividing the aspect that could be considered “work” from the aspect that is “play.” With this in mind, Dystopia Rising will be instituting a new standard.
To create a new and better practice, Dystopia Rising is taking the following steps, effective August 1, 2017.
1) The position of Story Teller as it has been defined traditionally in LARP is being discontinued within the Dystopia Rising LARP Network.
2) Dystopia Rising chapters will now be hiring Story Writers as freelance writers. This will involve an application, contract, and pay-by-the-word with minimum and maximum word counts per module. It will also include an assigned minimum and maximum number of modules each month.
3) Dystopia Rising writers will be contracted as freelancers and able to list themselves as contracted freelance writers, event entertainment designers, or professional game writers on their resumes, as they see fit.
4) Contracted writers do not necessarily need to be active attendees to a single game. Talented writers may be contracted to write unique and different content for multiple different Dystopia Rising franchises and even be hired to write multiple month story arcs for local implementation.
5) Writers may be rehired based on quality of content, player response, and promptness of writing regarding deadlines.
6) All Marshal NPC blocks will be shortened to 4 hours, the same as any NPC shift.
7) Marshals will now be given 60 assistance points per shift. Marshals will be able to convert Assistance Points for the purchasable build that they could otherwise pay for with money. Marshals cannot earn more build than a standard player. This is an “either” option, not “and.”
8) Story Tellers who wish to still organize shifts as a team member can discuss with their Directors about becoming a Marshal separate to being a contracted writer. Being a writer is not dependent on being a Marshal and being a Marshal is not dependent on being a writer. A writer who chooses to also be a Marshal will not necessarily be scheduled at the same time that their modules are run.
9) In addition to Coordination, Settings, and Rules Marshals we will now have the position of Ops Marshal.
10) Ops Marshals will manage the modules via White Board and serve as lead Marshal in a NPC block to coordinate with the Settings Marshals and Rules Marshals to send out NPCs and modules during their 4 hour NPC shift.
We’re very excited to make this next level change to the network and thank you for being a part of it!