Below is a guide of what to expect while you’re there, how best to prepare, and how to make your NPC period the most fun possible for both you and the other players you interact with.
Every person who attends a Dystopia Rising event spends 4 hours as an NPC, “Non-player Character”. This is a period when you will put aside the character you’ve created and portray other characters that make the world a living, breathing thing. You may also help tidy up the Operations (Ops) area, set-up or break-down modules, or any number of other various things that need to be done. NPCs are characters that you will play for only one scene or scenario. It might be as a mindless zombie who attacks the other players, a Rover Caravan Driver trying to get a new gun, a Baywalker looking to get a disease treated, or a million other fun possibilities.
You should plan to arrive to Ops 5-10 minutes before your scheduled NPC shift so you can be ready to go when the hour turns over.
THIS IS PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
Dystopia Rising is a Role Playing event and NPCing is a chance to stretch your RP muscles. Nonplayer Characters are a great chance to try out a new way of acting, a new way of walking, a new way of talking. Try on many hats and live many lives.
Get a full experience: if your character loves combat, try NPCing as a coward, if your character is weak try NPCing as strong. These are great chances for you to try new things without your player character being impacted. We are here to play pretend and NPCing is the best chance for this.
BEFORE YOUR NPC PERIOD
Things to bring:
- Clothes: Come wearing all black clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. This is a non descript base layer under the NPC clothing we provide. They will get sweaty, dirty and have makeup on them by the end.
- A water bottle. We will have water and cups, but they can run out, also Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Things not to bring:
- Your Character Sheet: Everything is signed off Digitally. All you will do is get it lost or gross.
- Anything you mind being lost: Things in Ops tend to be picked up by other NPC’s assuming it is a game prop. So don’t bring your characters gear or a favorite jacket.
Take the time to eat and rest for at least an hour before your time on NPC. If you run until you are exhausted or don’t eat and drink for 12 hours and then head to Ops for NPC you will become sick, exhausted, and/or hurt yourself.
DURING YOUR NPC PERIOD
What to expect:
- You will come to the Ops building where you will be Out Of Character.
- You should check in with the Marshals so they know you are there, put your name on a sticky note, in the color the Marshals direct you towards, and put it on the whiteboard.
- You will be asked to play many roles over the next few hours.
- You will put on different costumes, masks, makeup, hats, and carry many weapons. Each of these new characters will be explained to you by the Marshals.
KNOW YOUR MARSHALS
Before you go out with a group of NPC’s make sure you know who is the Marshal going out with you. Learn their name and what they look like. You may need to find them in a chaotic combat situation.
PLAYING TO LOSE
Being an NPC is like being an extra or background character in a movie. So while sometimes a main character will get killed by a random bad guy the death is about the main character and not upstaged by the extra.
So while we aren’t going to be ineffective if you see a player slide on their knees across a muddy field to stick something into their friend’s chest to save them give that player the moment to feel like the hero they are, even if you could smash them.
ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU GO OUT
The Marshals will do their best to make you informed of what it is they want you to do on the module, but that doesn’t mean they will hit every point you need. Let them tell you the plan and if after you have a question, ask it. Don’t be shy, chances are several others are thinking it or would also like to know. If you are ever uncomfortable with something tell the Marshal.
The Marshals will ask you to get involved in mods, put on makeup and costuming, but only you know what is best for you. If you hurt yourself on the last mod and they ask to send you back out on a combat mod it is up to you to speak up. If they ask you to get dressed up like a zombie and you are allergic to makeup it is up to you to speak up. The Marshals will be more than happy to accommodate your needs but can only do so if they are made aware.
STICK TO THE SCRIPT
The Marshals will have prepared a story ahead of time and you are the actors. However you may not know the full story. So while we want you to be creative and make fun choices: don’t change the story. If they tell you to tell the town someone just died don’t decide it would be more dramatic to say they are immortal and coming to kill them all. If you do that you are likely ruining the future story the the Story Writer worked hard to create.
GET OFF THE STAGE!!
When your NPC dies (it’s inevitable) remove yourself from play. This means out of sight of other characters. This is to remove you from combat as well as from the eye line of the other players.
When you put your hand on your head this is a symbol that you are Out Of Character, but a better indication for this is if you are just not visible. This doesn’t mean you need to run a mile off, just look for your Marshal and try to be low key.
Your NPC block is a great chance to stretch your role-play skills and muscles, providing an enhanced experience for your fellow players (the same way they provide it for you on their NPC blocks). It is also a great way to get to know your fellow players as people, rather than just their characters. We are excited to see you in Ops!