March Update

Radiation Storms are Here!

Radiation Sign.jpg

We've had half a season of Hot Zones and Radiation messing with our Crop Tending. As a group of Scientists begin to better understand the problem (and to fix it) a series of Radiation Storms have been hitting the area. 

If you hear the air raid siren we encourage you to get inside a building - not a tent, not a four-person air cabin with near-zero protection from the wind, but an actual building with four walls and a roof that is relatively well insulated from the radioactive particulate outside. 

Radiation storms will be phys-repped with artificial fog and smoke, which will stay outside. If smoke presents a problem for you, please seek shelter inside. 

Radiation Storms will use Zone Effect: Outside mechanics. If you hear the call, and are outside, you will be targeted. (We are not using By My Voice because we don't want to target players inside who happen to hear the call). 

If you're outside and don't hear the call, good for you, you're far enough away. If you are outside and do hear it, then please note the mechanics.

Zone Effects will generally do two things:
1. Increase your Radiation Poisoning. (Retrogrades can ignore this).
2. Deal Radiation Damage. (Retrogrades halve this damage)

 Its worth noting that Zone Effects ignore Armor. RIP Your Swamp Runner meta.

Its worth noting that Zone Effects ignore Armor. RIP Your Swamp Runner meta.


This Month's Story

This month's story will focus on the effort to fix the radiation problem. Fixing the environment is not necessarily easy and part of the theme for this weekend will be about making sub-optimal choices. Sometimes there isn't a perfect solution, just a solution. Expect some fallout (pun intended), even if characters are successful in mitigating the problem. Also expect some chance of failure. Personally I'm rooting for you all but one of the things we hear regularly is that players want to know that their choices matter, and that they could fail, so that victory tastes even sweeter.

Radiation Poisoning and You!

Most characters will start this event with Radiation Poisoning (Active) simply from being in Bravo over a prolonged period of time. (Travelers and New Players won't deal with this). 

Active Radiation Poisoning means your character will not refresh MP on the twelves unless they are healed for 10 HP when already at full HP. The cure is Med Genius & Cure Toxins at 30 MP and 30 Min. 

If your character progresses to Severe and it is untreated for three months, they will die, which will be great fun. 

If your character has Severe and progresses (by going into a Radiation Storm for instance) then come to Logistics. There we are going to give a little slip of paper that will say...

Hello fellow survivor! You have been bathed in radiation. Over the course of the Twelves your character is going to die. Their body will slowly start to lose function as their digestive tract grinds to a halt, red blood cells die, hair and skin slough off, and eventually they pass on. The time and place is up to you. This degeneration process can last as long or as little as you like and there is no set start time for it. We encourage you to have fun and tell a story about what your character might do knowing that they have limited time before their body begins to lose the ability to function and eventually dies.

Will you say things you have not said before? Will you make a sacrificial play knowing that you will die anyway? Will you enjoy the functionality you have, before it goes away and you feel trapped by your own body?

There is no right answer, but these are questions worth asking.

Have fun.


If you want to experience a character death like the one above.. then do it! Probably nobody even knows how much radiation poisoning you have anyway, so it doesn't matter. Tell a great story about an end. Or at least a change, because its not really an ending, its a change. Then come see us in Logistics for high-fives and a death scene. 

Block Report

We're going to steal Block Reports from DR:NY. This is a behind-the-desk process for Ops Marshals to better communicate between them. We're hoping this will help make the game and setting feel more responsive to player actions in the same event. 

Post Office Hours

Last month we scheduled the Post Office to open at 10am instead of 9am. We did this to close a gap in the schedule. However, we didn't tell players and subsequently it was both a source of confusion and frustration. That's on us. 

We adjusted the schedule to close the previous scheduling gap AND to open the PO at 9am again. We're sorry for the confusion. 

Boot Hill

In anticipation of April, the forms for Boot Hill are up already. If you want to use that form, or just read more about what Boot Hill is, you can find the direct link under Contact Us or by clicking here. If you want to close out your (dead) character's story or engage in some background roleplay with a dead NPC, then we encourage you to fill it out. 

February Update

Post-Election Mechanics

In December major NPC factions put together a ballot based on candidates that aligned with their own goals and motivations. No single ballot was passed. However, each faction did have half their ballot elected. As a result each faction will inject a minor version of their original mechanics.

The Oil Barons are pleased with the election of Rajah who knows the status quo. All characters with Income will receive +2 Brass this event.

The Bucks are pleased with the election of Chloe who knows the struggle of the underdog. They will inject additional modules focused on increasing the political and economic literacy of Tenderhorns.

The LOA are pleased with the election of Keegan who they view as a hard-working man of the people, like themselves. The LOA will inject trade routes related to local goods and resources.


Bartender's Tongue

Faction information in Bartender's Tongue now includes the last time it was updated. For example: 

Landowners: The Red Menace (updated Feb 2018)


Not enough Scrounge was seeded last event. I'm trying to rectify that in the scheduling. 

Back End Organization

Reformatted the schedule we use for Modules. We were running into a problem during events where we were not sufficiently planning for modules that needed advanced staging. Probably this didn't impact your event at all unless you were a Marshal. We've now explicitly scheduled that to reduce on-site chaos. 

Infection Damage

This will come up a bunch this weekend...

If afflicted with the Infection status effect, it lasts until it has been removed by standard means of curing toxins, or until triggered. If you are knocked into Bleed Out while afflicted with the Infection status, after 30 seconds your Bleed Out count will pause and you will rise as a shambler zombie with Health equal to half your permanent Health. (Use beaters and small weapons, or short-half safe weapons as needed.) One knocked into Bleed Out again, your timer resumes, and the individual comes back to their senses, typically with serious emotional issues. While Infected, you should roleplay flu and fever-like symptoms....

Radiation Poisoning

I've not upgraded Radiation Poisoning from April's Dirty Bomb in some time. That's an intentional choice to give players a breather before everyone (who's not Tenderhorn / Retrograde) gets upgraded to Active next month. 

This information is available IC to any character with Lore: Radiation. 

Start planning. I also recommend checking the Research Binder early if you've been chasing this plot. 

January Post-Event

Good Morning Survivors! 

If you haven't already sent in Feedback, I encourage you to do so. We would like to hear from you about what you enjoyed, what you would like to see more of, and what could use improvement.

Based on feedback we already received, we wanted to address a couple house-keeping / rules questions. 

Sunday CvC

Our rulebook requires characters initiating CvC to have been in play for at least 3 hours. That same character must remain in play for at least three hours (or until the next Twelves). That functionally means there is a window from Sunday 7:00am until game-off that there is no CvC. 

Raider Rage and Chop

There was some confusion in the field about Raider Rage and Chop. The problem is that the Berserker Raider write-up has two different descriptions for Raider Rage. 

The first write-up is: 

If a Berserker Raider is dropped to the ground and is not Double Tapped in 1 Minute, after one minute they will get back up with full health (no skill refresh) ONE TIME.

This is where we get into debates about whether a Raider's weapon can be chopped or not, because while its a legal target for Chop, we can all agree that a Raider who 'resets' without weapons is functionally ridiculous and a waste of that NPC's time and energy. 

The second write-up is: 

If a Beserker Raider is brought to bleed out their first time, they will scream RAIDER RAGE instead of dropping to the ground. Raider Rage fixes all mangle limbs, regains all health, and enter into a berserkers rage. Raiders under Raider Rage are immune to Fear and Nightmares and swing +1 melee damage.

This is the correct write-up, however its also the last one, and therefore sometimes missed. We've included a note to the franchisor about the error and struck the first with black marker to avoid confusion. We've also briefed Marshals to remove confusion in the future.  

Anticipating 3.0 

We have been having a wonderful discussion about 3.0 here. If you have burning issues to bring up, I encourage you to do so there as we are presently compiling feedback to present to the franchiser. 

January Update

Start time

A gentle reminder that we'll be starting game one hour earlier at 9:00pm. The Post Office will still open at 10:00pm. This may change for the February event, but we thought changing the start time, npc times, marshal times, and module times was enough change for one event and to cling to one last vestige of the past just for the sake of preserving our sanity. 


A lot of our communication with the player base tends to happen via Facebook. The upside is that this is where our players are. The downside is that sometimes the boundary between the game, the community, and the outside world can blur a lot. This can create some frustration when it feels like the game is 'always on.' 

We want our players to make friends here, but we want those friendships to have substance beyond the game. We also need to have our own boundaries as well. 

There's been good progress here but there's still some improvement to do. And frankly, with FB adjusting their algorithms anyway, this is as good a time as any to reflect on the vehicles we use to communicate. More on this post-event. 

Pre-Game Spoiler

Last month we ran an atypical storyline. It was nuanced, timely, and definitely a statement about politics (and the gaming industry). That was only possible because we had huge buy-in from you - the players. A pre-game briefing really helped set expectations so you could buy-in, portray NPCs with nuance, and also understand the limitations of a 'win' as a player. 

While the level of briefing we had last month won't be necessary every event, we are considering a brief pre-game 'spoiler' about the theme and/or mood for the event. We'll share this month's theme at opening announcements. 

Sunday Spoilers will continue to be a thing. Last month's 'what if' spoiler was well received so we'll continue that this month. 

Creative Processes

While not visible to the players, we have been doing a lot to improve our processes with creatives / writers. There's still more to be done, and building it means we have not yet had a chance to enjoy the benefits of it, but we're hopeful this will give us more time to spend on content creation. 

Hot Zones

Green Hot Zones will continue to have standard mechanics associated with them. We'll be using Blue glow sticks to denote Hot Zones with slightly different mechanics. If you're moving through a Blue Hot Zone, please read the Zone of Mechanics (ZOM) sheet for the specifics. 


Scrounge will continue to hold to 'sane hours' with the initial seed going out after coffee time (8:00am). Modules that warrant Scrounge will continue to have it. 


Sailing will only have additional opportunities provided by way of a Unique Item card (or standard Blueprints). This really only effects two players. (Sorry guys). 


Scheduling Sundays

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

We've been going through October's feedback to collect your thoughts on late-Saturday / no-Sunday. While there was some variance in opinion, we noticed several trends on feedback. I want to touch on what those were, and then how we want to incorporate them (skip to the bottom if you want the bottom-line up front).

Late-night threats.

Most players enjoyed the late-night threats. The October schedule had NPCs scheduled until 4am, with overlapping shifts until 2am. This meant we could do roaming threats until 2am instead of 12am, and still have other NPCs on other modules / encounters. Overall response to this was really good, so we're going to keep the late-Saturday NPC time. In the future I'm looking forward to having two hours of overlap for 'after shock' events following a climactic fight. 

Post Office hours.

Most players said the Post Office was not open late enough. The Post Office did close at 3:30am on Saturday (technically Sunday), but it saw little activity at that time. This is also later than we have ever kept the Post Office open. I think this is a little bit about production time (more below), but also making those hours visible. Typically we publish Post Office hours at the window. We didn't this event (it just got missed) so we're going to do that again. I'll post the complete hours below but anticipate the Post Office to be open until 2am at night, and again on Sunday. 

Lost Production.

A number of economy players missed the opportunity to do more crafting or production, which is safe to do on Sunday but less viable Saturday at 2am for reasons that are probably obvious. 

Sunday Closure. 

Those who don't craft still lamented the loss of Sunday because its an opportunity to get closure on any number of things - business arrangements, character conflicts, character death, etc. The response we got here was surprising. We anticipated that some players would miss Sunday roleplay, but there's a lot more going on Sunday than we anticipated. Which is great!

Morning Modules. 

Almost nobody missed morning raiders, modules, or npcs in general. think this is one of the reasons Sunday can feel like a drag by the end of the event, is that players have burned up a fair amount of energy chasing plot and chop. 

Less Game.

Players lamented the loss of game time, especially in light of last year's ticket increase. This is perfectly understandable. Everyone wants to get more time and entertainment for their dollar and we want to give that to you too. We also want the game

More Sleep.

Nobody actually slept in. The sun came up and one person woke up and soon everybody was awake. So that did not work at all. 

Cleanup was easier.

Most people who commented on cleanup itself said that it went faster and easier. We agreed. Players had more energy. We had more energy. It seemed that most of us finished up at about lunchtime which is perfect for afters. Those two hours made a lot of difference. 


We're going to keep Sunday in play until 10am. We will have scheduled NPCs until Saturday 4am (technically Sunday). We will not have Sunday morning modules, wake-ups, etc. In fact, we will have no NPCs for that time at all. This is strictly going to be a time for roleplay, closure, crafting, and beginning to decompress. That means the Post Office will be open from 8am to 10am. Those who want to get an early start on heading out can join me in Logistics for an early camp clean-up. 

We think 10am is going to be the best of both worlds. Its enough time to be meaningful, but its not so long that everybody is waiting out-of-character for the bell to ring. It seems to compliment trends we see in the Post Office activity on Sunday. Its also earlier which seems to coincide with players having an easier cleanup which ultimately means a better experience.

This is an optimization problem and its one of the challenges in trying things out with a schedule. Every solution has a 'cost' somewhere else. So really its about trying to find the solution that maximizes the experience with the least 'cost.' 

We're hoping this gives everyone what they are looking for and improves the overall experience. After all, this schedule is almost verbatim based on suggestions several of you made. (That's correct that several of you made the same recommendation). Its also well supported by the trends we saw in feedback. If it works out, then great. If not, then we can tweak it or change it. The only way to really know is to give it a shot and find out together.


On Larp Criticism

When people post critical feedback to an event within hours or days of an events conclusion, I want to scream. 

I am watching people do it with Downfall, even after a very polite request to send feedback in a few days. Including a link to this article about why. People are just ignoring it and posting their feedback in the same damn thread.

It sucks. And selfishly I’m looking down the road to October 23 and know what’s waiting for me.

October is my favorite event. Its also the hardest.

Expectations are HUGE. The pressure is incredible. So I spend probably two months writing, rewriting, revising, planning, editing. Then I take two months of work, throw it in the garbage, and start over. I bother Sara at completely inconvenient times with random ideas. I ping Anastasia with “What ifs.” Then I write, revise, plan. Trash it. Start over. 

I immerse myself in movies for inspiration. I practice walking, talking, and being the role. I get playlists together to put myself in a certain kind of head space. 

Probably a week before the event I basically stop sleeping, because I have all these ideas, worries, pressures in my head that just won’t stop. So I have to physically and mentally exhaust myself before I can close my eyes for a couple hours sleep. Its pretty restless. By dawn I’m too awake to sleep, but not really rested. 

The event itself is a thirty nine hour marathon, set to the pace of a hundred yard dash. Its schizophrenic in the extreme. From one moment to the next I might have to be the organized and efficient game director, keeping dozens of npcs to a strict schedule; an organizer who handles conflicts and personal melt downs with fairness and compassion; or a fictional psychopath who is trying to grind down characters until they are wholly unrecognizable. 

The secret is to simply never stop moving. So I don’t stop moving. I burn more calories than I consume by an order of magnitude. I live on what would be too little sleep for one night, never mind two. I punish my body until it gives up.

By Sunday morning I can feel days shaved off my lifespan. By Sunday night I am nothing but a raw nerve. We eat afters with a small group because we’re off-site when everybody else has already finished eating Chinese food. I’m often quiet. 

Monday I have nothing left in me. I tell close friends to leave me alone. I am distant from my wife. I cry for no reason, and try to distance myself from the frame of references and characters I have created which think the very worst things about people. Sometimes I get angry.

So after all of that.. if you have not enjoyed yourself, if you have something critical to say.. I just want to not hear it right away. I could say that I don’t care, but that would be a lie. 

I do care. I care a lot. I read every Facebook status after an event just hoping that you had fun. Its not healthy and that’s on me. 

If you didn’t - that’s okay. If you have a criticism, that’s okay too. I want to hear it. But I just need a little time and a little care. Because the thing is, I just saw you. I looked you in the face over that weekend, and I marshaled every bit of myself to put on a good show. I gave you everything I had, and for at least a few days after, while I unscramble my brains and right myself, I need to know that everything was enough. 

Rethinking Community Management

Its no secret that lately we have been rethinking how we do community management, specifically within the constraints of social media. What are the boundaries of our community? When is it appropriate to engage criticism and when does it simply stifle individuals? Where do our community standards end? How do we handle disruptive players who receive a corrective action? etc.

We tend to operate with very hard rules and constraints. This is bred out of respect for the leadership positions we occupy, to provide assurance that decisions are not arbitrary, and to keep us sane.

While these constraints have served us really well over the years, it has become clear that they need to be updated. Therefore, we are going to modify some of those constraints


Standard: Community Border

We enforce community standards at events, and internet spaces that we moderate. (ie. Facebook groups with "DR" in the name). Conversations on your personal page, in a private group, or in your home simply do not matter to us. 

Problem: Some players stand on the border of where we enforce community standards and engage in all manner of behavior that would otherwise see them suspended or banned. The community is still damaged and abused but we cannot effect change. 

Solution: The Fifty Percent Rule
If a player is simply camping the line of community standards they are gaming the system and we will simply enforce the community standards anyway. Those standards exist to protect players and help us. They are not a safe haven for trolls. Does this mean we suddenly care that you think so-and-so is such-and-such in your home? No. But if you are causing wide-scale damage and harm to the community from the safety of your keyboard, then your day is up. If fifty-percent of your impact on the community is negative (not neutral, but negative), if you are playing the community equivalent of "Not touching you, can't get mad," you are not welcome. 


Standard: Corrective Action Privacy

We do not discuss corrective actions in public. We disclose information to Marshals because it is necessary to know if problematic behavior is repeating itself. However, because it is our mission to reform and educate, not to punish, we do not publicly discuss this. We do not want players to feel shamed, ridiculed, or branded because of a mistake. After all, we all make mistakes.

Problem: Some players exploited our respect for privacy, misrepresenting the truth about why they received a correction action, giving us an undeserved black eye. For those players, this policy became a vehicle for abusing us directly, and the marshals indirectly. 

Solution: Disclosure
Any marshal, storyteller, or director can discuss the details of a correction action if someone else is misrepresenting the truth. We will never be the first to discuss this information, because we want to respect players privacy. However, we will confront misinformation and set the record straight. 



When we see criticism on the internet we confront it to discover the source of dissatisfaction and work to correct it. Marshals and storytellers often do the same, not because we ask them to, but because they want players to have a better experience. Often this doesn't happen on our pages our groups, but on personal feeds. 

Problem: For community-oriented players, this feels like an intrusion where they cannot criticize, vent, or just be themselves without feeling like we are going to swoop in and give them the side-eye at game. (We won't. We simply have too much to do and honestly while we want you to have a good time, being critical doesn't make you a bad person. Our best friends criticize us at times.)

Solution: Disengagement
We will not engage in criticism outside of our space. If you want to vent or criticize, go for it. We do not mind. If you would like to express your dissatisfaction with us, to seek recourse to some wrong, to discuss quite literally anything then we are happy to do so. Our email is well advertised and we have been known to take a phone call or even meet face-to-face when the situation warranted it. 

The caveat to this is simple. We are also a part of this community, and while we are not players, we still deserve the same respect and courtesy we want everyone else to have. There is a difference between criticism and abuse. We welcome the former, but will no longer tolerate the latter. If someone wants to internet-punch us in our internet-faces, then we kindly refer them to the Fifty Percent Solution above.


What this means for you

Probably nothing. The overwhelming majority of players color well within the lines, because the overwhelming majority of players are good people who want a great community and positively contribute to it. They promote the lightening-survival fund, host tubing trips, introduce new players to new social groups, share plot, have costuming parties, etc. 

Mostly what you, the average player, will see is a better community experience.