Let’s jump back into where we were at the start of this month, talking about the inspirations and messages that were worked into the design of the Dystopia Rising core world.
Now before I go on into the inspirations behind a lot of the Strains and world materials that a lot of you have been playing for a while, I want to make it clear that these were the INSPIRATIONS behind the Strains and not the hard and fast rule that you should apply to every single character. While some of the key traits, without a doubt, need to be in each of the characters; I do not intend this as some sort of draconic ‘do it this way or you are doing it wrong’ sort of thread. That isn’t the reason behind me going into details her.
So without further ado, lets jump back into the strains that I haven’t touched on yet. Since I am actually heading off to a game in a few hours, I don’t know how far I will get in this post (may end up being broken down into multiple quick updates).
Genjian – The Genjian are a wonderful double barrel of commentary vaguely hidden in the world of Dystopia Rising. In the pre-history of DR (WARNING FUCKING SPOILERS) the fall of man was not something that happened like a slam bam thank you ma’am. The fall of mankind took generations before humanity finally kicked the bucket for the final go, and the Strains grew into the world. Part of the back history is that some brilliant biological sciences and pharmaceuticals companies in Japan found a way to resist the first mutations of the fungal virus that was spreading across the planet.
Part of the inspiration behind the fall of humanity came from a large number of scientific articles that I read in regards to advancements that have been made in cloning, growing flesh, and even creating synthetic wombs in Japan. These high science resources have already, in our current world, producing muscle and flesh that has been grown but never ACTUALLY BORN. Freaky sort of shit that would give Doctor Frankenstein a serious case of flesh envy.
So, companies and military put together teams of inoculated people to attempt to save humanity. Repopulate the world and to find other pockets of survivors out in the world. Because of this the people who were sent out (from mixed racial backgrounds) were called the Gaijin Cells… a term that literally means outsider.
Beyond the commentary on current scientific growth, the term GENJIAN as a Strain was a commentary about the strange obsession that outsiders have with Asian culture. The fact that culturally outsiders have taken the concept of ‘Asian Culture’ and somehow made this mixed together cultural identity that takes pieces of some of the cultures, but doesn’t identify them individually, is insulting at best. Take the very US concept of ‘Asian Culture’. Many people in the US would think anime, raman bars, and samurais.
What about Iran? India? Russia? North Korea? Brunei? Isreal? These are all countries and cultures that are on the Asian continent. What’s worse is that many of the ‘Asian culture’ references that is so common in the US. Open a map. Find the Asian continent. Look to see what countries are in the 17,212,000 square mile area and then the next time you want to describe someone as the ‘Asian’ person, stab yourself in the face with each part of a Matryoshka nesting doll.
Want to know more about the prefall and the culture of the Genjian? Buy my books when they come out. :) No, seriously, these things take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to put together. Breaking even would be nice, maybe one day getting a paycheck from my DR publications would be nicer.
Natural Ones – In writing and learning to run Dystopia Rising, I learned a lot of different life skills. Myself, Ashley, and the Eschaton Team all did activities and learned details that we probably would have never had reason to learn otherwise. For me personally I took Combat Sambo classes, nature survival course, first aid courses, learned how to navigate with compass and map, was pistol certified, and learned a thousand different survivalist techniques from military and hobbiest sources. Team members have practiced with an array of firearms that would take the majority of this page to list (I love Vegas for many things, but I will always remember how it taught me to respect the Remington 700 SPS and the AR-15).
However, the truth is, without this hobby there is very little reason why I would have had reason to learn MOST of these things.
Now taking government collapse and giant meteors off the table, I can’t say that the majority of humans in the United States are ready or capable of surviving outside of the gilded cage we call civilization. In the instance of a natural disaster, or some sort of wide spread issue that forced people to rely on themselves, I foresee a lot of people failing at survival. Think about your circle of friends. Is it the majority or the minority of them that you think would be able to live if they were dropped into the woods to survive for a week? It is rare to come across a person who thrive, or potentially thrive, if culture was taken away.
For me, this is because we have become slaves and dependent on the culture and community we have made for ourselves. Think about how angry most people become if their wireless internet is slow, never the less how pissed they are if service goes out. Could you imagine not being able to get online to do your dailies, or to update your facebook, or get to your favorite sites? Hell, when the Dystopia Rising forums go down for less than an hour I normally get at least 50 people FB messaging me or texting me letting me know things are down.
So the Natural Ones are the people who have learned to live without being dependent on our culture. They don’t need their cell phone, and their internet ordered delivery food. Natural Ones descend from culture where survival and self-sufficiency is not an optional hobby.
Red Star – Let’s make something very clear. RED STAR ARE NOT ALL FUCKING RUSSIAN. They are a culture of communist cells that operate with the ideas of communal living designed in a non-capitalistic environment where everyone is equal and everyone takes care of one another. The hammer and sickle are the symbols of the industrial worker and the peasant used as the emblem of international communism. RUSSIA doesn’t even use the hammer and sickle. The flag of Russia is a red bar and a blue bar. Currently RUSSIA isn’t even communist, they are a federal semi-presidential republic.
When people start talking Russia when it comes to Red Star? You are thinking of the USSR. The government that the US was in a cold war with. The cold war… with the USSR… WHICH CEASED TO EXIST IN 1991! The USSR has not been around for 23 years. Some of our players WERE NOT EVEN BORN when the USSR ceased to exist.
And the Red Star went through a number of mechanical changes because people didn’t understand the concept of denying the free market and capitalism for communism. Before we had to reword things to the ridiculous degree that Red Star can’t even carry money, we had players gathering all of their creds together and spending all of them on stuff before the end of a weekend so that they didn’t have money at the end of the weekend. Many Red Star operated as corporations would instead of communistic cells.
You want to know a lot of my inspiration for the Red Star? Check out Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm. Look at localized artists communes and localized cultural cells that operate with one another for mutual survival.
I have always been of the mindset that if I were able to get a large track of land and a dozen of similar minded people willing to share the work load, I could remove myself from debt culture by having a shared property with minimalistic individual homes. The property would have to generate just enough income to take care of taxes, upkeep, expenses, and ensure that a little was being put aside in case there was an emergency. The work and the growth of the small community would be defined by the necessity and need for those people to treat each other equally, to work together, and to be compassionate and understanding to one another.
But I could never get the right people together who were at the right points in their life. So instead I started to institute the focus of community and equality into a game network instead.
Well I need to cut this one short. My kilt is done in the dryer and I need to go kill zombies and not write for a weekend. Without a doubt I will have another update next week (assuming people are reading these things).