Imagine a weekend where you become immersed in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The living dead roam the world as raiders attempt to take supplies from your settlement, and your goal is to work together in order to survive the horrors that wait beyond the walls. This is Dystopia Rising.
Dystopia Rising is an intellectual property that includes LARP events, tabletop events, and more. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that takes place hundreds of years after the zombie apocalypse occurred, Dystopia Rising encourages working with other survivors to build something more.
“Dystopia Rising is a game about rebuilding the world after it’s fallen apart,” said Ashley Zdeb, co-creator of Dystopia Rising and co-founder of Imagine Nation Collective, LLC. “It’s about making the choice between working together or forging a path on your own—all while defending against zombies.”
Dystopia Rising was created by founders Michael Pucci and Ashley Zdeb. After attending a music festival that had been partially destroyed by a storm, they fell in love with the concept of rebuilding something from the ruins. After discussing the concept, they came up with the idea for Dystopia Rising.
Currently, there are 17 chapters of the LARP, which stands for “live action roleplay,” spread across the United States. These games act like individual settlements, and are run once per month. This means that at any given weekend, there is at least one Dystopia Rising game running in the country.
All attendees at the event create characters that they then pretend to be throughout the entirety of the event. Think of it a bit like improv acting as a post-apocalyptic survivor.
“Dystopia Rising’s biggest accomplishment is building a neighborhood of communities that have been a place where players have found life-long friends and a place to belong,” said Zdeb.
Anywhere from 100 to 350 participants attend each individual game. However, these numbers change drastically when it comes to national events. Held once or twice per year, national events are held at different locations across the country and can include as many as 1,000 participants.
“We invest a massive amount of time, effort, and money in producing a whole new play space for people which include things like buying a Vietnam era deuce and a half truck to drive people into set piece-designed combat zones,” said Michael Pucci, co-founder of Imagine Nation Collective and COO of Eschaton Media Inc, who helps bring national events to life. “When all of this started, the first Downfall event (back when it was Deathcon) was just over 200 people in attendance. Now these events are like designing festivals.”
However, the game isn’t just about the LARP component. There are tabletop games and other live events being run sporadically during the year.
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