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Here's the trick for creating a Dystopia. Take a social issue and turn the intensity up to eleven. Better yet, do it with several issues — maybe all of them, if time permits.
A dystopian setting is a world that has one or more problems exaggerated to the extreme. It is a social commentary literally in the background, as is a utopian setting. The two share a problem in sometimes being a little too one-note. The author is thinking "capitalism sucks!", for instance, and everything wrong with the world turns out be clearly the fault of nasty plutocrats and their nasty, greedy corporations. Conversely, it could be "governments suck!" and the corporations are the last line of defense against the evil bureaucrats. The author could believe that Love Hurts, and thus feeling Emotions is a punishable offense. Whichever, it is just one note.
The better dystopias seem to be about how a multitude of things have gone wrong, and now here we are, surviving with as much grace as possible.
Occasionally, a player character will seem to arrive in a Utopia, only to find that it's really a dystopia for all but the elite.
Expect curfews to show up early in; they're a sure-fire cue card for oppression.
Epic Wars will occasionally show up as the rebel force gains enough strength.
RPGs thet use this trope:
- Bionicle Kingdoms
- A Midnight Grey