Drifter’s March LARP Spotlight

Drifter’s March is a post-apocalyptic sci fi game set on an alien world that has only been colonised for around 200 years. Seventy years ago a terrible incident occurred which led to the nanite-infused Wastelanders occasionally becoming quick healing animalistic cannibals called Zed-Synths. The robots that were sent out to kill them could only tell a wastelander apart from a Zed-Synth due to a special beacon implanted beneath the skin … but then the robots were reprogrammed and now they will attack anybody.

Setting is really important. As you can see, a lot of the elements described above will have a really big impact on how the game plays out. Of course, the player factions were equally important so we had several choices that players could make which would affect their goals and alliances.

  • The LARP was set at an inn within a valley between the lush farmland region to the south and a small city to the north. The players were divided into eight factions.
  • The inn staff themselves and a set of reporters who were pretending to be loyal propagandists while they ran an undercover and rebellious paper of their own.
  • The Artificer’s Union who were struggling under the yoke of the highly corrupt New Yuvon CEOs who bullied young engineers and crafters into terrible contracts.
  • The Merchant Caravan and their Caravan Guards who were only somewhat loyal to New Yuvon.
  • The rangers who were seeking a forward outpost so that they could better protect the area.
  • The independent salvagers who were up to their usual tricks of conning the locals and sneaking off with various goodies.
  • And the scientific crew who knew that a small side building (represented by a large tent) was actually the nose cone of a shuttle capable of reaching Earth and thus alerting humanity that Last Hope was not lost and to request aid.

As with most LARPs that use organiser-generated characters (as opposed to ones created by the players), each character has their own list of personal goals as well as information on those they know.  The personal goals ranged from discovering people’s real identities to hiding their own infection to discovering particular drugs using their chemistry kit and some willing test subjects.

The game also had several primary plots:

  • A disguised shuttle that could alert Earth to Last Hope’s continued existence as a colony that required either permission or a psychic power to unlock the door, and then also required a special NASA steering unit (represented by a hard drive) and psi-gear (to be worn by the pilot).
  • The inn was desired by multiple factions. One player-faction (the rangers) and two NPC factions (New Yuvon Council and the Warlady Riata).  New Yuvon Council hid an EMP bomb among the merchant gear when they were rebuffed.  The Warlady Riata sent them a box of bullets as a potential pre-payment that ended up being used against the Big Boss.
  • A cult who worshipped Zed-Synths as a transitional step on a path of evolution who were all brainwashed by a mad scientist called Varus Draconis who was masquerading as his old pre-insanity personality called Tyler Radiowave. He would eventually infect himself with the Master Strain he had been working on, using his new psychic powers to summon local Zed-Synths to his side, and acted as the Big Boss of the game.

The game also had roaming bad guys:

  • One or two slow-moving robots which were very hard to kill.
  • Zed-Synths who would chase people down.
  • Bandits who basically mugged people but weren’t particularly murderous. When they did, one of their family members demanded a murder investigation.

We’ll go into the nitty gritties of what kind of things actually happened in the game in a follow up article in a fortnight.

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